Little White Earbuds Interviews Âme

Photo courtesy of Fabric.

The exposure afforded by releasing one of the decade’s biggest house tunes led to a turning point in the musical careers of Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann, the duo known as Âme. Instead of moving closer to commercial viability, Beyer and Wiedemann embraced the uniqueness of their vision and grew weirder, following their experimental instincts down the rabbit hole of fathoms deep techno and house. Opting for quality over quantity, the duo has only released four singles since their first brush with the limelight. This M.O. also defines Innervisions, their label with Dixon, with a prominent back catalog that’s often impacted the trajectory of modern deep house, even before it became a dominant theme in dance music. Their discerning taste as labelheads and DJs is on full display in their recently released (and flat out excellent) Fabric mix. I had a chance to talk with Âme while they were promoting the mix, discussing their stylistic shifts, recent single “D.P.O.M.B.”, and their advice for shopping around your demo.

I’ve been interested to watch Ame develop from fairly straightforward deep-house to more experimental, electronica-driven tracks. I was curious what caused you two to veer off the course of “traditional” dance music into what you’re doing now?

Kristian: I think this was always a part of the music we like, but maybe not that many people noticed it. If they would have followed our DJ sets worldwide they would — it depends on the venue you are playing in — but we still like house, deep-house, whatever. If you’re playing in bigger clubs you have to play a little bit more electronic, a bit more techno oriented. So it was always a part of the music we love, you know, but it doesn’t mean we are not doing house anymore.

What I meant was that “Rej” and your other early singles were one thing, but a track like “Fiori” is 17 minutes of Philip Glass-like music is different from the deep-house you were making before.

Kristian: Yeah, but maybe it was a process. We were a little bit bored with the music we were surrounded by, so we tried to find new ways to express ourselves.

Frank: I can say that for the next thing we are working on at the moment, it was really, really hard for us to find some way not to copy ourselves, and that’s what we never wanted to do. We just try to explore.

Do you see yourselves ever returning to the style of the music rounded up on your self-titled album?

Kristian: Yeah, maybe, you never know. At the moment I don’t see it. The producing and the music is a constant process of evolving techniques, the things you learn, you are listening to more music from the past you’re interested in…

Frank: And also you’re reflecting the DJ sets. We are not playing in many small clubs anymore, we’re playing in bigger clubs, and we’re reacting to what’s around us.

Kristian: I can see there will be a moment where we will say, “We want to do a strictly deep-house track again.” We are always open. It must be the moment for that. Now these days I don’t see it happening.

Tell me a little bit about how you choose the tracks for the Fabric mix and mixed it.

Kristian: When Fabric asked us, we saw an opportunity to go this time to a more electronic, more techno-oriented mix. So we went through our record collections; we wanted to put in old tracks, old favorites of ours, new tracks which we think people didn’t discover already or were underrated. Then we brought about 30-40 tracks to the licensing office at Fabric and we got the OK for 26 or 27, I think. After that we chose the tracks that fit together the best and would build up like a club set.

So did you guys mix it like a club set, all live, or was it more of a studio thing?

Kristian: Yeah, we did it in Ableton Live. Actually, the process when we were in the studio was a little bit like a live set, you know? We tried to work from track to track, we didn’t figure out how we would put all the tracks together in what order.

Frank: It wasn’t planned out.

Kristian: Yeah, we work more from track to track; it’s actually the same to what you’re doing in a club.

Frank: We only had one track that we put on at the end, so it was like a DJ set.

Photo courtesy of Fabric.

So tell me the story behind the track “D.P.O.M.B.” What does the name mean?

Frank: That is something you have to find out for yourself, sorry. It is a miracle. (laughs)

Kristian: No, no, no. The thing is, we want to support the vinyl buyer, and if you buy the record you can find it somewhere on the record, the sleeve, wherever; but it’s written somewhere. Actually, originally the project name we had at the beginning. We thought we wanted to have Henrik singing on the track, but we weren’t satisfied with the lyrics. We didn’t manage to get it together properly, so we decided to do an instrumental track. But we still had the working title, and that’s just the letters from the working title.

How did it come together? How did each of your put yourselves into that track?

Frank: It was same arrangement as from the “Where We At” record. Dixon and Henrik are based in Berlin, we are based in Karlsruhe, so what we do is exchange single tracks. In this case, Kristian, you started with the raw version and sent it over to Berlin where they made their version and sent back some of the tracks they put on it. [Then] we finished our version; it was a bit more communication between those things.

You only released two versions on the record, but were there many more versions you narrowed it down from?

Kristian: This time, no.

Frank: Well, we are not sure.

Kristian: Maybe live versions from Henrik or from us when we play this thing live in the future, maybe. But nothing is planned at the moment or is on hold somewhere.

Well it’s a great track and I look forward to playing it out.

Kristian: It’s a tribute to Chicago, of course. It’s our tribute to DJ Pierre.

Is there a new album in the works at all?

Frank: We are working on another mix CD with Henrik and Dixon which is going to be different from the Fabric one, which is more minimal in a truest minimal sense. It combines old electronic roots stuff with what we think is more minimal, like Robert Hood tracks or Dan Bell. It was very exciting to do this. This time we really did the mix in Ableton, so we had three laptops and were jamming, editing the tracks.

