“We’re shooting love around the world,” explains singer Martine Harding, one half of Wanaka’s Arma Del Amor. Danny Fairley, her instrumental counterpart, sits by her side, as she continues to explain the duos name, saying it translates from Spanish as “Love Gun”. As we talk the soul-electronica pair are preparing for the release their self-titled debut EP at the end of July.
Drawing inspiration from Shapeshifter, Bonobo, Little Dragon and The xx, their unique blend of soul and electronic music is already creating waves in the local scene. They closed the stage at 2014’s Rippon Music Festival, and opened the main stage at Rhythm and Alps over New Year. Looking forward, Arma Del Amor are set to open for both MØ and Kora within the next few months.
“I think a live show is really good if you can have huge walls of sound and then break them down to the tiniest kick drum sample, and a piano and a guitar,” explains Harding. “It sucks the listener right in and then explodes it back out again.”
This accentuated dynamic variation has become the duo’s goal for live performances, seeing them add drummer Ricky Simmonds when on stage, so Fairley can focus on playing more sounds live.
“Our shows are 95% live, with only a tiny amount of triggered samples on the keys. I want it to be 100% live.”
This is reflected on their six-track, self-titled debut EP, written over the past two years in Fairley’s Wanaka studio, mixed by Benny Tones at Organik Musik Workz and mastered at Sydney’s Studio 301 by Ben Feggans. The first taste of their work, lead single The Watcher, is available via their Bandcamp. Across the EP, Harding’s soulful vocal timbre fits effortlessly into Fairley’s electronic instrumentation, blending soaring synths with powerful percussion and heavy bass.
Accompanying the EP release will be a mini-documentary (filmed by Harding’s brother) and a video for The Watcher. Eschewing the separation of producer and singer, the EP’s creation was purely collaborative, as she explains.
“Danny sits and produces the music on the computer, I go away and do the melody and lyrics, then we come back together. Then Danny helps me with the lyrics, and I will help vice versa with the music.
“I’m inspired a lot by Wanaka and its surroundings, and I think a lot of that shows in our music and lyrics. Sometimes it’s literal poetry,” continues Harding as she explains her creative process. “A song will come out of you and then it makes sense. It’s like talking to your future self.”
With the EP’s release imminent, all attention is focused on popularising their name and music. Following that Fairley intends to work on a hip hop/glitch solo project, while Harding will be focusing on improving her production chops. Even so, it seems Arma Del Amor has only just begun to shoot the love.