Azimute: 'Our differences inspire us'

We chat to Berlin electronic duo Azimute about their international sounds

Azimute combines the skills of veteran French producer Philippe Quenum and the youthful Cesare Marchese (aka Cesare vs Disorder), who hails from Berlin via Brazil. Marchese runs the electronic label Serialism, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month at Modernsky Lab. We spoke to the duo in between shows about how they met, how they work through creative differences and why they see each other as brothers.

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How did you meet and decide to band together?
Quenum: We met in Berlin in 2012 thanks to a good old friend, Sierra Sam, who was trying to link us up for a while. I had already released an EP on Cesare’s label, Serialism Records, but the communication was only via Internet until then.

Cesare: Yes, this time we finally managed to meet personally at Sammy and I’s studio and Quenum presented me his debut album. We talked, laughed and listened carefully. We decided to release his album on my label and I guess this was the starting point of a long friendship and work relationship. After a few months of meeting, working together and travelling at label showcases, we decided to start a project together. We realized we had a lot of things in common and definitely matched as friends and as brothers really.

What would you say is the greatest way in which the two of you differ?
Q: We are total opposites, but we balance each other naturally. I am calm, more organized, precise and almost picky in everything I do while Cez is a visionary. He is always full of energy, has many ideas coming randomly to his mind, always doing hundreds things at the same time and is sometimes pretty messy – that’s why he’s Cesare vs Disorder! He is ready to say ‘yes’ and try everything in life.

C: In fact, Philippe brings peace inside my fire and I push his boundaries to the next level – kicking his ass sometimes! I’ve learned a lot from him and the way he lives his life is beautiful. He is in harmony with everyone and everything around him. He has a real special energy and I’m lucky to have him on my side.

What is your creative process? Does each of you focus on certain roles?
Q: Each of us has the same weight in the creative process. Sometimes the building idea comes from one side, sometimes from the other. There are moments when one of us carries the idea and times when it is the other.

P: Our creative process is smooth. Rarely do we have trouble understanding our direction. It’s difficult if we don't agree or don’t like the ideas coming from our partner. We are 100% fluent in what we do together and this is our power. I guess we respect each other so much it works.

What happens when there are creative differences?
Q: It’s difficult, but when we don’t agree during the musical process and if one of us isn’t feeling what we’ve created, we can easily reach an agreement. Our differences actually inspire us. We keep learning from each other.

Do you have a favourite moment of your time working together?
C: Yes, we have had some special moments working together. For example, at the end of last summer we met in Geneva and had eight days of recordings in a room with some of the coolest musicians and at the best of the studios such as Caduceus lab. The environment was so creative and inspiring. We had been working like almost 15 hours a day and had so much fun in the process. It was a special time.

How would you describe your style in a single word?
Q&C: Multicultural

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The next couple questions are for Cesare. You've done a number of collaborations, do you prefer that to solo projects?
C: It’s completely different world to work alone than it is to collaborate with another artists. I love working with other people, but it has to bring something new to the table – it has to inspire me. I love it when I see it as a study. I’ve collaborated with a few great artists, but I’ve always been very selective in finding the right collaborations. When I work alone the process is different. I jam with myself and it’s all more natural. I guess as I follow my own recipe to achieve what I m going for.

How do you feel moving to Berlin affected your career?
C: Berlin certainly affected my career. It’s an amazing city and you can feel the creative and multicultural vibe in the air. I had the fortune to meet right away the most amazing people who helped my career and my learning process. I miss it sometimes although São Paulo now is in my heart and inspires me in a totally different way.

Quenum, I read you were a dancer. How do you feel that piece of your history affects your process as a dance track producer?
Q: In my youth I was dancing all the time in all kinds of style, like modern jazz and breakdancing. My brothers and I had one of the best breakdance crews in France. Actually my younger brother is still very active in dancing. He has a company and gives lessons. In our family, there was always music and dance all the time. After switching to DJing, I stayed with this idea that music and dancing go together, so I was always really into making people dance. That's still my objective.

For producing, it's the same. When I'm in the studio I think about how the public will react to a track. That doesn't mean there is no room for anything else. Actually, Cesare and I have been working on some tracks for our upcoming album that are not necessarily for the dancefloor. We went for a more abstract feeling – something that you could listen to at home with more of an emotional journey than a dancing one. We worked with a singer, jazz musicians and many of our mates – we're really excited about this.

Who is the most interesting person you have met along the way during your career?
Q: That's a difficult question! First, I feel we are all DJs and of the same kind. Many are interesting in their own way, and I learned different things from each of them. I think maybe Robert Hood is the one that stands out for me. I had invited him to play with me in London in the early 1990s and I was a bit apprehensive, after all this was a guy with a big reputation who had a big part in creating this music. But actually he was so kind, such a humble person and a gentleman. He has great taste overall – in music and visually. We talked about our families and life in general. That was a great moment for me.

Right now I would say I'm closest with Cesare, of course, and Cassy. They both have been very influential because they're younger than me and have different experiences and viewpoints on life. They kicked my ass!

Listen to Azimute's 'My Dream' here [VPNs on].

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