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> an interview with solo artist Amon Krist

You may be familiar with the name Amon Krist due to her past work with the beautiful noise-pop band Velour 100, or through the work of her mother, Jan, a steady presence in music. These days, however, Amon is seeking a name of her own. She recently recorded a five song ep entitled Humble B, that finds Amon beginning to display herself as an individual.

Amon talks about her musical history, so to speak. "Well, when I was about fifteen my mom got me a classical guitar from the neighbors' garage sale, and she attempted to give me lessons. I think I was interested for about ten minutes. I didn't have a reason to play. Later that year I had a significant experience with the Lord where I feel that I truly gave my heart to him. I would say that before fifteen I believed in Jesus, but it wasn't until then that I knew him.

I started to get more involved in church and read my Bible, and I became more interested in worship. At seventeen I asked my mom to teach me again, because I wanted to be able to play worship songs as a part of my quiet times. The first song I learned was called 'Good to Me'. I think we did two or three real lessons and then I just sort of fudged it from there. It wasn't long after I learned a few chords that I started writing my own songs."

Her mother's involvement in music had its effect upon Amon. "I would say that I was most influenced by my mother to the effect that it seemed natural and normal to write your own songs. I imagine that if you grew up in a home where the only music you were exposed to came packaged and pre-recorded by people you had never met that it would seem rather foreign to make up your own songs.

I am sure that she's influenced me in other stylistic ways, but I wouldn't say that I have been influenced by anyone in the sense that I heard a song and said - 'Okay, how do I write a song like that one? I want to emulate that sound or that style'. It's more subconscious. The songs are what they are - I start almost always with lyrics and I just work from there. I would like to develop a more coherent style in the future. For now I guess it is a folky-pop like style and I think that is defined mostly by the instrumentation and varies according to who the musicians are that are working on the song."

When Amon collaborated with Trey Many to create Velour 100, she entered the world of a touring and recording musician at a very fast pace. "What was really remarkable about Velour 100 was how quickly and easily things fell together," Amon explains. "We wrote some songs, we got some shows, all of our friends were super supportive and within months we had a recording contract and the following year we did a US tour. I really didn't expect that, I started with the idea that it was something I would enjoy doing (being in a band). I had no aspirations of it being anything more than that. I would have been content if we had only ever played locally, a record deal was not anywhere in my thought process. It was the activity of it - having something creative to do.

Trey actually worked very hard to make things happen with the band. He arranged to record, he found the venues to play, he suggested the new band showcase at Cornerstone. He invested a lot of time and money into making Velour 100 a legitimate band. Even so, things went on a highly accelerated path. Knowing now what I do and watching other bands attempting to get to that place, what happened to us was fairly effortless.

I am not sure what I would or could change about my experience with Velour 100. However, that experience does highly influence my current approach toward music, collaboration, and the music industry. I am just more aware, and as a result a bit more cautious. I had no idea initially how highly personal everything becomes - the music, the relationships with other band members...it is all very relational. If I were to describe what it's like to be in a band I would use the analogy of a family or a marriage, not a business or a job. That was a surprise to me."

After leaving Velour 100 in an amicable parting, Amon took a bit of a break from the music world. "Initially I worked with a guy named Brian Fair, on a demo for his band For Velvet Tables. At the same time, I started to record three songs that I had written - I only finished one, "Priority", and that recording is on this EP. I got preoccupied with other things. I was finishing my degree, I went to Italy for three months, and then I was just trying to get involved in 'real life' with a job and an apartment. About a year ago I did a vocal track for Jason Hogans, a Detroit drum and bass artist on Planet E records. Even just doing that was hard to work into my schedule and the track ended up being scratched because we couldn't coordinate the time to finish up."

How does the new EP fit into all of this? "The EP is my beginning. It's a starting point. Musically, it's rather folky - poppy - as I said before. I would not say that the style is well-defined. I welcome someone else's attempt to define it, but I won't attempt any further. It is coherent in the fact that the songs are all mine, but so many different people contributed without a lot of direction from me. I was not in the studio for a lot of the recording, so the songs each have a life of their own. I hope to be more involved next time; this project has motivated me to really search for the sound or style that I want to make as a statement of me."

Future plans are a bit uncertain. "No solid plans, just a desire to get more involved. I am open to doing more than I have in recent years. I'd like to start working with some other people and play publicly." When asked who she would tour with if it could be anyone, Amon replies, "The Innocence Mission or Jonatha Brooke. I think I would enjoy touring with Damien Jurado if he would let me sing with him every night. I am really into harmonization right now. I would like to work with another vocalist in some capacity."
 
-melissa marie

Amon's current listens =
Ida, Mandalay, Jonatha Brooke, Lamb, Radiohead, Pedro the Lion, Damien Jurado

old favorites =
Over the Rhine, The Innocence Mission, Vineyard Worship Music, The Violet Burning, Sarah McLachlan

Amon Krist