Interview With Eli Azrael

As our longtime readers know, this site started out in the hacker days of the 1980s as a type of free speech protest designed to expand the various Overton-style Windows through shocking, disturbing, blasphemous, gory, apostatic, and sodomitic propaganda. We dislike censorship.

In addition, as part of our quest for Dark Pluralism, we believe in an escape from viewpoint discrimination and letting everyone be heard. Until rabbis, Nazis, stoners, Black Panthers, and hippies can meet and talk about why they disagree with civility, humanity is going to stay caught in this current loop.

Thus it was with great interest that we heard of the struggles of industrial, noise, and hip-hop artist Eli Azrael who has faced multiple waves of censorship for his heretical take on the modern world. He was good enough to chat with us for a few moments about the experience.

How did you get into music?

My paternal grandfather played jazz drums in the army, and when I was growing up, he taught me how to use brushes to create dynamic rhythms. At an early age began learning as many instruments as I could get my hands on but my first drum kit was made of pillows, benches, chairs, plates, and whatever else I could find in my parents house since they never really believed in me enough to support my artistic pursuits. Eventually my grandfather convinced them to send me to drum lessons and eventually I obtained a drum kit prior to my Bar Mitzvah where I performed “Wipe Out” as well as several other songs I played with the cover band that was there.

What got you into hip-hop/rap/industrial, which is the closest I can identify for “genre”?

In my teens I met a guy named DJ Hank, who laid out for me the four elements of Hip-Hop: graffiti, DJ’ing, rap, and breakdancing. At that time I vowed to master as much of those fundamental artforms as I could. Mostly my practice has been in rap, to which I’ve always found people who can beatbox while I rap. Eventually I started meeting producers online and began rhyming over the cheapest instrumentals I could get. Sometimes producers would give me their “throwaway” beats for free which was definitely good for me being sort of a crust punk in a lot of ways.

How has your audience response been? Are you gaining momentum?

The audience response when I first released this on SoundCloud was insane. I got death threats from several people including some self identified antifa rapper out in Portland who told me he was going to come to Philly to shoot me dead. He sent me Twitter DMs with pictures of him with guns, but I’m used to being around hood mother fuckers so it didn’t really phase me. This time around I’m gaining more industry attention including potential investors in more music, and a couple of legends remaining nameless for the time being. I have definitely gained momentum since re-releasing. Last time on SoundCloud there was no way to monetize what I was doing which was fine with me since I was mostly trying to spread my message far enough to make an impact societally. People have actually been kind enough to pay more than my asking price which was very much pleasantly surprising. They tell me they appreciate my honesty & candor which I’m told is a rare quality these days.

When did the censorship start?

The censorship started musically speaking when I released these songs on SoundCloud. A bunch of people on Twitter (including my family and friends using anonymous screen names) started falsely reporting my content on SoundCloud as “suicidal,” or “hateful content,” to which I had to eventually change artwork, then take it down entirely. What came out later was that my neighbors were listening to me (since I was screaming pretty loudly) but our joint landlord told them to begin recording me while I recorded, as well as while I just talked to people on the phone or whatever in my house. That came out in court after I got SWATted, from a fake 911 call claiming that somebody screamed “he’s dead I killed him” in my house which created a “barricade situation” on Citizen app. After I allowed the police in my house on the condition they were only looking for a dead body…they didn’t find one. But I got evicted after that which is when my landlord & these idiots that lived next to me actually tried to admit what the judge referred to as “illegal wire taps,” of me yelling in my house. In that case, and several other cases, my Twitter posts & Reddit posts had been included asking judges to rule on them as violent. No judges even actually wanted to hear it. I tried to explain myself and one judge was like, “I’m throwing you a bone here…do you really want to keep going?” so I was like, “Nah I’m good. Thanks.” In my quest to gain publicity for my work (including blogging & other activist stuff) I was even censored by USA Today. Their head of news admitted to me in an email that they blocked my emails from their reporters. Nobody wanted what I was saying to be publicized. That’s why I had to re-release this record for real.

What did BandCamp do to make it worse? How did you discover that they are keeping your views/clicks low artificially?

