A chat with Amandra
On June 16, Patterns of Perception hosts the German debut of revered producer Amandra. One half of Ahrpe Records, he co-founded the label with good friend Ovend, giving each the freedom to produce and release music without conforming to expectations. His music is rhythmic, tribal and often tinged with acid, offering a brand of techno that’s bright and uplifting, never dark.
We caught up with Amandra ahead of his live set at OHM Berlin this coming Friday.
First up, tell us your backstory: how did you get into techno, and why did it stick?
I started to listen to electronic music with my friend Ovend 10 years ago. Then techno music turned to be quite trendy so that’s how I got into this movement probably. At home everyone in my family is a musician with different tastes and styles. I have a classical background in music with playing the guitar, singing etc, so I guess it’s logical that the whole fun here to me is about producing this loopy atmospheric music more than DJing. I love to look for new rhythms.
You’ve released on labels including Tikita and Silent Season (as the project Odes Of the Kabatians with PVNV), as well as the label you co-founded with Ovend, Ahrpe Records. How would you describe your sound and vision as a producer?
Well my sound and vision are constantly changing. I like simple things so that’s why in my studio you’ll find only very limited instruments (synthesizers etc). As for describing my style as a producer, I want to find a cool balance between atmospheric stuff (but not boring, at least I try), tribal percussive sounds and not-that-obvious acid. I give it a retro side; I love music from the 80s, that’s mostly what I listen to. I’m also quite a “bright” guy – I don’t like metal music for instance – so even if the whole thing may look dark from the outside, I try to give it a bright and soulful feeling (see for example Ahrpe’s visuals). Soft stuff you can mainly listen at home.
Resident Advisor compared your productions to “the likes of Abdulla Rashim or the Hypnus crew, but … illuminated with a unique sense of vibrance and color”. Would you agree with this comparison?
Yes, when I started producing, I was listening a lot to Plastikman, Ko-Ta from Stratosphere Records, Iesope Drift, Abdulla Rashim’s early brilliant loops from what he self-released mostly, and all these quite comparable classy atmospheric sounds coming from the ‘90s-2000s. So of course this has influenced my music. I’m not a revolutionary brain, I’m simply producing what I like to listen because I feel there’s a need, otherwise it would be pointless to produce it!
What is the concept behind Ahrpe Records? What inspired you to start the label? How do you choose what music to release?
The concept is simple: we were tired to hear critics from outside of our music. You know, people feeling above you without doing it any better. We understood that the demo process is lame and that a lot of guys are producing electronic music, so the only way to be “free” and release our stuff without caring much about people’s opinions was to build something from scratch: Ahrpe!
Ovend is a graphic designer so he took care of all the visual side with building of course ideas with me. Another friend, miss Anthea Lubat, is a pro artist doing very interesting visual work so it sounded obvious that she would participate in the project as well with her paintings. And myself being a master engineer in mechanical structures, I take care of the whole project and organization aspects behind the label (and there’s a lot to do). We thought we had the skills to build something very personal without spending too much money and that’s what we did.
Music comes either from Ovend and I, or very close friends like Flogo for instance. We choose music to release simply by sending each other’s tracks along with a project idea, that’s it.
You originally hail from France but are now based in Warsaw, Poland. What was behind your decision to move there?
Love my friend, love!
What is the techno scene like in Poland at the moment? Is the style of deep techno that you produce well appreciated there?
To me Poland has a huge potential, it’s like Berlin but without this saturation in artists. So it’s nice! There are some crews doing a great job like Behind The Stage which I’m part of, throwing some personal events around. It’s cool and small, you should come over Berliners! Also the Technosoul peeps are doing awesome events, I’m jamming from time to time with one of them, Michal Wolski, an impressive musician and moreover very close friend. I’m a big fan of Brutaz as well, a Polish name to check if you guys don’t know. Well, anyway, it’s nice in Poland.
Patterns of Perception will host your German debut on June 16, which we’re very excited about! What can we expect from your live set?
I’m also super excited, thanks again for the invitation, looking forward to it!
I don’t plan too much my live sets, I like to improvise a lot on my machines so each live I do is unique. Expect the place to be tribalized.
Lastly, which artists do you have your eye on at the moment?