Azwel returns with a 16th album on November 1st. “The Drifting Game” is a lush yet rocking album that features 14 tracks, each thoughtfully crafted to transport listeners through a sonic journey. With a central theme revolving around the concept of people drifting and leaving, the album delves into the myriad emotions associated with separation, change, and the human experience. While the songs are not autobiographical, they are vivid stories that resonate on a personal level with the audience. Muzique caught up with Jason Perrillo to find out more about this album.
It’s been a couple years since you’ve released new material. What have you been up to since the last release?
Usually, I end up releasing something every year. In a way, I didn’t miss a year. A 50-song compilation was released last September called “Nifty Fifty,” which contains 50 songs that showcase 20 years of music. I picked the songs based on what we play live, singles that have been released, and just some personal favorites. Compilations are also good for introducing the music to new fans. I structured the 50 songs as if I were piecing together a normal album.
That’s about the only work I did for the release, aside from promotion, so yeah, I’ve had a lot of downtime since 2000. The previous two albums, “Halcyon” and “XV,” were recorded in 2019–2020. XV was written and recorded first, even though it was released after Halcyon. It was meant to be some sort of imaginary musical. I wanted to do something new with it, perhaps a complete animated production or show, but I didn’t follow through with that. That would have been too challenging and costly.
So after I recorded Halcyon, I got back to mixing XV and put it out. Ever since I’ve been recording a song here and there. Between 2021-2023, I recorded over 20 songs and just put together the 14 that worked best together.
It’s been 20 years, almost to the day, since your first release. How can you compare where you are now to where you started?
When I started, all I had were some good songs, and that’s about it. I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the arrangement of the songs or how to record them. I learned to record in the process and picked up a few other instruments other than the guitar. I’m more aware now of how to create a full production. I know which instrument combinations work and how they work with my voice.
I’m always learning new things though. Lyrics have also become increasingly important with each release. I don’t even know what I was singing about during the first few albums. I’d like to say I make fewer mistakes these days. Then again, you’re not learning and progressing unless you try new stuff with many mistakes along the way.
Tell us more about the new album.
It’s called the Drifting Game. As mentioned in the press release, it basically has a central theme revolving around the concept of people drifting and leaving. Each story has its own character, living in his or her own way. The first song, “The Drifting Game,” is folky and introduces the concept. Its style sounds like it belongs on the previous release, but as the album continues, things get taken in a totally different direction musically. The second song, Roleplaying, is about someone drifting mentally and trying to become someone else.
There’s even an instrumental song on the album, which is important to the theme of drifting. With no lyrics, it lets the album drift away a bit and drown in melody and a big crecendo. The last song, “The Longest Day of Your Life,” is set in a hospital. Someone who lives a reckless life ends up in the hospital as his family and friends are in the waiting room. A
t 14 songs and almost an hour long, this may be the longest album. But it’s good to release a whole bunch of songs in case there’s another 2-year hiatus. These songs take a very simple approach, as opposed to my last two releases. They were all written and recorded on guitar. There’s hardly any piano on this album, though for production’s sake there is a good amount of organ and strings, etc., but they play a lesser role this time.
Will any music videos or singles be released?
I think so. I’m trying to think of some concepts. Usually, I like to release a video prior to the album release day. I’ve got a month to figure it out.
Can you describe the recording process? Was it self-produced, as all of the albums are?
I wrote, recorded, and produced it in my same usual home studio. Some songs took months or years to complete and others took a day or two. I challenged myself with some higher registers with the voice which I haven’t used for a couple of albums. It took a while to get the sound right but was worth it in the end.
What formats will it be released on?
On the official website, Bandcamp, Spotify, and all streaming platforms. There are no plans for physical distribution yet. Not until it becomes important again.
Are you planning a bunch of shows or tours?
See the band. Live for the album release show: November 3rd at Brooklyn Music Kitchen. Brooklyn NY – 8 P.M.
1. The Drifting Game
3. Happy Mistakes
4. Broken Reflections
5. A Space for Two
6. Beyond an Orchestration
8. No Exit
9. Quiet Birthday Ballad
10. At My Own Admission
11. Lancaster Excursion
12. Guilty All the Way
13. The Aftermath
14.The Longest Day of Your Life