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Audio Porn - singer Azriel St Michael PDF Print E-mail
Contributed by Anders Sandvall   
November 13, 2012



Singer Azriel St Michael - Audio Porn

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall

Thanks to Birgit Bräckle at Brooke-Lynn Promotion for the help to get this interview done.
Thanks to Music Buy Mail for the promotional pictures of the band.

 The Hunter.jpg

Audioporn is the name of a new hard rock act that consists of singer Azriel St Michael, drummer Byron Black, and Jeff Westlake from the band Hydrogyn. St Michael and Black had earlier been in the band Jezebels Kiss together but have now a brand new act and album out. I had the opportunity to talk to the really nice St Michael and amongst many things we talked about the new album, studio work, the future and the past he and Black had in Jezebels Kiss. Enjoy!


Hi and thanks for taking the time doing this interview. I thought we could kick off everything with talking about how the band was formed, tell us the background of Audioporn?

I sing for a band in Toronto called Black Sun.  I met Jeff when we were recording their album at Ridgeline Audio in Kentucky. Byron I already knew of course, so I called him up and said Jeff's the guitarist, how would you like to be the drummer? And that was the birth of Audio Porn.

Where does the band name come from? How come you wanted the band name to include the word porn?

I did the video for Sweet 16, and when it went up on You Tube, some one called it audio porn, which was supposed to be a derogatory remark, but I get a lot of inspiration from such things, and I read it and thought, fuck me, that is an awesome band name. I thought it just sounded cool.

You and Black were formerly involved in the band Jezebels Kiss - why did you two leave the band?

Byron and I were the founding members of Jezebels Kiss. During the time that band was together, we did a ton of shows and had several line-ups, but it was our band. Byron left in 2011, and I felt if I continued on from that point, it would be like Guns n Roses, where the name is being used by one original member. So I decided to continue as a solo artist.


Have you and Black played together before you joined Jezebels Kiss?

Yeah. We have known each other for about 15 years. We've been in 4 bands together. We first met in the drunk tank actually, but that is a whole other story! Ha ha ha


Was it easy to find band members for Audio Porn? Did you hold auditions or how did you find the members?

Jeff said he would re-mix and master the present album on the condition that he be my guitarist. And he is an awesome guitarist, and that was a huge compliment. We called Byron and asked if he wanted in.

jeff 2.jpg

Is Audio Porn a band or a project?

It's very much a band. It's my band. Jezebels Kiss was a bit of a democracy, which never works. We all live a fair distance apart, but we are in contact every day. Distance in the modern age is not a very big concern; having the right guys along with you is.

On Jezebels Kiss Myspace there are songs online featured from the album with Audioporn, how come?

I tried to delete that account and Myspace won't let me. Bastards! This album is the same album essentially, just with much better production and Jeff plays on a couple of the tracks. The original album was released in Canada primarily. I felt that this was a really strong album and it had never gotten a fair shake, because of the fact that it was distributed by a label that ended up screwing me. I wanted to make sure that it was out to a bigger audience before releasing a brand new one. I never made a dime off of that album, and I didn't want people buying it from a label that specializes in raping their roster of artists. And the money isn't a concern. I could die broke and be happy, but getting the music out to rock n roll fans is important. If no one hears it, what's the point?

What are the biggest musical inspirations for Audioporn?

Lyrically, I am hugely influenced by Alice Cooper.  But Kiss, Motley Crue., Ozzy, GnR, Bon Jovi, the Def Tones, Metallica, Dokken, Ratt, Skid Row.

What are the lyrics about? Who writes the material?

I wrote everything on this album. The lyrics are not what they might seem on the surface. Its Not A Dream is based on the movie The Entity. Above The Stars is about a guy watching his girlfriend jump off a sky scraper at night. "I watched you fade into the night; all the cars and city lights look like a universe of stars from where you are" because she is that high up.

The idea behind Butterfly is, you know those people that capture butterflies, and kill them, and pin them down in little glass cases? How far does one's obsession with beauty go before it makes the leap from butterflies to people? But its done in a way that the radio will play it.

Without You was originally called the Necrophiliac's Love Song.  Cry Me A River is a vampire talking to his victim. Let Me Go is about some one on life support wanting to die, but their loved ones wont let go, so they are lingering on in pain.

Who plays the bass?

A friend of mine, Trent Morely. He is an awesome bassist.

Are there any plans on taking in a bass player?

If we meet the right guy, definitely. Chemistry is vitally important. Byron and Jeff are like the brothers I never had. The Holy Trinity of trouble! 

