Azure Ray illuminates Omaha music scene


By Rae Licari

Azure Ray is one of the recent acquisitions Omaha’s music scene has snared. Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor sat down with the Gateway before an Oct. 8 performance at Sokol Underground to discuss the band’s history, recent relocation to Omaha and working with Moby.

Azure Ray is a rotating indie lineup with a dual core, guitarist/vocalists Taylor and Orenda Fink. Taylor said they both write the songs, although they both write separately.

Azure Ray plays what Taylor describes as “mellow confessional pop songs.” These can be heard on the band’s three available discs — last year’s self-titled release and this year’s Burn and Shiver, both on Athens, Ga.-based Warm Records and the November EP, also released this year but on Omaha-based Saddle Creek Records.

The band was on a United States tour for the past several months supporting Burn and Shiver. Now, Azure Ray will join fellow Saddle Creekers Bright Eyes for a few more U.S. dates, followed by a European tour.

Before headlining its own tour, Azure Ray opened for electronic hipster Moby for several dates. Taylor and Fink collaborated with Moby on a couple of the tracks from his most recent release, 18.

“We worked on two songs with him,” Taylor said. “He sent us the music. It worked out well.”

Taylor said the tour with Moby also worked out surprisingly well.

“I think we’re more suited for the smaller, intimate venues,” Taylor said. “We were not sure if a big arena tour would be conducive to what we do. But we were pleasantly surprised at the crowd’s reaction – they would talk less and pay attention to us.”

Azure Ray started out several years ago when Taylor and Fink met at a fine arts school in Birmingham, Ala. Taylor was studying ballet; Fink was studying acting.

“My dad’s a musician,” Taylor said. “Ever since I was little, I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

Three years ago, after several different incarnations, the duo settled on the current name and setup. Taylor said she and Fink settled on the name Azure Ray because “blue light” described the way the music sounded and “azure ray” just sounded better.

The band relocated to Athens, Ga., about four years ago and stayed there until about four months ago when the duo relocated once again, this time to Omaha.

By aligning with Saddle Creek artists such as Bright Eyes and The Good Life, Azure Ray became a part of the recent mainstream media buzz onslaught.

“I just think there’s a large group of extremely talented people,” Taylor said. “It’s good to be a part of something that is thriving.”


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