All photos by Raz Azraai.

I’m from Borneo Island, Malaysia. My dad was a pilot. He always had a film camera on him and would hand me one every time we went on vacation, or when he’d take me on one of his flights. I’ve been shooting since I was nine, but I originally moved to the US because I got a scholarship to study music. I had no vision to be a photographer at all, it was all just a hobby to me.

I ended up working my way into a lot of guitar playing for pop sessions & songwriting, but kept playing in my death metal band on the side. In later years, my bandmate/partner Charlie and I thought it would be fun to throw parties; more events instead of concerts. What if we throw a party where other artists perform and invite a bunch of friends to drink and hang out until 3 or 4 AM?

I was very inspired by Studio 54 meets Club Kids NYC.

Very flamboyant. Very colorful. And very, very loud.

We were super anti-venue. We wanted to keep it DIY all the way. We tried to get as far away from the traditional music industry.

The Geometro Party turned into a real community built from late nights in warehouses. Two and a half years in, we started slowing down on the music side. We moved into focusing on the event itself because it snowballed into something so much bigger – I mean like five, six hundred people every night, the last few breaking into the thousands. We needed to document what we were creating but didn’t have the budget. Charlie told me,

“Hey, you have a camera, right? And you know how to party. Why don’t you hang around the people and shoot them?”

At the time, I was running a vacation rental business with another business partner. So while I was shooting warehouse parties, I also picked up shooting real estate photos. <Haha> I know, it’s bizarre. But I became addicted to party photography. And from the photos I was taking, artists & musicians started asking me for shots beyond just of themselves at a party; single covers, portraits… This was when I decided to slow down on music for once and embrace where I was.


My life has always revolved around good photographs.

COVID happened so things slowed down. I started shooting BLM protests. But I wanted it all to live somewhere – the protest photos, the punk photos, the party photos, and the artist portraits. I revived the website [] around then & said to myself, You know what? I don’t want to go back to my normal job.

I hadn’t played live in around 3 years until I started shooting this band Cancer Christ; Anthony and I had known each other since 2018 from shooting metal & punk bands together. He’s like a brother to me. He told me about the band & pretty soon, they started hiring me for photo shoots. Once we had a working relationship, they noticed that I played guitar and started inviting me into the band.

I wasn’t scared to join, it was more a question of, Am I honoring my current work situation and creative life right now as a full-time photographer? I don’t want to f*** it up by being in a band. But I knew I’d be happy playing music this way with a group of friends I loved. It took me back to when I was 16 years old playing in punk and metal bands.

It took me 20 years of doing music to realize that I should be a paid photographer. And it took a few years of being a paid photographer for it to pull me back into music, the right way.

The Geometro Party and Cancer Christ shows are so different, but the same, in a way. Both lead back to what I’d always been chasing and wanted to do with dancefloormurder:

Something dirty & dangerous, but also expensive & well put together.

I see DIY as a form of self-expression. You’re somewhere with a group of people with the same way of thinking, the same ethos, & same taste. That brought you and the people around you together. I think that ties a lot of scenes together, a safe space for a bunch of people to express themselves. Feeling safe knowing you’re around your kind of people, you know?

You don’t have a lot of money but you have each other. I think that’s what makes DIY so strong, especially in Indonesia – the punk scene is huge and it’s very self-sustainable. They’re only dependent on their crew and put it together without any approval from Western Media or foreign markets. It’s all out of a love for music.

I think that’s what gave me that mentality – nothing has ever worked out for me when I depended on someone. I’m very grateful to be able to live off of my camera and guitars. And it’s all because one day, I woke up and said, You know what? I’m not depending on anyone anymore. I’m gonna do this exactly how my father and country taught me.

-Raz Azraai.

Remember when you wanted what you currently have?


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald