Boy Azooga plays The Grand Social on 5 October and Upstairs at Dolans, Limerick on 6 October.
Boy Azooga just launched one of the most interesting British debut albums of this summer and played a couple of festival gigs. This autumn the band from Cardiff is coming back on stage with their first headline tour to Ireland, the UK and the US. We had a chat with band-leader and mastermind of the newcomer band, Davey Newington at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg before their first German gig ever.
With their mixture of psychedelic rock with classical, funky and electronic elements and always flirting with indie rock and pop music, Boy Azooga created their very own sound. In our interview Davey explains how producer Eddie El Shakarchie, Jackie Chan and The Beach Boys influenced the making of Boy Azooga.
It’s very hard to categorize your style of music with one word – how would you describe it by yourself?
Davey: I would say psychedelic pop-rock. Because we recorded our first album over a few years it’s very diverse – the one week I’ve been really into Beach Boys and the other week I was obsessed to Sly & The Family Stone.
This summer your first album came out, how long did you worked on your debut?
Davey: It’s been a quite busy year for us. Our first record was out this summer, after a long work in progress. We were glad to work with Eddie El Shakarchie – he’s an amazing musician and producer, sound-engineer – he does everything. Him and myself did the record in his house. He lives on a farm outside of Cardiff. I’ve been mainly drummer in other bands, but then this project became kind of my obsession; we recorded the album and played it live and that was in the end of 2016. We did our first gig as Boy Azooga in December 2016 in a small club in Cardiff – and now we’re touring with our first album through Ireland, the UK and the US.
So you took your time with your first record?
Davey: Yes, the album was recorded over the past years, we already finished it two years ago. I spent the last 4-5 years to work on the songs. I’ve been writing songs since I was 17. Both of us – Eddy is a guitarist and a busy producer, and I was drummer in different bands, so Boy Azooga was like a thing we could do at night, when we got time. But then it slowly became our main thing – especially for me.
How did you and Eddy find each other?
Davey: I worked for a local record label in Cardiff as flyer boy and instead of paying me in cash, the woman who ran the company asked me if I would rather produce some songs with Eddy. I didn’t really know him before, but when we worked together for the first time it instantly clicked. None of this stuff would be happen without Eddy. His studio is just amazing, his knowledge of sound. He’s an official doctor of sound design. He’s a real deal. And we’ve got a similar music taste. He’s a huge Black Sabbath fan, but he’s also into hip hop and all other different kinds of music. He’s constantly showing me new sounds. We’ve been becoming best friends over the years.
Why is your album called “1, 2, Kung Fu?”
Davey: It’s a really stupid name. (laughs) The more I hear it the more stupid I realize it is. When I was growing up I was a huge Jackie Chan fan. It was something I was written in my notes and when I wrote Loner Boogie, and in the chorus I’m sinning “I got the Loner Boogie and it’s coming for you” – and I couldn’t find anything to rhyme – so I checked my notes and just took “1, 2, Kung Fu” – and that worked.
And when we worked on all the other songs I realized that’s the best title for the album. Because most of the songs are a bit melancholy and I didn’t want to seem too serious. And all of my favorite bands have a sense of humor – The Beach Boys or whoever it is – so thought it would be funny to call it “1, 2, Kung Fu”.
Your first headline tour is coming – first to Ireland & the UK, then you’re touring in the US. How do you feel?
Davey: Scared (laughs). I can’t wait, it should be great! Obviously I always dreamed of doing stuff like this. And we didn’t plan this. As I said it all began all like a side project. It’s still weird thinking about touring with Boy Azooga all over the UK and going to the US – but we’re very excited about it and it’s going to be great.
What are your plans for next year?
Davey: We don’t have much plans except for recording our second album. We’re recording it since last December, when we had time. For the next record we will try new stuff, for example maybe more strings and orchestral elements and more up-beat. And hopefully going back on tour.