Amandroid On The Radio

Built by mad scientists in a secret underwater laboratory on the Lost Continent of Atlantis deep within the Bermuda Triangle; AMANDROID is a state-of-the-art being: A Human/Android Mutation. Originally programmed as a covert SubSonic Operative, an assignment led her on her fateful rendezvous with SPAZ and 5lowershop at the AUTONOMOUS MUTANT FESTIVAL- forever altering her life’s trajectory. Thus Submerged in the festival’s Bass Saturated 23rd Dimensional Landscape; AMANDROID’s circuitry was completely washed and re-written. Now, in Solidarity with her Audio Comrades near and far, FREE and imprisoned, AMANDROID and the ARMY of LOVE SOUNDSYSTEM are proud RENEGADES of the SubSonic RESISTANCE! From their Underground base deep within the Liberated Territories of Northern Californiastan, they are forever venturing forth bringing Audio Mayhem to points up and down the West Coast, across the continent and Worldwide. And like yourself, AMANDROID is yet one more gleaming point of light in the perpetually expanding Galaxy of Artists and Musicians RESISTING the oppressive forces of the Mundane and Complacent! You can hear her live every Thursday on Dam Free Radio on the internetz at: http://www.spaz.org/radio/ at the AUTONOMOUS MUTANT FESTIVAL: http://www.mutantfestival.org/ and at a party near you soon! LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE!!! www.spaz.org

(bio by Be Wun)

Femmecult:

Tell us about your early years, and any parties, crews that pushed you in this direction and motivated you to begin djing.

Amandroid:

I think the telling moment that kind of sewed it all up and sent me in the direction I have been going in for the last 16 years was meeting some people from the S.P.A.Z, and Blackkat sound systems on the street next to their tour bus in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was living at the time, in about 1998. I had just returned from almost 2 years of work and travel in Latin America, and they had just finished a tour of the USA with the notorious Spiral Tribe & Bedlam Soundsystem crews from Europe. We hit it off, and I ended up helping to organize a number of events with them in this cool old warehouse that housed the local public access tv station, WYOU, in Madison. These crews in one way or another incorporated the DIY ethic in to what they did, and had a really “commercial free” vibe, in short, it’s wasn’t about the money, this really spoke to me, and for the most part this is how we still operate today, for example most events we do are sliding scale, or no one turned away for lack of funds, something you don’t really see with most “party” crews and events. Through connecting with these folks I ended up learning about the Earthdream Tour, this was the word of mouth brainchild of one of the co-founders of the Mutoid Waste Company. The idea was birthed in 1988 to spread the word of a convergence in the Australian outback, connecting activists, sound systems, artists, circus performers, musicians, dj’s etc to collaborate together in a massive desert convoy… So some of us concocted a plan to head over to Oz to be a part of a huge y2k free party at the end of 1999, and then meet up with the Earthdream Tour in May of 2000. This tour was very inspirational for me in so many ways, meeting people like the Labrats, an Australian crew that had a veggie oil vehicle, a wind powered cinema, and a solar powered sound system… I was blown away to say the least. Through the Earthdream Tour I was opened up to so many things, like the idea of protest with sound. Some of the coolest actions I have ever been a part of were on the Earthdream Tour, like blockading the roads with sound systems in front of Roxby Downs, the worlds largest Uranium mine…..When I came back to the states after that, I bought a school bus, converted it to run on used cooking oil, pieced together a sound system, originally called Raststar Soundsystem, now known as Army of Love, and started traveling and doing shows wherever possible.

Femmecult:

Tell us about your time living in San Francisco and working out of the 5lowershop warehouse and being a part of this arts and music collective.

Amandroid:

The first time I really heard about the 5lowershop collective, I was in Australia, and some friends of mine from S.P.A.Z were getting ready to head back to the states, so they left me a box of cassette tapes to pass out to people while on tour, and these tapes were all from the 5lowershop free tape distro. So much unique and cool underground music was in this collection, a real treasure, it definitely turned me on to a lot of stuff i had never heard before. I ended up meeting Binnie, the founder of 5lowershop at an AMF (Autonomous Mutant Festival) a year later. A couple years after that, 2002 i think, at a different AMF, I heard about this cool action being planned at the Nevada Test site, a bunch of crews from the Bay Area, S.P.A.Z, Katabatik, Havoc, and 5lowershop were going to head to the Nevada Test Site, bring Soundsystems, and set up in solidarity with the Shoshone people protesting there. I knew right away I wanted to participate, especially after being in remote Aboriginal communities protesting uranium mines in the outback of Australia. So I headed to the 5lowershop warehouse in San Francisco to get ready to caravan with them to Nevada. I was really into the vibe of the space, I think when I got there the warehouse had been in existence for about 6 months, so still fairly new to the 5lowershop crew. It was all about no holds barred, I think the only “rule” that existed was you couldn’t tell anyone to turn their music down, haha, it felt really raw, had tons of energy, a very dark urban feel, artwork covering all the walls floor to ceiling, graffiti blanketing the entire outside of the space, cool buses, and old military vehicles in the backyard… So when we returned from the Test Site i pretty much stuck around, and ended up working out of that space for maybe 5 years. Back in those days we were actually able to still get away with some awesome underground events there, and we threw down some truly memorable ones! It had it’s ups and downs for sure, as any collective does, but for me contantly being around so many people who were working on art and music 24/7 was the motivation I needed at that time in my life.

