A musician and producer with a unique touch, Amis Adnayim is one part artist and one part philosopher.
He has been quietly honing his craft and sharing his music with the world, one song at a time. He is also an introvert, which means that staying home all the time due to the pandemic hasn’t really affect his process. But that doesn’t mean that Amis doesn’t miss the simple things we’ve all taken for granted pre-COVID-19.
Creativity Undefined spoke with Amis about his creative process, thoughts around the indie music community and industry, and his favourite piece of equipment, Bertha 3.0 (read on to find out more).
Was there a specific moment in your life that triggered your musical journey? If yes, what was it? If no, then how did it begin?
I would like to think of it more as a collective series of moments than one specific moment, that culminated in my awakening to the realization that I always wanted to be surrounded by the sound of music.
Growing up [as] my father’s son, I was exposed to music very early. The songs that set the sonic background to my childhood were a playlist of my father’s favourite records, cassettes and CDs. My favourite songs were some of his favourite songs. And he played a host of instruments, chief among them the piano, and I always loved the sound of the piano most out of every song and composition I heard.
Growing up [as] my mother’s son, I used to sing in the choir at church. And at school I sang in the choir and played in the orchestra.
So, it was quite natural to go from being entertained to wanting to entertain. I remember my little sister Mwamba and I would put on shows for our family – I would play the piano and she would be on lead vocals singing songs we learned at school. We would even get dressed up for it sometimes. Fast forward to Junior Secondary School when a friend introduced me and my brother Chanda to what was then Fruity Loops 3 a digital audio workstation and the possibility to transcribe all the melodies I used to hum to myself, the drumlines I used to bang out on my desk in between classes and at assembly, to creating riffs inspired by the timeless classics of my childhood embossed in my memory by years of replay…
It is the combination of all these things that has led to where you find me today and where you will see me tomorrow.
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?
I would have to say navigating through the COVID19 pandemic away from most of my loved ones. With the pandemic came an adjustment in how we could continue communicate and stay in touch. It was a bit of a challenge coordinating across time zones, but a year later we are in sync and united and that’s important.
What’s your favourite work that you’ve created so far?
That’s a tough one. I often gravitate to different instrumentals I make at different times because I like to believe I put a little piece of my personality and emotions into every work I do. Each one is testimony to a mood I might have been in when I made it, an auditory expression of a state of mind I was in when I composed it. Ultimately, I love everything I put my hand to because of this I’m pressed to pick one that wears the crown.
Is there any specific artist or anyone from the music industry that you’d love to work with? Who? Why?
I would say Lupe Fiasco.
I’ve been a huge fan since the first time I heard him on Clean (Mic Check) on a friends iPod shuffle back in boarding school. I’ve been a fan ever since. To work with him would be amazing experience.
What piece of advice do you wish you had received throughout your career?
That everything happens when it is meant to and that opportunities can present themselves at any time and that the onus is on us to be ready when they do. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.
How do you explain what you do – whether as an artist or a producer – to the average person?
In a nutshell, I make the kind of music that I would like to listen to.
Are there enough studios and spaces that allow indie musicians and creators within the music industry to perform and/or record? Why?
I have to admit I’m not certain if there are or there aren’t. I personally know only of a handful. Suffice it to say I am bit of a recluse so that might have something to do with it too 😊
Do you think there’s enough awareness or support for the indie music community? Why?
I think there is awareness and support and as with all things there is always room to grow.
What do you hope to see take place or emerge in the UAE over the next five years in terms of indie events or support?
In my humble opinion (and hopefully to my benefit) I would love to see the growth of an industry that can rival those across the globe for indie artists and producers like myself to succeed and thrive in.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have come to learn that inspiration can take many forms.
I draw inspiration from anything that emits sound. I might hear the beginnings of a percussion loop in a coin spinning on a table and eventually coming to a stop. Or I might be flicking through TV shows and catch a snippet of an interesting chord progression that will form the foundation of my next composition.
Ultimately, I draw most inspiration from how I feel in the moment and I like to believe that that is the impression communicated in what the listener hears. I hope… 😊
How has that changed pre vs during vs current pandemic life?
I have always been one to spend my time locked away in my room with my headphones on just practicing my art.
The last year has been a challenging time for everyone and I am no exception.
With so much time spent indoors and with the world being virtual or remote becoming the “new normal”, I have been largely unaffected. But I would still prefer to interact with the outside world the way I used to pre-pandemic.
Has the pandemic affected you creatively? How? Why?
With regards to my ability to create the pandemic has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand the need for social distance has availed me more time to spend by myself further honing my craft. On the other hand, the possibilities for networking and collaborating have been decidedly slimmer, leading one to reconsider the need for other approaches like social media and video conferencing over more traditional face-to-face avenues.
What do you think are the short-term and long-term implications on the music industry post-pandemic?
In the short term, I think it may be a slow start getting back to normal post-pandemic, but in the long term I imagine the recovery of the industry will come with new ways and models for how things are done.
Are there are new trends or techniques that you liked or didn’t like that emerged as a result of the pandemic? What are they and why?
I would say having to work remotely gave me a new way to get things done, staying safe without leaving the comfort of home. Advancements in communication technology like Video Conferencing that make this possible.
You’re also partners with Chanda Miyanda. How did that come about? How’s the experience so far?
Chanda is my elder brother and my best friend. He has played a leading role in my journey into music and the manipulation of sound that it is today. We have been a team for many years and we’ve shared the same dream throughout. Different routes going in the same direction.
What do you hope to accomplish with together?
I hope to continue to do what we love to do. To continue to do great work together.
You recently posted about Bertha 3.0. Can you please explain why you’re so excited about it? What are you working on using it?
Bertha 3.0 is the name given to my Native Instruments Maschine MK3. The Bertha series is sort of an inside joke between me and my Chanda. Bertha is a name I assign to essential equipment I’ve gathered over the years that, if you know the history of Amis Adnayim, chart my growth in the pursuit of my passion for all things music and sound.
In many of our studio sessions I would talk to Chanda about the latest Maschine workstation of the time and that being the next direction I wanted to go in as far music production. My excitement stemmed from receiving one from him on my 30th birthday and the anticipation for the future of my craft (Hence the “3.0”).
I would encourage you to keep an eye on my Instagram (@AmisAdnayim) where from time to time I post sneak peeks into the process behind projects I am working on, as I get to know Bertha 3.0 more.
Do you have any upcoming projects? Can you share some details about them?
For now, I am keeping everything close to the [chest]. But I hope to be able to share news about projects on the horizon fairly soon.
What’s the first thing you’d like to properly experience – or re-experience once life goes back to normal after the pandemic?
I wouldn’t mind taking a much-needed vacation and I can’t wait for international travel to be an easy process once again. Knock on wood.