Interview: 2010 RBMA Participant Amenta

Amenta, a Toronto-born vocalist with an electro-soul sound, was one of the sixty participants in 2010’s Red Bull Music Academy in London. She has collaborated with Portformat, fLako and more recently, Mau’lin on a funky project dubbed “Deeper Than The Sun.” LOOKOUT recently interviewed her by email and got a glimpse into her overflowing memories of her time in London and what her musical career is like post-RBMA. To apply for this year's Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, or for more information, click here. The application phase ends April 4, 2011.

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LOOKOUT: How did you decide to apply to RBMA?

Amenta: I heard about RBMA in 2007 when it was being held in Toronto. I saw Muhsinah perform and a friend Jesse Ohtake encouraged me to apply. By the end of 2008, I was reminded by another friend, My Man Henri, and thought I really need to do it this year. I attended the info session where Flying Lotus was speaking at RBMA Toronto and was further inspired by his account of his experience.

Do you have a hunch as to why you were picked over all the other applicants?

You mean they didn't pick me for my amazing hula-hoop skills?? Well then I don't know.

What's your most profound memory from your time at the Academy?

There are sooo many to choose from. But the show I did with Hasan at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) comes to mind. I remember telling myself: "do not **** up." I recall seeing my classmates at the very front screaming and cheering and I got all choked up. The audience was sooo amazing and I received a lot of love and support afterwards. It was a memorable night.

How has your experience with RBMA affected your musical career? Has it affected your sound or musical style?

It has helped me meet wonderful fellow artists. Who you know and who you vibe with is VERY important. The power of partnerships and friendships is not to be underestimated as a strong force that can drive and influence your career. I'm so thankful to know the people I have met through RBMA. There were a lot of instrumentalists in my term – this has influenced me greatly and allowed me to really dig deeper vocally and find new approaches with melodies and much more. One man in particular who helped me discover my potential is Hasan Hujairi - Oud Master. As I touched on before, our performance at the Institute of Contemporary Arts really taught me a lot about myself. As well, being a participant of RBMA looks damn good on your resume. Upon hearing that you were a participant, people who know you give you major points and people who don't are inclined to learn more – and that's worldwide. It's pretty amazing.

You recently collaborated with another class of 2010 participant, Mau’lin. What’s life like post-Academy in terms of sustaining relationships?

Life is good! Most of us are pretty tight. A week will not pass without me talking to at least 5 or 6 of my 2010 classmates or term 2 homies. We roll deep ;). We hit each other up for vocals or drums or relationship advice. Not to give away our class secrets, but we still use our group email to connect. It's a beautiful thing. We continue to collaborate and share ideas and/or goals for the future or simply make faces at each other on Skype. We really support each other. They are definitely family.

Do you have any advice for this year’s RBMA applicants?

Be yourself. Put as much of yourself into your application as possible. Leave an imprint. By the time you’re finished your application, RBMA people should be able to tell what you smell like. I'm not joking ;). Let your funk shine.

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New Lunice Tracks from the RBMA!

The RBMA graduate class of 2010

Check out these two new tracks from Lunice. It looks like these two new tracks from Lunice will be used in a compilation put together by upstart record label Jus Like Music, alongside tracks from many other RBMA students. Best of all, the whole thing will be available for free download soon! Check the RBMA site for details.

Lunice - Let It Ride

Lunice - Perpetual Leisure

Stay posted in the upcoming days for new music from the other recent RBMA graduates, including Poirier, Ango, and Amenta

Red Bull Music Academy Blog!

If you don't know anything about the Red Bull Music Academy, then you need to check out the site immediately, stream the custom radio, and delve into what is one of the most into what is one of the most insanely stacked music collaborations in the world.

If you do know how exciting and exclusive the program is, then now is you chance to live vicariously through the 4 participants! The Exclaim! blog is providing a platform for the 4 Canadian participants and their own staff writer to share their unique experiences from the Academy's inner workings. Already, the artists Lunice, Amenta, Poirier, and Ango have written about private lectures and performances from talents as diverse as A-Trak and Dam Funk.

