ON release: Arma Del Amor’s new single ‘Taking Back The Sea’

Tri Eye: Arma Del Amor. PHOTO: Supplied.

Tri Eye: Arma Del Amor. PHOTO: Mickey Ross.

Heavy-hitting electronic duo Arma Del Amor have been mixing up a moody storm in the studio recently. ANNABEL WILSON talks to Martine Harding and Danny Fairley on the eve of their new single and video release. Read ON for insights into their creative process, the story behind their latest sound and a little spot of Lion’s Mane tea. Then scope out the new track for yo’self.

So the new single and video drops this Friday 14th July- how does it feel to be at this point?

Martine: Feels great!, it seems like a long time since we released any music. However I have to remind myself to enjoy the whole journey, not just the satisfying part of releasing the music.

Danny: It feels pretty good; feels like we have been sitting on this tune and video for ages! It gets to a point where you forget how old it actually is and that no one else has heard it apart from a couple of people. So it’s nice to finally get something fresh out, for us, and for the listener.

It’s been a couple years since the release of your killer self-titled debut EP; how would you describe your creative process over this time?

Martine: I guess there was a small hiatus after the first EP, a moment to let it sink in and I think we were just stoked with what we had achieved. We’ve been putting this new EP together for over a year now, we’ve definitely realised that there’s no point in rushing it. I guess we’re always being inspired by new things and slowly sculpting our sound so it’s good to leave room for that growth.

Danny: Our creative process has always been writing and recording under epic time pressure constraints due to Martine living in Auckland, or me working on other stuff. But this time it was completely different and new. We had a lot of time and space to make something that we could let marinate for a bit, then change parts, and remix it, then re-record synths and bits and pieces. It really let things sink in rather than the approach of “ok that’s it, it’s done, move on to the next thing.”

The new songs we are working on now are a lot different than the previous release, but still has that theme of epic grandeur laying underneath it all.  We are working with string quartets and brass bands, choirs and drummers. It’s going to be an amazing journey to be part of.

Seas of change amid shades of light and dark. PHOTO: Arma Del Amor.

Seas of change amid shades of light and dark. PHOTO: Olya Dendyaeva.

The single is called Taking Back The Sea … an evocative title – what’s the significance?

Martine: The song is about recognising your inner troubles, demons and self doubts and coming to realise that you are more powerful than them and can overcome. Our hearts and souls are always stronger than those thoughts or feelings. The original lyric was “rolling over seas” and Danny suggested “taking back the sea”, which pretty much summarises the song; taking back the power.

Danny: It’s a way of letting yourself be comfortable with who you truly are. The seas and oceans of Earth are an ever moving, evolving part of the planet.  Influenced by the moon, by weather, and now by climate change. A part of Earth, but constantly moving around her. Changing from day to day. I think our emotions, feelings, and thoughts are the same, in the sense that they are a part of us, but not our physical selves.  And that we can actually have a huge impact on how we feel, by taking control over the things that make us unhappy, and uncomfortable, and expelling them from our lives. Accepting who we are, and saying it’s ok.

Taking back The Sea, for me, is a metaphor for taking control of your life, physical or mental, by any means necessary.  Building confidence from within, and saying fuck off to anything that makes life unpleasant.

I’m even more excited to hear the release now… For this listener, the ADA sound is resplendent with expansive allure. Can you describe the sound of the new single ; how it speaks to what’s come before and how your sound has evolved ?

Martine: It’s heavy hitting, I feel that the power of the music matches the energy and emotion of the vocal. A familiar ADA sound but more polished and perfected.

Danny: Taking back the Sea, for me is definitely a song of confidence and self-preservation. Getting to a point in life where you are not going to let any of the interior and exterior struggles have their way. Shedding the skin of self-doubt and replacing it with an armour of confidence.

It’s coming from a bedrock of songs on our previous release, that initially gave Taking Back The Sea its sound and tone, but with a more mature and defined sound. For me personally, I’m concentrating more on the subtleties of songwriting and melodies. once that’s done, comes the time to think about synths and drum machines and effects to get that pressure and tension right.

