Monday, August 13, 2018

10 Questions For: A.M.A.


Their music is a beautiful translation of the love they have for each other. You can feel it in their songs, in their message, in the way they sing. We've got the chance to have a great exclusive talk to them, and now you will be able to feel it even more, through their history and ideas. These are our 10 questions for A.M.A.:

Sounds European!: A.M.A. are Joana Andrade and Zé Tó Lemos. Individually, what are your first memories with music? And what were your first steps in the music world? As a duo, specifically, how did you meet? And how was A.M.A. created?

A.M.A: Our first personal meeting was in a rehearsal. It was there that we met, and we soon felt a click of love and passion for each other. Then, we both played and sang a track which means a lot to us... it was a magical moment, which seemed to be guessing the future in which we are today. After that, we played several times together in bars, casinos, hotels and private parties.
In 2008, Joana competed in a contest of one of the most listened national radio in Portugal, RFM. After that experience, having reached the final, the desire to start making original music was awakened in us.
We released our first album in 2010, "Será que será", [signing] as Joana Andrade & Os Dagma. The second one, in 2014, "Remédio errado", as Joana Andrade solo – which reached the top [of the charts] in another of the most listened national radios, Rádio Comercial. At that time, we were still looking for our sound, and we thought about making a song and singing it in unison.
After making that first song [in unison, signing as A.M.A.], "Não estamos sós", we felt we had just found our sound, our path. We started to release one song a month, and the album "Amar mais agora" hit the market in January 2018. We are already preparing our second album.

SE!: What are your music influences? And who are the artists that inspire your work (both musically, and when thinking about songwriting, stage performance, public posture, etc.)?

A: We have several artists who inspire us, from jazz to pop, pop-rock, indie, among other styles. Honestly, we are not used to watching concerts and looking for new songs. Our focus is to sit with a piano and find melodies and lines that identify us. But we listen to a bit of everything, especially when we travel by car with Spotify – and of course, we get several references.

SE!: Tell us about the meaning behind the name A.M.A.. What took you to use this name, and what does it mean to you? Is it a message which is present, besides the name, in your work? If so, what do you want the public to absorb from this message?

A: Our name has a huge meaning, both for us and the message it conveys.
A.M.A. is the acronym for "Amar Mais Agora", "Love More Now". Why? We united our love as a couple, as a family, to what we like to do – music – and our name could only be one: A.M.A..
As for the message it conveys, it is important to love more and more, and to love now – because time passes, life runs by, and sometimes we forget to value others, to hug, to say "I love you", and who knows, one day it may be too late. Don't leave anything to be done, anything to be said, because time doesn't turn back, so "loving more now" is very important.

SE!: You are moved by challenges. One of them, which marked us a lot, was to release one song a month. What can you tell us about this experience? Given that creativity is intermittent, and may take a long time to emerge, was it difficult to deal with a timetable that "forced" you to make music with a fixed date?

A: It was, indeed, a challenge. We like to challenge ourselves. "What isn't challenging doesn't transform you" is a base of our philosophy of life. Whenever we come together to compose, several ideas arise. It was a matter of managing the ones we liked best and working with all the love that gives us.

SE!: Still about the challenge of having one song a month. As we see it, these releases helped to form an image of the duo, to create your own identity, without having songs which sound similar – something that is not easy. What care have you had, during this journey, thinking about this matter?

A: It was very simple. The entire musical aesthetic was defined. Still, we have one song or another which is a little off synthpop, but that is how we wanted it, and why not? We took the risk. That is how we wanted to reach people, that is how we wanted to convey all the emotions that go into the songs. It had to be like this, we are not too stuck to rules.
The entire album was produced by A.M.A., and in our humble studio. It was really a matter of composing and producing according to our image.

"Our path is more complicated, but it can only be that way to make sense" (Picture: Filipe Santos, Santa Maria da Feira)

SE!: Another challenge which is very present in your work is the vocal matter. You work with your two voices in unison. It is a beautiful harmony! But we imagine it can be difficult to achieve that (even more when matching a feminine and a masculine tone). How is this work, for you?

A: As incredible as it may seem, for us, it is very easy to sing in unison. Our personal connection is so strong, that it facilitates everything we do in our work. We take great pleasure in singing our songs, our lyrics, our ideas. Whatever is written is felt by both of us, and that feeling makes things even easier. So it was and still is very easy, for us.

SE!: We know this is a complicated question. But, at the same time, it helps the artists to explain how they see themselves, and the goals of his work. So, how would you define your music, in style and genre?

A: Our music is very much ours, it's us above the style. The composition we develop takes us to our own style – which, in our point of view, is a very personal style, unique in Portugal. As it is so different from what is out there, it is more complicated to be in national radios. At this moment, we are still not getting a lot of airplay.
We dream of concerts in festivals, at sunset, clubbing, indoors, among many other stages. But, unfortunately, we do not have an agency yet, which makes things more complicated. We reach the point of thinking: are we in the wrong country, considering our sound? But that is how we are going to continue. We are and will always be ourselves. We do not want to lose our identity in favor of being more commercial. Our path is more complicated, but it can only be that way to make sense. Otherwise, it loses the essence – and without essence, there is no art.

SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?

A: We have two concerts scheduled: on September 15th in Póvoa de Varzim, in a reduced format, and on November 3rd in Santa Maria da Feira, at the film theater António Lamoso, with our full band.
Even before that, we are going to release a new single, which is very strong, very happy. It is a little different from the style of our first album, but we wanted to have a single about love with a more joyful, less dark ambience... more bigger chords, more percussion. And there is a reason behind all that. We feel our sound was very well received in Brazil, and we thought to make kind of an homage to Brazilian rhythms. We used more percussion, more joy, but still being ourselves in it. We will be proud when it comes to the day of its scheduled release, in September.
We will continue to make music. We will continue to be ourselves. And we hope to have many concerts, so we can reach people and create our true fans.

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Portuguese and international artists you would like to collaborate with?

A: That is a very interesting question. Over the years, we realized that it is very difficult to achieve this kind of situation. So, at the moment, we no longer think about this topic, nor create expectations of A or B.
But... Prince or Freddie Mercury (joking and laughing).

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by A.M.A., and why?

A: Joana Andrade's chosen song is "Ama", because it is about our relationship.
Zé Tó Lemos's one is "Faltou-nos um beijo", because of the sound it took me so long to find, and after I did, I fell in love with.
But our next single is undoubtedly the one we like the most. You will need to wait a little to listen to it, and we hope you will fall in love with it!

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