Berlin based singer-songwriter Yvonne Ambrée is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Performing under her moniker Panteon, I spoke to the songstress to discuss describing her sound, what Yvonne would change about the industry and dream collaborations.
To anyone new to your music, name 3 words that best describe your sound.
Soft, Melancholic, Dreamy
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
I always start with the music and melody. Coming up with a melody is definitely the easiest and quickest thing to do in my writing world. The lyrics are a bit tougher specially because while coming up with the melody I tend to invent words as placeholders and get attached to how they sound. Sometimes later when I write the lyrics I need to stick with some vowel sounds of particular words because it just wouldn’t be the same feeling with a totally different vowel and ending to the note. It dictates so much. Sometimes I sing invented words and later on realise my consciousness already knew what the song is about when I was still trying to figure it out on a more superficial level. It’s really interesting that every song has a slightly different story to tell and a different approach to it.
If you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
Actually I’d like to rephrase the question slightly. I think I’d like to change the way people listen to music these days. It’s more of an interplay between the listener and how new music presents itself via the business. If I had a wish I would love for people to listen to my new album in one piece. It makes sense as a whole unit and that’s how I wrote it. It might be nostalgia but I remember back in the days waiting for this one new album of my favourite artist and then just listening to the whole album on repeat for 2 weeks in a row – knowing every song by heart and understanding the whole concept and mood of the album. These days its all just singles – as fast and quick as possible to keep momentum and your audience because there is so much out there to take away your attention. Everything needs to be quick and convenient . I wish people would take their time to ‘actively’ listen – dedicating some time to listen and hear new things along the way. It takes some effort but the reward might be bigger than just browsing through a bunch of different songs in a hurry. I think the music biz as well as the listeners should try to cultivate a sense of “aknowledgement” and experience with the specific artist/music.
If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
I guess everybody would want to collaborate on a song with Joni Mitchell or Paul Simon ? – I’m sure I’m no exception to that. Ha.
I like Robin Pecknold and his work with Fleet Foxes. I always liked the musical arrangements and the songwriting and most of all his voice. I’d love to collaborate on a song and ideally sing it together. When Fleet Foxes released their first album in 2008 I knew all of the harmonies by heart and when I’d sing along people would say you should be touring with these guys – it s a great blend. I wouldn’t mind being a part of their touring band…I’d happily take over the support gig as well.
Writing & Production wise I always liked Mocky’s work – a very inspiring artist and producer. If he said he would wanted to work on a new album with me I’d be elevated.
Give our listeners some music recommendations that we should check out!
I definitely have a few options here depending on what genre / style you like but I’ll start off with what I’m listening to at the moment in no particular order –
The Shivers – Secret language
( I love how the guitar and bass sound and talk to each once everything comes in )
Adrianne Lenker – Songs
(I like the whole album, great songwriting as always )
Yebba – Distance
(What a voice, so effortless )
Fewjar – Autobahn
( my favorite “Berlin friends Band” )
Altin Gün – Yol
( they also just released a new album, pretty diverse and interesting in many ways )
Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
( really nice album as well , very unique voice and full of attitude, the recording sounds nice as well )
——- And here some all time favourites / artists you should check out if you don’t know them already ———
Arthur Russell, Gillian Welch, George Brassens, Joni Mitchell, Tim Bernardes, Rodrigo Amarante , La Femme, Caroline Rose, Khadja Bonet, Moses Sumney, Kelsey Lu, Andy Shauf, Daniel Romano ….phew….This is a never ending list.
I stop here..
Ok 2 more – inspiring composers… Igor Stravinsky Gustav Mahler
What’s in store for you for the rest of the year?
I already started writing new songs so I think I will be releasing even more new music after the summer. Hopefully I can play a few shows but as long as that’s not an option I just keep on writing. I don’t mind it actually. I learn so much and feel I’m getting better at is as well. It feels nice.