Giolì & Assia's Music Continues to be an Extension of Their Bond
As we get into the elevator for Giolì & Assia's green room after a rousing and intensely powerful ARC Music Festival DJ set, they break into a quiet and cozy conversation in Italian. I'm unsure of the context, but it seems like the kind of chat a couple shares while downloading from an intense day. And as we begin to set up for our interview in a green room high above the festival grounds, they break into a polite argument. It's the kind of thing that a couple does when one person misremembers a story, and the other insists that their memory is the only one fully functioning. Her tour manager later reveals that he knows they are disagreeing when they switch to Italian as the intensity rises. In these moments, I'm struck by the authenticity of their ten-year relationship, a link that's such a salient trademark of their musical DNA.
They agree that the music and their relationship are symbiotic. Because of their relationship, the passion in their music is visceral.
"The relationship is the best part of it." Assia explains, looking at Giolli while she speaks. "The fact that we are so chemical together is what we are, and we are where we are because of that."
It's also the reason that they have such electricity on stage. Despite being self-professed introverts and homebodies, their performances are an extension of their union and studio chemistry.
"It's not that that we open up when we are on stage. When we are a stage, we recreate that intimacy that we do in the studio. So, it's like we are living in two different worlds," Assia says.
The relationship, however, isn't without its highs and lows. Assia reveals candidly with a laugh," It's very beautiful and unique, but at the same time we are two, so we got period, two. So, we have some drama plus some other drama. It happens. it's normal. Especially if we are working together. We have been growing through this kind of thing. Every fight we have, we grow stronger than ever."
The couple arrives at ARC just ahead of the release of their third album, Fire Hell and Holy Water (out now via Ultra Records). And they should be in the States for its release as it was a month-long tour in the US in 2021 that inspired them to write it in the first place.
"We were saying, 'we have to do more. We have to play more instruments. We have to sing more. We have to communicate more.'" Giolì explains, "So, after this month, we came back in January. And we did all the album in three or four weeks. We were very inspired."
She adds that while much of the album came together quickly, two of their favorite songs have more history. "I'll Be Fine" was written at the height of the pandemic. And "Bittersweet Love" had been sitting shelved for four years.
"We did the melody of the piano back in 2018. But unfortunately, the song never had lyrics. So, one morning I woke up, because we have our studio in our home. And I love playing the piano. Everything that we've done so far is thanks to the piano, I guess because I started playing piano when I was eight. And this passion for music has always been part of the person that I am. I said, we have to write the lyrics and the verse of the song today. And now it's one of our favorites."
Being on tour is often the source of inspiration for Giolì & Asia. Besides being known for starkly beautiful music that bridges the gap between techno and pop, they are also stars on YouTube. Their picturesque YouTube streams reflect the beauty of their music. Traveling to exotic locations like the inside of a volcano, on a rocky deserted island near Palermo, Sicily, and a windswept cliff overlooking the ocean in Krysuvikburg, Iceland, they have earned nearly one million followers and even more streams.
After their 2018 residency at Privilege, Ibiza, they returned with a need to prove themselves as artists beyond their Dj sets, Assia says. "After the summer, we were like, 'maybe we should add more of who we really are as musicians and singer.'"
Before becoming Giolì & Assia, Giolì was a solo act. And as they began to strike out as a duo, they needed to find a way to prove that it was more than just DJing for them.
"Year after year, we were trying to be this duo and we needed to show to the buyers, to the promoters, to our fan base, who we really are," Assia explains. "And this video just helped us to show them. And it was very easy after this video to find the new team, to find new fans, and love and support from all over the world."
The streams also offered a portal into the rhythmic interplay of their union. There is a delicate balance to both their musical and personal relationship. And watching them perform together makes clear that Giolì & Assia's music is the physical manifestation of love.
The livestreams are a window to the immense talent that they possess. More than just producers, they are creating on the spot. Their intensely musical live shows showcase their ability to seamlessly bring together voice, a DJ setup, and multiple instruments, including the piano and the hauntingly beautiful trademark of their sound, the handpan.
The unique instrument features heavily throughout their new album, which comes with fresh support from Spotify, who illuminated an LED-lit photo of the duo on a billboard in Time Square. They are bringing light to women identifying figures in music as part of Spotify Equal.
As they emerge as role models for other women in dance music, they are sure to mention that they look forward to a time when these programs are unnecessary.
"The point of Equal [is to] recognize that a woman is a human. So, we don't have to specify this is a man so it should be more valued. Or this a woman, she should work twice more than a man. No, it's just about, do you like the music? All the rest is not important," Giolì explains.
Amid the whirlwind of a festival weekend, a slew of US tour dates, and their new album drop, they remain calm, collected, and genuinely grateful for what lies ahead.
Their emotionally reverent and raw brand of instrument-led techno is perfectly en vogue at the moment. Yet, it's clear that the moment won't be fleeting. Like their relationship, their gorgeously orchestrated melodic techno carries a timeless quality that reflects the beauty and tenderness of existence in a world rapped by emotional highs and lows. And as they reveal, the new album has given them the chance to tell an even more genuine story about the realities of being in a modern relationship.
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