What do you think of the following statement that can be read in your biography “Audioporn combining classic influences with a modern edge and deliver a refreshing return to what rock was meant to be”?

You know it seems so many people are concerned about being politically correct and "socially conscience". Honesty and realism go right out the window when you are always concerned about offending people. Say what you think. Please yourself first, be honest with yourself first, and if that offends people, too fuckin bad. Rock n roll was never meant to please everyone. It's about freedom. It's a lifestyle. And having a great time as well.

I have read various kinds of descriptions about your music but how would you like to describe what kind of music Audioporn plays?

We play rock n roll. Some parts are heavier. Some are softer. But it's just rock n roll.

How has the response on Audioporn been amongst the Jezebel Kiss fans?

So far the response has been nothing short of amazing. Which is something that we appreciate incredibly and definitely take to heart.


Have Audioporn obtained a solid line-up today?

Yes. We took our time getting started, getting this album out and recording the next one. Now we are getting ready to hit the road with it, and that is what it's all about.

Debut album

How long did it take to write the material to the debut album called JEZEBELS KISS?

The songs themselves were written in very little time. Some as little as 15 minutes. But in between the good ones there a bunch of not so good ones too. I just write what comes into my head. If I have to struggle, it doesn't work. Once I have it, I tweak it a bit here and there. I call it waiting for lightening to strike. Sometimes I won't write anything for a couple of weeks, because it's not hitting. When Jeff and I get together, its a storm.

Where do you find inspiration to writing lyrics?

I really don't find it in any area in particular. Like I was saying, it just forms in my mind and I write it down and tweak it a bit. Sometimes I read something in a newspaper, or see something on tv, or someone says something, and that just sparks it I guess. Sometimes a dream will trigger it.

How come you chose to call the album JEZEBELS KISS?

Our biggest concern was making sure that we still had a connection with the fans of Jezebels Kiss. It is very hard to come out under a new name and still have a connection with your fans, and your fans are the most important thing. Those are the people that are going to come out and cheer you on, party with you, and connect with you.

Don't you think the title could be a bit confusing with thought of that the title also was the name of your previous band?

Maybe, but I think over all, it suits the album very well.


Who's done the cover art work and what do you think of it?

I chose the art work. I love it.  I believe that women are the most beautiful part of all creation, and this album cover represents not only that, but its fun and sexy at the same time.

Do you think that the cover reflects the music well?

Definitely. Its very rock n roll. Sometimes you might just want to be held, and that's perfectly fine. Other times you might want to be tied up or cuffed, and that's great too. The music on the album is like sex in a way. It has it's softer moments, and it's harder moments.

Who plays bass on the album? Is it guitarist Westlake?

Trent Morely. He's from Saskatoon.
You have put all the fast song at the beginning of the album and then comes the more slow ones, was that something you thought about?

I left that to Jeff. He wasn't as close to these songs as I was. After he had everything down I listened to it and said yeah dude, that does it for me.


Were there many songs that didn't made it on to the final edition of the album?

There were two songs, Beautiful and Numb. They may appear in the future, who knows. Sometimes I play them acoustically live.

Are there any bonus features to include for the Asian market for example?

The next album has a couple of bonus tracks aimed to the Asian market, but this one doesn't. If they want it, they can get it through Music Buy Mail. Originally Arms OF Suicide was supposed to be a hidden track.

In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of the album?

Yes. This is a very important album, not just for us, as a starting point, but for our fans. There are some really cool songs on it, the sound is our own, no doubt about that. It gives our new fans a good idea of where we came from, where I am coming from as a writer and singer and where Audio Porn is going as a band.

The Commandment.jpg

You have shot a video to one of the songs. Which song was that and could you tell us a bit about the videoshot, how was it to make a video?

I did a video for Sweet 16. It was bitterly cold, in Vancouver. I got Hypothermia on the set and kept drifting off, and the building we shot it in was haunted. The elevators quit working and we had to climb down the shafts to get out because the power kept going out. Everyone who worked on it was amazing, great bunch of people. The main girl, Bridgette Graham, was awesome. I felt really bad for her because I was freezing and she was generally wearing much less than I was, but she never complained. Director Izaiah Kane and producer Marielle Vroom both did a really great job too.

Are there any plans on shooting more videos to any of the songs from the album in the near future?

There are, and I can't wait to get the shooting done. In much warmer locations though!

Something that I really was impressed by was your lead vocals, you sound amazing!! Are you happy with the rest of the guys efforts on the album?

