Interview: From opera to progressive house, we talk with Amy dB
"Music is who I am, the rest is what I do." Reads Amy dB's mantra. With a mantra like that, you'd be wise to protect the organ that allows you to consume music, and Iman Amy Danielle does just that.
With a background in singing, which started from the tender age of seven, Amy has had a life-long affiliation with varying styles of music. Once an opera singer, and now a progressive house DJ, she's really seen two unique corners of the musician's world. Her love of electronic music has excelled her to heights in the scene. Now with a winter residency at Sankey's, Ibiza, and gigs all over the world including Miami, Mexico and more, Amy dB has truly cemented herself within the tech-house scene.
With regular club attendance now, Amy dB recognises the importance of protecting her hearing. Here, she talks about using Alpine's PartyPlug earplugs and what's coming up next in her career!
Hey Amy, how are you?
Doing well! Tired, but well! Hope all things are great for you.
Congratulations on your latest EP, which was at #2 in the Beatport Prog House charts! How has it been received in clubs?
It was amazing - it was played all over ADE and at Elrow! It was fully supported by artists like Hernan Cattaneo, Roger Sanchez, Erick Morillo, Robert Babicz, Darin Epsilon, Oliver $, Brian Cid, Matan Caspi, Stan Kolev, Paul Sawyer, and also featured in Beatport’s Peak Hour Tracks. It received plays on numerous radio shows too like DI.FM, Frisky, Proton, Ibiza Global Radio and Ibiza Live Radio.
I’ve had people writing to me from all over the world requesting recorded sets of mine that feature the entire EP, and I’ve had offers to tour to non-traditionally known underground places like Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Tunisia and India. SO many artists from all over were just sending their praise for the EP and expressing their love, it’s been wonderful.
What’s the inspiration behind this EP and the collaborations with Yuriy From Russia and Stan Kolev?
The name of one of the tracks, ‘The Revered’, is the literal meaning of a friend’s name - someone who’s very special in my life that helped impel my inspiration further for soul-curling progressive-tech sounds. My inspiration also comes from my background as a musician and opera singer, but also from my Mediterranean descent where my people helped define music as we know it now, within the context of human development.
I combined Eastern musical instruments along with Gregorian chanting and near trance-like synth riffs, with the ripple effect of banging and driving deep-tech and progressive-techno drums. ‘Ibizaaa’, especially, was my call - my yearning - to bring back the peak Ibicencan sounds of the last two decades where melody was first and foremost in defining the track, whilst ensuring the end result was a legitimate techno track.
Stan owns the label Outta Limits which released this, and he’s one of my top five music producers of our time - since 1997! His sound is much more deep tech and eerily dark and groovy - more sexy than the average deep tech. His remix was actually the best received at ADE as well as in the Beatport Charts.
Yuriy is a young talent I have grown to love who was pushed by Oakenfold on his Perfecto label. Yuriy’s music is more progressive trance and is just stunning.
How is it having the legendary Joe Smooth as your manager?
Sublime, surreal, super, and a superlative! It is just awesome to work alongside someone with so many accolades: a true house music pioneer; the owner of the Warehouse where he gave the name house music to our genre; the producer of the epic seminal track 'Promised Land' that sold more than 150,000,000 copies... He’s a legend himself and I’m still in happy disbelief that he’s my manager, especially knowing he’s never managed anyone before myself.
When did you realise you had to start protecting your ears and what triggered this?
From day one when I started music classes at age 7, then later on when I was part of top singing groups at the collegiate level. I attended the Northwestern University - it’s one of the USA’s top music programs and they taught us well. I learnt that the ear can hear from 20 to 20,000 Hz range, and in amplitude from 0 to 120 dB… After 120 dB, it can cause permanent damage like tinnitus, or worse - deafness. Anything exposed for more than few minutes from the range of 85 and over an extended consistent time will cause damage.
We know that most clubs and festivals nowadays are right between the 80 and 100 mark, and in places like Ibiza where the decibels are sometimes far above 100 and are rampant, so there is a widespread risk for the pro DJ. It is intrinsic to protect your ears from a catastrophe that can literally ruin your life.
How often do you wear earplugs?
I always have two pairs on me in my purse. It helps in this case to be a femme artiste to have my backpack-purse on me constantly! In places like Ibiza or London’s festivals and clubs, I’m wearing them.
How have you found wearing them when DJing/producing?
I have found the Alpine PartyPlug earplugs extremely comfortable and malleable within the ear shape. They’re very lightweight too so it seems like there is nothing in my ears, and the noise buffering / limiting has been epic. Really love this product!
What’s the awareness like for hearing protection in Chicago?
Although I’m from Chicago, I don’t live there, but in terms of what I’ve observed from my travels, sadly most DJs don’t seem to take the necessary precautions to protect the most vital part of their career. Not to mention their health. It’s great to see campaigns like All Ears raising awareness of these issues and shining the spotlight on a product that is so intrinsic and necessary.
If there’s one piece of advice you could give to artists and/or fans with regard to protecting their ears, what would it be?
Protect thy ears, always. No music and no sound equals death for most of us.
What’s next for you?
I’m playing Art Basel in Miami, then after that in New Orleans and New York, and Lebanon in January. Then a UK tour in March just before WMC Miami.
My label Cream Couture Records is about to release a debut 17-track compilation called TranscenDance. As well as three of my own tracks, we’ve picked some amazing artists to feature like Betoko, Kolombo, Re Duprere, Paolo Mojo, Fly O Tech, Demian Muller, Pezzner… We’re very excited!
Thank you for having me! Love and Light!
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