The strangest thing that occurs sometimes with BandCamp stats is that I only allow three free listens before somebody has to pay, but some days I swear I see more listens than there are unique listeners which I’ve been told indicates that people who have back-end access are listening to it and then other days I’m getting feedback from people who’ve listened to certain tracks but it doesn’t register in the system. I was told by my double great uncle who’s been helping with with some PR stuff that he spoke to a guy who’s been censored on BandCamp whereby they make it impossible to see songs or his whole account when people search for it in the platform.

Thankfully I’ve actually received payment from sales, so if people buy the record I should be getting paid from it, which is really all I care about at this point. Back in the day when I sold physical CDs I’d never know anything about if people listened to it or not. Honestly I’m kind of shocked my account hasn’t been shut down given the head of BandCamp internal media promotions is a vocal LGBTQ advocate and I have some songs which are highly critical of some of that group’s heroes like Rachel Levine from Pennsylvania. I’m hopeful that this interview and other attention I’ve gotten this time around are convincing people that censoring me is not a good idea, given I’m an artist that isn’t trying to hurt anybody.

Have you had any other problems on social media or search engines?

Twitter was a big problem for me, but on that platform and other social media it’s hardly ever the platform directly that’s getting involved. It’s always groups of people that know me or work in politics & journalism that organize to false report my content or do other weird things to suppress distribution. For example, I once spent a few days searching for my relatives & friends who I suspected were stalking me on Twitter and found that most of them had dozens of accounts which they use for all sorts of weird spam business or harassment. I knew that most of the accounts that I found belonged to them because of the common followers/following or minimal content & imagery they’d use. Some of them I confronted about it and others I just eliminated from my following by blocking literally thousands of accounts. At a certain point I opted to enforce a 0 follower policy whereby any time some account tried to follow me I’d block them. It actually helped create a more organic reach, but got tiresome so eventually I just deleted my account. Nobody is who they say they are on Twitter or Reddit and these days I’m just trying to figure out how to make money on my art without having to engage in bullshit like that.

Fun story about my hatred of Elon Musk & Twitter is that the night before his merger I actually drove to Wilmington & wrote protest graffiti all over I95 (some of it is still up) and in the city itself. I made stickers that said “TWTR Is A Lemon” that I placed over parking meter coin slots so people would have to actually push a quarter through it to use the machines. I put these up around the lawyers’ offices who were on this case and tagged up across from the courthouse so everybody would see it. Using anonymous email addresses I also wrote a letter to the judge about why Musk was full of shit, and caused mayhem convincing a lot of high level security officials to quit which raised flags within the government. They called me the “ghost employee” in a few circles, but I never worked for Twitter lol.

What is next for you after you get over this hurdle?

The current hurdle I’m trying to get over is outselling Katy Perry’s first album when she was a Christian artist and she went by the name Katy Hudson (her father’s name) to which I believe she sold less than 1,000 copies. Unfortunately for her, that bankrupted the record label she was signed to, but it was enough to help her get to the next stage of her career. Selling that many copies of this would be life changing for me in addition to sending a gigantic middle finger at all the people who tried to kill me over making this offensive record. If that happens, Slave New World would become as infamous as Eminem’s first record Infinite and maybe people will actually be forced to respect me as a lyricist. There are some other things I’m working towards in music, including figuring out how to make things which reach a broader audience. I’ll still keep it gutter to some extent, but I’ve held on to my musical instruments like grim death and I’m going to raise hell no matter what. One of my biggest influences as a writer has been Chuck Palahniuk, and one of my favorite stories about him is that his first book got rejected for being too “extreme,” so he wrote Fight Club as a big “fuck you” to the publishing community and that’s actually what got him his big break. Maybe I can do something similar.

Do you have any favorite metal bands, and what are they?

My favorite metal/hardcore band has & may always be The Minor Times. I used to work with their one lead singer who was the most mild mannered dude off stage but became a literal monster once the mic was in his hand and his fry voice is unparalleled in my opinion. Not sure if these bands are too pop/mainstream for your audience but I definitely fuck with Slipknot and Deftones. System Of A Down gets honorable mention for me too.

