Melbourne duo Diafrix have a knack for blending soul, funk and reggae sounds around crisp hip hop beats. The pairing, consisting of musicians Momo and MC Azmarino, now have three studio albums under their belts, and have just recorded a new EP titled The Second Sample, set for release in the first half of 2015.
Recorded in an old terrace house in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, The Second Sample sees Diafrix teaming up with producer Dustin McLean (Joelistics, The Bamboos, Jane Tyrrell) to capture the tremendous influence soul music has had on the duo’s lives.
The guys have given us an exclusive video looking at the development of new single The Sign, and Khalid Abdulwahib, aka MC Azmarino, took some time out from finalising the record to give Music Feeds a behind-the-scenes look at its genesis, their new approaches to lyrics and instrumentation, the influence of the duo’s African backgrounds, and where their sound is heading.
Watch: Diafrix – The Sign | In The Studio
Music Feeds: So you’re currently in the studio, working on your new EP. Are we close to completion yet, or are you still in the thick of it?
Azmarino: The EP is finished, and is currently being mixed and mastered. We have grown so much both personally and creatively since our last release, we took a new approach in regards to lyricism and song writing with this EP. We took it back to the essence of what we love about hip hop, what we love about music. The big band vibe, piano, brass sections, old school soul… It’s cool because it’s a total expression of where we are right now, and what we would want to listen to.
MF: You recently released new track, The Sign. It’s a soulful joint, and your music always seem to aim for that soul. What is it about that style that draws you in?
A: I guess soul music was a big part of life for us growing up… I know that both my father and Momo’s father are big fans of James Brown, and that whole era of soul & jazz music, so it rubbed off on both of us as kids. It’s in our veins so to speak. Also, being from an African background, we really enjoy songs that people can dance to. That boogie vibe really brings people together, you know? It transcends age, gender, race… It makes people happy. And that’s what we love, what we wanted to create. This track makes people happy.
MF: Is The Sign indicative of a particular sound on the new EP, or are you aiming for a mixed bag?
A: We always like to mix it up, so the EP is not all in this vibe. It’s a bit of a mix of this new soul sound, and our Diafrix roots. But its defiantly a sound we want to play around with a bit more for our album. We have been receiving lots a great feedback from it. Momo is also singing a bit more, which people seem to really enjoy… So we got to give what the people want!
A: You’ve talked about wanting to get back to your roots, back when you performed live with a small band and freestyled. Are you approaching the new material with a looser mindset?
A: Definitely. In our early days we use to jam with a band and freestyle and come up with grooves on the spot while getting the energy from the crowd. We really enjoyed that process, so we tried to capture the vibe of live instrumentation, and that high energy that is generated when people are jamming out and having a great time.
MF: How has bringing a mini-band into the studio influenced the new material?
A: To be honest, I think we have grown as artists and our tastes have changed, we were just feeling something different. We came up with that idea because we were not feeling what producers were coming up with in the studio. So we decided to take the mater into our own hands and called in different musicians who we admired in the Melbourne music scene. Once we started getting those guys in to jam, it just fell into place.
A: Any plans to tour soon? What can we expect from your next round of live shows?
KA: Nothing set in stone yet, but we will defiantly be hitting the road once the EP is released. We are really excited to get on stage and play these tracks live! It’s gonna be a party, that’s for sure!
Keep an eye out for Diafrix’s new EP, coming in early 2015. Check the lyric video for ‘The Sign’, below.