Rouge Mécanique, born Romain Azzaro, announced himself with his 2013 EP on Rekids off-shoot Pyramids Of Mars, The Witches / Stingray, a record memorably packaged in hand-stitched leather. Azarro has since amassed a healthy body of production work, broadly within the realms of cinematic, disco, and rock & roll, including his 2016 album debut, Don't Touch My Sister, out via his own Rouge Mécanique Musique.
Raised between France and Italy, Azzaro spent his teenage years playing guitar and drums in punk, cold-wave, and psychedelic bands. He arrived in Berlin in 2010 with a growing interest in electronic music, and met fashion designer Aurelia Paumele at KaterHolzig one evening, to whom he explained that he wanted to make music for fashion shows and so set up the Rouge Mécanique project. "I discovered my rock & roll roots coming back," Azzaro recalls, and this led him into production work.
You can hear these influences in all Azzaro's work and his XLR8R podcast. Across the mix, you'll hear '70s psychedelia, blues, indie rock, and future punk, before the funky beats and electronic rhythms come in around the half-way point. The mix is a collection of Azzaro's favorite records and an attempt to merge the different genres in the most fluid way. It sees him dig deep into his vast collection of vinyl and cassette tapes, many of which don't even have titles.
What have you been up to recently?
The last three years have been full of projects. In 2016, I created the label Rouge Mécanique Musique which has released four records, three from myself and one from Jonny Teardrop. I also co-founded the party series African Acid is the Future with Maryama Luccioni, later joined by Dauwd. Together we created a label in collaboration with the Vinyl Factory, aiming to record and release on vinyl all the bands from our parties.
I also composed an album made with glass instruments in collaboration with my dear friend Jeanne Briand from Les Beaux-Arts de Paris Art School. Jeanne works with glassblowing techniques and made the instruments herself. The final project was part of a big exhibition next to the Louvre in Paris and in Bogota, Colombia. This album is now finished, but it hasn't yet been released. Currently, we are presenting a vinyl made of real glass, and a live performance is in preparation.
When and where was this mix recorded?
This mix was recorded in my studio in Berlin on a rainy day in March. I used two turntables, two CDJs, a cassette player, a rotary mixer, and a delay pedal. I always have my guitar next to me when I DJ or play live, so you will hear it through the podcast.
How did you choose the records that you included?
I’m very focused on finding new music through my travels, and my record collection keeps on growing. I also collect tapes and recently made a cassette-only podcast for Worldwide FM.
For this mix, I went through some of my finest rock and punk records, as well as electronic and dance music. I’ve also included some obscure music I found while digging for tapes.
Is there a particular concept behind it?
The concept is to merge diverse genres of music in the most elegant way.
What’s bubbling in the studio at the moment?
At the moment I’m composing a new LP as Rouge Mécanique. I like to take my time when building a new album, but I feel it might be finished around September and released some time after that.
What’s next on the horizon?
The work I did for African Acid is the Future took a lot of my time, and I had to put the Rouge Mécanique live performance and label on the side. I’m now stepping back from the party to devote time to my main instruments, guitar and piano. I have been learning and playing a lot of classical music and jazz.
From my teenage years until the moment I arrived in Berlin, I've been playing as a drummer and guitarist in bands. I have this growing desire to build a band for the dance scene. I guess that will be the goal for 2020.
Due to issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Intro "R.M Guitar" (00:00:51)
02. Unknown Cassette (00:00:51—00:03:15)
03. Unknown Cassette (00:03:15—00:05:47)
04. Fremde Welt "Die Wilde Jagdt" (Bureau B) (00:08:00—00:13:00)
05. Scream & Dance "In Rhythm" (Bristol Archive Records) (00:13:00— 00:16:27)
06. Flux "Just Is" (One Little Indian) (00:16:27—00:17:30)
07. Zoe McPherson "Inoui" (SVS Records) (00:17:30—00:18:46)
08. Excellent tools "Slow Jam" (Blank Vinyl) (00:18:46—00:21:43)
09. Fats Comet "Dub Storm" (Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics) (00:21:43—00:25:30)
10. Can "I'm So Green" (United Artists Records) (00:25:30—00:27:45)
11. Unknown Cassette (00:27:45—00:28:00)
12. Flux "Nothing is Not Done" ( One Little Indian) (00:28:00 - 00:32:30)
13.: John Swing "Reminiscent" (Live Jam Records) (00:32:30—00:34:30)
14. Unknown (00:34:30—00:40:00)
15. Phooreskinz Vol3 "Train Song" (Unknown Label) (00:40:00—00:46:00)
16. African Science "Fourty" (African Science) (00:46:00—00:49:00)
17. Sonar Base "Earth Probe" (Remastered on U-Trax) (00:49:00—00:54:55)
18. AFX "Window Peeper+6" (User18081971) (00:54:55—00:59:00)
19. Prince "Cloreen Bacon Skin" (Legacy Recordings) (00:59:00—01:06:00)
20. Thor "Aliens Don’t Boogie" (AE Recordings) (01:06:00—01:12:30)
21. Adlas "Celestial Mechanics" (Answer Code Request) (01:12:30 —01:18:20)
22. Unknown Cassette (01:18:20—01:20:00)
23. Mosca "Cedar Wood State" (Not So Much) (01:20:00—01:23:00)
24. Joe Armond-Jones "Today Starting in Dub" (Brownswood Recordings) (01:23:00—01:29:38)
25. Unknown Cassette (01:29:38—01:32:57)
26. Geoffrey Landers "Camela" (Music From Memory) (01:32:57—01:37:09)
27. Unknown Cassette (01:37:09—01:38:10)
28. Cumbia Moderna de Soledad "Shacalao" (Tropical) (01:38:10—End )