Towards the end of last year, Unraveled sponsored the regional RAW Awards in Brooklyn and in doing so, were introduced to Amplicity who won music artist of the year. Unraveled Founder + Art Director Farida Amar caught up with him for an interview about his work. Here’s what he had to say…
Q. Who are you and why do you exist?
A: I’m Amplicity, but my real name is Jamie. I create music and software. I also love the ocean (especially whales).
Q. How would you describe your music? Do you identify with any genres, social movements or universes of visual art? Have you always made this kind of music or has it evolved from a history of music making in other contexts? Do you play any instruments yourself?
A: I try not to put genres on anything but I’m leaning towards a more modern r&b vibe these days. I also really enjoy making jersey club bangers from time to time.
I started making hip-hop beats in college with buddy Chucky Charmz. You can still find some of our stuff scattered around the internet if you google “Highline Sounds.” Before that, I played the alto-sax, piano, and drums. My family has always been into music.
Q. Why do you create and how is your production process unique compared to your competition?
A: I like to take emotion and express it audibly. Usually that includes some pitch-bent vocal samples, xylophones, and a spacey drum rhythm. It always sounds different, but with that said, I usually start from the same source of inspiration. I have this emotionally-defining piece of my history that left me heartbroken for a bit, and whenever I think about it, it makes me feel INSANE emotions. It’s wild how much influence your emotions have on your sound.
Q. Why did you get into music in the first place? How did you arrive where you are now?
A: I’ve always dug music. I started because I liked it. I played in various bands in high school, began DJing early in college and producing shortly thereafter. I don’t know how the hell I arrived where I am now, though. The fact that people actually dig my stuff is nuts. I’ve never even imagined myself with a following. I still don’t have one, but I have some fans that truly love my work, and it really means a lot to me.
Q. Please explain your relationship with Los Angeles and Brooklyn, Philadelphia and any other cities you have spent a lot of time in. How have these different environments affected/inspired you and your work?
A: I grew up in Pennsylvania and went to Penn State. After that, I worked in Boston at a corporate finance company. I didn’t like that at all, so I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue other ventures. I took a road trip out there with my good buddy in August of 2012 and it was a blast. For anyone that hasn’t taken a road trip across the US, do it. I climbed a random mountain on the side of the road in New Mexico, and drove through a hail storm for 50 miles in the middle of Kansas. That trip was just incredible.
I was in Los Angeles for the better half of a year. I loved it there. I loved the fruit the most. No one talks about the fruit from Los Angeles and I have no idea why. I had an orange tree in my backyard. An orange tree! I walked outside and plucked oranges for breakfast, daily. I’ve never tasted fruit so good in my life. I always asked everybody I met in LA why they never talk about the fruit. On the east coast, I would get pumped about a tomato growing in my neighbors garden, and here I was finding pomegranates growing on the sidewalk. So yeah, I liked that a lot. My roommate and I dug it so much that we eventually ate the entire orange tree in our backyard. In fact, we had to start using a ladder towards the top of the tree. Someone was apparently unhappy with our orange-eating habits, because the ladder was eventually stolen. Oddly enough, it happened the day after someone approached us and said “you’re eating too much of the orange tree.”
As far as music goes, I wrote an EP out there called Pacific Motion and made some awesome friends/connections. I played at Avalon in Hollywood as well, that was a huge highlight for me. LA helped shape my sound. I like to make happy songs that go nice with good weather. LA’s got that on lock.
I now reside in Brigantine, NJ. It’s an island next to Atlantic City. It’s absolutely dead in the winter, so I’m not here too much on the weekends. With that said, the creativity vibes here are awesome. I love the ocean, it plays a big part in my life, and I only live a block from the beach. I really like it.
Q. Please introduce each of your projects. Including Bang to the Beat.
Bang to the Beat (BTTB) is a music blog focused primarily on sex tracks; passionate songs that get you in the mood. We feature raunchy commentary and a continuous playlist curated by yours truly and a few other awesome people.
As far as functionality is concerned, you can basically bang to the beat all night without ever having to get up (lol). But we’re adding a lot more. Soon we’ll be releasing a complete overhaul of the site soon that will focus heavily on user experience. I can’t give away too much information, but please check us out: Main Site | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
Outside of music, I’m developing an application with a few friends that will hopefully revolutionize the healthcare industry for the better. Ultimately, I want to help people. Both with music and my work. That’s why working in the finance industry just didn’t do it for me; I want to leave a globally positive impact on the planet.
Q. In looking through your websites it seems two things are of the upmost importance to you – having a good time and collaborating with other artists. Please tell us more. In what ways does your music make you or others feel good, please share an example of a moment where this was clearly the case for you. Also, in what ways are you currently collaborating and what have you learned about collaborating overall?
A: The internet is an insane place. And the music community is so tight. The fact that anyone in the world can listen to a track, get in touch with artists, and make real-world connections in a matter of seconds is pretty amazing.
My Ciara Remix got reposted on Soundcloud by someone in Soulection (one of my favorite labels). This label has a really dedicated following that digs music like mine. This one repost was responsible for half of that track’s plays. I even found someone posting a video of my track on Instagram, talking about how he had listened to it for nearly an hour. That Instagram post ended up being DJ Complexion, who runs the Future Beats Show in London. And that’s how I got radio play in London and met the homie Complexion (one of the most humble DJs I’ve met).
A similar occurrence happened recently for one of my homies in Boston. I had heard his Soundcloud and really dug his stuff. I’m in Boston from time to time for business, so I hit him up while I was up there. A few weeks later, we ended up taking a road trip to go meet with one of my (and his) favorite producers.
None of these would have happened without music. Emotions and melodies aside, the indirect adventures from music are an awesome.
Q. What advice would you give to other artists like yourself?
A: Use Soundcloud. Never before has such an amazing tool been available to everyone who wants to make music, take advantage of it.
Q. How can people find and support you further?
Q. If you just want to say hello, you can reach me directly by email.