AmPm talks about the main inspiration behind their love for music, their masks and more: Interview
Japanese duo Morning afternoon have made their presence felt in the electronic dance industry one fire track at a time. Traveling the world and exploring different cultures being the main inspiration behind their love for music, the duo have been able to provide fans with productions that perfectly represent who they are and what they set out to achieve as artists in our community. With Asia being the primary region of their success, AmPm has also seen its reach expand globally in recent times, with the biggest names in the industry praising each release. Their next dance floor series will feature productions titled after the cities in the world where they’ve felt most inspired to date, “Tokyo” and “New York City” being the first two installments. We caught up with AmPm and here’s what they had to say about their role in our scene and what the future holds!
How long have you been producing music? Give us a glimpse of who or what inspired you to pursue this particular career path?
We debuted as an AMPm in 2017, so this year will be our fourth year. Our roots are different, but we both worked in music for over ten years prior to our debut. From around 2015, we started to travel together in Japan and abroad. By meeting and chatting with various artists, we thought we would like to introduce them to a wider audience, and after trial and error, we ended up making our debut as artists ourselves.
With over 70 million streams on Spotify and over 20 titles released to date, you are one of the most requested music production exports in Japan. How does it feel to be as successful as you are in your homeland and what are your aspirations for the future?
We had a wave of listeners mostly through Spotify right after our debut and to be honest our first impression was that we were more baffled than happy. We didn’t have a good idea of what we wanted to do, and despite being insufficiently prepared, the number of streams increased and various offers rushed in, and we were so confused every day. Finally things get better and at the same time our thoughts and what we need to do become more apparent, so now we’re about to focus on those again. We will continue to collaborate with singers and also aim to visit many countries to organize live concerts.
In 2017, your first track ‘Best Part of Us’ feat. Michael Kaneko has started your affair successfully. What does this track mean to you guys? Can you give us an overview of the creation of this track and the collaboration with Michael Kaneko?
As mentioned before, we were traveling to many countries together around 2015. We started a company and the truth is, we produced “Best Part of Us” as the theme song for our company. The song ended too well to be just a corporate theme song, so we decided to release it. This is how AmPm became an artist and this song came out. We met Michael Kaneko via the internet and our first meeting was when we found out about the videos he had uploaded to YouTube and contacted him. At that time, we didn’t think we would interact with each other for so long.
Performing on Spotify on Stage as the only Japanese artists must have been a proud moment for you. How does it make sense for you to represent your country on a global scale?
At least in the area of dance music, the current situation is that there aren’t many Asians on the world stage. However, there are many adorable DJs and producers in Japan. Our presence in the world gives hope to those in Japan and we also believe it would teach them how to step onto the world stage. We really feel very responsible. Anyway, Spotify on Stage was an event that happened just a few months after our debut and we still clearly remember it as a great experience.
With Asia being the primary region of your success, you’ve also found yourself all over the world, like in Ultra Miami and even headlining in New York City. Is it essential that your music is broadcast around the world and why?
We both had individual ties to the music industry even before our debut as AmPm. In the field of dance music, there has been discrimination in the past. In European clubs, the public is notorious for complaining frequently if the DJ is Asian, and we have witnessed this on several occasions. We are very happy that our songs are appreciated in any country, but by increasing the number of listeners to our songs, we hope that the discrimination against Asians in dance music will decrease even a little. In this sense, we think it is important that our music reaches the world.
In addition to your own music, you have also released remixes of songs by foreign artists such as Afrojack, R3HAB, and Nicky Romero. Do you get more inspiration from working on pieces by such artists, and maybe you would like to collaborate with them one day?
Our work with them has really helped us in our growth. Seeing up close how they work on projects, including the staff around them, has been a huge experience. It would be great if we could work together on a project again.
In 2019, you were awarded the Digital Contents of the Year 2018 /
24th AMD Award, where you won the Special Jury Prize. What does it mean to you to be recognized for your hard work, and are rewards a critical part of your career in the industry?
We won a prize as a result, but we don’t work to win any prizes, so we don’t mind much. We think such rewards are good, but we want to focus more on our efforts in the things that lie ahead. We also believe in trying new things every day.
With fans among artists and music lovers, how important is portraying a certain image in today’s society, and what do you think is the main thing that sets you apart from others? Apart from your masks of course!
When evaluating artists and songs, we believe that factors other than music are also very important. It has both good and bad sides. In fact, we wear a mask, and as a result of experimenting with what would happen if we hid our appearance and kept our gender and nationality as unknown (this information was not disclosed when we first started), we have been able to gain listeners from across the world. If we had shown the world who we were when we started out, would it have been the same? We don’t think so, and that’s why we think the way we present ourselves, our image, is very important.
With the masks mentioned, what was the inspiration behind this unique and quirky look? Is mystery a crucial part of who you are both as artists and as people?
We deliberately hide our real faces because we want everyone to listen to only our music. When we first started we wore polar bear masks and now we wear rabbit masks. We may change the mask for another in the future. It may seem like a mystery to some people, but we hope everyone can enjoy it, including what we look like in masks.
With the global pandemic putting the brakes on “normalcy”, how have you been able to adapt to the current changes? Have you been negatively impacted when it comes to music production, or have you found extra time to work on new tracks?
We didn’t think it would affect us for so long, but we just have to accept it. The production was not affected that much, but I think the fact that we couldn’t do live concerts was the major effect. Anyway, this situation is now “normal” and we think it is a chance to think more about the future rather than the past, so we view this situation positively.
Congratulations on the releases of “Tokyo” and “New York City”. What was the inspiration behind releasing each song and how much does the next set of dance floors mean to you? Is travel an essential element of inspiration for each of your tracks?
The trigger that drove our group was the trip. Under the pandemic we couldn’t go abroad, but we thought we could take inspiration from the cities that had still influenced us and these are the songs we produced. We have already produced new songs and they are based on the image of European and Asian cities. We plan to release them this fall, so look forward to them!
What does 2021 have in store for AmPm? Any advice or clues we could get on future productions and collaborations?
We will be releasing dance tracks from the cities that have influenced us, and as in the past, we will also be releasing songs produced through collaborations with singers. 2020 has been a year full of disruption for us and we were only able to release a few new songs, but we hope to release many new songs in 2021 and would like you to look forward to them!
Check out the first two installments of their upcoming dance floor series below!
Image Credit: AmPm (via press release)