ONE gets a nice contrast when witnessing Gazel’s music take shape.
There is a connection to the spiritual and earthly coupled with something that summons bones, vivacity and dance candour. I have been speaking with the London-based songwriter about the single, Book of Souls – and what we can expect from her upcoming debut album.
The songwriter talks about recording the album and which musicians inspire her; a few albums that have made an especially large impression; what it is like being on stage and seeing people connect with her music; how important London and its people are – Gazel ends the song with a very good song choice.
Hi, Gazel. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam. I’m well, thanks; it’s been busy… and yours?
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Gazel; a musician, writer and lover of all things metaphysical.
Can you reveal the story behind your single, Book of Souls?
Book of Souls is the story of the cast of characters that we all have in our unconscious minds, otherwise known as the ‘collective unconscious’. They’re the characters that motivate us and shape our behaviours and cause patterns to repeat over generations.
I believe it is from your upcoming album. What sort of thing can we expect in terms of themes and titles?
My debut album is called Gazel’s Book of Souls, due for release towards the end of the year. The album is a soundtrack to a modern myth; the story of Gazel as she journeys through her unconscious mind. The sound is a powerful blend of Electronic Dance Music with Ancient Folk and World influences.
No love songs!
Has it been a fun experience putting an album together?
It’s been awesome. Each time I’ve finished a song for the album I’ve thought this is the best song I’ve done yet. It’s also been a real privilege to work with some of the most experienced studio-folk in the industry.
Which musicians impacted you heavily when you were growing up? When did music come into your life?
I played a lot more than I listened to growing up. I started playing instruments when I was five and went down the Classical path until I joined the Royal Academy of Music Junior Academy to study strings. It wasn’t until my parents got me Logic as a teenager that I realised I liked writing a lot more than I liked scales.
You have played all around London. What is the city like in terms of the crowds and variation?
Hugely varied as you can imagine; you almost never know what you’re in for. A lot of my music is influenced by Folk (music) from the Middle East, Balkans; Africa and South America - so one of the great things about London is being able to connect with people of so many different backgrounds at my shows.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Our next headline show is at Birthdays in Dalston on 15th June. After that, we’ll be releasing more from the album with shows around the time of each single release. Catch up with me on Instagram to hear about those as they’re announced.
Is it easy to describe how being on stage makes you feel? Does the crowd’s love and reaction do something special?
Being on stage is the best. It’s great to have an audience to share my work with. I never know whether a tune really works until I play it at a show and see the reaction. There’s no better feeling than hearing people sing along to your tunes…
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
Finishing the album, touring it and finishing the storyboard for a musical I’m writing, based on the music from Gazel’s Book of Souls.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I had just come off stage at a scuzzy London club shortly after my first E.P. came out. A promoter (who I now work closely with) asked me to save a date two months later to play at the Hammersmith Apollo. I nearly threw up!
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Kid A by Radiohead, Rosna by Laboratorium Pieśni and Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Nobody knows any better than you do.
IN THIS PHOTO: Maija Sofia/PHOTO CREDIT: Nancy Wilde Photography
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Music seems to take over everything, to be honest, but, when I get a chance, I like reading philosophy books and dancing Brazilian Zouk.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Dessa – 5 out of 6