We’re delighted to announce that Ambian is the winner of this year’s PB x Pioneer DJ Accelerator Programme. After the success of last year’s programme, which saw Gabby Gunn playing huge events like IMS Ibiza and ADE, we’ve extremely excited to relaunch the initiative. Ambian, real name Robbie Palmer, impressed us with an excellent mix entry and an insatiable work ethic to match, and we can’t wait to start putting him on some of the world’s biggest stages.
The aim of the programme is to maximise the promise shown by an exceptional Point Blank student or graduate, giving them access to exclusive opportunities which include live performances at events including IMS, ADE, DJ Mag at Work and DJ Sounds. Ambian, with his accomplished mixing style, recent debut track release and an unwavering level of dedication, will begin the programme in the coming weeks. The first event will be a slot at IMS Ibiza playing for Pioneer DJ Radio, broadcast across the island. Following that will be the main support slot at DJ Mag at Work, and on into a year of guest mixes, gigs and networking opportunities.
After revealing his victory, we had a chat with Robbie to see what he hopes to make from the year.
Hi Robbie, congratulations on becoming the winner of this year’s Pioneer DJ x Point Blank Accelerator Programme! How does it feel to have won?
Thanks! To be honest it feels absolutely amazing to be recognised by the school and of course, Pioneer. I have worked extremely hard over the past year honing my skills and style and I feel I couldn’t be in a better position now to win something of this calibre. I can’t wait to fully immerse myself in everything on offer to me and carry on making my dream a living reality.
You’ve got a lot of strings to your bow but if we could go back to the beginning – how did you get into music? What were your first loves?
I think it all started at home for me. I had an older sibling that was DJingn and he would show me euphoric Trance tracks and high energy DNB stuff when I 13/14. I felt a connection and each year I found myself searching, hunting and familiarising myself with electronic artists every day. I think I was the only kid in my school that listened to High Contrast on the way home. At 17/18 my life then revolved around clubbing and experiencing the music first hand with friends. At this time the Dubstep scene was very strong and I was instantly drawn in by the huge bass and spectacular energy from people in the crowd. I experienced some of the best party’s I have ever been to at the likes of Cable, Fabric and places like Alexandra Palace and 02 Brixton. Being part of a scene and culture that young really helped cement and sculpt my thoughts and undeniable love for dance music. Without experiencing it first hand and feeling what I felt in the moments I doubt I would be where I am now.
Photo by MJB | https://www.mjbphotography.co
When you love music starting to DJ is often a logical step. But was there a moment or catalyst that made you think it was something you needed to do?
I wouldn’t say there was one particular moment but rather a build up of many moments from many events. From my first party, I have always been extremely fascinated by how one person can control a room of thousands of people. Being able to take them on a journey, controlling emotion and energy from the tracks they play had me in awe. I would attend every event possible but slowly I would find myself getting closer and closer to the DJ booth trying to catch a peek at the brightly lit equipment and the DJ’s techniques. Eventually, this led to a point where I was more interested in the what the DJ was doing technically then enjoying the party and at that moment, I guess you could say I knew what my destiny was.
Your production is coming along nicely too with the release of ‘Nebula’. What is your set up like and what would you say you aim to create when you sit down to make music – is it all about the dancefloor? A certain vibe?
Thank you. My set up consisted of mainly VST-based stuff for a long time but recently I have got into hardware with the additions of a Prophet6 and a Sub37. I love the natural colouration and tones circuitry can add over binary. I always felt within the box stuff it had to be perfect, everything had to be quantised perfectly and I would sit there tweaking automation over and over but now I believe in the beautiful mistakes you can get from being hands-on with a machine and recording in one take.
When I sit down to produce I think about four things: story, emotion, rhythm, and energy. I like to take people somewhere else when they listen to my music – to escape the real world and venture into a totally different mindset. I am highly inspired by film scores and how they capture so much emotion and I like to incorporate this into my music. For me, there is nothing better than a track that can make you question life, question existence and question yourself. It is important to me for people to be moved by the music and actually experience something within. I bring it all back to the club by incorporating coherent grooves from heavily sound designed bass and natural percussive afro rhythms that get your body moving without even thinking about it.
How do you see your production and DJing sitting together? Do they play into each other at all?
I see my production and Djing playing into each other very well. For me, it is crucial that they link. When people come to see me play, they are coming for a reason. They are coming to hear the sound of Ambian and that is what separates you from the next person. Whenever I sit down to produce I always have the clubs and festivals in mind. When I’m critically listening I will close my eyes and imagine how it would go down in the club.
You also run Sensus. Can you tell me a bit about the concept of the night? Any parties that particularly stick the memory?
Sensus is a Techno & House party formed by myself and 2 other lifelong friends. It was formed to provide a platform for ourselves to play out and to integrate into the scene with something substantial behind us. We started off at an amazing club called The Arch in Brighton and so far we have booked the likes of Route 94, Monki, Amine Edge & DANCE & PAWSA. We started off on the more Tech-housey route due to Brighton’s crowd and scene but as we move into London and Ibiza we plan to stay true to ourselves and take it down a much more Melodic Techno route which matches our sound pallet and individual styles as residents
One party that sticks to mind is our launch event last September with PAWSA. We were all really nervous about the turnout and I think we only sold about 200 tickets online. Luckily about 400 people turned up and it was absolutely packed. We knew this would be the start of something really special.
What about future events, or tracks of yours? Aside from the Accelerator programme what have you got in store this year?
We have just launched our next event in London at The Steelyard for 20th July with two of the biggest techno label head honcho’s out there. Noir Music’s NOIR and Suara Record’s COYU. We are extremely excited about this event and pairing these two together will make for a spectacular party in the capital. Of course, you can catch me and other Sensus residents playing on the night too. Aside from this, we have even bigger parties and line-ups planned London / Brighton / Ibiza but nothing I can reveal right now. Stay tuned!
In regards to my own productions I have been hammering away in the studio this past year and I feel I have finally found a sound and style I am happy with that represents me as a DJ & producer. I have tonnes of tracks in the pipeline that are waiting to be sent out to labels and A&R guys and thanks to this competition hopefully I can get it in the hands of some really cool people. If I cant find any fitting labels for my material I have always thought to launch Sensus Records and release it by myself.
Finally, what do you hope to achieve with the Accelerator Programme? Do you have any particular goals?
I would like to build on and take solid steps to reaching my ultimate goal which is to be globally recognised as a producer, DJ & event owner. Seeing how far I have come over this past year has felt really good but the work is never done. I am ready to immerse myself in networking and hopefully make the connections I need to make my dream a long-lasting reality. I like to go by a saying that is: ‘the harder you work, the further you get’ and I apply this to everything I do. I will not be slowing down at any point over this competition period and I can’t wait to put myself out there amongst some of the best artists in the industry.
Our amazing DJ studio in partnership with Pioneer DJ
We have a longstanding relationship with Pioneer DJ, as exemplified by our array of equipment in our DJ Studio, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them once again for the Accelerator Programme. If you like the look of the facilities why not check out our courses in London, which now include our new B.A. (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice. For more info or to book a tour of the campus, speak to a course advisor: 020 7729 4884.
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