Azeem Ward came to Selly Oak and it was a big one
He reckons Nando’s is a national treasure
Earlier this year when Azeem Ward was planning his senior flute recital, he had no idea he would end up live-streaming it to over 50,000 viewers – let alone be travelling halfway across the world to Birmingham.
We caught up with the UCA student and DJ/Producer Underbelly to chat about Glastonbury, playing with fire, and Nando’s when he came to Selly Oak.
Azeem’s first UK tour has taken the pair to Manchester, Leeds, London, and last night they performed in Selly Oak’s own Indie Lounge.
Obviously you’ve not been to Birmingham before?
Azeem: “Yeah, eventually Birmingham’s going to be one of my favourite places.”
So how did it all start?
“I originally wanted to play in an orchestra, but that’s not always been not a concrete dream. I’ve always wanted to do other things, like compose music and teach it as well.
“I’ve always wanted to be a professional flautist but I never had a certain genre that I wanted to specialise in. After the whole recital thing happened it kinda pushed me away from classical music.
“I play with this guy Underbelly and he’s a DJ and producer and most of our shows are not classical at all.”
Unfortunately it seems that the rumours aren’t true, and Azeem is not in fact signed up to play Glastonbury next summer: ‘if it was a reality and I had the opportunity then yes, I would play Glastonbury.’
When we asked Azeem and Underbelly for advice to give to budding musicians they had one thing to say:
“Make a Facebook event.”
Though he’s not got any magical chat up lines to share with us (“I haven’t really though of doing that with my flute yet…”), his notoriety has apparently helped his love life.
“Yeah, every time you know, just going for it, just getting down to business.’”
As well as travelling to Brazil, Azeem dreams of flirting with pyrotechnics in future.
He said: “I wanna do the whole thing with the fire one day but I need someone who’s legitimate and knows how the physics of that works.
“Like the Anchorman thing where he blows his flute and there’s like fire coming out of it, I might do that one day.
“Being in music, involved with music, teaching music, I dunno – it keeps me calm, it keeps me sane, so I like it a lot, I don’t know what I’d do without music.’ (Turns to Underbelly) ‘What would you do without music?’”
Azeem: Yeah, drugs. You know, living on the street trying to be a gangster, I’d probably be a very different person if music was never in my life.
What’s the worst thing about the UK?
Azeem: “Mmmm, so the worst thing is like, when you’re at a party or something or you’re at a club and you’re meeting people and then some person comes up to you and they just grab your glasses and hat and they take a picture with it and then give it back to you and run away.
“That’s like, very annoying, don’t do that. Don’t grab peoples’ shit! But other than that, there’s not very much to dislike.
And the best?
Azeem: Nando’s of course!
Underbelly: We don’t have Nando’s in America.
Azeem: Yeah, it’s quite a national treasure!
Despite the British initiation parties he’s been a part of over the last few weeks, some of our slang still baffles the Cali boy.
So we’ve rounded up a few slang words for you and we wanted to know what you thought of them and what they might mean.
Azeem: Is bellend one of them?
What are wavy garms?
Azeem: Wavy garms? I don’t know man we’re American…
It’s like when you see someone wearing a funky shirt, like wavy garments.
Azeem: Oohhh wavy garms – I thought you were saying wavy arms, I was like is that like a dance move?
How about Peak times?
Azeem: I dunno, like prime time, when you’re ready to go? Peak times – it’s like, your highest time of the day? I don’t know, we haven’t heard that one yet.
If you’re gassed, what are you?
Azeem: Tired? Maybe like NOS gassed?
Whats a chav?
Azeem: Oh we’ve gone over this…
Underbelly: Yeah it’s like a lower class social delinquent.
Azeem: Yeah we saw a couple chavs and me and Timmy always point them out. But there’s not many from the people we hang out with.
Underbelly: It seems like chavs peaked a couple of years ago.
And the one debate that divides our nation:
Is it scOne or scONe?
Azeem: we heard this yesterday, it’s a scOne.
Underbelly: It’s not a scONe.
Azeem: ScOne for sure.