Mar 17, 2023
Jonah Flint & Alexander Dias
6 min read
Despite being a relative newcomer to the dance music scene, the accomplishments of Azzecca are lengthy and a sign of a star in the making.
Her small but mighty catalog includes releases with Diplo's Higher Ground and Gorgon City's Realm—just a sample of the many high-profile artists supporting Azzecca. Her DJ sets are known to defy genre, and her prolific ability behind the decks has allowed her to share the stage with a diverse range of artists, from Tale of Us to Jamie Jones and everyone in between.
It might be hard to believe that someone who so recently began a career in music has found so much success. Yet, there are many factors as to why Azzecca has found the transition from interior design to DJing to be relatively seamless.
"I feel like my entire childhood has a soundtrack from both my parents," she explains with a smile about her musical upbringing. "My dad was super into classic rock and so I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Seger. My mom was super into the whole synth-pop era, Eurythmics or Blondie and that really feminine fun dance music back then. I've got an older brother and he was really into hard rock music. Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead… So I've just been listening to all different types of music my whole life."
In addition to the influences of her family, Azzecca discovered electronic rock at a young age which ultimately began her eventual turn to house. Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails gave way to dubstep, followed by big room, and eventually mainstage dance music. A natural instrumentalist, she played a variety of instruments throughout her childhood. After moving to Chicago from the suburbs of Illinois she dove deeper into house music.
"I started digging into the history of house music and where it started here in Chicago, but also the roots of it in the UK. I found that house music is what really stuck with me. Then from there, I moved into techno and now, I'm in this sweet spot between house and techno where there's a never-ending amount of music for me to listen to. When I moved back to Chicago, I just immediately dove into the house scene. My entire life just started revolving around dance music and Chicago, and learning all about the roots of house music in Chicago, and going to see Derrick Carter at Queen as much as I possibly could. I'm so happy that I live here and it's really shaped who I am as an artist in a lot of ways."
With that inspiration as a backbone, she eventually began to work on producing and, luckily, had a more than competent mentor at home. Azzecca's husband, Kye Gibbon, is a prolific producer, sound engineer, and one-half of Gorgon City. He was able to provide advice and instruction to help her translate her ideas.
"I was just sitting in the studio with him all day every day, and I would give him my idea as I play some guitar. I'd play some chords and as time went on it was more like 'okay, these are really sick ideas, but I can't use these because they don't fit with my music.' And so he basically said to me one day, 'you really need to try and do this yourself.' So then I did and I just worked and worked and worked until something came together that I felt proud of. That's when I started working on actually making tracks myself, and my first song that I got signed was with Higher Ground… that was a song that I actually just made with no intention of ever releasing. I didn't think I ever wanted to release my own music."
Although it might sound obvious, the concept of making music to play in her sets ultimately helped Azzecca break through. Her edits and originals began circulating amongst known DJs, with their club-ready energy appealing to acts like Diplo. After he began supporting, all Azzecca had to do was send her demos to Higher Ground, and the rest was history. Her efforts to make DJ set-friendly music and her unique musical background ultimately led Azzecca to become known for diverse, genre-switching, high-energy DJ sets.
"I don't stick to one genre. I like going left and right, up and down. I'm doing heavy things into really light things. That's what I always like to listen to, So I want to take people on a journey through a bunch of different emotions and feelings in my set."
As her journey into stardom began, Azzecca also focused on creating safe spaces for women to enjoy nightclubs. When COVID happened, she paused everything and felt the need to reassess her career. During this time, she not only decided to pursue DJing and music production, but also discussed with female peers the increasing difficulty and discomfort they experienced in nightclubs. She sought to take action, starting Dirty Disco, a fem-friendly nightclub experience.
"I started Dirty Disco in an effort to just create a more female friendly night. A more inclusive night where everyone can come and know no one's going to put up with B.S. There's not going to be a bunch of creepy guys here because they know not to bother coming because we're all on the lookout for it. It also gave me an opportunity to design spaces, so every party we throw I design myself. I'm in there hanging flowers, and hanging disco balls for the party. It's an opportunity for me to bring all of these things that I love together, and to also build a community in Chicago that all revolves around music."
For most artists, releasing on Diplo's label, playing major shows, and founding a blossoming party brand in Chicago would be considered career achievements. For Azzecca, this is simply the beginning. Her future is limitless, and her excitement for her career is only matched by her excitement for the future of dance music.
"People are really open to discovering new sounds which gives people who are making music more creative freedom. You don't have to pigeonhole yourself, I'm going to make tech house or I'm going to make techno. I want to experiment with sounds like breakbeat, or Drum & Bass. There is now a whole new pool of people that are interested in those sounds and discovering them which is so exciting."