Music Features

Meet... Amatorski

Until their recent signing to Crammed, Amatorski were entirely self-reliant, releasing their debut LP, tbc, on their own back in 2011. A commendable achievement in itself, but the record went on to reach No.5 in the Belgian charts – an unprecedented achievement. Before signing to Crammed, tbc had only been released in the Benelux and now, as a result of this success, receives a worldwide re-release. 

“In a sense, we’ve developed quite a lot since tbc came out. But we also thought that the material from tbc deserved broader attention from the rest of the world.” Their most recent work, released in November last year, was a single in aid of musical experiences for deaf people, in which a contest winner provided the (Dutch) lyrics. The progression from tbc to that single, Sonar, is not an extreme departure, yet still the band believes in their approach from their debut record. “We think that simplicity and sparseness are typical for our sound, but that actually grew quite organically. It's not like we have a big sign in our studio [saying] 'keep it simple!' – it just comes naturally. And of course, once you discover the emotional power of simplicity and you know that it works well for the music we make, it becomes second nature to arrange music that way.”

Amatorski seem incredibly conscious of their process whilst still allowing their natural instinct to take course. “We are inspired by certain moods and impressions of the day when the first sketches of songs are made. But we wouldn't consider it as a deliberate process as 'choosing an emotion to evoke'. ” Their approach appears to value the ambiguity of atmospheric subjectivity and hinges on a contextual balance between lyricism and musicianship. They first allow the creative process to take hold before readjusting to a pragmatic mindset. Vocalist Inne Eysermann said, “I gather ideas of unrelated texts, based on my own experiences or experiences of other people; things I read… At a certain moment, music and lyrics come together; the musical ideas which express the right emotion are matched with the lyrics.”

“I think most things come naturally. But that doesn't mean that we don't think about it.” Essentially the band believes that their passion for their music and wholehearted commitment in its integrity allows the listener to connect. “I think the main goal is creating an interesting experience – a certain atmosphere, a certain emotion – and we work until we get that result. If we feel it ourselves, it will probably have the same effect on other people.”

Amatorski’s sound can be polarised from ambient, peaceful moods to instrumental freak-outs (see 8 November) with little warning or expectation. They are conscious of originality but not simply for the sake of it. “I think we avoid making the most obvious choices, because for us, it creates more interesting music. But it would also be wrong to force yourself to make an atypical choice just for the sake of being 'different'.” 

There are elements of escapism, especially in the prominent ambiences of tbc. “Music is a very effective expression tool for rather shy people, like us.” Rather than representing merely a freedom of expression, Amatorski exemplify how to extend expectation. tbc contains many facets that are entirely enlightening making it impossible to predict their next impulse, whether it be an instrumental exploration or more abrasive beat-laden sound. 

“I think the nice thing about music is that it is emotional, but yet very abstract. As a musician you reveal emotions, but it's not that tangible which emotion or how it relates to personal matters in your life.” The emotionally intensity of the record is never in doubt with Inne Eysermann’s vocals an enchanting lilt through myriad compositions - a beacon of tortured expression. Her lyrics, though admittedly abstract, invite the listener into an imagination which can emote without necessarily requiring the contextual signifiers. “It's different with lyrics of course, because the personal nature of texts can be much more revealing. However, I think our lyrics are somewhat cryptic; they are based on personal or fictitious experiences and emotions, but they are open for interpretation.”

Above all, Amatorski stand for a profound approach to making music. They may not be eccentric in their attitude but that doesn’t inhibit a truly expressive emotional experience. Although internalised and considered, the initial creative spark seems to infuse the work with a multiplicity of exciting possibilities. We may be almost two years along from the initial release of tbc but its potency still emanates. Credit must be attributed to Crammed for releasing the record worldwide rather than beginning with new compositions. The record will no doubt be a seminal piece of their collection and deserves the exposure rather than being abandoned. “It is a big advantage that Crammed is a small company which acts primarily from love for music, but still has an international reputation. Of course it's business, but you feel that the people are really into your music and not just marketing guys who work for a big salary. We haven’t known them that long, but we really feel at ease with them.”

Amatorski recommend: Broadcast, Björk, Kieslowski, Scandinavian film and television such as The Killing, Borgen, Jagten, Reconstruction.

tbc by Amatorski is released on 4 March 2013 on Crammed Records.