EDM artist Amy Cunningham, aka Amez, has just released her second single, Next Wave. Originally trained as a classical pianist, Amez has teamed up with producer Ryan Beehre (Minuit), bringing a fresh breath to our local electronica scene. While her debut track Home got some airplay on George FM with nods from some of Aotearoa’s most acclaimed DJs, such as Grant Marshall, Sin and General Leigh, Next Wave is a catchy DnB track with soulful melody and velvety beats.
I wanted to write a song that people could relate to. Like all my songs Next Wave came to be in a literal wave, like water rushing over me – literally, as I was in the shower! My songs do that, they rush through me like an avalanche and I have to quickly capture them before they disappear into thin air.
I wrote the bones of the song on keyboard and then sent a rough recording through to my producer, Ryan Beehre. At this point, it was more of a skeleton. I had the chord structure, melody and lyrics for the verses and chorus, but didn’t have a bridge. Ryan suggested we get started and worry about the bridge later. In the end, it didn’t take long to record – mainly because Ryan is so professional and creative, and we work really well together.
That’s also when we discussed what sub-genre it should be, seeing that my first track, Home, was house. It was interesting as I immediately felt Next Wave had a DnB vibe, so when he suggested that to me, I knew we had something we could work with.
After recording the vocals and harmonies (the BVs were split into a lot of parts as I wanted them to sound natural), we worked on the bridge together. I’ll never forget that recording session because I learned so much about my capabilities as an artist and what I can achieve vocally.
I wrote the lyrics for the bridge on the way to my recording session that night, in my head, as I drove! Then we just jammed the chords I could hear in my mind and literally figured it all out on the spot. Ryan is a DJ and he understands the sound I want, so his ideas are always aligned with my vision. The teardrop riff was the beginning of the entire sound, which he came up with, along with the instrumental fills.
Ultimately I wanted a lyrical track that wasn’t quite liquid DnB, but heading in that direction from a melodic perspective, and I’m really happy with the end result. I love the opening line of each verse as they are so ME:
Life is so crazy, running day to day, my feet never touch the ground. I’m up and I’m down.
My friends all know me, I’m a million miles, one hundred percent of the time. And they don’t mind.
Life is pretty jam-packed and a constant hurricane – kids, business, music, family, so many things on the go… One does feel the need to release the valve from time to time.
I’m rapt with harmonies in the bridge, simply because it was a huge effort to get those nailed down. Recording this track was really pivotal for me as an artist. I learned to trust in my high vocal range, which was entirely new for me. I have always limited my range out of fear of screeching like a drowning mouse, but now I know I can nail those high notes and they don’t sound too bad after all.
I wanted to write about those long epic nights out that you never want to end. I love the wind-down, the after-party, the next wave, the hanging with mates, sharing stories, having a few laughs and watching the sun come up together. I wonder if my friends will know this song is about them?