– by Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
Chit-chats with musicians usually guarantee an invigorating conversation, our interview with The Amani Consort’s front lady, Aysha Amani was no different. After their successful launch of LP Dawn After Dark we decided to sit down and quiz this soulful rapper’s creative mind.
Since forming in 2012 and hailing from all types of musical backgrounds the group have drawn on their different musical experiences to craft EP Better Way and more recently in March released Dawn After Dark, fine-tuned jazz renditions meshed with unique vocal stylings and distinguishable funk grooves. ‘This project (The Amani Consort) arose from a common desire to take a project to the next level and really craft something special,’ said Aysha whilst expressing her views on Perth musicians spreading themselves thin in order to make a living out of their passion. ‘As session players you have to rely on your talent to pull things together sometimes.’
Placing a strong push for collective change, Dawn After Dark provides social commentary served up with a side of bass driven jazz club vibes. ‘My lyrics tend to be a reflection of what’s going on around me and what sparks me creatively at a particular moment in time and I think that’s always changing,’ commented Amani as we discussed the contemplative feel of her new LP. ‘We wanted to make a record that musically and sonically was a real listening album that takes you on a journey and as a result we got a different vibe from our first EP.’
Whilst on the topic of inspiration, we delved into the creative process Aysha and the rest of her crew went through when working on their new tracks. The talented vocalist summed up the numerous aspects of putting together ear candy for listeners, ‘I think you’re always walking that fine line between letting ideas flow in a collaborative environment, pitching yourself in a genre and drawing influence from other artists that inspire you whilst keeping some originality and artistic integrity.’ Amani discussed her auditory visions as products that need to be shaped and moulded instead of clear cut ideas. ‘It depends really, sometimes we need certain things out of a song,’ whether that includes more up tempo songs or experimentation within a track, Amani has it covered.
Before parting ways, I asked Aysha Amani to describe each of her band members; ‘Gordon is a Swiss born organ player with a liking for cheese and keeping precise time, James is a suave lawyer by day but a deadly stylish bass player by night, Bronton is a machine, and a man of little words, he’s half man, half metronome who must be fed regularly and Alex is the mad professor, king of the chords with a love of Sci-Fi (especially Star Wars) and a talent for old school funk.’ With such an eclectic mix of personalities influencing the musicality of ‘Dawn After Dark, Aysha Amani’s voice at the forefront of this captivating smooth blend of jazz fusion, powerful lyrics and old school ‘70s funk, is definitely worth a listen. We recommend hitting that repeat button.
Photo Credit: The Amani Consort Facebook Page