In our latest artist feature we speak with London born, Berlin based house producer Amy Dabbs on her early inspirations, moving to Berlin, and her favourite records.
Amy Dabbs is relatively new on the scene, but if her last few releases are anything to go by it’s not hard to tell that she is here to stay. As the daughter of a northern soul DJ Amy has grew up around quality music her whole life, being exposed to the likes of Motown from a young age. With the upbringing she has had, it may have been inevitable for her to follow in the family business.
As a selector Amy is a pretty mixed bag. Her sets can consist of funky uplifting house cuts, or hard hitting techno, but her smooth mixing and energy behind the decks guarantees a good time. Her infectious, vocal-infused house productions have been well received and have caught the attention of labels such as Distant Horizons, Lobster Theremin, and Slothboogie, as well as an upcoming release on Running Out of Steam. Amy was kind enough to tell us about her journey so far, and what she has in store for the future…
Interview & words: Callum Martinez
Hey Amy, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! When did you first fall in love with music and what where some of your earliest inspirations?
I fell in love with music at a very early age. My Dad used to be a Northern Soul DJ and he was constantly playing me Motown in the car on the way to school. I remember listening to him talk about the tracks, and he would always point out specific parts of the songs to me as they were playing, things that excited him and made the track sound so good. I feel like I absorbed a lot of that excitement and started to get really enthusiastic about music myself.
Once I got into my teenage years I started getting more into electronic music and was buying lots of CD singles by artists like David Morales and Everything But The Girl. I stuck the CD covers of my favourite tracks all over my bedroom wall, which I think helped to convince my Dad I was obsessed enough with music to get a set of decks for my birthday one year (which I had been hankering after for a while!)
When did you make the decision to move from London to Berlin, and why?
Well I was born and raised in London, and musically it had a huge impact on me and the array of different sounds I would listen to, especially given the breadth of genres within the electronic music scene there. However I had visited Berlin quite a few times and aside from the incredible amount of clubs and music venues here, there is this almost magical creative energy in the city which I just hadn’t come across anywhere else – it’s really hard to describe. In 2018 I decided I wanted to knuckle down and start to write music seriously, and Berlin felt like the best place in the world for me to do that.
What was the inspiration behind your new EP Running Out Of Steam, which is releasing later this month?
All the tracks on Places EP were written in lockdown, and our second full lockdown lasted for about 7 months in Berlin, throughout a pretty bleak winter. I’d got used to spending a lot of time on my own by the end of 2020 (as I’m sure many people had!), so I planted myself in my basement studio day after day and decided to use the time to make as much music as I could. Whilst I was writing, all I could think about was the feeling we used to have on a packed dancefloor together, and how incredible it was going to be when the scene came back to life, hoping so much that the songs I was making could be a part of that. As I started to write Places EP, all of that optimism and energy seemed to pour into the music, so the tracks ended up being quite uplifting in the end.
What are 3 records that define Amy Dabbs?
This is a tough question! Here goes..
King Britt – Love Is The Answer
I picked this record up in London many years ago and it became a staple part of late night mixing sessions with some of my closest mates. It’s a huge tear-jerker, and probably one of my favourite deep house tracks of all time. I actually have the sleeve framed on my wall. I seem to have a habit of sticking music artwork all over my walls don’t I haha.
K-Hand – Clap Yo Hands
K-Hand was and always will be a huge inspiration to me. She was one of the original female pioneers in electronic music, and just an absolutely immense powerhouse of talent. This is a track that has been in my record bag since the day I bought it and it will be staying there! I love everything about this tune, from the groovy percussion to the beautiful deep chords and chopped up vocals.
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
This is quite literally the first piece of music I ever remember hearing (courtesy of my Dad’s Motown school runs). It really stands out as a track that made me start focusing my ear on what is going on in a track itself, how all the elements interact with each other, the emotions that music can elicit. The sheer amount going on in this song is amazing – the huge amount of percussion blazing throughout, the stunning vocals, the uplifting brass section. I still put this track on sometimes when I need a pick-me-up!
What’s your favourite party memory?
One of the best ever was hearing Eats Everything drop drum and bass anthem ‘Adam F – Circles’ at Fabric in the middle of a house set. The entire room went fucking mental. I still get goosebumps now thinking about it.
If you could work with any artist past or present, who would it be?
There are too many haha! If I had to narrow it down I would say Larry Heard, Kerri Chandler or Jovonn. I absolutely adore everything they make. I try and study the way their music is put together to work out how it ALWAYS sounds so good. The groove, the bass, the depth of sound.. all three artists are huge inspirations to me and every track sounds timeless from the second you hear it.
What’s next for Amy Dabbs?
After Places EP, which drops at the end of this month, I have a jungle EP coming out in early 2022, followed by the launch of my own label Dabbs Traxx, which will be kicking off with my next housey solo EP. There are also lots of exciting collabs coming up very soon, the first of which will be released in Spring 2022.
You can pre-order the Places EP from Amy Dabbs here.