How did you hear of us, and how do people stay in touch with what you are doing, both in music and outside of it?

I was told about your site by my double great uncle Shlomo Bernays who I called in a panic once I ended up homeless after all this bullshit popped off with my other relatives, friends, neighbors, landlord, and the government, trying to figure out what to do with myself. He was involved with PR for a lot of years and started doing some outreach for me. After asking me about some of my musical influences I guess he reached out to you which is how I got this interview.

At this point I’m keeping a sort of low profile, but if your readers are interested in staying in touch with me they could follow me on BandCamp and/or send me messages via that platform or through this email address.

Buying this record will definitely establish a relationship with me based on trust, appreciation, and respect. So anybody that wants to keep in touch with me should do that because I’m very skeptical of “followers” even though I welcome them on BandCamp at this time. I’m the kind of person who wants to inspire others to go out and get active, and do something crazy enough to actually make a difference. That’s the kind of following I need right now, and one of the craziest things a person could do for me is sit down and listen to all 31 tracks of this radical album, after buying it from me. Sending my music to others, and helping me to beat Katy Perry’s debut album would mean a lot to me also lmfao.

I’d also like to give a shout out to some of the graffiti crews in Philly who have shown me love or support in the streets: KIW, CBM, STD, GOA, and all the other writers getting busy!

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9 thoughts on “Interview With Eli Azrael”

  1. meat miracle says:

    Is this a late April Fools joke?

  2. iuz says:

    delete this.

    1. Censorship is one of the things that destroys civilization. This case in point shows us why it makes sense to support artists against censorship, even if we are not hip-hop fans.

      1. iuz says:

        Nobody’s siding with censorship, but I’m pretty sure you could’ve chosen a better “artist” to use as flagship instead of this bumass.

        1. He seems to have triggered both SoundCloud and BandCamp. That seems significant. If he was no threat to their model or ideology, they would just ignore him. My guess is that the usual triggered horde sent in a bunch of complaints as they always do.

  3. Lil weiner says:

    Hey wait a sec this isn’t craigslist

  4. Dick Sandwich says:

    As rap this is fucking terrible, I would rather listen to Gimisum Family or (demo tape era) Triple Six Mafia which dealt with glorifying murder in the name of Satan, rape, robbery and proudly boasting about every negative stereotype attributed to ghetto criminality. The music is lo-fi and horror tinged with slow warped voices, terribly drum machines, it’s overall very unpleasant confrontational music.

  5. RBR says:

    This guy deserves applause for publicly and vehemently dissenting from the present neo-Gramscian consensus that guarantees swift self-destruction of industrial civilization.

    His mistake was choosing a medium which, when it takes any political stance, generally serves as a mouthpiece for that neo-Gramscian consensus. What sort of audience did he expect for his dissident hip-hop, when political hip-hop is invariably leftist propaganda?

    There seems to be a large trollish element in what he’s doing. Trolling and censor-baiting worked great for Frank Zappa, not to mention this site’s hero Vikernes. But there was real artistic value in their music. They could attract higher-quality listeners for the long term. Once the novelty aspect here wears off, Eli Azrael is basically S.O.D. without actual instruments.

    With the examples he gave of “metal” bands he liked, you have to wonder if he’s even capable of recognizing quality music, much less making it. This isn’t really a high standard: when I was a teenager in the 90s, I had a very pretty cousin who went to a lot of indie/”alternative” rock shows. She often tried to drag me along so the pitiful boys there would leave her alone. On a few occasions she mentioned liking Morbid Angel; when I asked for details I was happily suprised to hear “B is great, C is good, but D sucks.”

    To me his project seems like a case of worthy intention channelled into an unproductive direction.

    1. On a few occasions she mentioned liking Morbid Angel; when I asked for details I was happily suprised to hear “B is great, C is good, but D sucks.”

      I like her already. Both As were amazing too although completely different. The chronologically first one showed a heavy Sepultura influence, which is ironic since the Morbid Angel demos almost certainly influenced Sepultura. Necrovore was like the Venom to Hellhammer for the second A.

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