Thank-you! I'm really glad you like it. The rest of the guys on the album did an awesome job.

Studio work & production

Where was the album recorded and who produced it?

The album was recorded at Red Door Studios in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ryan Andersen engineered and co-produced, I produced it.

Who did the mixing and mastering?

That was done by Jeff Westlake at Ridgeline Audio in Ashland Kentucky.

How long took the recording process?

The recording took over a year. We were booked solid with shows, and Ryan had his hands full with a bunch of other bands, so we were going in whenever his schedule and ours could match up. Plus we went through two bassist in that time.

Did you record your own parts separate or did you record everything together as a band?

I put down scratch tracks, gave them to the rest of the guys. Byron went in and did his parts, then we got guitars down; then I went back in and changed a few things here and there, pulled a guitar out and re-wrote things. I spent more time than anyone else, just because I wrote the songs, arranged them, tracked them, sang all the vocals, played guitar, etc.

Personal with Azriel St Michael

Have you always wanted to become a singer?

I have sang since I was in the cradle. My mom always tells me how I used to bang my head on the edge of my crib when she played music. She says she knew I was going to be a head banger from then on. I used to wake them up at night singing at the top of my lungs. Singing is something that sets me free, lets the demons out.


Have you taken vocals classes or so?

I took 4 years of classical voice in high school. Which was a good grounding for rock n roll because it taught me the basics of proper singing. The you join a rock n roll band and break every rule they taught you though! But the fundamentals are the most important things.

Can you play any instruments as well?

I play guitar and bass.

Have you got any singer that you look up to or are inspired by?

Steven Tyler big time. David Coverdale, he is just plain cool. And Sebastian Bach has got to be one of the best out there. Paul Stanley. He's been going for 40 years now. That in itself is amazing! Myles Kennedy is an awesome singer too. I love seeing him live.

You formed a band called Skank back in 2000 what can you tell us about Skank?

I had just moved to Saskatchewan at the time, from Vancouver. Byron was originally on drums, then Ray Bernass, and Regan was the guitarist. Kevin Osatchuck on bass. Our biggest shows were with Warrant and Billy Idol for over 100,00 people.

Was that your first band or have you been a part in any other band previous to that?

I have been in a ton of bands, some longer than others. In Vancouver, Seattle, LA, etc.  My band would break up, I would end up broke or on the street for a bit, then get another one together and off you go. It was tough, but that's why they call it the school of hard knocks.

Do you have any plans on releasing a solo album?

Audio Porn is my solo band aside from Black Sun.

You joined forces with Jezebels Kiss in 2007 what other member were there in that band besides your partner in crime Black?

Jk started out just me and Byron. Then we got Regan, T-bag, but as far as bassists go we kinda had a revolving door. I got so frustrated that I started learning bass.

Up in Smoke-AP.jpg

Were Jezebels Kiss big in Canada and how many albums did you and the band record together?

We were a band that played where ever we got booked. We played everywhere. Some places you came in swinging and had to punch your way out at the end of the night. Huge biker festivals, whatever. We did one album. Jk was like a dysfunctional family. You had your beefs with everyone but when you got onstage the chemistry was there. It was our love of playing rock n roll that kept us going. There was a lot of insanity too. The band was more of a gang to be honest.

You have also released a book, tell us about that. You sure must be a busy man :)

Its called Bedtime Stories For Naughty Children. It is a book of dark themed poetry, kind of horror fantasy based. Everything from a few lines to epic stuff. I write fantasy fiction / horror stories as well. This is the first book out, and the next one is part one of a novel.

It's really hard to find info about you on the internet why is it so do you think?

I try to keep a certain amount of my life private. We are all just people. I'm not like those people on Twitter than tell everyone every single little thing they are doing. Oh look, I just had a shit, and it's green today! you know? Maybe you need medical attention dude. We've all been there, but why tell the world about it?

Are you currently involved in any other acts besides Audioporn?

Black Sun with Brad Wilson in Toronto. Their debut album Edge If Darkness is coming out in the spring.

Have you done a lot of touring through the years with all these bands?

Hell yeah, but that is one of the things I love about being in a band is being on the road, seeing new places, meeting new people. Im a gypsy in a way. I grew up always moving, and when I got into music it just kept me going. I have  played stages with chicken wire in front of the stage and then a week later your opening for some big band in front of thousands of people. You never know what the next gig is gonna be like but it's always interesting and exciting.


Label & management

Was it hard for Audioporn to land a record deal?

