UK producer Mark Dobson aka Ambassadeurs doesn’t embark on a project lightly. Music to him is a means of interacting with the world, a lens to bring his emotions into focus; uniquely personal, this approach doesn’t lend itself to half-hearted statements or unfulfilled promises. Even by his own standards though, new album ‘Human Stranger’ is a stunning achievement. A record that travels from London to Berlin and Istanbul before finally taking him back to his home town, it’s a symphony of loss, a collection of pieces united by their ability to channel grief. DMCWORLD checks in for another world exclusive…
Hello Mark, thanks for speaking with us. For anyone not familiar with you, please introduce yourself and what you do.
Thank you! I’m Mark, I live in Brighton and produce electronic music under the name Ambassadeurs. I’m also a mastering engineer at CODA Mastering.
How would you describe your music? What are the elements that make it distinctive?
That’s always a tricky one, it’s quite eclectic…you could call it electronica? It’s got many influences, I don’t like to pigeon hole the project into a certain box and tend to put out what I come up with depending on what I’m being inspired by or how I’m feeling at the time. There are some recurring elements such as ethereal reverb textures, ambience and non western instruments being sampled. Drums are generally a big part of it.. I love drums. My friend recently gave me his drum kit to look after and I’m having lots of fun learning how to play them!
Talk us through your new album ‘Human Stranger’? What drove you to create the album?
This album was created as therapy for myself. I lost my sister 2 years ago and focusing on the creation of the album was a way of dealing with it and releasing a lot of emotions that I needed to get out. I moved back to my home town and set up a studio in a garage with no windows and spent most of my time in there creating it.
What do you feel has changed in the music scene, for better or worse, since the release of your last album ‘Patterns’ in 2015?
I feel like as electronic music moved towards being more mainstream it became over saturated, commercialized and lost a lot of its innovation and excitement… maybe this is just for me but I rarely hear electronic music that surprises me anymore and don’t tend to listen to much of it to be honest… I feel like everything has been done and over done… it just doesn’t excite my ears that often.
Your studio had travelled through a few cities during the making of the album. What piece of studio equipment couldn’t you live without?
It’s not very exciting but it would have to be my laptop.. I have lots of other gear that I use when making music but I don’t really need any of it… in fact sometimes I make better music without all the distractions of having fancy gear around and just have my laptop and a pair of headphones.
Which city you’ve lived in has had the biggest effect on you and your music?
This one has got to be Berlin. It was my first time living in another country and was an extremely exciting and inspiring time, I just had my suitcase, clothes, laptop and headphones.. I felt so light and free. The music scene there is fantastic and its the only place i’ve been where experiencing music feels like a natural experience rather than some sort of consumption… it all feels very wholesome and organic.
You recently returned to your home town of Worthing. Apart from it being your home, what makes it special for you?
I did for about 6 months, I’m in Brighton now. Worthing is great.. It gets a bit of a bad rep as historically it was just a town for old people (It had the nickname “God’s Waiting Room”) But it’s getting a lot better. It was a great place to grow up.. I think because of the lack of a large music scene and abundance of young people there the music scene was very small and tight.. Everyone knew everyone else in music and there was a great little music community.
What have been the biggest influences in your music career so far?
I think discovering electronic music in my teens was a huge influence… I stumbled across lots of early Warp and Ninja Tune stuff… people like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Amon Tobin.. It blew my mind… I’d never heard anything like that at all and was extremely exciting. Until then I was mostly listening to bands and more traditional ‘music’ and this opened up this whole new world of weird and wonderful sounds and music. This was the first time I thought about making electronic music – I had only really played in guitar bands up until then.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Some nice old guy in a pub once told me to not bother with music as you can’t make money from it and I would never be successful. That really spurred me on and I never forgot it for some reason.. No idea who he was.
What are three new tracks/albums you’d recommend someone to listen to?
I’m not really listening to any new music at the moment so I have no idea, but here are some tracks I have been listening to a lot recently…