Aza (Aaron) Brown is a British singer-songwriter based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. His musical prowess stems from years of work, starting out in the mid-90s scene with The Dazy Age. Aza has worked with multiple groups including the aforementioned The Dazy Age, The WonderWhys, and The Happy Mondays. This has helped him build his musical repertoire which includes a degree in Music Industry Management.
I first started writing “Midsummer Skies” in 2001 when I felt an almost tangible magic in the air – on a particularly beautiful Summer Solstice. From then, I vowed in future that I’d only work on it on that day of the year to “capture the essence” of the day and lock it in the magic! I actually forgot about the song for quite a while, until an ethereal and majestic solstice in Llandudno 4 years ago reignited the feeling, and recast the spell, so today sees it come to light after 20 years! – Aza Brown on writing Midsummer Skies.
Having been influenced by the likes of The Verve and The Beatles, Aza Brown does a brilliant job in creating an uplifting atmosphere in his music. Midsummer Skies sounds like a track that’s right off of The Verve’s discography. The uplifting synths, with the upbeat drums, create a light timbre that resonates throughout the track. Aza Brown does a phenomenal job with the bass, creating a groove that has you slowly bobbing your head along to Midsummer Skies. His vocals sound like a cleaned up Richard Ashcroft-Liam Gallagher mix that I am all for.
It’s difficult to point out anything wrong with the track. In fact, I think everything from the recording to the final mix has been done so carefully and well. The lyrics are akin to the likes of Live Forever by Britpop legends, Oasis.
Aza Brown has created a track that really speaks to his listeners. It lifts your spirits and is definitely something that I’d start my day with. There’s a lot more I can say, but why not read it from the man himself. Read on below for our interview with Aza
Where did you get the name Aza from?
Aza was my nickname at school. A bit like Darrens are called Daz or Dazza, mine was Aza. I chose this as an artist name simply because Aza Brown was available on all platforms, and consistency is key on your socials. I must admit, I prefer Aaron really, but there’re quite a few Aaron Browns in the World! I think one was a U.S senator, and then there’s a top sportsman somewhere too with the same name. Obviously, all those socials are taken!!
Would you prefer to play with a band or solo? Why?
I’ve been let down so many times in the past, and wasted so much time in various bands ‘cos when it came to the crunch – they weren’t in it for the long haul. We’d put all the effort in, get tight, write some great songs, and then someone would get a new job, or get married, or have a kid or not be on the same page, basically. Nothing against that if that’s what you want to do, but don’t lead me a merry dance saying what I want to hear, and then when it looks like we’re gonna get somewhere chuck it all in! It’s really important to set your stall out early doors or you’ll be disappointed down the line. I’m 49 now and I really haven’t got any more time to waste on hobbyists – no matter how good they are!! I know I won’t let myself down, although it’s a lot to manage on your own sometimes.
We see that you’re influenced by the likes of Frank Zappa and The Beatles. Would you care to tell us if any tracks are heavily introduced by these and any other artists?
Well, the Frank Zappa influence used to be more apparent in my former bands – especially Dazy Age, where we’d have time changes, instrumental virtuoso breaks, screams, maniacal laughter and lots of other crazy stuff going off. For the forthcoming album’s coherence, though, I’ve calmed it down to just the one scream (a really big one though!), which is a representation of me going crazy, being in a deep depression and pretty much descending into my very own hell on the song “Escape from Alcopraz”. You can probably glean from that song title what the subject matter is, and it’s a very personal song to me. Adopting the “anything goes” approach that one could arguably attest Zappa might take – made this song what it is. It’s a completely different feel and ending to the main body of the song, and goes somewhere very unexpected – much like Zappa would do!!
My harmonies throughout the album are very Beatles-esque, although I’ve got my choirboy days from an early age to thank for an education in music inside-out. These harmonies have been a constant in every band I’ve ever been in, and perfecting these into live shows can give the audience an extra “Wow!” factor. I’d like to think that my ear for a hook, melody and general pop sensibilities will come across with this album, and I have The Beatles to thank for a lot of that. The next single – “The Way That I Roll” probably has the heaviest influence of the Fab Four for me on this album, but the last track “You Are My World” has a big Abbey Road-era feel to it too. I’m also completely in thrall to the songwriting of bands like Crowded House and Jellyfish. Again, both are very melodic and have great pop sensibilities. The Album track “Wasting Away” has a big Jellyfish feel to it.
How does it feel to be back writing original music after that 15-year hiatus?
It feels absolutely amazing, thank you! The complete freedom gained from writing alone has been incredibly liberating – I sometimes used to feel a bit self-conscious after a few knockbacks and rejections from my own music with previous bands, but I’ve put my heart into this album, and I’m sure people will really connect with the hope and optimism I poured into it. It’s infectious, and you’ll be able to hear quite how happy I am!
Some artists have compared music to riding a bicycle in that you can’t really forget how it works. Has that been the case with you?
Very much so – although I took a long amount of time out, I was still playing guitar and singing, plus keeping up to date with new music coming through – I feel like it’s my job to know what’s going on in the music industry. The writing, though, has gone to a whole new level, and that’s through constant practice of writing 3 pages stream-of-consciousness every morning. So many ideas come out of that practice, and it’s not just the music, but it frees your mind up from the sometimes inane chatter of the day – sorts out a lot of things that are hanging in the fog, and the clarity you get from that is astonishing.
What can we expect after this album from Aza Brown?
Well, from being someone who was embarrassed to showing and sharing my work, to be as prolific as I am now, I have a number of options. There were a lot of songs that didn’t make this album, as they were either a bit rocky or a different kind of feel, and including them would have made this album lose its coherence. It’s got an ethereal sheen and doesn’t step on any toes – in a good way. It’s very Summery and uplifting. I’ve got a dirty rock ’n’ roll album in me, and some other experimental stuff that just wouldn’t have fitted this one. I intend to tour “Exennial” next year, and playing it out in its entirety will be a massive buzz and sense of achievement for me. Other than that, working with producer – Danny Burton – has been amazing, and he’s really nurtured these songs along into what they are now, and I’m incredibly grateful for everything he’s done. After hearing what I can do with harmonies and BV’s, he asked me to do exactly that all over his own solo album – “Night and Day”, which was a great honour, and to which I duly obliged (big Beatles sound on album track “Half a Chance” – check it out!). We really bounced off each other, and I can see a lot more collaboration with him down the line…
Be sure to add Midsummer Skies to your playlists now!