Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Amy. Love the new single: Freak at Night for Razor N Tape. Tell us about the influences you channelled into writing the song as it sounds like a celebration of Hi-Nrg, Disco and early Chicago House Music?
Well first and foremost thank you so so much! This is 100% as Disco, Blackheart Disco no less, as you can get with the HI NRG and Italo leanings. I certainly was definitely not thinking about Early Chicago House music in ANY form of the composition, if you hear anything there that’s fantastic, but my objective was only ever to hammer home all things that corresponded to that sleazy pulsating Disco feel be it Cerrone, Number One Ensemble or the touchstone duo: Moroder and Summer.
Lovely piano chords on the track too. How did you learn to play the instrument and how would you describe the piano you compose upon? If could own any piano in the world which one would it be?
Well, I truly thank you, but I cannot take credit for those chords, I did not play on this particular jam, but I am known for adding piano to many of my jams. I learned to play piano first and foremost for my grandmother, who was a far better pianist than I. I have two keyboards in my home at the moment, one of which I call “the doinker.” She is a beat to absolute hell Yamaha electric piano that has been with me for about 20 years and has survived every natural disaster you can possibly think of and yet she remains alive! I track PIANOS on a Nord.
Tell us about the music created by Jkriv (cofounder of Razor-N-Tape with Aaron Dae) to accompany the vocals?
In this particular instance, both Freak at night and bit O Honey in terms of the instrumental track existed before I came into the picture. What’s incredible is the inclusion of Mr. Derrick McKenzie from Jamiroquai on drums. Talk about an outrageous feeling! He and Mr. Kriv on bass? You cannot get better than that!!! Made my job very easy if not instantaneous, I knew exactly what had to go there, also because Mr. Kriv and I have very similar compositional sensibilities, so it was almost like I was in the room when that track was created in the first place. The best part of the project has been writing the song with JKriv.
How do you feel about the current climate in song writing? Do you think enough writers push the genre forward, given the amount of instrumentals being played in clubs?
It’s a very strange time to be a songwriter because what I see generally speaking all around is that music as a soul art form in and of itself, continues year after year to be absorbed by an overall entertainment industry at large. It’s very defeating in many ways. It is also equally defeating, because songwriters are the backbone of the entire industry, and they are suffering, the most veered from the streaming process, or the fact that every single artist today hires legions of ghost writers, it always really completely grinds my gears into dust when a celebrated DJ personality suddenly thinks they are a musician and songwriter, but they know damn well that they actually cannot do one single solitary step it requires to make that music alone so they hire multiple teams of people to point out and say do this, and then they will take all the credit for the genius. It’s a hypocritical place to be.
This all being said, I actually feel that songwriters could be doing a much better job with what you described as “pushing the genre forward.” When SZA, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are trouncing by being candid and bare chested? It makes me wonder why I still buy and large here so much cookie-cutter house and disco music always about the same things and by and large kind of sounding the same. I blame much of this, again, on DJs who thought they were producers and songwriters. It’s one thing to have reference points but when people of this nature basically dictate ideas to you and it’s nothing more than a collage of other people’s work? I lose my patience for this very quickly.
Do songs still have the ability to change the world? Should both Disco and House be expanding subject matter to better reflect the world today both in personal terms and politically?
Yes, yes, and yes, and more importantly? I think it’s time for classic Disco and classic house to not necessarily be the point of focus. It would be great to spread out and utilize other forms of dance music as the basis for great pop music construction.
We share two favourite singers in Sarah Vaughn and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. For the uninitiated could you recommend a song from each?
As far as I am concerned? Where Sarah Vaughan is concerned, she could sing anything to me, but I would probably recommend “Deep Purple” (this is the standard, from which the Proto metal band get their name) and as far as I am concerned, Robert Plant’s absolute apex vocal is on “Since I’ve Been Loving You.”
How do you feel about Club Culture’s place in the world? An entertainment staged at festivals or still charged with revolutionary fervour?
I think that the Internet has made anything revolutionary, and fervour driven difficult. I do believe that underground dance music is a response to that at large to the bloat of EDM at large, but even so? I think that to get that real feeling of revolutionary underground back? That revolution will not be Internet-ized. I believe that it would have to happen in such an old-school underground way to have any real feeling of traction and pushback much in the way we have dance clubs and events now that prohibit cell phones on the dance floor? I think maybe that mentality needs to come into play overall in order to put things right with the underground.
And finally. What’s next in the pipeline from Amy Douglas?
“Sweet Love!” The great Sophie, Lloyd and I have teamed up to give you some baby, making disco music, courtesy of classic Defected.