Aaron “Aza” Brown is a BBC Introducing-featured Singer/Songwriter based in Chesterfield. He rose to prominence in the mid-90’s with seminal Chesterfield band-The Dazy Age. Influenced by Jellyfish, Frank Zappa, The Beatles & Crowded House, they gleaned a large following in the Midlands & North-with a highly original sound, & sun-soaked harmonies perfected into their live shows.
A year on since debut single “Pure Water”, he returns with his second single of 2022 – “Afterthought” – painting a gloriously epic Latino soundscape.
Amassing over 50k Spotify streams in the last year, Aza is building on live performances on Liverpool Live Radio, and Talk Radio with Bob Mills; coverage in the likes of Fame Magazine and RGM; before featuring on BBC Introducing East Midlands – with presenter Dean Jackson describing Aza as “a fascinating guy…multi-faceted”.
1 – Hello Aza, how is it going? We are excited to have you on our blog and we can’t wait to know more about you and your music.
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Hello Jays Studio, and thanks so much for having me! I’m a singer/songwriter from Chesterfield, UK, who makes melodic Power Pop with a 90’s feel embellished with strings and harmonies
2 – What inspired you to start playing and making music? What were your first steps in the music industry?
I was a choirboy when I was much younger, but when I started getting into Rock Music at the age of 16, bands started asking me to come and sing for them. I was in a terrible hair metal band called Treason at first, but then went on to play in a fantastic progressive band called The Dazy Age. We were very experimental – inspired by Zappa, Jellyfish and Crowded House, so had zany time changes coupled with pop sensibilities and 3 part harmonies which we could do live. We had a lot of Record Companies sniffing ‘round
3 – If you could choose any artists in the world, who would it be your ideal musician to collaborate with and why?
The aforementioned ~ Jellyfish ~ are one of the biggest influences on my career and songwriting – 2 of them are now part of Beck’s band and another is in Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. They’ve just come back and released some beautiful new music as The Lickerish Quartet, and along with Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy encapsulate everything I love about music and songwriting.
4- Would you agree that it is very important to learn, study and understand new music and music history?
It’s good to see what went before, and try and understand what emotions it evokes and why. Sometimes it really gives an insight into the prevailing zeitgeist of the times. I’m not really into much new music. It’s certainly been a lesson coming back into music after an absence of 15 years. I’ve straddled either side of the technology and internet revolution, so in many ways, us “Exennials” (the title of my forthcoming album) – have a unique perspective on what’s happening now.
5 – Beside music, do you have any other hobbies or interests?
I love keeping fit, and I play in the local squash leagues as well as having taken up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu last year. I love travel and seeing new places. I could live 5 lifetimes and never be bored! I also started a Podcast/Youtube Channel all about the Arts and Culture in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and The Peak District which champions the local scene here, giving new bands and artists some great exposure as well as celebrating what went before.
6 – Your latest release ‘Afterthought’ sounds amazing! Can you tell us more about the process of making this song?
Thank you! The words just came to me immediately – one of those incredibly lucky instances – it was actually a friend Mickey who was writing a song of his own and singing something completely different to the 2 chords in the verse. I took those chords and added a couple more whilst imagining a Thom Yorke-esque fragile vocal – feeling sorry for myself, but it didn’t sit right with me! I wasn’t in that kind of headspace, and really didn’t want to explore it any more! “Was I only just an Afterthought?”. Oh, poor me! It sounded a bit pitiful, so I turned it on it’s head and made it a song about revenge fantasies. It’s really quite dark in places! Producer Danny Burton took my GarageBand demo, ported it into Logic and made an incredible job of it, complete with a beautiful Spanish guitar solo in the middle.
7- You shot an amazing video clip for this release! Can you tell us more about it?
Thanks again! As it’s got a very Latino/Hispanic feel to it, I originally wanted to go to the Spaghetti Western studios in Andalucia, Spain, and shoot something like a gunfight outside a saloon with horses and cowboy hats etc, but travel restrictions prevented it, so instead I went to Mexico for 7 weeks in the Winter, and scoped out some locations. I settled on some incredible beaches in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca on the West Coast, and my Canadian friend John Journault – who I’d met in Australia 3 years ago – and I got up at 5am and filmed it with a GoPro at this amazing rocky walk along the coastline there. Once again, Danny Burton did a sterling job with the video editing to come up with that masterpiece.
8 – How would you describe the music that you typically create?
It’s typically very upbeat, melodic, and resplendent in vocal harmonies and strings with a bit of a 90’s feel to it.
9 – Describe your favourite and least favourite part about being a musician.
My favourite part is playing out live – easily. Nothing like that buzz! The least favourite is the current “game” you have to play on social media to be considered a viable artist. Before the internet, you’d play out live and the cream of the best music and musicians would naturally rise to the top. Now it’s all about who performs best on social media, and it’s all consuming, and can be quite depressing. I understand that fans want to know all about you, but some of the content deemed necessary to “make it” can be quite shallow, and when the algorithm punishes you when you’re posting something about your music, yet rewards you with hundreds of “likes” for posts about your cats, it’s very demoralising. Social Media hooked us all in in the early days, and it was quite good fun sometimes, but then they made it “pay-to-play”, and your posts are only shown to a very small percentage of your “friends” unless you spend money on boosts etc.
10 – What are the next steps for your project? Anything exciting on the horizon?
I’m wondering whether to put another single out, or whether to just release the album. The album’s set for a physical release on my Birthday in July at Real Time Music in Chesterfield, where I’ve hired a string quartet and choir to well and truly make it a spectacle – playing it out in full for the first time. Producer Danny Burton and I work together really well, and I imagine there’ll be collabs-a-plenty down the line with him too. I made lots of friends with fellow musicians whilst in Mexico too, so I’d love to go back there again this Winter – could even play the album out there with a few of them. All very exciting!!
It was a pleasure to interview you! Thank you very much for your time and we wish you the best of luck! xx
You can find Aza Brown at this links: