Interview: Azzecca

Chicago’s hottest talent Azzecca drops what she’s calling her favourite production yet; the sultry and compelling ‘Ego Death’ packs a real punch and is out now on REALM Records, already surpassing 10,000 Spotify streams in the first day… So looks like it’s set to be on a similar trajectory to her previous immediate hits on Higher Ground (3 original tracks) and Another Rhythm (a remix of TIBASKO ‘Still Rushing’). We spoke to Azzecca, aka Allie DeCastris, around the new music, the ‘Ego Death’ phenomenon, and where she’s been taking the world by storm with her shows…

Hey Azzecca, thanks for speaking with us! Where are we catching you today? 

Hey! I’m in Chicago right now… getting as much done as possible at home before the Miami Music Week craziness begins.

You’ve just dropped an absolute dancefloor destroyer, ‘Ego Death’. Tell us a bit about the story behind that and the whole ‘ego death’ phenomenon…

I’m so happy that Ego Death is out in the world. I think it’s my favourite project to date. I found the vocal sample before anything else, and the track honestly seemed to write itself after that. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of psychedelics and the idea of ‘Ego Death,’ and I believe there’s a similar feeling you can achieve on the dancefloor when the world sort-of opens up to you and you’re able to connect with yourself and others in new, less egocentric ways. I personally love the juxtaposition between euphoria and darkness in music and I think ‘Ego Death’ encapsulates that vibe well.

We all love getting lost in the music on the dancefloor – where in your set would you play this to have the best effect? And what would you say the ideal dancefloor setting is for it if you could pick anywhere to drop this?!

I think the cool thing about ‘Ego Death’ is that it doesn’t really fall into one specific genre, so it’s an easy song to place in a set. It’s big enough to go off at peak time, but it’s also funky enough to get the dancefloor moving a bit earlier in a set. An ideal setting to drop the song would be when you have a crowd that’s down to close their eyes and get a bit lost.

You’ve been playing some brilliant US shows, but also played Printworks and fabric for the first time not long ago, as REALM showcases. How was it playing these iconic UK venues? How do you think the UK rave crowd differs from the US? 

Two big pinch-me moments for sure. Getting to play at Printworks before it closed was such an incredible opportunity that I’ll always remember, and fabric might be the best club I’ve ever visited. I think there’s a pretty distinct difference between UK crowds and US crowds in that you can be a bit more experimental in the UK. There are so many sounds that I love that originated in the UK that are just now starting to gain recognition and momentum in the US so it’s nice to know that you can play an old Midland track from 2013 in a set and everyone will vibe with it.

You often use vocals and vocal samples in your tracks. Do you find this is something that you naturally gravitate towards, or do you specifically start writing a track with the vocal first?

It’s always different. I would say most of my tracks start with a bassline, a lead or a vocal sample. I really like to use funky arps in my songs, so sometimes I’ll just play with making arps and basslines for hours until I land on some combination that feels right. I would say percussion is one place I never start at. I find percussion to be the most difficult layer of a song to finish.

You’ve also just dropped a remix of TIBASKO ‘Still Rushing’ on Another Rhythm. That’s your first remix right? A great first one to have as well! How did you find remixing as opposed to starting fresh on something? Is it easier when there are already the stems there, or harder because then you have to do the original justice? 

I loved working on this project. I was actually able to pick which song from TIBASKO’s EP I wanted to remix and ‘Still Rushing’ blew me away. I found this remix to be pretty easy as I loved so many of the original elements in the song. I wanted to change the production to a 4×4 that would fit a bit more seamlessly into my sets, and I wanted to make the track a bit darker and heavier than my previous releases. I’m really happy with the result and I think it’s a nice contrast to the original.

You’re currently in the middle of a bunch of exciting tour dates. Where can we catch you in the coming weeks, any shows you’re especially excited about? 

I’m gearing up for a busy weekend at the end of March when I’m heading back to New York to play with Carl Craig, and then straight to Miami to throw my own Dirty Disco boat party with Skream and DJ Seinfeld. The next day I’m playing the Factory Town closing party on the Realm stage so it’s going to be a fun, full-on weekend.

Azzecca ‘Ego Death’ is out now on REALM Records. Get it here: