French producer & DJ Amandra has had a busy year, finding the time to put out three EPs on Tikita, Konstrukt and Semantica while managing his own imprint Ahrpe Records. These three releases have seen Amandra develop the signature formula of understated, hypnotic techno that he’s been crafting since his first release in 2014.
Amandra’s next creation is Dame De Bahia, his first release on Italian imprint Obscura Records, and his second album to date. In line with his previous releases, it features subtle atmospherics and delicate pads that create an expansive sonic space in which his trademark mesmeric rhythms can slowly unfurl. The album’s not due until 15 December, but he’s shared ‘Polichinela’ to give you a taste of what’s to come.
We caught up with Amandra in the studio to get an insight into the gear that drove the creative processes behind the new LP.
“Music has always been present and important in my life, no matter what style, both as listener and producer. I am sincerely happy with this LP seeing the light on Obscura as I consider the label heads, the Agents Of Time, as one of my favourite electronic projects. Moody and lightful, this album combines many aspects I cherish in electronic music. Dame De Bahia LP is a direct nod to my beloved Mediterranean roots, it represents me without compromises, it is a self-assertion.
For my productions, there’s a whole process, that’s why I structured the images in that order: from where I start to where I finish.”
1. Drum Machines
It’s all about jamming with these guys at first. I use the TR-8 mostly as a TR-727. I had the original 727 previously, I used it in many productions and live sets. I sold it later on to upgrade the TR-8 with the equivalent samples, much more powerful than grandma. Anyway, this gives a starting point to the tribal feeling I focus on with my music.
MFB Tanzmaus, very nice piece of gear. The mouse follows me everywhere, in all jams I do, both lives and studio. It’s quite the same architecture as a TR-909 : the few instruments are analog and there is also a sample section, again very complete machine with its polyrhythmic possibilities. Vauban from the LP is mostly made out of it for instance, complex patterns. Polyrhythms played live give an interesting random feeling I go a lot for.
Octatrack is quite new to me, I use it mostly for live sets and remixes so far. Until now I have never used any samples except my owns. As it’s a sampler, I may start doing it if it feels right at some point. I also think about introducing my voice. Let’s see what I can get out of it.
2. Effects Pedals
I like to compute my patterns and atmospheres in these pedals: Eventide PitchFactor, TimeFactor and Space. They bring more randomness to what I do, I always get unexpected grooves out of them, no matter what I feed them with.
3. Acid Synths
I have two of them: an “X0X” and an Acidlab Bassline 3. I love these two machines mostly because they are far from being perfect, I really dive into their troubles and play with them, amplify their knobs cracks etc. The X0X is actually a weird unofficial X0X I bought on eBay in the US when I started some years ago, it’s pretty unique in that sense (I didn’t realize at first), it looks like no other X0X I’ve seen in Europe. Compared to the Acidlab Bassline, stability apart, the X0X sounds much more incredible. The Acidlab sounds cool and is fun to program so it’s better to jam with this one but I often end up recording the weird X0X. I also do combinations of both of course. Computing them from time to time in the effect pedals chain can give pretty weird and interesting results.
Once I’ve built and recorded my patterns and rhythms, I jump to these synths in order to complete the atmospheres. I love music from the 80s so that’s why I add some retro not to say “kitsch” pads to my grooves. Dave Smith Mopho X4, Korg ARP Odyssey both analog synths and Roland JP-08, a numerical re-edition of the vintage Jupiter 8. This last one I take with me when playing live sets, really fun to improvise with. I of course compute the synths in the pedals sometimes.
Dame De Bahia is out December 15 via Obscura Records. Pre-order here.