As the year comes to a close, I should be none the different than to be introspective over the past 365 days that have gone by. Throughout this whole time, my partner in crime, Robert Mason (or Mason Bach depending on the mood) has been by my side. At times, I’m sure he thinks I’m insane with the ideas I concoct or dreams I chase but he’s the same way, and that is why we have so much fun. Sometimes I feel like a wild tiger when something inside me says ‘make a move’, I’m relentless. I’m lucky to have a partner that puts up with that on the daily. But somewhere in between his realism and my rainbows and unicorns, we meet happily. So I decided to recap our year. Because all work and no play is no fun but we make work our play and this year we’ve fund ourselves on a wild ride that’s taken us all over the place – physically and emotionally.
Our first project of the year was preparing the Eggshells release for Stripped Recordings.
Eggshells was a track we had made in 2010 – in fact our first real project together. We held onto it for years because it had something special about it and for me, to write a ‘song’ takes a lot longer than working out top line vocals. Eggshells had something to say in the words.
“Some say, the road to hell
Is paved with good intentions
I’ve seen it firsthand,
And I’d like to mention…
It’s a mess of manipulations and contentions.
I’ll never visit again, I’ll never visit again.
Don’t break the Eggshells when you step on them.
You’ll kill the flower when you cut off the stem.
You may be tarnished but you’re still a gem.
I said, ‘Back the truck up, get out of town,
Hell ain’t ready to have you around.”
© Amber Long
We took hold of the Eggshells release and label owner, Norman Hines, let us lead. Robert took the lead in creating an incredible ambient and I focused on the video production for the Original. We had decided to do it independently and came up with this:
As a first attempt in creating a comedic story, I believe we succeeded. It was a fun project in which we also had help from Leah Gritten who did my crazy makeup, Haroon Ahmed who was the photographer and Ivan Lapis who helped film.
Here is the release –
http://www.beatport.com/release/eggshells/1253887. It came out in February.
When we had finished filming the video, the fun thing was that Hernan Cattaneo was playing in town at RYZE so we went. Having the camera, I took the opportunity to capture the night. I’d gotten permission all around to do it and our crew was let in, no problem, thanks to the wicked promoters.
Hernan’s show was nothing short of incredible.
Check out the montage
And this very night, he dropped a new unreleased track by Tim Penner, featuring my vocals. I stood in the middle of the crowd and caught the whole thing on video. When the track is released, I’ll post it. What an incredible experience though.
Let’s fast forward to May.
We have a gig at the ROM and are headed to Detroit for Movement. School is over for me and we are excited about kicking off the summer right!
The ROM gig was incredible. We played more Beauty & The Breakdown styles and had a live percussionist, Kat Von Groove join us. I sang a couple tracks too and Robert played electric violin. We played deeper sounds and went back to back in fancy clothes while there were dinosaur skeletons in the next room.
Here’s the set in case you’re interested –
We packed up after this glorious show and headed with our friend Decker// from Montreal, to Detroit for Movement. We stayed in a sweet hotel that was minutes away from the festival and the moment you walked through the gates, you were welcomed by the sound of our sweet love, Techno. Initially, we were supposed to play a gig at an after party but in the end we didn’t and made the most of the time we had. Decker// played a nice deep set in an underground dungeon it seemed and his vibe was bang on. This trip taught us some valuable lessons and we also caught some killer sets from Chris Leibing and Digweed.
Next up in June came the Eggshells Remixes EP. This was completely set up and handled by Norman Hines and he handpicked each remixer. We had been getting them in, one by one and each one was mind-blowing. Our friend, Mikrokosmos made the first and it inspired the EP. Next we had Dale Middleton’s, Kastis Torrau’s and Arnas D’s matched up with one from Weepee.
This EP, especially Dale Middleton’s and the Kastis Torrau & Arnas D remixes, tore into the summer. People were posting the lyrics as their Facebook status’ and whatever we had ever wanted to come from the Original shone through with this remix EP. Rumor has it it, the Kastis Torrau and Arnas D Remix is Stripped Recordings #1 selling track. Their preview clip has almost 40k plays, as is, and it’s uploaded again everywhere.
You can find the EP here –
We both worked a lot this summer but in August had the opportunity to head to Montreal to visit with our friends and play a gig at Passport. The vibe was great and we all had a lot of fun.
During 2014, we developed a closer relationship with Decker//, especially after our Detroit adventures and had started collaborating on a track with him called Apologies. This was to be his first Beatport release and we worked through file sharing a lot. It was nice to sit face to face and plan the upcoming release.
