|AmBeam is one of the best ambient/chillout producers this site has ever had, with an overall rating of 9.38 (and even xerxes rating one of his songs with a 10). The story behind his succes is a little different, It's the story of the Phoenix: burning and rising again from the ashes. Read more to find out how...
PartySan: First of all, who is AmBeam?
AmBeam: My real name is Tobiasz Aleksander and I'm living in small town near Bydgoszcz, in central Poland.. Now I'm 20 years old and I'm studying computing and economics in the first year. I go by the name "Archon" whenever I play games (my favorite is Unreal Tournament). My family isn't very big. I have a sister, and pets: two dogs and two cats.
PartySan: Why do you call yourself "AmBeam"?
AmBeam: AmBeam comes from two words: "ambient" and "dream". Why the "A" and "B" are capitalized is a long story...
PartySan: How did you start composing?
AmBeam: It was really spontaneous. I bought a new computer 5 years ago, and then I found eJay on some old CD, which is a really simple toy, but it showed me the way to go At the same time I was buying Techno Party magazines with CD's, and put together these samples with eJay. On one of those CDs I found some nice demonstration programs to build my own melodies. I stumbled across FL 2.5, and my adventure started for real
PartySan: What do you compose with?
AmBeam: Only my own pc, no any other hardware. Now I'm using FL Studio 5, also Cool Edit and GoldWave for mastering. I'm trying to use free VSTs, but you know how it is My favorites are FM7 and LegacyCell, Space Synthesizer and Absynth.
I'm mostly experimenting with samples. I have a couple of original samplepacks and it is the "mainframe" of my songs, so to speak. Of course I'm not writing about loops, but they are useful too - like beat loops: they have great quality, so I'm using them by slicing them into individual samples and using them to create my own beat
Other samples like flutes, guitars etc - I'm trying to give them a new sound by using fxes, etc. In my songs it's easy to find some well-known samples. Take for example Ambient Symphony (Part One) - at the start you can hear SullingVerb.wav which was used in two players - Pitch&Shela for example. About VST's: I'm trying to use only freeware ones, because I don't have money to buy something like LegacyCell or FM7, so I'm trying to reach a similar sound using freeware synths. It's not so hard, needs some work with, but the satisfaction is big then. The same about effects - Classic Series is enough for me
PartySan: Do you have any favorite genres?
AmBeam: Of course I have: ambient and chillout; generally all electronic music, but too many to count. I'm listening to everything what sounds good to me and i like it
PartySan: How did you find CTG?
AmBeam: My friend Maxus told me about this site, it was about half a year ago. We know each other from other sites.
PartySan: Do you have any favorite CTG artists?
AmBeam: Well, the list would be too large, so I'll write only those who I think are the best: mr.s, Sebastian Spanache, Tinta... Slicerxxl, xerxes, N.D. and many more.
PartySan: What do you think about CTG?
AmBeam: Ehm, IMO this is really the best site I know for now. There I found everything what I wanted to have. Perfect review system, "mobile" charts, really good forum and many people, who are respectful and friendly... I think the most important part of this site is forum (atleast for me)
PartySan: What inspires you to make music?
AmBeam: Well, 1.5 years ago was an accident which changed my life and this event probably changed my point of view on music. Now I don't want to talk about it, it was just the worst thing which could happen to me. It gave me the inspiration to make ambient and to evolve this way... Before that I was making commercial trance (like any other noob ). After that the only thing in my mind was death and suicide... and that was my most important inspiration. It still is.
PartySan: Isn't the song Running Away related to it?
AmBeam: Exactly - this song decribes this accident a bit. But it is one of "milions", really...
PartySan: Who was Mateusz Balcer?
AmBeam: He was my best friend, and he committed suicide... but I know why he did that. It would be better if I won't write that, it's a bit hard for me.
PartySan: I'm sorry to hear that. But now, tell me how do you usually compose your songs?
AmBeam: My sister (she's 2 years older than me and she sings) is always saying I should find some theme and then create a song according to it. I have another point of view - maybe a bit lame, noobish, I dunno, but when "this something" comes, it's almost always the melody or the idea to build all the song from start to end. With this first it's easier, because when I'll finish the melody, I'm just adding something here and there, getting a vision of the song and then I just do it. Then come: the beat, bass line, etc and effects of course. My songs are very poor melodically, but I like them - and that's my main motivation to continue: if the song is good or not. They must be good for me, that's all.
Sometimes to make the song it takes months, sometimes just one day, but everything depends of my wills. It's not like I'm living only with music, I like to do many more things, but it takes a big part of my heart, so I can't live without it.
PartySan: If your songs are poor melodically, what do you focus on? the atmosphere?
AmBeam: Yes, mostly. I think the atmosphere is the most important, but of course it's concerning ambient music. I think the listener should not focus on the melodies, beats, effects etc, but should focus on his imagination, and ambient music just helps that
PartySan: You said your sister is a singer. Have you tried using her vocals in your songs?
