INTERVIEW: BOY AZOOGA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If passion is the driving force behind any successful project, Boy Azooga have plenty. Originally the solo outing of Cardiff musician Davey Newington, the full blown band developed from a mixtape of personal influences into a cohesive group.

“I think it officially became ‘Boy Azooga’ in my head about three and a half to four years ago. It was something I was doing on the side when I was playing drums in other bands, it was just for the songs I’d written in my own time. When I was first making this record I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I’m gonna make a band.’ I was just doing it for the fun of it. Then the more it went on it, I got really into the idea of it.”

Boy Azooga’s debut album, 1, 2 Kung Fu!, is an encyclopaedia for Newington’s musical background and preferences: a lot of life experience has impacted this musical adventure. Every song is a concoction of different music styles, giving it that mixtape feel. Breakfast Epiphany’s subtle psychedelia introduces the gentle indie side of Newington’s persona; delve a little deeper, and you find the jazz-infused synth rock of Face Behind Her Cigarette; and the classic rock vibes of Sitting On The First Rock From The Sun’s explosive guitar line and minimalist drum beat.

My dad brought home a tape of Queen live and a greatest hits video and I’d sit in front of the TV and play drums on a biscuit tin

“The Beach Boys were a massive influence when I was younger. My mum and dad had a tape of their Endless Summer album. That’s some of my earliest memories, that music. I think it’s weird when you’re that young the music you have when you’re a kid means so much more to you; it’s not just songs. The Beatles and Queen were massive influences as well. My dad brought home a tape of Queen live and a greatest hits video and I’d sit in front of the TV and play drums on a biscuit tin.”

You can see old-school influences everywhere in Boy Azooga, and sing-along subtitles often accompany their psychedelic music videos (a phenomenon which surely deserves a comeback). Plus, it means you can spot the album title in nostalgic alt. rock anthem Loner Boogie.

“I think when I finished the album, some of the lyrics were a bit depressing. I wanted to give it more of a fun title. Loads of my favourite bands would give their stuff daft titles because it would show that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously. Plus, I’m a massive Jackie Chan fan.”

The fun doesn’t stop with the music, though. Boy Azooga gigs have an inescapable tendency to descend into maraca-based anarchy. “We just try and have loads of fun. There’ll be loads of maracas flying around. I’m going to put ‘Bring Your Own Maracas’ on the posters because I’ve gone through so many maracas, it’s gotten really expensive for me! I think percussion is such a communal instrument. When we first started playing, I was so used to being behind the drums and I needed to learn this frontman shtick thing. A way to get the audience involved was just to give them some percussion so they could play along.”

Boy Azooga open Twisterella festival at Teesside University Student’s Union, Middlesbrough on Saturday 13th October, and play Cobalt Studios, Newcastle later that night. BYOM.

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