Femmecult:

You are also part of the Spaz collective as well. What are some differences between the two? Tell us about the creative philosophies of these collectives.

Amandroid:

Ultimately I feel like the essence or core of both of their creative philosophies is the same. S.P.A.Z stands for Semi Permanent Autonomous Zone, a play on the concept of TAZ (Temperary Autonomous Zone) brought about by Hakim Bey in his book of the same name, and i think that’s what we are going for every time we set up an event, to create a space where there is no hierarchy, no artistic limits, a truly collective unique one of a kind creation where people can come and have an experience completely outside of the mainstream paradigm, in this sense i think the two collectives are very similar.
I think stylistically there are differences, for instance 5lowershop in general, tends to lean towards the harder side of most music i.e: hardcore, breakcore, experimental, noise, free tekno, etc, and that feeds in to the aesthetic as well, using a lot of black and white graphics and backdrops, minimal lighting keeping events on the darker side, heavily influenced by the European “Free Tekno” scene.
S.P.A.Z is very eclectic musically, spanning a broad range of music styles, with a heavy emphasis on Bass, and a very colorfully artistic style, really spending a lot of time texturing a space with art and deco, and inviting collaborators to create mini pockets of special experiences in every nook and cranny. Of course there is a lot of crossover with both of these crews, and many of the same people collaborate together on projects…..

Femmecult:

Tell us about your experience helping organize and put on music festivals you’ve been a part of, such as the Autonomous Mutant Festival.

Amandroid:

Thanks for that question, I always look forward to the opportunity to tell people about the Autonomous Mutant Festival. This coming August will be the 18th annual AMF! So that right there says a lot, we have collectively been keeping this festival happening for almost 20 years, and there is a lot of history there. I don’t know if i can think of anything else like it that exists in this country, and for as long, except for the Rainbow gathering, but they shun amplified sound. Mutant Fest is a 7-10 day renegade festival on the West coast that changes locations every year, it’s either in Washington, Oregon, or California. We exercise our constitutional right to gather peacefully on public land, and scout sites either on BLM land or in the National Forest. Mutant Fest is what the participants make it, and that really reflects on a yearly basis, it’s always different depending on who is more involved in a particular year, and how much energy people have to put into it. It’s a DIY, and “commercial free” event, in short, this means that no one pays an entry fee, or sells food and water etc, some camps have big kitchens and cook communal, donation based meals, but the general idea is that everyone comes with something to share, and takes care of themselves,i.e. there is no central organization, no one “in charge”. Anyone can get involved, bring sound, play music, give a workshop, do a circus show, set up a camp etc, obviously with the hope that people will be respectful of others, and clean up after themselves. Of course there are a few core crews that have been involved since the beginning that do a lot of the scouting for the location, making sure there is a med tent, spreading the word about how to take care of yourself in the woods, and sticking around after everyone else, to make sure the place is spotless when we leave. Anyone attending Mutant Fest could expect to hear music they have never heard before, see some amazing art in a beautiful forest location, meet interesting folks from all over the world, possibly leave with some newly silkscreened clothing, and hopefully pitch in by helping to cook some food or donate to the generator or kitchen fund, dig an outhouse, or bring art or music to share etc…. Since there is no monetary charge to attend this amazing event, most crews throw benefit events before hand to support the expenses of scouting to find the site, travel for getting the core camp necessities there, fuel for powering the festival, and food for feeding the people, so attendees who come with goods to share or a donation to the cause are much appreciated. For more info about this event check:
http://www.mutantfestival.org/

Femmecult:

What are some moments that stand out to you in your time working with these collectives and putting on events?

Amandroid:

Wow there are so many! I think some of the first moments that pop in my mind are of the “renegades” or “outlaws” we’ve done over the years in the Bay Area. These consist of urban scouting of sites where it could be possible to roll up with a sound system and get away with throwing an all nighter in some dark crevasse of the city. We have had some really special renegades in places where it might not seem possible, and I think that is a real eye opener for the people that end up there, a subtle re-programming of what seems possible in life.

