DJAMILA AZZOUZ (ITHACA): “Our First Album Was The Appetizer, This Is The Entree”

Ithaca playing live
Photo: Wondergirlphoto

UK Metalcore outfit Ithaca have just released their second full length album entitled They Fear Us. The band’s vocalist Djamila Azzouz took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s brand new album, how the band managed during the Covid lockdown, the music scene in the UK, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The band’s second album entitled They Fear Us has just been released, what can you tell fans about the new album?

Azzouz: It’s huge, really our most audacious and ambitious project so far. I think if you liked our first album (The Language of Injury) there’ll be lots for you here, but it really is a different beast. We’ve brought in a wider pool of influences and ideas on this record, and there are truly some really special moments on it. It’s heavier AND more melodic at the same time. It’s also more emotive. Our first album was the appetizer, this is the entree.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being the band’s second album?

Azzouz: It was hard, to be honest. The way we write as a band had to evolve, and quickly. The pandemic hit just as we were preparing to write this record and we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t even leave our own apartments, let alone be in the same room as each other. I think over those two years we saw each other maybe two or three times. We got really good at collaborating online and we made it work. Luckily, by the time we got to recording it we could do that together. We’re the sort of band who actually are best friends so spending over a month together in the studio for They Fear Us was amazing. We really got to let loose and try out all the stupid ideas we’d been ruminating on for months and just get weird with it.

MER: How would you compare They Fear Us to the band’s first album?

Azzouz: The Language of Injury is such a desperately sad album. It was written and recorded during a time of immense pain and suffering, not just for me, but some of the other band members too. I think you can hear that on the record. They Fear Us is a deeply angry record too, but it’s so much more joyous and triumphant at the same time. It’s about taking the anger and self loathing from before, and turning it outwards onto the ones who caused it. It’s about revenge. Sonically, it’s quite different too. I really feel like we challenged ourselves to write something bigger and better, and i feel like we did that. It also helps that we got to work with producer Lewis Johns at The Ranch who managed to get the absolute best out of us. He’s a wizard.

MER: The band has released three different singles from the new album, what kind of feedback have you been able to receive on those songs?

Azzouz: The feedback has been baffling and so so wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, we believe in ourselves but there’s always a slight element of surprise for me. I guess I have those moments of self doubt, but the feedback to these songs banishes those thoughts. People really seem to be vibing with not just the songs, but our overall message too. I feel like people are really getting it. The messages we’ve gotten from people have been so touching.

MER: Do you feel those three songs give fans a good idea on what to expect from the full album?

Azzouz: Yes and no. We love the element of surprise, so expect the unexpected. I think people know that by now though! We don’t act like we should or dress like we should. We don’t sound like we should either.

MER: What do you see as far as plans for the band for the rest of the year?

Azzouz: As much touring as possible hopefully! We’ve waited almost three years to get back on the road so we’re itching to get back to it. I’ve missed it so much. We have some cool festivals lined up too!

MER: Is there anyone that you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Azzouz: How long have you got? I could talk about this for hours. One of my favourite bands from the US is The Callous Daoboys so we’ve been trying to make a tour happen with them for a long time now. If we’re thinking a bit bigger I’ve always wanted to play with like Deftones and Gojira. One day!

MER: With a little over halfway through the year, what have been some of your favorite releases of 2022?

Azzouz: So far I’ve been spinning Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror lots, I love everything they do. Also The Long Road North by Cult of Luna and Drug Church’s Hygiene.

MER: For anyone unfamiliar with the band, what are some songs you would suggest to a new fan?

Azzouz: Definitely They Fear Us! And all of the singles from this album really. We’re so proud of them and I think they’re really ‘us’.

MER: What is the music scene like in the UK?

Azzouz: At the moment it’s incredible. There are so many up and coming bands who are really pushing through the genre barriers and doing something new and innovative, it’s so exciting. Pupil Slicer and Heriot are the two that spring to mind, my two current favorites. The scene in the UK has come a long way in recent years and it’s so much more diverse and welcoming than ever before. I feel proud to have come up in it.

MER: What are your hopes for the band’s future?

Azzouz: We’d really just like to play lots of fun shows and festivals and meet lots of cool people! That’s really only why we do it. And obviously, writing some more killer riffs too.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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