Words by Keane Fletcher
If it hadn't been for a handful of happy accidents, Perth-based duo amor. might not have even happened at all. The brainchild of singer Aiden Walsh and producer Dylan Guy, amor.'s humble beginnings read like they were written in the stars: from instagram DM's to internet collaboration to a chance meeting a friend's studio, the band feels like it was meant to be long before either one of them realised it. And good thing too, because the unconventional combo are coming out with some of the most interesting alt hip-hop I've heard in years. Case in point, their latest release 'scars featuring Mali Jo$e', a transfixing piece of low-fi hip-hop that feels like the perfect soundtrack to a late-night summer drive past Cottesloe beach.
The beat itself was initially meant to be for another artist...We just pulled it up at the end of a session not expecting much but Aidan freestyled a melody for the hook and we just thought yeah, we should finish this one. The song itself is meant to be an ode to how sometimes it’s better to not get as close to people as we would like to...
Featuring 18-year-old Perth rapper Mali Jo$e, 'scars' is a worthy addition to the group's growing catalogue of experimental hip-hop. And with their unique vision and impressively disciplined approach to their craft ('we tend to write at least one new song a week to make sure we’re staying on top of things') fingers crossed that we won't have to wait much longer before they drop a longer release.
To celebrate the release of 'scars ft. Mali Jo$e' we sat down with amor. to talk all things music, inspo, and what creating during a pandemic was like for them. Check it out below!
First of all, how did amor. come together?
Initially we first met through Instagram and had planned to make music together for a song called ‘Skin’ which is apart of Dylan’s solo EP ‘Negative’. We demoed that song over the internet for a while and then by chance met in person at a mutual friend’s studio that we both happened to be passing through. Pretty much discovered we had far too similar musical influences and tastes after releasing the second collaboration of ours ‘be there’, and we just decided to form a vocalist/ producer duo around the time of Perth’s lockdown at the start of the year. We spent most of that lockdown making demos over facetime including our first amor. single ‘know you’.
What would you say your musical influences are right now? Have they changed much over the years?
Dylan: Currently listening to a lot of PinkPantheress, Sam Gellaitry, Sainte and Brent always. I would say I definitely find myself being inspired by different production elements from each of these artists as of late. Sam Gellaitry is definitely my earliest musical inspiration I can recall but over time I’ve found myself becoming more and more drawn to the darker lofi Rnb sounds for beats.
Aidan: Sonder and Brent Faiyaz would have to be up there for me. Dylan and I really connected over Dpat & Brent’s music, and I think that gave us a lot of direction for ‘amor.’ when it first started coming into fruition. I’ve felt Radiohead and Frank Ocean have always had an influence on my sound personally. Their storytelling through lyrics & sonics is unmatched.
Let's talk about your latest release ‘scars’. What was the genesis of the song? Talk us through the process of putting it together.
The beat itself was initially meant to be for another artist actually because we originally didn’t picture it being in the same lane as the other music we were writing at the time. We just pulled it up at the end of a session not expecting much but Aidan freestyled a melody for the hook and we just thought yeah, we should finish this one. The song itself is meant to be an ode to how sometimes it’s better to not get as close to people as we would like to, as not to deter one from their own path, as emotions can often cause people to do.
The track also features a fantastic collaboration with hip-hop artist Mali Jo$e. How did the two of you connect and what was the collaboration process like?
Dylan: I first met Mali through instagram as well in 2019 when I hit him up to work on a photography portfolio/ project at the time. I was working on a project that involved aiming to document the Perth music/ hip hop scene as at the time I was still very unaware that there was one. We hit it off and have pretty much been collaborating on photography/ music video projects since.
After we finished the demo, we knew that Mali would make a dope feature and he was down so just ended up recording the next week. His verse ended up complimenting the track perfectly content wise and added a deeper perspective to the rest of the song.
Are you a stickler for routine when it comes to writing and recording, or does inspiration usually take you by surprise?
Bit of both really. We tend to write at least one new song a week to make sure we’re staying on top of things content wise, but of course random inspiration can cause us to make something that’s a bit left field for us but are learning to go with it rather than restrict ourselves genre wise.
We’ve had a couple of fantastic single releases from you in the last year. Any plans for an EP or album in the near future?
Definitely plans for an EP in the near future. Early next year if all goes to plan. The music’s ready, it’s just more a matter now of deciding what fits together and provides the best representation of us at this point in time musically. We want our first project to be as much of a musical experience as it is visually, as it just always resonates much stronger with the listener that way. It’s definitely going to be a mix of genres but all ties back to similar themes of youth and the confusion coming into young adulthood.
Obviously you’re Perth-based and so haven’t been as affected by the pandemic as some other artists. What was it like being able to keep working and playing live when the rest of the country was in lockdown? Is there a real sense of community in the Perth music scene right now?
We were definitely nowhere near as affected by covid as much as some other Perth artists who were -- and have been trying to -- tour throughout this whole situation. For us mainly just having the ability to go to shows and continue networking and meeting with other artists I think is something we’re all very fortunate for. Being able to meet for sessions/ mixing/ create video content with other artists and not be restricted by covid is definitely something that gets taken for granted and can certainly slow down the process and inspiration we feel.
For sure there’s a sense of community, Perth has a really dope scene for all sorts of underground music and people have really been supporting local acts recently. A lot of healthy competition between artists which definitely drives it forward.
And lastly, what’s next for you?
Could be another single to round off the year with the youngin ‘Kayps’.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!