Evolution is unstoppable, and with our sound we are looking at how we can use real organic instruments to get the same effect as using synths and electronic elements. Using pianos and string quartets, or Wurlitzers with guitar effects pedals to create a unique sound rather than just whipping up a patch on a synth.  There’s still plenty of synths onboard but complemented with the realness.

Who or what have been the influencing factors in getting to this stage ?

Martine: People who support us and create opportunities for us to grow and develop as a band have hugely influenced where we are at. I also think that both Danny and I are looking to feel rewarded creatively from the music we make, and that helps direct us to certain destinations.

Danny: I spent a bit of time in Europe last summer and saw some amazing gigs and events. I’ve been listening to a lot of minimal techno and dance music and incorporating elements from that into our sound, but with the fundamental idea of always having space for something organic to sit in its own place, and for the song to be the main carrier.

Some music that has been blowing my mind lately? Rival Consoles, RY X, The Howling, Atoms For Peace, Radiohead’s new album,  Prince of Denmark, Apparat, visiting some old Burial. There’s too many to name.

Explain the value of collaboration.

Martine: Collaboration instantly puts you outside of your comfort zone. It can be hard and sometimes seem impossible but those are two great things to be able to overcome. Working with someone else can take your art or idea and turn it into something really special.

Danny: Collaboration for me is a way of bouncing themes, or motifs off of someone else’s creative brain. Whether they be lyrical ideas, or musical, it’s all the same. It’s allowing someone else to take your little creative baby, and either rip it to shreds or nurture it into a grown idea. I work really well by myself, but sometimes that’s a bad thing; all your music starts sounding the same. I send musical ideas to all sorts of people to see what they’re feeling from it, or if they would like to take it to another space. It’s really hard to be truly critical when it’s your own song, so having someone else look at it from a different angle and under a different light lets the true growth flourish.

How does the tone of the video imagery connect with the audio and/or lyrics of the single ?

Martine: The video sets a pretty dark tone and I guess that is how we wanted to (as abstractly as possible) portray the lyrics. The lyrics are about connecting with the dark times we all experience, when you almost see no light or resolve, and then you make a change, you wake up and tell those feelings to fuck off.

Danny: The single is kind of dark and moody, but with an undercurrent of hopefulness. I guess the visual matches it that way. The storyline is pretty abstract and out there, letting the viewer/listener make what they will of it. I like making things that aren’t so direct and obvious, but leaves us asking questions and making up our own answers.

What’s next for ADA?

Martine: Working on the new EP due out in summer. We’re both heading up to The Surgery Studio in Wellington late August to record some live instruments and add some more layers and textures to the new music. We will be putting together some shows for summer and the EP release!

Danny: We are working on a new EP, that should be finished by the end of winter, then hopefully released at some point in summer. Working on a nationwide tour to support that EP.

What’s ON for winter?

Martine: Lighting fires and standing next to them, falling in love with snowy mountains, drinking red wine, thermals and a couple extra kilos.

Danny: Lion’s Mane tea and Chaga mushroom coffee.

Great tips! I’m totally ordering some Lion’s Mane. What’s off?

Martine: Bare feet and 7pm swims.

Danny: Perma frosts.


Treat your ears and eyes to Arma Del Amor’s exclusive premiere here!

Here’s some of the luscious imagery from Arma Del Amor’s video:

What are you running from? PHOTO: Arma Del Amor.

What are you running from? PHOTO: Arma Del Amor.

Read more ON Arma Del Amor:

Thank F*** it’s Friday with Arma del Amor’s Martine Harding

ON the beat: Score a private house concert with Arma del Amor’s Kickstarter campaign

Arma Del Amor: ON’s Rhythm and Alps ‘Act of the Day’, Day One

Gig Alert: Corona hosts Wanaka’s darling duo Arma del Amor at Cardrona

Review: Arma del Amor, ‘Light You Up’ EP

ON the beat – Quintessentially Rhythm and Alps (Review – with photos)

ON the beat: Rhythm and Alps – A veteran’s guide

For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, get in touch with annabel@onmag.co.nz.

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