Well JK records is my label, and I was a bit biased towards it you might say. We have a new album we just finished recording, and it is being shopped around to bigger labels. To me good distribution is much more important than an actual record deal.

You chose to ink a deal with Super D Distruction in America and with Music Buy Mail in Europe, how come you chose those labels?

Jeff had a great relationship with those labels already in place with Hydrogyn. He knew what they were like to deal with, and they distribute all our favorite bands. Both labels have solid reputations and really do a great job.

Music Buy Mail is a distribution label do you have a “proper” label that represents you in Europe?

Through Music Buy Mail we are distributed by a few record labels, such as Frontiers Records in Italy and Cargo in the UK. Connecting Music handles a lot of representation for us too, but in most respects we do everything ourselves at this point.

Are you happy with the work the labels have put into the band and into the album?

The album came out at the end of August, and so far they have both done an excellent job. I am very pleased to have them handling our record.

Is the deal with Super D only concerns America or is Canada also involved?

Super D is our distribution for North America, so they handle that in both countries.

Is the album going to be released in Asia and the rest of the world as well?

Well, Super D handles us in Canada and USA, Music Buy Mail in the UK and Europe. In Asia and some other places we don't have distribution in place yet, but that will be forthcoming, perhaps not on this album, but the next one for sure. They can always get it through Music But Mail though.

Are you currently working with any booking agency or management?

No not yet. I usually take bookings through several agents. I don't have an exclusive contract with anyone at this point in time.

Is the album possible to download legally? If so where?

You can find it on Amazon, ITunes, CD Baby, ect. The usual suspects.


Past present & future

Do you think it's important to be active on all the social networks that's around?

Yes. I am on tons of them, some more than others, but it is also hard to keep up with that stuff too. I have met some really awesome people through social networks, and continue to. I think  artists should use every means at their disposal to promote themselves to their fans and the world in general. But you can spend an awful lot of time networking and very little time making music as a result of it. Make music first, let those other things fall in line afterwards.

The band has got a website but there's not much on it. Are there any plans on feature more stuff on it soon?

Definitely. We will have some cool merchandise available soon there too. If the album gets released on vinyl, that is where you will find it first.

Do you get a lot of mail from fans and what's the most common question they ask you?

Yes, and it is not always easy to keep up, but I make it a point to respond to everyone that writes me. I have a lot of requests for signed books and cds, and there are a lot of requests that would not be suitable to print in your magazine. Ha ha ha And please stop sending me stuffed animals.

Is there any differences in how the native and the foreign press writes about the band?

There are differences, but that is because the musical climate is different is every area of the world. And yet, rock n roll music has the ability to negate those differences. But in Europe I find people to be much more religious about music in a way, and that is really cool, because that is how it should be.
Do you care about what the media writes about the band? Do you read what critics have to say about your work?

Ha ha. No, not really. I care what the fans think. I care how I feel about it. Critics will rip a song apart and analyze every scrap of it, and they have never written a song themselves. I'm not that way. I listen to music and feel it inside. I don't put it through a medical examination. It would be impossible to put out an album that pleased all the critics, and chances are, if it did, the fans would hate it.

Have Audioporn done any live shows yet? If so when and where?

We are preparing to. I've got some stuff with Black Sun and Jeff has some shows with Hydrogyn. We put this album out, then started recording the next one, with Jeff and I co-writing. Now that album is done, he has a couple other bands to finish mixing, then we will hit the road. That is the best part of all for us. We love playing live.

When can we expect to see the next Audioporn album out in stores? Are you currently working on any new material?

The next one is finished already. It will be out next summer. And we actually have a bunch of songs sitting on the shelf for a third album.

Is there anything could reveal about the next album like any title or in which direction the music is going?

Its heavier, but its just as melodic. That's about all I can say at this point. I would love to say more. My tongue is bleeding.


What do you have to say to those who haven't heard or discovered Audioporn yet?

If you have never heard us, hit google and see what you are missing! And if we are in your area you HAVE to come see us live.

Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy JEZEBELS KISS?

1)It rocks
2)we want to play in your city
3)because the world might end at x-mas

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and the readers?

I'm not that wise. I'm still learning by mistake. Which is the best way because its much more fun. We truly enjoy hearing from you, we appreciate you all very much.

Thanks a lot for taking the time answering my questions. I wish you and the band best of luck in the future.

Thank you for talking to me! I had a great time with this and I hope everyone enjoys reading it. I look forward to seeing you in 2013.
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