“I think it’s nice to have strong themes running through soundtracks. So many of the film scores today are just more functional than anything, whereas ones like Morricone’s ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly’ or John Williams’ ‘Jaws’, you can separate them out from each other.” Amon includes several nods to the past in Chaos Theory – “it’s definitely based on Lalo Schifrin. I listened to the Dirty Harry soundtrack and used it a lot on the ‘Ruthless’ track on this album, with a bell like break”.
When I suggest that his music is all about textures and colours than specific melodies, he gives me a puzzled look. “What I think is that it’s more like a direct, emotionally driven music. I’m not really trying to create images or pictures, it’s meant to work in a more physical way”. So how does he think his music has developed during his tenure at Ninja? “When I started out I was really interested in the shock value of putting something really acoustic in a digital environment. Once it’s in a sampler you can do all sorts of things with the sound, and listening to it you can tell how far it’s come by the digital manipulation. I love putting two sounds together that shouldn’t go together, and the manipulation means that it’s now more to do with your input into a track rather than the stuff that you started off with. There’s so much to the production side that the more you do the more you’re lost, and you realise just how much there is still to do! Really so far I’m just scratching the surface, I have an awful lot to do. Ever since I started I’ve just been really into it, and in the last few months I’ve had a chance to try out a lot of things, records I bought on tour.”
Amon has spent a lot of time recently holed up in his Montreal studio. “I don’t have much of a life, I’ve been touring so much the last couple of years, done so much record shopping, it’s given me a window”. In that time he played a lot of computer games on tour. “We have an X-box and a Playstation on the bus, mainly where I play stuff”. As to the soundtracks he confesses to “not having heard that many made specifically for the genre. Grand Theft Auto seems to work really well, and Aztec Challenge – all the old 8-bit stuff”. Referring to his own score he says it’s “definitely something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I didn’t realise how close games are to movies.”
Much of Amon’s touring time has been spent in the States, but he has been to Australia a couple of times, noticing “a big change in the response to what I was doing. Earlier there was a lot of floor clearing going on, now the crowds are a lot more receptive”. His live Solid Steel mix was recorded in Melbourne in 2003, and demonstrates his point on crowd reaction perfectly with its jumped-up audience. Despite this he has no immediate plans to return, currently finishing his next artist album the top priority.
For a man who’s so prolific it seems ludicrous that he’s also managed to “see more bands in the last six months than I have in the last few years!” One artist to blow him away was Bjork, and he confesses that he “would like to do something with her” – musically, I hasten to add. While he remains in such a strong creative frame of mind it would seem the time is right for these and other ventures. In the meantime we can play Chaos Theory with the bass turned up full.