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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?


I’ve been a musician for quite a long time now! I’ve always loved singing and when I was in my teens I wrote songs with my voice and guitar. After going to Goldsmiths in London to study Popular Music, my sound developed and I started listening to more electronic music. Over the years I’ve been part of a range of projects, and have guested on other artist’s tracks, but I’m really excited about what’s to come with Ammonite. 





How is your sound evolving? 


When I started Ammonite, I was just messing around with what I could do with my vocals and production. I’ve often collaborated with songwriting, but I was keen to try something new, and on my own. In 2020 I was listening to lots of ambient music, stuff on Leaving Records and artists like Kali Malone, Ana Roxanne etc. It was inspiring to hear music that didn’t have to follow a specific structure — it’s really freeing to be able to experiment and just make music that feels intuitive. I’m sure there’s more to come from this process!


How do you feel your music influences or impacts your listeners?


It’s still early days so I’m not 100% sure yet. But I hope it moves people in some way. I always think of Ammonite as quite melancholy but I’ve been told by people who’ve listened that there’s more variety than that which is cool, there’s quite a lot of tension and intensity in the music.


What projects are you working on right now? What can you tell us about your latest work?


I’m working on more music for Ammonite, that’s my main focus. I’d love to release something new quite soon. Blueprints was a long time in the making and it took some time to establish my sound. Now I feel more confident with production, so I’m trying some different things! I currently love trying to make my voice sound like an organ and have been speaking with my friend Harvey who actually plays the organ about how to make my voice replicate that sound… and I’d also love to continue playing around with more rhythmic elements. ARP was one of the last tracks I wrote for Blueprints but it definitely has a different sound to a lot of the other tracks on the record. 





Where are you and what have you been doing now?


On a train through London. I always answer emails or write notes on my phone while on the train. Sometimes lyrics too!


Has your sound changed much in recent years? What is your musical criteria?


Definitely. Though that’s happened in different waves and cycles. My roots are mostly in folk and as a singer-songwriter, but over time I’ve been so inspired by electronic music, alternative pop and ambient and I think that’s helped me to eventually find this sound as Ammonite. 


Do you feel confident now to play a more experimental sound?


For a long time I was trying to make music that can be accessible to everyone. But now I’m just making stuff that I like first and foremost. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s the music I’m most proud of. It also came so much more naturally than any other music I’ve worked on in the past. The only rule (at least for now) is that it all comes from my voice! There’s no song structure I need to follow or specific key I need to change to. It’s all very free and a lot of fun. 


We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity?


The music industry is pretty weird right now. There’s so many amazing artists out there that don’t get a look in. Releasing music is super competitive and it feels almost impossible to make money from it. That being said, I don’t think it stops the desire to be creative. It just makes it more challenging – artists are working jobs in the day and making music at night but if you have that desire to make music, then you’ll do it no matter what. You just hope that people find it and get to hear it. It’s scary to think you can spend all this time making music and then for it to come out and no one notices. But that happens quite often.



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