BOY AZOOGA

Char­lotte Church’s drum­mer rum­mages through pop’s past to craft his own kalei­do­scopic sound.

Q (UK) - - Incoming - KATE SOLOMON

Boy Azooga re­cently met a Beastie Boy. It took place in the very pub where we are now sit­ting, a pub so fancy that band leader Davey Newington’s Guinness and black comes as a bot­tle of stout and a jug of black­berry liqueur. He’s wide-eyed at the mem­ory of the en­counter with Mike D. “It was the best!” he raves, his words tum­bling over each other. “I asked him about Paul’s Bou­tique be­cause that al­bum was re­ally in­flu­en­tial on the first Azooga al­bum, all th­ese amaz­ing ideas and styles and things com­ing to­gether…” You might not file Newington’s Boy Azooga, a solo project that blos­somed into a four-piece band, next to the Beastie Boys, but that el­e­ment of mu­si­cal ex­plo­ration unites them. Under the name Bongo Fury, Cardiff-born Newington also drums for Char­lotte Church’s Pop Dun­geon, a rag­tag crew of party an­i­mals who tackle live cov­ers of ev­ery­thing from Nine Inch Nails to Amerie’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to play 1 Thing. “It’s one of my favourite ever songs,” he says. “It’s a sam­ple from a drum break from The Me­ters – it’s a re­ally hard part, so I was al­ways su­per-ner­vous play­ing it.” Prior to Char­lotte Church, we can thank Mr Clark, Newington’s GCSE art teacher, for ex­pand­ing his mu­si­cal hori­zons be­yond the Foo Fight­ers and Queen. The gold-toothed, Subaru-driv­ing teacher turned him on to Can. “It wasn’t re­ally like an epiphany, I was just like, ‘Yeah I’ll check it out’.” So he took him­self into town and bought a Can CD, then, en­rap­tured, spent hours on end in a YouTube worm­hole as he mapped out the mu­si­cal path­ways that spi­ralled around them. Mov­ing off into tan­gents that took in Sly & The Fam­ily Stone, Tele­vi­sion, OutKast and Nige­rian synth wizard Wil­liam Onye­a­bor. Due out in June, the re­sult of that mu­si­cal ex­plo­ration is 1, 2 Kung Fu!, a kalei­do­scope of styles and quirks where baroque psychedelia rubs up against heavy funk grooves, clat­ter­ing per­cus­sion and even Black Sab­bath-like riff­ing. Hav­ing recorded the al­bum be­fore re­cruit­ing his own band, Newington plays nearly every in­stru­ment him­self. He did, how­ever, have to rope in the ser­vices of his dad, a for­mer vi­o­lin­ist with the BBC Na­tional Orches­tra Of Wales, for the string parts. “A lot of the in­flu­ences on the al­bum are from my dad. There’s a song called Hang­over Square about the book [ Pa­trick Hamil­ton’s tale of in­ter­war Lon­don booze hounds] he gave me when I moved out,” he says. “And now he plays the strings on that song, it’s wicked.” Talk­ing about the fu­ture of the band, Newington’s face lights up and his ges­tures get big­ger as he tries to en­velop the en­tire au­di­ble world into his plans. He talks about found sounds and string ar­range­ments, Brian Wil­son-style lay­ers upon lay­ers upon lay­ers. Find­ing him­self in a po­si­tion where he can make mu­sic is clearly the big­gest thrill of all. “I just never want to get used to it,” he grins. With that, Newington fin­ishes his posh con­coc­tion and heads out. He’s off to see LA soft-rocker Jonathan Wil­son tonight. No doubt he’ll have his radar up for more sounds to weave into Boy Azooga.

Mix and match­less: Boy Azooga, fea­tur­ing Davey Newington (sec­ond right).

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