Inicio Review INTERVIEW: Ammonite



Ammonite is the new project from songwriter and producer Amy Spencer. Her debut mini-album, Blueprints, explores two opposing sound worlds, voice and technology. Where layers of improvised vocals meet electronic processing and flow like a glorious, glitchy blue river.

Although she was a competent singer-songwriter and guest vocalist for Bicep (who wrote two songs on her debut album), TVAM, DC Gore and Motsa, like many women in music, she experienced «imposter syndrome» in male-dominated environments and preferred to leave others to produce. But with Ammonite, Spencer decided to try something new: creating fragments of self-reflective lyrics, droning vowels and staccato repetitive words, she constructed this debut 7-track sonic manifesto, with her voice at the forefront.

Throughout Blueprints, Spencer displays vulnerability and strength. Her music is close and intimate, but distant and reflective, as if from another time, floating in the atmosphere between space and earth. It is both organic and artificial. Neither good nor bad; human or machine; male or female.

We have had the pleasure of speaking with Amy, and this has been the result.

Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from/how did you get into music? Does your training come from the Internet?


I’ve been a musician for most of my life. I’ve always loved singing and when I was in my teens I wrote songs with my voice and guitar. I later went to Goldsmiths to study Popular Music, and my sound developed. That was when I started listening to more experimental and electronic music and since then, I’ve been part of a range of projects within different genres, as well as guesting on other artists’ music. 


I studied music for a lot of my life, so I would say I’ve been educated in music though I have taken so much inspiration from artists over the years, so I guess I’ve been trained in a range of ways. 

Who have been your main inspirations (both musically and in «life»)? And how have they affected your sound?


I’ve been influenced by so many artists — from trip hop artists like Tricky and Portishead to some more current artists including Julia Holter, Caroline Polachek, Kali Malone, Malibu, Moses Sumney… the list could go on and on. I am also hugely inspired by my peers. My partner Avi is a musical director, producer and songwriter and inspires me so much on so many levels. Then my friends are mostly all such talented musicians and artists. For the making of this project, I was also really inspired by writings on feminism and gender that I used to help with my research on women in music production, and also to help with my own creative practice during my masters degree – there’s this book by Legacy Russell called Glitch Feminism which I especially loved and reference a lot. 


How would you define your sound? And how has your sound evolved so far?


I’d describe it as broken pop in the world of electronic and ambient. Or something like that! It’s a sound that is born out of many different influences and my experience over the years of working within a variety of genres. I think I’ve reached a place where I feel like I can just make music that I like, rather than trying to please anyone else. 


What can you tell us about your latest work? What do you want to transmit?


Blueprints came out of me wanting to try and make music on my own. My voice is my main instrument, so I decided to start playing around with sampling it and ended up making a lot of slow chord progressions made from my sampled voice. I then started to record improvised bits of singing and chopped them up across the tracks. It became my own way of making music, which was fun and exciting. It was an explorative process, I didn’t know what the end goal was, which was really freeing. My background is mostly in songwriting, so just sitting next to the mic and making one sound that is then used for the majority of the track is a really different approach but it’s been quite amazing. I finished the tracks off with my close friend Calum Duncan, who helped me make everything sound a lot more elevated. 


Since all of the music is made with my voice and electronic processing, I felt that it was important to showcase this world of opposites within the rest of the project. I’ve found that the voice is often associated with being natural, bodily, and intimate, whereas technology is frequently thought of as the opposite – manmade and masculine. Music production and technology is also a field dominated by men, whereas women are more affiliated with performing and singing. I loved that the music I was making synthesised the two worlds. 


Do you feel like the underground scene will continue to persist?


I really hope so. Even though it’s getting tougher to establish yourself as an artist, I still think the desire to create great music will always be there which in turn should help to keep the underground scene alive… There are so many incredible artists making great work. 


What projects are you working on right now?


I’m focusing on writing more music for Ammonite right now. Blueprints was a long time in the making and it took some time to establish my sound, but now I’m finding my way with production, and I’m currently just having a lot of fun with it. I’m also collaborating more as Ammonite which is really exciting.


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