AM Productions: using the power of music to create a more inclusive environment

(Raffaella Mezzanzanica – August 26, 2020)

Arianna Amato (aka Aryanne Maudit) is the founder of AM Productions, a combination of audio services, such as Production, Recording, and Mixing aimed at independent artists with a special focus on women and LGBTQIA+ artists and projects. Since 2019, the mission of AM Productions has been “to make the music industry a more inclusive environment for women and gender-non-conforming individuals”.

Aryanne started her career at an early age, playing guitar at 9 years old and self-teaching six more instruments such as drums, bass, mandolin and more.

 In this interview, Aryanne explains the reasons behind the creation of AM Production. She also shares her thoughts on how the business has recently been changing and on Tash Sultana, an artist we both love.

Q.: AM Productions is Arianna Amato, aka Aryanne Maudit. Arianna, you have Italian origins. Where are you exactly from?

A.M.: I luckily grew up in the Amalfi Coast, in a small village on the coast.

Q.: There were so many cities in the world that you could have chosen, why did you pick up London for starting your career as a sound engineer?

A.M.: I came to London first in 2007, I was visiting with friends. I was shocked and amazed by the amount of music, art and youth culture I could breathe. London was a different place back then, as you can imagine. After that experience I tried Berlin and Paris, but no city gave me the same wide range of choices in terms of music, art, freedom and multiculturalism as London did. Nine years after, I packed my stuff and moved to London permanently. It’s almost five years that I’m happily married and addicted to the city.

Q.: As a producer, you’ve soon had to deal with the reality that minorities, such as women or LGBTQIA+, are not well represented at various level of the music business. Did you face this on a personal level? Can you tell me what happened?

A.M.: Well, I was born as a lead guitarist and I often found myself as being the only girl in the room or being asked whom of the band members was my boyfriend. (Hello, Gay here!).

But I have to say that this wasn’t the main reason why I wanted to give a special attention to women-identifying and LGBTQIA+ artists as a producer and engineer. At a certain point, I felt there was a lack of representation and content suitable for a queer public. So, more than creating a safe space, I wanted to contribute in helping to have more queer content and representation on the planet. That’s why I launched my contest “Mixed by a Woman”, before the global pandemic, still open for submissions.

Q.: Since you founded AM Productions, have you seen any change in a more positive direction in the business?

A.M.: Definitely. Putting myself out there, firstly gave me the chance to collaborate with a great number of queer artists. I also came in touch with initiatives like Music Production for Women, which I collaborated with, and other groups who encourage empowerment between minorities. Women and gender non identifying producers and engineers represent about the 2% in the business. It’s great to see more and more people rising, but it’s still a long way to the top.

Q.: Is there a specific kind of music you like to produce?

A.M.: I have a solid punk and rock background, it represents my strength in terms of production and arranging. I like producing more electronic-based tracks though, like indie- electronic, dream-pop and occasionally some modern Hip Hop / Trap.

Q.: And what about venues? Do you prefer indoor/outdoor, small/big locations?

 A.M.: Being in London usually means indoor venues, excluding festivals which take place during summertime. I personally prefer small / medium-sized venues, they’re more intimate and you get to see the artists.

Q.: With AM Productions you also offer different services to musicians (professional studio recording, mixing and production etc.), but should you have to choose only one among these activities, what would it be?

A.M.: It would certainly be production. I get to merge my multi- instrumentalist skills with sound design and it often implies some mixing during the process. It is considered the modern form of composition and is what feels most fulfilling.

Q.: People who are used to listen to a lot of music and to different genres, understand when there’s “something wrong” or when that sound is not appropriate for a specific track or even for a whole album or for an artist. Then, why is it so important for a musician, singer, songwriter to choose a sound engineer who can definitely understand his/her sound?

A.M.: I believe is about communication and taste. Usually the producer and sound engineer are the tools the artist use to achieve the final result. It is of vital importance to find a person that has a similar taste in sound and with whom the artist can clearly communicate and work together.

Q.: I’ve found out that Tash Sultana is among the artists you love. I definitely love Their music, too. They are very talented. What do you like about Them the most?

A.M.: Hahahaha, busted! Tash Sultana is an artist that represented an important shift when I was trying to come out with my first solo EP. After seeing them live, I approached vulnerability in a different way, not being ashamed of it. I play and loop different instruments like they do, so I understood the drive and hard work behind every show.

Q.: If you had to recommend a couple of new or emerging female artists to be featured in “Girls Music Club”, who would you choose?

A.M.: I would suggest Present Square, a Berlin-based concept trio, and Tamesis, a psychedelic rock band based in South London.

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Artist (Aryanne Maudit):

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