We came up with a nice mix of Decker//’s deeper sounds matched with our own tech elements. The vocals had not been used for an independent project so we went from there, not knowing what was in store.
In August we also got to go on our first boat cruises. Yes, the first. For me anyway. The first was Guy J, the next was Gai Barone. The boat cruises transported me back to a beach in Greece and seeing Toronto from the water was really amazing. The music was perfect for the backdrop.
In September we learned we were headed to work for Decoded Magazine in Amsterdam for ADE doing their film work. At first it didn’t seem real. But it was most indeed real. We packed up our gear and headed overseas mid October for an adventure we had no idea we were in for.
We were hired to interview big name DJs, Producers, Label Owners, Promoters, etc from all around the world. And that is exactly what we did. With Simon Huxtable and Lars Roos, we trekked through the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam capturing whoever and whatever we could. Damion Pell, the Editor of Decoded Magazine, would send us a message telling us where to be and we would show up ready.
We met with old friends and new ones too.
While we were there, not only were we working for Decoded Magazine, we also filmed the pilot episode of Living the Dream, a Reality Web Series. This one is called The Story of Anri.
With a current, hard earned, flourishing music career backed by some of the biggest names today’s industry, and now, a new flat in Berlin, we catch up with ANRI at Amsterdam Dance Event where she takes us through her story of how she’s now ‘living the dream’, rounding things out with an insider’s view of her set at the Tom Hades Rhythm Coverted Meet and Greet as well as her showcase set for Cameleon Records at ClubUp for ADE 2014.
You can watch it here:
The next release up was an independent production called Run Away to be released on Paul Hazendonk’s label, Manual Music. This label was hand picked because of its boutique-y nature and we thought Run Away would fit right in. It was released on a Various Artists album called Seasons – Autumn 2014.
You can find it here –
The cool thing about this release is that a friend of ours, Brendan Hendry, offered to make the Official Video and he seemed to capture the essence of the track perfectly. So rough around the edges but hauntingly beautiful.
By the time Run Away was released, Apologies was hot on its tail coming to Stripped Digital in November. Norman had worked some more magic and had Cid Inc on board to do a remix. Not only a remix, a dub too! Decker// was excited to say the least, not to mention Robert and I.
When I got the final masters, I sat on them for a couple days. Hernan was coming to Toronto and I wanted to give them to him personally. But a couple days beforehand, something compelled me to send them to him before the gig… Just in case.
Well now, there is something truly incredible to be said about being in a crowd and hearing your own sounds come out of the speakers. This is what happened:
Yes, it is Cid Inc’s remix but when it all goes down, you think of the months of preparation and all the work that went into just making the EP happen, there’s something truly inspiring when it clicks and you say – holy cow! it worked!
When we spoke to Hernan, he said he enjoyed the whole EP, even the Original. And that, coming from a Master of Music, was incredible to hear. He said he would play it the next night at Stereo in Montreal. When Decker// would be there. And he stayed true to his word, dropping it around 8am. Decker// was so excited that he got video from the booth, with no audio. Robert had taken a bunch of photos the night before on the camera with the lens cap on as well, out of excitement. Hard to describe that 5 minutes when you have to take it all in but instead you want to catch it.
You can get the EP here –
Much to our surprise, Simon Huxtable decided to fly to Toronto from Manchester on a whim and we had planned a release party at Passport in Montreal. With a solid line up of Spot Ghis, Real Gone Kid, myself, Pascal B, Robert Mason and Decker//, we were all out to have a good time and celebrate good music. We spent the weekend eating traditional French food and had some great conversations.
Now we are into Housecoats Time, a time between Christmas and New Years when we slow down, wear leisure suits and finish up projects or start new ones.
We were commissioned by a Captain of a shipping boat from Texas to write his fiancée from Mexico a track so Robert got started. Christmas Day, I recorded the vocals and we started putting together what is now known as Aquatica. It’s unreleased but a sample is uploaded because it’s a present for Joselyn.
You can hear it here –
We come to the end of another year and I can’t add enough links or photos to convey how it’s been. From bad haircuts, to working on a boat hotel to playing an 80’s EDM gig, to becoming immortalized in Lego form… The list goes on on both sides of the spectrum, personal and private.
But one thing is for sure, our love of music is something we both share in spades. Together we do some pretty neat things.
Cheers to everyone and have a happy and safe New Year. Onwards and upwards for 2015. xx *A*
PS. Speaking of 2015… We have another release coming on the Purr Music. Both doing our own thing, but on the same EP. Inertia – Jelly for the Babies feat. Amber Long with a Robert Mason Remix
Check it out 😉