Like a Music Chef
Fred-Agop Azilazian’s musical march toward success
May 29, 2020 | by Creative Armenia
Creative Armenia Network member and Spark Grant recipient Fred-Agop Azilazian's year has taken remarkable creative twists, as he released new tracks and explored new genres. Fred-Agop got back to talk about his approach to music and upcoming projects.
CA: You are a musician who combines pop music with folk, white soul, electro, and Armenian traditional sounds. What is the idea behind that and how you manage to produce mixed yet harmonic sounds?
FA: I am influenced by various styles – from pop to rock, soul, folk, Armenian, and even South American music. So when I compose, I feel like a cook, mixing various ingredients together. The idea behind my approach is to never serve the same dish. If my songs were dishes, I'd say they are sometimes vegetarian, sometimes with meat or seafood, sometimes baked, sometimes pan-fried, sometimes refined, or very sweet. Some of my songs even sound like I wrote them while eating at McDonald’s.
My songs are also influenced by my mood or the people I meet while traveling. My main guideline is to spice my songs up according to my recipe – something that few international indie-pop artists possess – Armenianness. And my Armenianness comes through such traditional instruments as duduk, shvi, and dhol. I'd also like to add qanun and kemenche to my next songs.
CA: Your debut album, Songs of Good Hope, became highly acclaimed by the French media. Tell us more about the album and its road to success.
FA: It took me four years to write Songs of Good Hope. The starting point was the song entitled Sogh, with its unique duduk intro. The track was very successful in the indie-pop media locally, but also internationally, in such countries as the US, Canada, or Germany. With this first album, I was invited to perform on TV sets in France and was able to have many concerts in Paris.
This album is a wonderful representation of the mentioned mix of various musical influences and my life experience. Merenda, for example, was composed during an unforgettable humanitarian trip to Brazil, while Only Happy When We're High is one of the very first songs I composed, which I sing with my wife. Some tracks in the album mean a lot to me like You Light Up my Way and City of Joy — two songs I composed in Los Angeles, where I found part of my Armenian family.
CA: You are also a recipient of Spark Grant from Creative Armenia which helped you record the songs of your upcoming new album. Tell us more about the songs and on what stage is the project now.
FA: The first track of the next album Lame de Fond is available on all music download platforms. It's my very first track with French lyrics. It's a folk ballad about climate change. My new EP will have 3 other new songs: Si Douce, another folk ballad with French lyrics, and 2 English songs, I'm in Love and You should not Give Up. I've included duduk in Si Douce and I'm in Love.
I'm also working on 5 new songs that I will record at Studio CBE, a very famous studio in Paris where Lee Hazlewood, Sebastien Tellier, Lilly Wood & The Prick, Zaz, Dita von Teese, Imany or Keziah Jones have recorded.
CA: What is your long-term vision for your creative career?
FA: I would like to keep on recording albums, playing concerts, meeting talented people, and seeing my audience grow. I would love to record my third album in Armenia together with Armenian technicians, sound engineers, and artists.
Ideally, I would like to make seven albums and then create my foundation and a concert hall to financially support young artists, promote them, and allow them to create.
We live in an increasingly uncertain world, our daily life is not easy. This new world needs artists to keep beauty, dreams, emotions, and love alive.