CROWD IN THE CLOUDS
A Conversation With
For Amariine’s Angelica Bryant & Florence Warner
interview by Kaitlyn D. Hamilton
Kaitlyn: The first time you were at TUO TUO, in May 2022, you were working on your own projects. This past summer, you delved into collaboration as well as working independently on music. Was it the first time you purposefully collaborated?
What was surprising about the process? Did you learn something new about each other?
Angelica: We had done quite a bit of improvising with guitar and voice, with no intentions of anything. Eventually writing a song together became a shared desire, there was something unusual about what we were coming up with in this format. We had begun to elaborate on some of our improvisations in the studio, but TUO TUO was where ‘Eyes’, our first official track, started coming to life, stemming from a voice note recording of a New Year’s Eve jam. We really had no preconceived direction for either song on this release and just allowed ourselves to find our way intuitively, not without moments of struggle of course.
What felt surprising about the process was where the tracks went sonically, from very coy and loose ideas with vocals, guitar and synth to a realised mood, sound and style. For me, that’s why I collaborate with people in general, but I have to say, this could be the most profound one. Love and music creates real intensity – it’s worth pursuing.
Florence: An important part of our process that we discovered while being there, was giving each other time alone with the track to write and record our own verses before playing them to each other. When we did this for ‘Eyes’, I was surprised how naturally each of our individual parts seemed to fit into the music, interlocking and giving us a structure that was quite effortless.
We can both be quite internal with our own music, so I think it was freeing. It allowed us to trust each other’s instincts. When we made the track ‘(before)’, which actually came after, in London – although the instrumental was made from sounds we recorded at TUO TUO – we decided to do this again, taking it in turns in Angelica’s studio to improvise vocals. In that track I think we wanted even more of a feeling of these strange interlocking voices. Like ghosts that have ended up in the same song, calling out to each other.
“For me, that’s why I collaborate with people in general, but I have to say, this could be the most profound one. Love and music creates real intensity – it’s worth pursuing.”
K: Was there anything about the space/place that was particularly supportive to your practice – in general, or in regards to working together for the first time?
F: The generosity and thoughtfulness of the space is astounding. Joni and Kaitlyn give this advice to everyone, to give yourselves a few days or however much time you need to just exist and adjust before you start working, which is really helpful. We were both able to do this more peacefully the second time around: give in to the unknown rhythm of it.
The sense you get, that this is where you are and you just have to be there. Coming from a city where you have your day jobs and you’re up against everything; being pulled in a million directions, it can feel difficult and kind of trippy. Like you’ve been dropped into this serene afterlife. I think what you’re doing there creatively and just whatever state of mind you’re in has this necessary connection to the place and the nature in an almost unconscious way.
When you’re going mad in your own head, you could just go out to the forest or the lake, and it shows you what’s going on. I remember there was one day where I went on a bike ride and got really lost. It was so hot, and I was panicking. I tried to cut down a path and couldn’t find my way back, but was kind of pushing it anyway and going further and further. I ended up in this clearing with giant stone pipes running through the forest, and sat with them for a while. It was like: ok, this is where I am. Eventually, I walked along the pipes and onto a path and found my way back.
That feeling relates to music, and I guess just to life as well, like you didn’t really intend to end up here, but you’re here, you have to try and find a way through. There are a lot of moments like that there, unlocking and portal-like.
A: I think the elasticity of time and physical space at TUO TUO is something nurturing, personally and creatively, that I’ve not experienced before. There is a utopian yet exposing feeling when you’re there that edges the individual towards their own truth and dreamlike existence.
To me, that feels pertinent to making music, because it’s vulnerable and challenging. Your time spent outside in the vast landscape and how you navigate the domestic space is as important as the time you spend working in the studio. It’s not always easy when you’re used to city-living, with its distractions and hyper-accessibility – it takes time to adjust. So, the residency becomes a holistic experience where everything has a sense of free flow that can be disrupted or harmonised by the elements around you at any time. Keeping you very much in the present and in tune with how you’re really feeling.
In London there can be a machine-like cramming and compartmentalising of creativity, trying to fit in around each other’s schedules. So for us, this loosely-structured and abstract way of existing made it feel like things were more possible creatively, allowing us to feel more connected to what we were doing collaboratively.
Tranquility feels like a revelation when you’re at TUO TUO, and this helped us both access a deeper, sacred zone.
“Like ghosts that have ended up in the same song, calling out to each other.”
K: You both make music; you play different instruments; you both sing. Could you share a little about how you relate to each others’ music? Inside and/or outside of
A: We have both come from quite different places sonically and referentially, even though we love listening to a lot of the same stuff. As our connection has developed we’ve wanted to do similar things expressively, with our outlook towards music in general and how to navigate ourselves as artists. There are things we do not possess stylistically that the other does, which is cool when combined and thought about together. There are ways that Flo writes, records and works that I am really intrigued by – I love learning from her and watching her music progress. I also think we’ve both learnt to let go a little more, through encouragement and being inspired by each other’s different modes of creating.
I think music functions as quite an essential thing in both our lives, as something cathartic and escapist, whether it’s making, listening or seeing live performance. For me, it’s how I can understand what I might be feeling or going through at the time, in terms of mood and what I gravitate towards. It’s in what I am making and what I am listening to. The same applies to Flo, it gives me a deeper understanding of her. And I think we will always enjoy that musical bond we have of listening and sharing, whatever it manifests as. This collaboration is just a natural progression of that shared passion, which all happened quite organically, it feels good.
Flo: Yeah, it’s something we built up slowly. Especially when you’re trying to write songs together, the shared language is important, speaking to/through each other. For instance, with my own songs, I get some of the lyrics and melodies in a short burst and can take forever to finish them, whereas Angelica writes with more of a continual stream of consciousness. I think for ‘Eyes’ I wrote more in that way. In terms of Angelica’s music, what she was doing at TUO TUO was very special to see. She was working in a different way there, quite fluidly, just building all her own songs from scratch with guitar. It was amazing to hear these layers and layers of guitar floating out the window.
“Your time spent outside in the vast landscape and how you navigate the domestic space is as important as the time you spend working in the studio.”
K: What would an ideal live performance setting look like?
What are future plans for your collaborative project, For Amariine?
A: The forest. I would love to perform deep in the landscape. Or just somewhere intimate or strange, somewhere people are really listening, engaging and willing to lose themselves a little.
F: For now, mainly writing more songs together. We’re aiming towards recording an EP and we’ve also been talking about what live performance might be for us.
‘(before)’ and ‘Eyes’ were released December 29, 2023. Music and words by Angelica Bryant & Florence Warner. Mixed and mastered by Joni Judén.
The release was kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre of Finland (Taiteen Edistämiskeskus).
stream/ download via True Aether︎︎︎