The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Ambience Affair

Give us a bit of background to The Ambience Affair to this point.

We met two years ago in a music shop in Dublin. I had been playing solo for about a year previous to that.I felt there was a need for something extra as the songs weren't progressing in a way that I wanted. I invited Marc to one of my solo gigs and we soon decided to form the band.

Have there been any particularly memorably highs and lows thus far?

High points would probably be some of the gigs we've been lucky to play. Our last EP launch tour was one filled with great moments. I think we've been very fortunate to not have had many lows at all so far. Sure, we've played the odd awful gig or two but in general, I can't think of much that made me question being in the band.

Your stripped-down set of live self-sampling and looping have drawn many comparisons to pioneers like Owen Pallet. Do you think you draw a lot of influence from him and similar artists?

I think that although we do an aesthetically similar thing, Owen Pallet is an entirely different songwriter and musician. It is true that he was one of the first musicians who showed me the capabilities of a loop-station, but I'd like to think we've applied our own unique take on using one as a songwriting tool.

You released the excellent Patterns EP earlier this year. Who did you work with in producing it? Or did you go the fully independent route and do it all yourself?

We've assembled a team of fairly gifted people around us which I think has helped us alot along the way. From the artwork done by Alex Synge to working with producer Ian McNulty, it's all been a team effort to get a quality record into people's hands. As we're currently not signed to any label, we released it independently.

Were there any pleasant or unpleasant surprises along the way, from recording to releasing? Are you happy with its reception so far?

The reception has been great. It's weird to think that we've only stocked it in one record shop in the country and it has got such exposure, from radio DJs to the CSI thing. I guess 'Parting Patterns' being used on CSI:NY was one of the pleasant surprises.

Some have said that while it is one of the better releases by an Irish artist over the last year or so, it somewhat fails to capture the real Ambience Affair essence, as it lacks the build-ups, excitement and thick textures of the essentially process-based live show. How would you respond to that?

I think alot of artists try too hard on recreating the excitement of a live show on record. At first, we were like that. We were very wary of doing anything on record that we couldn't do live but the experience we gained from recording meant that we realised that the songs were going to be limited in sound if we stuck to exactly how they are performed live. Now we're not afraid to make the two things a separate entity. Our live show will always hopefully captivate in a way that a record never will.

Do you think the Ambience Affair will remain a predominantly live or studio act?

I'd like to think that we can be both. As I've spoken about in the last question, I think people should hopefully go to our gigs and watch an interpretation of our songs in a live setting, rather than us pressing play on a laptop and it being note perfect like it is on record.

This month saw the release of EMI's New Breeds compilation double CD of some of the more underground of Ireland's music acts. The Ambience Affair naturally features: can you tell us how that came about?

We were just contacted by the organisers and felt it to be a great opportunity to get further exposure and to be in the same group as many talented contemporaries

Might this be indicative of a new deal in the works with EMI...

I don't think so, we're just happy to be involved with the project.

What other acts in the Irish music scene are exciting you most these days?

The Irish music scene is very healthy at the moment with bands such as Villagers, O Emperor and We Cut Corners all writing consistently brilliant songs. We're lucky to have played shows with all three and got to see their talent up-close. It's great to have bands like that pushing you to write better songs.

What do Ambience Affair have in store for us over the next year or two?

The rest of the year will involve doing a support tour of Ireland in July and our own headline tour in October. This, together with a few festivals should keep us going. We've just started recording/demoing for the album so we hope to have it completed by the end of the year. Then we'll look into properly releasing it early 2011.

Anna Murray

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Nuggets from our archive

2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).