Together, EZGI ATAS and BEYZA DEMIRKALP make up AZE, and released their latest single “We Move” in February 2022. They joined Ink Music at the beginning of the year – a good start for 2022. While Ezgi expresses herself in a charming German-English, Beyza speaks less, but is always on point. They are united not only by their friendship and their music, but also by their “sad & sexy” vibes. In an interview with Itta Francesca Ivellio-Vellin, Aze talks about these vibes, the weakness of Instagram and how important context is.
You are one of the unfortunate bands that started out during or just before the pandemic.
Ezgi: Yes exactly, we played three concerts before it started. Within one month three bookings without any agency or something, and of course we were super happy. And then immediately: Lockdown came. [laughs]
Beyza: We actually haven’t had a normal concert since the EP came out. We’ve never had people dancing at the concert.
At Waves Vienna 2021 you played in a church. Did that trigger something in you, this religious aspect of the location?
Ezgi: We definitely laughed a lot about it beforehand. We describe ourselves as “sad and sexy,” and then you stand in the church and are “sad & sexy” in a skin-tight dress [laughs].
Beyza: But it definitely felt holy [laughs].
Ezgi: It was definitely really cool. Surely one of the concert highlights last year.
“WE DESCRIBE OURSELVES AS ‘SAD AND SEXY,’ AND THEN YOU STAND IN THE CHURCH AND YOU ARE ‘SAD & SEXY’ IN A SKINTIGHT DRESS”.
What else was 2021 like for you guys?
Ezgi: Very interesting. We played our first festivals, performed in Budapest. For the first time outside of our own backyard, so to speak. We also played with My Ugly Clementine, which was really nice. We also had stupid moments, for example at the Kultursommer Vienna. We already had our stuff completely set up, and then it poured down, so we had to cancel it.
And what about 2022? What hopes and plans do you have?
Ezgi: We have hopes that we can fill all the gaps that we left open last year, this year – meaning social media and releases and stuff.
As for social media, I’ve already noticed that’s not really your thing, is it?
Ezgi: Yeah, I don’t know. We both kind of take it too seriously to just post anything. We do have private accounts and I don’t think a band account really needs to include what I ate for breakfast. If we have a good moment on stage, we post it sometimes anyway, but we are mostly just in the moment. So we don’t have the capacity for a nice social media image.
Beyza: But we are working on it. We already know that’s a little bit our weak point. [laughs.]
You also have great press photos by Christoph Liebentritt!
Ezgi: Yes totally [laughs] and they are just nowhere! We are just keeping so many cool photos to ourselves!
Beyza: In our music everything just has a thread too, so we want that to be the same on social media.
“WE’RE JUST CONCEPT-OBSESSED PEOPLE. THAT’S THE CORE OF AZE”
Ezgi: Exactly, and if something doesn’t have a context, we don’t post it. We’re just concept-obsessed people. That’s the core of Aze.
So everything has to fit together.
Ezgi: It kind of does. All my favorite artists also always put out albums on one theme, one concept at a time. And then they move to the next concept. They’re kind of building worlds every time they release something. And the Instagram account is also part of that, it’s staging that world as well. But if I’m just figuring out what my world is, I can’t show people what my world is – I don’t know yet, give me some time! [laughs.]
It doesn’t make sense for us then to post photos where we just look beautiful. I mean, come for my music, not for my facial structure. [laughs] We also benefit from being women – especially in a time when it’s advantageous to be a woman.
Do you think we are currently living in a time when it is good to be a woman?
Ezgi: It definitely has never been better. That doesn’t mean it’s good. But it’s never been this good. We’re moving in a direction where music is becoming more accessible because you can also make music with a computer, which means you don’t need a lawyer-daddy who has a studio in the 1st district for you. You can just take Logic from your homie, make some beats, sing “lalala” into an SM85 over it, and it’s a track! Or at least the sketch of a track [laughs]. It’s a much lower threshold and easier for less privileged people.
You guys also recorded a very cool track with Eli Preiss. How did that come about?
Ezgi: Yeah, sweet woman!
Beyza: We connected through Instagram. She was one of the first followers we had.
Ezgi: At that time, she was also making English music. That’s when we were often mentioned in the same breath because we embodied similar vibes – so, R’n’B-inspired.
Beyza: Yes, and we just had this one song, but something was missing, and she just fit in perfectly. Especially because we wanted to do something together for a long time. Then we sent her the track and, well…
Tell us about your latest song, “We move”. What is it about?
Ezgi: What do you imagine from the title?
Ezgi: Exactly! It’s about not questioning change, but just letting it happen. Just move on, just go with it. Not thinking too much. Just doing.
“JUST MOVE ON, JUST GO WITH IT.”
Are you guys such classic overthinkers?
Ezgi: [laughs] Absolutely! You could probably open up a diagnostics book, “Overthinker” and find a photo of the two of us printed on it. And “We Move” is also about allowing beautiful moments in life. And that you shouldn’t let these moments be taken away from you.
Beyza: Just chill.
Ezgi: Just now, when the days are getting longer again, we thought that this fits.
Is there really such a calculation behind the schedule for when songs are released?
Ezgi: We try to have a feeling for the moment – where we are and where the world is. Sure, sometimes you don’t hit it so well, but you also learn from that.
Beyza: Yeah, but when we almost finish a song like that, we often say, “Okay, this sounds like summer”, or “This feels like autumn”, and so.
Apart from these moods, what else do you want to convey with your songs? What is important to you?
Beyza: Our honesty in making music. That what we do is really authentic.
Ezgi: Completely. We are people, generally speaking, – I hope – who are quite pleasant. Well, maybe people find me super annoying too, I don’t know. Okay, here we are again with the overthinking [laughs]. It’s a mixture of being serious and not taking yourself seriously. I mean what I say, but I don’t insist on my point.
“I DO WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY WHEN I HAVE SOMETHING SERIOUS TO SAY.”
That means you can be persuaded, and can see when you might be wrong.
Ezgi: Definitely. Though I do want to be taken seriously when I have something serious to say.
Beyza: It’s also important for us that people find their own interpretations to our music. It’s completely open. We don’t insist that people have to understand what we were thinking when we made the music. Everyone is free to feel and think what they want.
Ezgi: I actually find it more rewarding when people come to me with their own interpretation. Then I suddenly hear my own song with the ears of others. That’s super exciting!
How do you perceive the Austrian music scene?
Ezgi: Well, we couldn’t perceive that much because of Corona. But basically I have the feeling that we were welcomed with open arms. So far I have perceived the scene rather positively. Many players are also really cool people.
Beyza: A lot is happening, I have the feeling. But it’s always the same people who are pushed, by the media and so on.
Ezgi: Yes, there is an establishment vibe. And if you fit in there, then of course you’re better off. At the same time, I don’t think you should only go on the anti-establishment track. Then at the end of the day you remain just the “protest artist.” So sure, if that’s what you represent, then sure. But if you just want to do pop or indie – if you’re only booked because that fits into the current political situation, that sucks too.
Thanks for the interview!
Itta Francesca Ivellio-Vellin
Translated from the German Original by Arianna Alfreds.