Meet The Ambient Society featuring Spades, an orchestral/electro-charged duo who consist of Mauritz Kop and Joshua Spades. Although they live on 2 different continents, Europe and Australia, the distance between them surely adds to their spatial symphonic sounds, dreamlike vocals and layered synth effects. Of course, having a classical background and vast knowledge of recording and mixing helps to bring their sound into full bloom. Read what they had to say about recording and promoting their music.
1) What is your first musical memory?
The first I can remember, I think, was when I was 8 and started learning piano. I would mess around with the bass notes and simple dark rhythmic patterns. It was complete utter nonsense that I was making up, but I think that was a hint of my connection with and love for heavy music, which I would later discover and incorporate into all the styles I listen to and perform today.
2) Without using the words "alternative," "pop,” or "rock," describe your sound.
Bipolar. I try to approach each song with a different style and temperament, which only the listener can really decide if I achieved that.
3) What are the top 3 ways you find are best to promote your music?
1. Social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Soundcloud and iTunes PING, using widgets and creating lots of iMixes in the process.
2. Sending hardcopies to radio stations and music magazines. Getting to know DJ's and editors personally by email or even telephone really helps. Building and maintaining these relationships and creating high quality email lists containing these valuable contacts is an absolute must.
3. My own website: www.theambientsociety.com
4) Briefly, can you describe the music making process? (From inspiration/recording to digital release, perhaps some of the steps that stick out to you as needing more time dedication)?
It always starts with an emotion. From there, inspiration leads to creativity, programming and sound design. Once a song is finished, I send it to Spades in Australia. Then he writes cool lyrics and records his amazing vocals, which he sends back to me to mix into the original song. Before that, he always sends me an evaluation mp3 demo. So by that time we both know the result. However, a lot of work needs to be done after that initial kick. Editing, mixing, mastering, creating album art, registering, digital and physical releasing, marketing and promotion… Sometimes this is hard because you already know the outcome, just all that work still needs to be done while other or new projects might need time and attention too. But in the end, after 2 or 3 years of hard work trying to get the best result possible, when everything is released and well, a powerful mutual feeling of self-accomplishment remains. Also, being your own label using TuneCore is just great. And of course, other people, besides us, liking our music is an entirely good thing!
5) Since your sound is more electro-based, do you use the same instruments for most of your recordings or try to shift gears?
I am always searching for new combinations of sounds and exploring new sonic territory: conveying an emotion or creating a specific atmosphere. This means learning how to creatively and effectively use effects and virtual synthesizers, a lot of reading about producer tips and tricks, layering sounds and achieving innovative, universal and accessible colors in your music. Playing piano and clarinet helps, because it enables me to use a conventional midi keyboard as well as an EWI to trigger the virtual synthesizers in my sequencer. For composing and arranging, having a classical background is an absolute asset in terms of harmony, balance and transparency.
6) Are you touring or performing locally? If so, what was one of the biggest hurdles you encountered?
We have plans to do so, touring Europe doing some festivals. The biggest and probably the most common hurdle in the case of internet collaboration, is the distance between The Netherlands and Australia. In the meantime, we are working on our second album through the same online correspondence that made Livin Da High Life possible!