What about Innervisions Orchestra; anything coming from that project?

Kristian: That’s actually the first Innervisions Orchestra project.

Frank: But it’s no longer called the Innervisions Orchestra anymore. (laughs)

Kristian: We thought there are so many “orchestras” there that, we will play live together but not as Innervisions Orchestra. We will play under our own names so people know who is playing.

Are you guys still collaborating on an album length project?

Frank: Yeah, of course, we will do this in the future.

What were you guys working on the last time you were in the studio?

Kristian: Our next 12 inch.

What can we expect over the next year’s time from Ame?

Kristian: We don’t know ourselves, so it’s hard to say. Just follow…

Frank: The leader. (laughs)

Kristian: Not follow the leader, but… we will go on doing our stuff and we hope in the end it will sound like us, but maybe in the end it will have a fresh touch.

What’s next from Innervisions, release-wise?

Kristian: Our next 12 inch will be from our friend from Finland, Lil’ Tony, together with a Romanian who is still not very well known, he is called DJ Boola. And then there will be our next 12 inch and then the Tokyo Black Star LP plus two 12 inches from Alex From Tokyo. And we’re still waiting for the next Château Flight single.

Frank: Gilbert just texted me that they are working on it.

Do you have any advice for new producers who are just getting into making music?

Frank: Listen to so many musics as you can and try to find your own style.

Kristian: And always prepare, too. In these days it’s so easy to make tracks for everybody, but sometimes if you’re listening to demos you think, hey, aren’t you listening to properly done music? How can you think that somebody would release something like that? I know there are a lot of [inaudible] out there, but also a lot of rubbish coming from everywhere. So, people should listen to a lot of music like Frank said, but they should think about, “Is the the work I did worth being released?” They should also send [physical] demos to labels. Sometimes people only send demo links; I never listen to those. If you think you fit on a label or like this kind of artist and you send him a CD or a nice mail, if you write it more personally, I think people will always listen to it. People can see if they would fit with them.

hutlock  on September 26, 2008 at 7:04 AM

Okay, well now I REALLY have to buy a vinyl copy of “D.P.O.M.B.” And their Fabric mix CD. *sigh*

Richie  on September 26, 2008 at 8:30 AM

Very nice interview, Love Ame, love their work

chris  on September 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

great interview, as always. I am loving their recent fab mix, though I know there have been very different opinions about it.

stu  on September 26, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Re. D.P.O.M.B: is ‘1’ the Ame version while ‘2’ is the Dixon/Schwarz interpretation?

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 26, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Yes and no. I have a feeling each version is more influenced by one pair or the other, but I’m not sure if the division is that simple.

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 26, 2008 at 9:40 AM

If that was the case, I think they would have opted to demarcate the versions as such.

krul  on September 26, 2008 at 9:54 AM

great interview LWE. thanks

Joe H  on September 26, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Thanks for this I have a great deal of respect & time for Âme. I think there Fabric mix is one of the best this year and has been getting some unneeded mediocre reviews.Frank & Kristian are two of the best out there & will continue to be for many moons to come.

todd  on September 27, 2008 at 7:10 AM

just searched my playlist, there are alot of orchestras !

Jason Rule (harpomarx42)  on September 27, 2008 at 9:34 AM

I have scoured the shops and haven’t even been able to FIND a copy of DPOMB…has it been released over here yet?

Daniel Best  on September 28, 2008 at 5:54 AM

check out Ame,Dixon, Henrik Schwarz at the innervisions showcase for the Popkomm in Berlin on Oct.10th, 2008 at the Tape club in Berlin.

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 28, 2008 at 8:07 PM

To: Jason

It has, indeed, been released here. Ask your retailer to order or check out all the places that have it online.

Bjørn  on September 29, 2008 at 9:21 AM

D.P.O.M.B? It’s da fucking bomb!

peavey  on September 29, 2008 at 11:47 AM

LOL. i asked kristian the same question earlier this month? – “what does D.P.O.M.B. mean?” … “look closer at the 12” he replied … and so i did…. now i know what it means. LOL

great interview steve!

todd  on September 29, 2008 at 9:47 PM

i’m gonna take a wild guess, don’t pirate our music bitch.

Jason Rule (harpomarx42)  on September 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM

you win +1 internets

I will try to buy this in New York…if there are any copies left, that is!

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 30, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Probably wildly unhelpful, but I saw copies of it at Other Music when I was there a month ago.

Jason Rule (harpomarx42)  on September 30, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Actually, that did help. On sale for 14.99.

Best start counting my pennies…

chris  on September 30, 2008 at 9:02 PM

hooray for americans who can’t just simply go to hardwax for records!

and yes, i was at other music today and i do believe i saw it.

Tyler  on October 2, 2008 at 1:30 PM

so they advocate buying vinyl… yet they make their mix using ableton. how ironic.

littlewhiteearbuds  on October 2, 2008 at 1:37 PM

That’s true, but their club sets are almost always done with vinyl. My impression was they used Ableton because it offerd a preciseness and a raft of options that don’t come as easily with vinyl.

It’s also well known that most mix CDs these days are composed on computers, not with vinyl. Ellen Allien’s (often lambasted) Fabric mix is one exception that comes to mind.

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