My guest today is none other than Amazing Police! From Oslo, Norway, he has been making heads turn with his amazing tracks such as Sky or Die, Exotic Information and the latest track, Different machine! Amazing Police was kind enough to give up some free time, to do this interview!
3.47: Why the name Amazing Police? Most people hate the police! What’s the story behind it?
Amazing Police: When I was in high school, some friends and I formed a band. We had intersecting tastes in music, although I don’t think we ever discussed what kind of music we should play, and we never actually played together. We used an online band name generator to get the name Amazing Police, which we were all very happy with. I think it conjures up a surreal image of Italian cop movies set in the future, although I don’t know if we all shared that vision. When it became apparent that we weren’t really going to make any music, I just started using it on my own, which the others didn’t mind.
3.47: When did you first started getting noticed as an producer?
A.P: My tune Veranda got featured on Profesh Press (https://soundcloud.com/profesh) a few years back and got a few listens, but it was in early 2013 that White Tape was shared in the Synthetix community, and several other songs were posted by Rick Shithouse on the blog later on. That’s part of the reason why I focus on making synthwave these days, I feel that I “get” the genre enough to make tracks that have a sound that I can dig, and that others may appreciate.
3.47: Is anyone else in your family a musician?
A.P: My dad is a professional jazz musician and composer, and my mom plays classical piano, although not professionally. She taught me some harmonic theory, which I think is really useful when listening closely to music. It’s great to be able to discuss unusual chord progressions with them.
3.47: What inspires you as a artist?
A.P: Every sound that was made in the 80’s, both in music and film. The excessive use of reverb and flangers created a distinct atmosphere, and many artists invented or re-invented their sound in that period, using varied approaches, even if the sound of that decade is easily recognizable. Some of my favourite artists/bands are Miles Davis, Prince and Weather Report, all of which did had an 80’s period. Prince is perhaps the most important, being the master of the LinnDrum and flanged hi-hats. I also love jazz harmony, which works excellently with the 80’s sound. Even cheesy ad music had alot of interesting harmonies and chord inversions.
Several movies of the era also have a very inspirational soundscape, such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Others just have excellent soundtracks, such as Scarface, or any movie scored by Goblin (Tenebre, Buio Omega, etc). I often try to re-create the atmosphere of certain songs or films, before it ends up as a track. I use a Yamaha DX11 and Roland JX-8P when I play around with timbres, and they both have a very 80’s quality to them.
3.47: How supportive have your friends and family been?
A.P: I try not to push my music too much, but I get a nice response from friends when I do. My parents also give me good feedback on what I show them, they tend to appreciate complex harmony, which is something I like too.
3.47: Who would you like to work with next? Anyone famous at all?
A.P: There are several people in the Synthwave community that are doing some really interesting things, and certain collaborations may surface at some point.
3.47: How hard is it being independent and trying to get your voice out there?
A.P: Honestly, I’ve never had to put that much effort into it myself, it just sort of came along thanks to the exposure on Synthetix.fm. I also get alot of support from other producers, such as Highway Superstar and Alpha Boy. My music is already getting more attention than I ever expected.
3.47: Do you have any unfinished tracks sitting on your hard drive? If so would you be putting together something so people can hear them?
A.P: Loads, and they would be very tedious to listen to in their current state. I like what Mr. Oizo does from time to time, which is to release a mashup of unfinished tracks. I dumped all of my by then unfinished tracks to SoundCloud two years back, I might do it again some time in a more structured manner.
3.47: Most of the producers I spoke to use FL studio to make their tracks, are you the same?
A.P: I’ve never used FL studio. I started using Cubase in 2004, and made a gradual switch to Ableton Live starting in 2009. At first I was reluctant to use Live exclusively, as I saw it as limited and non-serious software, but I find it so much quicker and more inspiring to use than anything else, and I tend to polish the sound more accurately because of that. I do rely on 3rd party VSTs that I’ve been using since way back, though.
3.47: Are you surprised at how big your fan base has become?
A.P: Yes, and I really owe that to the exposure I get in the syntwave community and on Synthetix.fm.
3.47: What was your reaction when you saw the feedback coming in about your music?