AmBeam: Of course I tried but she's a jazz/smooth jazz singer with a very specific voice. It fits to some good chillout tunes, but to be honest - I must bribe her before she'll sing me anything
PartySan: Haha, right... But speaking of vocal songs, how was working with Mary Weldon on "Goodbye"?
AmBeam: Well, Mary wrote to me once (after I reviewed one of her songs) that she likes my songs and would be great if we try to make something together. I said - why not? So she sent me some old vocal and piano samples she recorded and I made all the rest.
That was it. We still think that we can do much more, like real time recordings, because the song "Goodbye" was made according to my visions and my style. I hope we will surprise CTG soon with something new, something fresh
PartySan: Which one of your songs are you most proud of?
AmBeam: actually... hmm... I think that melodically and technically the best song is Passing Through The Live, but the atmosphere from Moonraker 2005 just heals me
PartySan: What are your plans for the future?
AmBeam: Hmmm, I don't really have any. But I'm dreaming about being a famous ambient-chillout producer. Heh, it really would be great to have my own CD released - I'm still trying to do it - my first album. And I'm not writing about a CD of the tracks burned at my home , just to be signed somewhere. My real plans are to find good work abroad, dunno where, but IMO the best would be USA, UK or France. Then I would continue my work with music in my own home, with my wife etc. Heh, this all sounds very standard...
PartySan: Yeah. I agree. Many amateur or small-time producers probably have the same dream.
AmBeam: So like I said - it's very typical, nothing new, but here, in my country it's very difficult to be something recognized and even to find any good job
PartySan: I can guess why Do you have any other hobbies besides composing?
AmBeam: What I like to do apart from music, is... hm... playing basketball, football... basically any kind of sport I like! I love to go to the parties in my city and dance all the night (really!), with nice chicks, with friends etc , what else... hmm... I mostly live with my pack, so I'm just spending my time with them, so to say. I don't have any hobby besides music though. But I like to dance and I'm learning it. You can call it a hobby, I don't
PartySan: So your social life is doing fine?
AmBeam: For now, yes.
PartySan: I don't mean to be rude, but one might expect that after the accident, you'd be in depression and trauma. How did you manage to avoid that trap?
AmBeam: Yes, it looks very weird I think, so I'll explain why... I was depressed after my friend was gone, but not only that changed my life - my first fuckin' highschool and my first job put "shove in one's ear" or however that expression goes... ( ) When I failed the exams, I found another school, where I found really great people, my girlfriend, and much more - the hope and good atmosphere. It changed me too, I started to go to parties, to meet with people, and they just got me out of my troubles, my thoughts and so on. Now I still remember this accident, but now I'm starting to think - maybe it had to be so?...
PartySan: Did music play a part in this revival too?
AmBeam: Good question. I didn't think about it, but probably.... yes, but a little. A year ago I was making very sad songs which are just about one thing, you know. Now I don't think about it, my songs are deep, atmospheric (to me of course) but are much more positive, not so emotional.
PartySan: But you do try to convey your emotions in music sometimes?
AmBeam: Of course. I wrote "not so emotional", but I mean I was still thinking about my friend who commited suicide... After that I started making my songs about him. Now it's a bit different. Before I make any new tune have to search for something which could influence me. After my friend died I didn't have any problems with it... It sounds a bit terrible, but I don't know how else to write it.
PartySan: This brings me to a new question. Have you developed your own "style"?
AmBeam: I dunno, this is a question I shouldn't reply to. Listeners should tell you what they think, if I have any style or not...
PartySan: ah. So you prefer to let others judge you rather than yourself?
AmBeam: That would be better...
PartySan: Have you ever been a part of a music group, netlabel or community other than CTG?
AmBeam: Here, in Poland, there are some communities like CTG: OpenMusic and FruityArt. Both of them are for amateur producers and I'm part of them.
PartySan: Have those communities and CTG helped you evolve as a musician?
AmBeam: FruityArt mostly; it was the first website I joined. I learned a lot there, mostly about mixing/mastering, then I found OpenMusic and CTG. At CTG, reviews are very useful, but when I registered here I just created my own "style" (the way I do my music) etc, and I was sure my skill was poor. CTG helped me in other way too: I was downloading a lot, and some of the ambient and chillout producers here "taught" me by their tunes (not officially) how to improve my music, what to do then, and how to be better than I was back then.
PartySan: Are you trying to represent images or stories through your music?
AmBeam: Good question! Ambient is a kind of music which should do so. I don't know if my music can do it, but I'm trying I don't think every song by me tells something which I understand and can imagine what they are about. I'm thinking about my older songs, but these newest could be the case too. (like Ambient Love) Yes - it's great if the listener feels something and they tell you what they saw, but sometimes it's like you as a producer don't see anything, just doing your job, and the contrary is with the listeners, when they tell you their story, and you're starting to think about changing the title
PartySan: Yes, that would be indeed bizarre Now I think we've covered pretty much everything. Any last shouts to CTG'ers?
AmBeam: I've always thought I'm fresh and unknown there, some of us may dislike me after my posts on forum where I was discussing about trance, reviews etc. This is a good place and moment to say: sorry for everyone who feel offended.