I can think of many memorable moments throughout our 10 year run of an annual event we did called “Monsters of Love”, it started off as this small one off night, and blossomed in to this massive multiple room experience that was an epic throw down of as many of the artists and dj/musicians we know and love that we could possibly cram in to one night. It kind of developed a life of it’s own, and at this point has maybe even outgrown itself, it remains to be seen…It’s getting harder to find cool underground spots that can host big events in the Bay area these days, so we actually couldn’t do MOL this past year. Lastly I’ll mention some of the precious sunrises at the Autonomous Mutant Festival. So much hard work and challenges go in to making this event happen, vehicles and generators breaking down, lack of funds you name it, behind the scenes we are often struggling to keep it all together, so sometimes it can feel like “wait why am i doing this”? Then everything finally slides in to place, and after a proper night of madness (the good kind) the sun rises and you’re surrounded by a lot of people you love, plus new friends, in a beautiful place, making new memories, and that’s when i inevitably remember how important it is to try to provide a space for people to come and have an expansive experience, whether that’s needing the release of dancing it out all night long, or just being in nature sharing good food with new friends.

Femmecult:

You have been DJ for many years now. How would you describe your musical taste, and style of djing?

Amandroid:

ADD, ha! I like so much music, so many different styles, it’s hard for me to ever just play one thing. I have pretty eclectic tastes, and I try to incorporate that in to all my sets, trying to hit on something for everyone, and even maybe crossover to people who might think they don’t like electronic music, while at the same time trying to stay true to my musical integrity and only playing music I genuinely like and think is quality. I have a mix called Sonic Goulash, and that kind of describes my sets, a little bit of everything mixed up together. Often times Dj’s are known for the one genre they mainly play and excel at, they’re either a dubstep dj, or a techno dj, etc.. but when I play at a party i try to play multiple genre’s, anywhere from Latin, acid, house, booty, global bass, techno, hardcore, balkan, dancehall, shantyshack etc… often times spanning from one bpm range and ending up in a totally other, I really skip around styles , but try to mix fluidly to keep the flow there.

Femmecult:

How has it evolved since you began, in terms of style of music that you choose and also how you perform (technical aspect)?

Amandroid:

When I was a teenager I was really in to playing the drums, I played snare in the marching band, and then later got more in to playing hand drums, and learning a lot of cuban and african rhythms, around that time I started messing around with some friends electronic gear, drum machines and what not. Before I was comfortable dj’ing with the turntables I played a live set, that was sort of experimental, techno, and downtempo with an SU 700 Sampler/ sequencer, a Dr. Groove drum machine and a Korg Ea-1 synth, plus misc. delay and distortion pedals, I did that for a number of years, all the while collecting records and messing around on the turntables….This all seemed like a natural/organic progression to me, because beat matching records is very similar to playing the drums in that you are dealing with hearing how to mix polyrhythms together. I have a super wide-ranging record collection, but when I played out in the beginning I mostly played either dub, roots, and dancehall, or electro, detroit techno, and weird breaky stuff. Now I still use the turntables, but mostly with Serato when I dj. I also occasionally use Ableton Live to do live-ish dj sets with effects processing, some drum loops that I program, and mp3s…

Femmecult:

Where do you see your style going and why?

Amandroid:

Where I want my style to go, is back into to the live-set/production realm. Don’t get me wrong, I Love dj’ing, and it’s something I’ll probably always do, but I feel like playing live, or making tracks is truly where it’s at, that would bring it around full circle for me. Dj’ing has sort of taken my focus for the last bunch of years, but as things change in the dj world, it’s definitely made me want to get back to trying to make tracks. It’s so much more accessible for anyone to dj now, which is a good thing, but it has really changed the scope of the music scene. In some ways it has raised the bar, because if you want to stand out you have to work at it more because dj’s are a dime a dozen, but in other ways it has dumbed down the scene, it’s become too easy, dj’s don’t seem to be as discerning about what they play, or even care about mixing or learning any of the technical stuff. At this stage in the game i feel like playing live is the only way to achieve a truly unique one of a kind sound.

Femmecult:

What are your influences in art, music, philosophy? Politics?

Amandroid:

Too many to mention, but I am definitely influenced in these realms by people who would be considered revolutionary, out of the mainstream, and cutting edge….Ghandi, Malcom x, Amy Goodman, Arhundati Roy, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, AIM, Mandela, Martin Luther King,
The Clash, The Slits, King Tubby, Studio 1, Sun Ra, The art ensemble of Chicago, Raymond Scott, Moog, Kraftwerk, Underground Resistance, 80’s hip hop, Speedbass, Spiral Tribe, Jamaican Soundsystem Culture, Susun Weed, Juliette de Barclay Levy, Rosemary Gladstar, Brian d. Tripp, Frida Kahlo, Louise Erdrich, the Beehive Collective, Linton Kwesi Johnson, all freedom fighters, and political prisoners, all my friends… The list goes on.

