DJ Spooky described Azam Ali as having “an ethereal beautiful voice from the edge of tomorrow. Think about traditional music vocals, updated for the digital age. Add Bjork, Portishead, Maggie Rogers, and stir.” That’s not a bad description, and her new album, Phantoms comes out in September. She plays the Teragram this week, so we chatted…
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you start singing, writing and performing, and when did you realize it could be serious?
AZAM ALI: I actually never wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be an instrumentalist and started learning the Persian hammered dulcimer. Eight years into my lessons, my teacher suggested I take some singing lessons because he liked the sound of my voice. So I took a course in singing at Santa Monica College and that was when I knew what my true calling would be. I got my first record deal when I was 25 years old, and now I am releasing my 13th full length studio album.
Describe your style…
My music is just like me, a mixture of all the countries and cultures that have become part of who I am and my expression. What I do strive to achieve aesthetically is music that is a hybrid of organic instruments and technology.
What recorded output do you have out do far?
I have release 13 studio albums. Four with my first band VAS. Four with my current world/electronic project NIYAZ. One album with my husband and four solo albums.
What can we expect from this set?
We will be performing a trio. The music is very dark, synth heavy so fans of ’80s and ’90s Dark Wave, electronic, industrial and shoegaze music will really enjoy it.
What else do you have planned this year?
Hopefully a few more shows to promote the album and then I will begin producing the next NIYAZ album with my husband and musical partner Loga Ramin Torsion.
Azam Ali plays with Jeff Rona at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 25 at the Teragram Ballroom.