Interview: Amorphic (aka Vince Watson)
TF: What was the initial ignition to start the Amorphic project ?
AM: This has been in the pipeline for a very long time, I just never had the time due to other commitments. Covid gave me the breathing space to finally light the fuse. Its funny because I saw a comment recently which said ‘stick to house and stop jumping on the techno bandwagon”. I had to laugh, I then posted a link from a Primate release from 2000 which was as brutal as these are, even under my own name too. I couldn’t do that now, so Amorphic was born.
TF: Why do you find it important as an artist to separate their music in different aliases— Vince Watson, Quart, Amorphic?
AM: We just experience music in sub-cultures now. Micro-focussed sub-genre’s with very refined stylistic presence. The instant gratification and social media environment we walk in dose not generally allow for much flexibility musically these days. Add to this promotors not taking any risks and you have quite a linear approach to clubbing. There are of course exceptions and the great clubs of our time have longevity for a reason. Having more than 1 artist name makes things less confusing for your fanbase and helps you generate and target specific audiences with your brand. I used to also be Nico Awtsventin, Sphere, Orange Project too. I always liked to have different names for different soundscapes, but unfortunately sometimes it was required due to contractual reasons too.
TF: These days „you are Vince Watson and Amorphic“. When you record: are you going into studio one time as Vince Watson and the other time as Amorphic?
Do you have a special way to prepare yourself for the studio work?
AM: Yes absolutely, I have to immerse myself in the music or it doesn’t resonate enough to bring out the small details that matter the most. I usually do it in weekly blocks. I used to do it in 10 week blocks with 2 week breaks, but with so much going on at the moment I can’t leave any of my 3 projects lying for too long without progress. (The 3rd project is not announced yet - Stay Tuned).
TF: For and with Amorphic you developed a hardware only live set. Can you tell us about the process creating a new set, the gear and the live performance itself?
AM: As VW I have been playing live with a laptop, keyboards and controllers and drum machines for 15years, but I always hated the reliance on the laptop and always wanted to get back to some form of lawless setup. I used to make music without a laptop at all, for example my first 2 albums were made on an MPC2000xl and an Ensoniq ASR10. So for me it was about getting back to some kind of interesting setup that didn’t have the barrier that a laptop brings. I initially went to the MPC Live II since I am an MPC guy at heart, but it wasn’t possible to do it. Then I realised it was the Akai Force that I needed all along and that changed everything when Disk Streaming came along. Now for both Amorphic and VW im using the Force, 2 x Novation ControlXL’s, TR8S, System 1 with the SH2 plugout and the Roland SE02, with added keyboard for playing VW sets so I can play piano and strings. On the Force I have 16 channels running, 8 Audio tracks for clips, loops, stems and efx and 8 plugin channels. All the drums are done live on the TR8S with my own mastered one shots from my releases and the baselines are triggered as MIDI from the Force to the System1 and SE02.
TF: How’s your production flow? Do you start with a specific idea or let the jam be the lead?
AM: I usually start with textures or a hook, then start with rhythmical elements, but no kick yet. I’ll find a nice funky bassline or synth patterns with polyrhythms and then get the kick in there. Ill normally have a very basic track with around 15-10 elements, drag them into Ableton until all stems are 6 or 7 mins and export this into Dropbox to listen to in the car or on my travels. Once I’ve listened a few times I can get a sense of the pace needed to start building it, then reverse engineer the arrangement by removing parts instead of adding them. Trust me it works faster.
TF: You founded your own label with the same name Amorphic for the project. Is the idea to have it only for your releases or also sign other artists? What are the future plans for the label?
AM: The label is essentially only there to promote the Amorphic name and have a home for my tracks in between releases on other labels. I wanted to use the same name for the label, with a Radio Show Podcast series coming in 2023 as Amorphic too. It just makes it easier to have a brand by keeping it simple. Im not open for other peoples music at the moment, but maybe in the future when im up and running fully. It takes time.
TF: And for the music project Amorphic? What is coming up in the future? You also released on Modularz and Symbolism this year. What can we expect in 2023?
AM: Early 23 Amorphic has a release on Token, followed by Amorphic 03 and 04, that takes us to summer, then next autumn something big that I cannot announce yet. There is also a sub-label being launched called ‘Morph’ which is gonna start releasing more Sci-fi deep space styled releases. MO1 will be out late spring. I have podcasts being produced for Pole Group Radio and Slam Radio also.
TF: After being involved in the scene for so long, what do you think has been missing in the present techno sphere? And where do you see it going? Also in connection to the ways of consuming music which changed a lot. What do you think about the role that singles are playing nowadays, fading out the LP albums semi- outside of the equation?
AM: We, the gatekeepers of our beloved scene should be mortified that we allowed such commercial, time-limited, moronic music to take over large parts of our scene. I’ve scene many loops in the industry, styles that have rebirths and things coming in and out of musical fashion, but were bordering on new territory, and it might actually be a really good move. Whats missing in a lot of ‘’Techno’’ right now is the risk taking, art-led approach to make music for the purpose of only itself, nothing more nothing less. There is such amazing artist in real proper Techno at the moment, its so utterly inspiring and powerful. Yet, so much of our industry is created to be fed to the masses : Rave stabs, huge kick with a rumble (don’t dare put a bassline in there)…and add some trance as spice, as if its something new and fresh. This is not Techno, it will never be, despite the label it gets, it completely misses the point. I actually think the scene needs to split in 2, even more than it has. Let the underground be underground where it will survive and thrive as it always have, and let the bigroom stuff cater for the now completely different audience that it has. At the moment we’re in crossroads with it, but I think it needs to separate entirely. Another 2 sub-genre’s…Real Techno and the other stuff. :) In terms of formats, Streaming is a mess, just look at Taylor Swift have the entire top10, I mean who isn’t gonna get bored of that in a quick minute. I think Spotify and Apple Music have very positive attributes (paying isn’t one of them), but I think that real Techno fans are not on only using those platforms, they are also buying the music on Bandcamp and vinyl. DnB also has the same underground core fanbase with the same fundamental ways of gathering music. Albums should always be present, they allow real artists to tell a story at that moment in their life in a longer format with a concept and they need to be protected at all costs. I myself and currently in production with album 14,15,16 at the same time..I love them, it drives me on to make Art, again, for the sole reason of being just for itself, that what Albums are for, they are the perfect expression of an artists output.
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