A.P: I was quite surprised, and I felt really encouraged to become more productive. Finishing tracks is one of the hardest things, but after I realized that could have a captive audience, the completion rate of songs has gone from 1:20 to maybe 1:3.
3.47: If you had the power to run your own music label, what would you call it?
A.P: Poliziotteschi, which is a term for Italian cop movies of the 70’s. I think it sounds good, and Italian producers played an essential part in 80’s disco.
3.47: What has been the weirdest request you had?
A.P: No weird requests as of yet.
3.47: What would you say are the advantage/disadvantage of been independent?
A.P: The advantage is that I can do things in my own time and on my own premises, and I don’t really have an obligation to stick to a certain genre. If I was under a contract, I suppose it would make me more productive, but I would also have to partially depend on it for income if I were to focus fully on it.
3.47: Are you hoping to perform live?
A.P: Yes, but I don’t know how yet. I’ve always worked on different ideas on how to perform my music live, although I never think of that when I’m actually composing or producing tracks. I think I would prefer to arrange my music for live instruments, if only synth or percussion, in addition to using Live.
3.47: What’s your favourite song at the moment?
A.P: A few weeks back I found an extended version of Computer Blue by Prince, from Purple Rain. It goes on for over 10 minutes and has lots of Hendrix-esque guitar feedback and Oberheim synth stabs. I’ve been listening to that alot.
3.47: What’s your favourite movie?
A.P: Mulholland Drive. David Lynch has aways been a bit 80’s, probably because of the way he uses heavy reverb to create surreal soundscapes.
3.47: What’s your favourite video game?
A.P: Leisure Suit Larry – Shape Up Or Slip Out
3.47: What’s the best advice you been given?
A.P: Finish what you start. This is as important when learning new songs as making them.
3.47: What advice can you give to to others who want to be like you?
A.P: Learn to listen to your own music, and find a style and sound that you really enjoy listening to.
3.47: What do you do in your spare time?
A.P: Work on unfinished songs, as often as I can.
3.47: Do you have any other hidden talents?
A.P: I don’t have enough talents to hide. But I love to cook, and I’m getting really good at making sausages. I made 2 kgs of Lucanian sausage a few weeks back, based on an ancient Roman recipe. Sausage making is a bit like making synthwave, chopping and grinding the meat is kinda like making heavy bass and drum tracks, and the condiments and liquid ingredients are like synths and reverb. The sausage casing works like a compressor. If the Oberheim DMX drum machine was an ingredient, it would probably be a big red onion.
3.47: If you had the chance to run YouTube what would you change about it?
A.P: Currently, their only goal is to maximise ad revenue, and the best way to do that is by promoting a few videos at a time that are already extremely popular, because then they can jack up the price per ad, which is more profitable than dividing the same amount of views across less popular videos. This really sucks for independent content producers, and it kinda sucks for the general public as well. YouTube can generate enough revenue simply by recommending content equally based on relevance, and that would promote a greater cultural wealth as well.
3.47: Not only have you done the old school 80’s theme, but you also done house, ambient, disco and quite a few others! Which genre are you hoping to tackle next?
A.P: The great thing about synthwave and related genres is that it encompasses so much. You can have elemens of disco, jazz, funk, metal, rock, anything you like, and still make it sound 80’s, but also original. I find that most of what I do these days ends up sounding 80’s in one way or another, and I’m always figuring out new production tricks that came about in that decade.
3.47: Are there any upcoming artist like yourself that you’re keeping a close eye on? For example in your eyes, they are going to be the next big thing?
A.P: There are too many promising acts in the synthwave community to mention, none of them seem to getting the mainstream attention they deserve, although they may very well pull it off. Highway Superstar, Tommy, Sellorekt/LA Dreams, Moustache Machine, for instance, they all make different music that really interests me.
3.47: What can we expect from you in the future?
A.P: I currently play bass in a pop/funk/RnB-band (Yogi Shine), and we’re recording our first EP this fall. I’m also putting together an Amazing Police LP, with loads of unreleased stuff. I hope to release previews when the time comes.
3.47: Final question! Any words you want to say to your listeners out there?
A.P: As Rick Shithouse says, keep on rocking to the max!
3.47 would like to say a massive thank you to Amazing Police for spending the time doing the interview! Until next time guys!