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We caught up with Ameli Paul to talk about their current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hello Ameli & Paul, and thanks for your time today. So to get started, how did you guys met and where did the idea of becoming Ameli Paul come from?
Ameli: Hey there, thanks for having us! We met four years ago at festivals when I was touring with my band and Paul with his solo live-act ‘Paul Valentin’. We were immediately drawn to each other musically, so we arranged to meet in the studio in Cologne some weeks later.
Paul: Which then turned out to be an incredible four hours jam-session. Amazed by the creativity that evolved from the interaction between the two of us we couldn’t wait to meet again and again. Ameli and Paul are our second names.
EG: Moving into the current times we’re living. How have you handled the lockdown and has it affected both in any positive or negative way?
Paul: To be honest, it has been an up and down. There have been times, I really enjoyed the silence, the lack of distraction. I was happy sitting in my room and creating new stuff – with a rather free mind, finishing tracks, and making plans for the ‘after time’.
Ameli: I have been touring constantly for 7 years and so having this unwanted off-time somehow helped me to slow down a bit. The cancellation of all the big events really hit me hard though. A summer without festivals is so new to me that I swing between enjoying the calm and being depressed about it, in particular because we don’t know when things will change and we miss the live energy and touring, which is also a huge problem for the whole scene, including venues, agencies, festivals, etc. and we hope they all will survive. Still, I know that our situation is completely privileged. We feel with those who suffer more sincerely and do not have all the resources and support that we have.
EG: We saw your recent Livestream for Vibrancy Music. Where was it filmed and how did this idea come to reality?
Paul: The video was filmed in the beautiful vineyards of Weinstadt, a little town not so far away from our respective hometowns in South Germany. The guys who just started this video project approached us during the first phase of the shutdown. Having a new goal that we could pursue was the perfect push to create a completely new live set with unreleased music.
EG: Speaking of unreleased music: Is there any Release planned in the future?
Ameli: We are excited to announce our debut EP on the beautiful imprint Drosssel to be out in November. In 2021 we will release our first album via Laut & Luise.
Paul: After four splendid years as a Live-Act, we are stoked to have a proper release on vinyl and couldn’t be happier about the collaboration with those awesome labels. We also plan an album tour in spring 2021. Fingers crossed that we will be able to dance together again until then.
“Anything can be art, if it makes you feel something”
EG: Any other release planned in the coming months?
Paul: We’ve just released our track ‘Peilo’ on the latest fernab compilation, a collective that creates the most beautiful naked beach floor at Fusion Festival. Also, a remix for Skarú on Serafin Audio, and ones for Faber and Heimlich will follow in August and September.
EG: We want to dig a little into your creative process. Where do you find your inspiration? Do you listen to other music to get ideas? Do your surroundings play a role?
Ameli: Most of my ideas evolve when I am sitting alone at my out-of-tune piano in my room, improvising, singing, and just playing around. I think I most probably draw on classical melodies subconsciously as I grew up with a lot of classical music and studied opera singing after school. But also jazz music has got a huge influence on me in terms of improvisation, harmonies, and feeling. To me, it was always a big need to make music in various genres, so I think it’s kind of a mix of all of them, you can find in my way of singing and playing music. And of course, there are also many musicians, who inspire me. One of the most touching singer to me is Beth Gibbons from Portishead.
Paul: I find inspiration in random noises that I record with my handy recorder and transform them into beats. But also windy, grey and foggy weather triggers my need to compose. I am a rather melancholic and introverted producer. The way musicians like Nicolas Jaar or Nils Frahm treat and create sound opened up a completely new world for me.
EG: Tell us about your live-act setup? How does it come together and have you done any recent updates or improvements to it?
Paul: We use Ableton Live as DAW, Ameli’s vocals and my guitar go through some delay and reverb effect devices. She plays a Prophet and just recently I’ve added a Minilogue XD and a Model D to add more live elements.
Ameli: Our live-set has been constantly evolving since day 1. For me, it’s important that playing live remains exciting and that we are creating a shared experience with the audience in that exact moment that can’t be replicated. Also if I am not inspired by our own music I am not able to perform in the best way.
EG: Moving into music production, how’s the relationship when working together? Who does what? And what would you say is the main expertise of the other?
Ameli: It depends. Often Paul starts with a sketch and sends it over to me and I would be adding some synths and vocals. Another time the tracks evolve in a session together. Sometimes it takes four years to finish an idea, sometimes one day is all it needs. I would say that his expertise is his unusual approach to producing, always trying to expand the already known and thus surprising me with fresh ideas. He got a playful way of making music, more feeling than thinking, always telling a story or triggering emotions.
Paul: Ameli’s expertise is definitely her inexhaustible creativity and spontaneity in terms of creating catchy and touching melodies, finding intriguing harmonies, and using her unique voice in an incredibly varied way. We’ve learned so much from each other in terms of arrangement, musicality, and production but also communication and handling conflicts. We challenge each other quite intensely at times, so it’s not always peace and happiness, but we’ve grown a lot. It’s very important to us, that we are honest about how we feel but also leave space so everyone can make full use of their strengths.
“We’ve just released our track ‘Peilo’ on the latest Fernab compilation, a collective that creates the most beautiful
naked beach floor at Fusion Festival”
EG: 2020 is still uncertain but what would you like to achieve during this year?
Ameli: Work really hard to create a personal album that reflects all our versatility. The album format gives us so much freedom to also explore the facets of music off the dancefloor.
Paul: Playing at least some shows with dancing people would be nice too.
EG: Finally, what is your definition of art?
Ameli: I think the term ‘Art’ is very often used in a too elitist way and is a product of our human culture. For me, it’s the result of a creative process somehow. Anything can be art, if it makes you feel something. Art has to surprise me and has to evoke emotions that I can’t explain rationally.
Ameli Paul’s ‘Peilo’ is now available via fernab. Stream and donate here.