Amani Friend

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Amani Friend

A graduate of the College of Santa Fe’s cutting-edge Contemporary Music Program, Amani Friend is serious about music. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to have a lot of fun with it, however. As one of the names gracing the Rainbow Serpent Festival bill, we hunted Amani down for a little yak.
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, can you briefly describe your style and what it is you do?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my life with your readers. I am an electronic music producer, composer, DJ and digital graphic artist hailing from Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is located in the high deserts of the southwest region of the United States. I have been making electronic music since the late ’80s and have been studying world music and western composition my entire life. Thanks to my eclectic upbringing, my music always tends to weave many inspirations from around the world within cutting-edge electronic music styles. I have several music different projects and also help run a digital music label called Desert Trax.
What have you been up to lately and where are you right now?
I am currently in the States wrapping up the summer festival season. This past year has been a good one and I have performed at some amazing festivals like BOOM in Portugal, Shambhala and Eclipse in Canada, and countless others like Enchanted Forest and Lightning in a Bottle in the States. I was also fortunate last spring to spend seven weeks in a pimped-out tour bus as the opener for one of my favourite artists, Simon Posford from Shpongle. I am looking forward to being in much warmer climates this winter like Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Mexico instead of the cold places we have found ourselves the past couple winters!
What do you think of the Australian electronic music scene? Do you have any favourites?
I have always been impressed with the music coming from Australia. I am old friends with Ganga Giri from way back, and we did a remix for Deya Dova many years ago as well, both of which planted seeds down there for me. I have been following many artists closely the past few years and my favourites are Kalya Scintilla, Whitebear, Temple Step Project and Lubdub. It’s been a real pleasure working with these artists and collaborating on projects for our label Desert Trax, and for Merkaba Records as well. It seems the Australian music scene is really exploding and growing by leaps and bounds lately.
A lot of your music transports the listener to a different place. Do you think this is something that all music should encompass?
Music can shift your everyday normal attention and transport you to far off exotic and alien places. In high school I actually had a passion for architecture as well as music, so I always have been inspired by the virtual places one can create with “sound architecture”. Music and sound possess a lot of power, and we should be mindful how we are using that power to affect the listener’s consciousness. If wielded correctly, we can create music and soundscapes that serve as a therapeutic medicine for the mind and the body.
Are you excited to be playing at Rainbow Serpent Festival?
Rainbow Serpent was the first Australian festival I heard of so many years ago and have been looking forward to playing at it for quite a while. It is legendary in the international scene for sure!
Before we finish up, is there anything you’d like to add?
I just wanted to express my gratitude to Paul from Earth Freq for helping us coordinate this upcoming tour and to Becca Dakini for bringing us to the Eclipse Festival in 2012 and for being such a huge supporter of our music over the years.
We have a lot of DJ sets and music up on the Desert Dwellers SoundCloud page, so make sure to check that out. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new Desert Dwellers album sometime in 2015. You can follow us on our website … One Love!
When&Where: Rainbow Serpent Festival – January 23-26