Chicago’s hottest talent Azzecca has been making an international name for herself in the last year. A cracking release schedule including tracks on REALM, Higher Ground, a remix of TIBASKO on Another Rhythm, on top of a whirlwind touring schedule (inc. upcoming global shows like EDC Vegas, Halcyon (SF), Hard Summer (LA)) has seen the fiery DJ/producer rocketing to the top of exciting emerging stars you need to know. On top of this, Azzecca still keeps it real in her hometown with her Dirty Disco female-focused events, the most recent with Carlita last month at Smoke and Mirrors. We chatted to her about her latest track ‘Ego Death’, out now on REALM, and just ahead of her next track on the label ‘Mantra’, dropping May 19th. Check it below…
WWD: Hey Allie/Azzecca, congrats on your new REALM Records release ‘Ego Death’. You’ve been dropping this one for a while and the reception seems to have been crazy in your sets. How does it feel finally getting it out there?
It feels incredible to have this song out. It has been a showstopper in my sets for a while now and I’ve been itching to get it out to the world.
WWD: Can you tell us a bit about the tech process behind this one? Did it come together quite easily or take a bit of time?
Honestly, this one came together pretty quickly. I was traveling through Europe over Christmas and all of my luggage was lost, so I was stuck in a remote village in England with only one pair of pyjamas, my laptop and my headphones. I spent about 3 days working on this at my Airbnb kitchen table while I waited for my luggage to arrive. I found the vocal samples first, made the bassline, structured the track out and all of the other elements just came together. I sent it to my manager as soon as I finished it and we were both immediately super excited about it.
WWD: As well as producing and touring, you also run your own ‘Dirty Disco’ parties. These started off in Chicago, first online in lockdown, then at Spybar and Smoke and Mirrors, and you’re planning on expanding into other locations right?
Yep! Dirty Disco began in Chicago and that will always be the home of the party, but we are now looking to expand the brand a bit. I love the vibe and the message that I’ve been able to create through Dirty Disco and I can’t wait for the opportunity to bring it to other cities. We had a boat party planned in Miami during music week that was unfortunately cancelled at the last minute due to new rules placed by the city, so I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to travel with the party.
WWD: You had the most recent event with Carlita last month. How did that go down? What do you think is the best thing about running your own events, and what do you find is the hardest?
Our party with Carlita was amazing – maybe even our best party yet. The vibes were incredible from open to close and Carlita was lovely to have on board. The best thing about running Dirty Disco is that I really am in control of the general tone of the night. It’s really satisfying to see something that started as a small idea come to life this way. On the flip-side, I often feel really overwhelmed the night of the party, needing to make sure everything goes perfectly. Sometimes wish I could just enjoy it the way everyone else does. Every morning after, I am flooded with texts and messages about how great the night was, and I usually feel like it was all one big busy blur!
WWD: What’s the purpose of Dirty Disco? There’s more to it than just a night with great line ups right?
I started Dirty Disco for a few reasons, the first being that I wanted to create a party where women felt comfortable dressing up and going to a club. During lockdown I had an opportunity to chat with so many of my girlfriends who told me they didn’t really go out to the clubs in Chicago anymore because of all the aggressive and predatory behaviours they had to deal with. I had definitely noticed that there were always more men than women in the clubs, but I didn’t realize how many women (who love house and techno) just didn’t go out to clubs because they didn’t want to deal with the general male-dominated vibe. I wanted to change that. I wanted to start a night with a strong female energy where women could dress up and listen to music and feel safe. With that said, every night out is better if women and the LBGTQ+ communities are involved. Every party and club should be actively pushing for this. I also wanted to bring more up-and-coming artists that I love to Chicago. I hope that the trust people place in my ability to curate lineups continues to grow, so that I can keep booking less-well-known acts to bring to the city.
WWD: What sort of things do you think events should implement generally to make sure that everyone feels safe and welcome?
I think it all begins with messaging surrounding the club/party. Promote inclusivity, promote safety. Train door staff and security to have a zero-tolerance attitude towards predatory behaviour. Listen to people when they tell you there’s an off vibe on the dance floor. Encourage people to look out for each other.
WWD: Where do you think the scene is at right now with regards to gender equality?
I think it’s definitely moving in the right direction. There is still obviously a pretty big gap in minority representation in the industry, but there are so many amazing collectives pushing for change. Defected, He.She.They, and Femme House are all doing incredible work to bridge that gap. I think it’s still a bit difficult to be a woman in the scene, because there is a frustrating amount of misogyny – from openly discrediting women, to simply refusing to stand up for them, play their music, book them at parties or give them the set times that they deserve. It’s still there and it doesn’t go unnoticed, but I do think it’s improving.
WWD: We hear there’s more new music on the horizon… what’s the near future got in store?
I have a pretty full release calendar through the end of this year which is so exciting. I have another release on REALM in May – this track is pretty unique in that I made it specifically for an event I was booked to play with a bunch of Afterlife artists. It strays a bit from my typical sound while still holding onto many of my usual production elements. After that I have a couple of releases on the label that actually got me into music production in the first place, so there’s some exciting stuff coming this summer. I’m already looking into release plans for 2024, it’s crazy how fast things are moving.
WWD: Thanks for your time!
Azzecca ‘Ego Death’ is out now on REALM, get it here: realm.ffm.to/egodeath. Look out for ‘Mantra’, out May 19th on REALM.