Dam's overriding advice? "Keep it gangsta." Well put, that's why LOOKOUT is proud to bring Dam Funk to Club Lambi March 6! LOOKOUT wishes the best of luck to all the participants, enjoy the incredible opportunity!

Photos: RBMA 2010 Send-Off Party

Dec 18 @ SAT w/ RBMA 2010 participants Poirier, Lunice, Ango, Amenta + Hudson Mohawke + Mike Slott.

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The next edition of the Red Bull Music Academy will touch down this year in London, England. Sixty artists from around the world will come together to share ideas with each other and industry vets, work on music, and perform in the best venues in town. Of the 60 artists selected, 4 are Canadian and 3 are from Montreal. Catch them live in their hometown for their send-off celebration.

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The artists include the headliners:

Hudson Mohawke (Warp):
There is no musician working today who is able to dart between the sample-heavy nature of hip hop production and the glitch-ridden breakdown of digital cacophony with the sheer sense of joy and artistry that Hudson Mohawke works into his tracks. A founding member of Glasgow’s LuckyMe collective, Hudson Mohawke recently released his debut album Butter on the iconic Warp Records. Some say he is picking up where label mate Flying Lotus left off; as the leading light of eccentrically melodic leftfield hip hop. The rest are just thrilled to see where he goes from here; live and on record, Hudson Mohawke is one of the most promising and dynamic producers out.

Mike Slott (LuckyMe)
Once known primarily for his work in the duo Heralds of Change with Hudson Mohawke, Slott’s solo releases, including a remix for Flying Lotus and his new micro-album Lucky 9teen on LuckyMe, have established his diverse, innovative take on everything from free jazz to classical hip hop. His Flying Lotus “RobertaFlack” remix tells the whole story. Slott takes the track’s esoteric melodies and makes them pristine centerpieces, chopping the beats to a delirious glitch abstraction, all while shrouding his creation with a shifting ambience of digital haze that evokes a sense of rhythmic warmth rarely heard in electronic music.

And the RBMA inductees:

Poirier (Ninjatune)
The power of DJ/producer Poirier’s bass will blast through any flimsy attempt to classify his music. While the purists struggle to label his sound as dancehall, soca, or electro, Poirier just takes what needs from all three and unleashes the result in a raw dance floor frenzy. Poirier’s tracks are sparse landscapes of Caribbean drums made superhuman with pulsating, pitch-shifting, and infectious bass and synth patterns. His style evolves and tears through new genres constantly, leaving a trail of packed, chaotic dance floors in its wake.

Lunice (LuckyMe)
Lunice is Montreal’s proudest young son of the moment. A member of the LuckyMe Collective, Lunice has been blasting his progressive bass street-hop and rocking some legendary shows in Montreal lately, like the Pop Montreal Red Bull Megahurtz and even a spot opening for Flying Lotus at Club Lambi this past summer. Following a serious of remix collections and an EP with Al Ripken Jr, Lunice will most definitely be popping up on everyone’s radar after he’s through with the Red Bull Music Academy. Expect big, big things, people.

Amenta (UpMyAlley)
Toronto’s Amenta is an intriguing case. It’s easy to spot in her music influences ranging from jazz to soul, to R&B, to hip hop, to new wave, to modern electronic experimentalism, and on and on. Lucky for the listener, Amenta tends to blend all her composing elements into sleek yet soulful compositions with outstanding pop sensibilities. Add in a hugely dynamic stage presence and it becomes all too clear why Amenta is heading to the Red Bull Music Academy and beyond.

Ango (Noyes Records)
Ango unleashes nothing less than raw sonic digital fury onto the dancefloor. A treasured Montreal native, Ango has been blowing apart speakers at the infamous Turbo Crunk nights as well as his own Too Low Booty Throw Monthly parties. Catch him live before he blows up at the Red Bull Music Academy!


available at

MOOG Audio: 3828 St-Laurent
OFF THE HOOK: 1021a Ste-Catherine
oLDgOLD: 256 Mont-Royal

and from friendly LOOKOUT sellers

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