There’s a lot of reminiscing about the pre-Covid dancefloor. In many conversations about local parties, it’s hard to miss one that mentions A/K/A Sounds.
A prominent face at various establishments and pop-up parties, along with slots at events like Laneway Festival, A/K/A Sounds (real name Amanda Keisha Ang) has brought her earth-shaking frequencies to many, making her an unforgettable presence.
To top it off, her work under BAOW BAOW, a bass-centric events promotion crew, and ATTAGIRL!, a collective of women who’ve helped shape the dance music scene in Singapore over the past decade.
As dancefloors remained closed for the moment, Amanda has spent her time re-evaluating her approach to music selection, while forging a new path in an environment that still prohibits dancefloors. This mix is as fresh and invigorating as anything she’s done in the past, with a focus on even deeper, rawer sounds. Listen to the mix and read our interview with her below.
Tell us about some of the songs in this mix!
For this mix I put in a good bunch of classic UK garage, hard drum, bits of dubstep and global bass. I enjoy a good bassline, lots of percussion, and also vocal samples. A few I can highlight are:
Foura - ‘U N Me’
Foura is an upcoming producer and friend of mine from Australia. She's been hard at work and this is a great tune that I wanted to open with, as we have very similar taste in music and when we DJ. I don't dig as much now for music, but I always make it a point to include some new music from womxn and BIPOC people/communities.
Wookie feat. Lain - ‘Battle’
This is a classic. Soulful RnB vocals, great beat and also, DJ EZ did a famous Boiler Room moment with a sample from this song. Go Google it, such a vibe!!
I included a number of songs from XXIII in the mix, which is a compilation of global bass sounds from all over the world, showcasing a range of afrobeat, ballroom, gqom, jersey club, kuduro, hard drum, etc. I've rinsed so many songs from their many compilations. Many underground and unknown artistes to discover.
Doctor Jeep - Mozambique
I've been rinsing this track for a good two years and I'm not going to really stop yet.
In general, what do you look for when putting together a mix?
In the past, I used to really plan everything really closely — that it had to always have an intro, and build into the whole journey. It had to always be newly-discovered music, and it all needed to follow a certain timestamp, and it had to be perfect. But now I don't stress myself so much.
I do a bit of prep, but it's not as pedantic as it used to be. I usually put together a mix that has elements of new music I'm currently listening to, and I love to add classic tracks that I grew up enjoying. I enjoy a variety of genres, but you can definitely hear an overarching love for vocals, melodic basslines and percussion: be it present in house, jungle, footwork, vogue music, etc.
Did quarantine change/affect your digging habits? Have you gone into a routine of digging for music while balancing work?
For sure. Pre-Covid, when I was playing at least a show every week, my appetite and energy for digging was much more active. At every party I did, I always made sure I planned a certain vibe ahead and was always hungry for new music, thinking, “What classic track can I bring back to the floor to bring back good memories?”
Digging also meant going through my archive of thousands of tracks too, apart from what's on different music platforms. There's always a few tracks that I re-discover which makes me excited to play out.
With entertainment venues being on lockdown and less shows being played, there was a point where I did suffer from “Covid blues”, and I didn't have the motivation to look for new music. I reserved it only when I had the chance to do online stream festivals. I threw myself into work the whole of 2020 — whatever music I consumed was just Spotify on loop, or just running a mixtape in the background.
It sounds a bit sad, but this change also did me good — it gave me the space to properly sit down, to listen and appreciate music slowly, even on repeat. Before that, when I used to furiously dig for music, I also started listening less, if you know what I mean. I'd forward and skip parts of tracks just to make my digging time more efficient in that sense. Now, I feel so much more connected with my music journey by taking my time to immerse myself in it.
What other moves can we expect from you?
I recently did an online festival called the COMMONS MULTIVERSE by currents.fm, organised together with some friends from a community called Footwork Jungle. I'll be doing a livestream very soon with SGCR again on Good Friday, together with some Chicago Footwork producers and DJs for JUKE IT, a collective and event I started to showcase more music from the 160bpm community that spans across footwork, ghetto tech, ghetto house, juke, jungle etc.