Femmecult:

What do you see changing in the electronic music world since you began?

Amandroid:

Everything has changed so much, and it’s changing faster everyday. From the time when someone would be sitting in their studio, creating a track with actual hardware, like synthesizers, samplers, tape delay, drum machines, whatever, make a recording of it, master it, send it off to have a test pressing made, and then press it on to vinyl etc, and Then finally distribute it out, and not to mention the money it takes to pull all that off…. To now where basically anyone can record a track, put it up on the internet, and people anywhere around the world can be playing it out that same day, that’s crazy, but amazing at the same time, especially in that it has leveled the playing field economically.

Femmecult:

What do you think about the whole vinyl versus digital debate?

Amandroid:

Well, when it all kind of first started really happening i was definitely on the vinyl side, and ultimately really still feel like there is nothing like the sound and feel of vinyl. That said though, now a days I find i play most of my sets using Serato Scratch with turntables, haha, and i do feel like somewhat of a sellout because of it! Back in the day i used to love to spend hours digging through records in my favorite record stores, but i rarely get the opportunity to do that now, now its digging through 1000’s of tracks on the internet, which works for me since I have re-located to the middle of the mountains, where the closest record store is 100 miles away, but i do have high speed internet! Honestly though we have access to so much amazing music through the inter webs, and once i started entering into the digital dj’ing realm i felt like i was so quickly finding such a plethora of new and interesting music that it really expanded my repertoire for the better.

Femmecult:

How do you prepare for live shows, and what are some considerations that influence that preparation? Do you tailor your sets ahead of time, or is everything done on the spot?

Amandroid:

Often these days a set at an event means you get about 45 minutes, which isn’t much time, so if this is the case i do try to somewhat tailor my set beforehand. I Imagine the event and start compiling music that goes with the vibe or feel i want to create or convey, or if the event has a theme i keep that in mind too, sometimes I can sort of picture what the crowd will be like beforehand. Over the next bit of time leading up to the event i go through all that music i compiled, experimenting with how it all goes together, eliminating tracks, adding others until i have a general idea of the flow, and a certain number of tunes depending on the length of the slot. For instance if I have a 45 minute set usually i can only cram about 15-17 songs or less in there, which isn’t many! so i’ll compile about 20 r 25 of my favorites from my practice sessions of going through tracks.
That is why the radio show is so fun, it gives me a chance every week to play music that i like a lot, but i wouldn’t get to play out at most parties, my radio sets are very “un-tailored”.

Femmecult:

Tell us about your weekly radio show on Dam Free Radio.

Amandroid:

Myself, and my partner in crime, the artist known as B1, have been holding down Thursday nights from 7:30pm-2am, hosting our show Dam Free Radio for about 6 years now. We simultaneously broadcast on the FM out in our area, and do a live streaming show on http://www.spaz.org/radio/, which is picked up in Oakland (California) and re-broadcast on to the FM there as well. We call it Dam Free Radio to promote Dam Removal on the Klamath River especially, but also just in general to bring awareness to issues surrounding Dams and their effects on culture, habitats, the environment etc..
Our Dam Free Radio Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Dam.Free.Radio) is titled “Dam Free Radio-Klamath River- Karuk Nation”, this is to pay respect to the original people from the area we are humbled to live in, the Karuk Tribe. Our show usually consists of a diverse mix of many different genres and styles of music, infused with a little comedy, some spoken word, stories, news, and guest dj’s and performers, which we try to encourage. It’s been fun to get more locals out where we live starting to dj for the first time, and do sets on the radio. S.P.A.Z Radio has cool music on 24/7 and live shows most nights of the week, so check it out!

Femmecult:

What’s on the horizon for Amandroid?

Amandroid:

I had an awesome experience this past winter collaborating with the Oaklajara project, http://oaklajara.org/, and got to tour around playing music and doing shows in Mexico, which was kind of a dream come true for me because I used to spend a lot of time in Mexico in the 90’s, and I love it there so much. So to be able to go back and share art and music couldn’t have been better! So I hope to be doing more of that, more traveling, learning, sharing art and music, finding inspiration, hearing new sounds….. I want to say Big up to Subjektiv Sound for working so hard to bring down the sound system that we toured with.

Amandroid Online:

https://hearthis.at/amandroid/ https://soundcloud.com/amandroid

 

Check out the exclusive podcast that Amandroid did for Femmecult!

 

Femmecult005 Amandroid Serving Fresh Beat Juice by Femmecult on Mixcloud