Aquamanda is both an accomplished DJ and a singer/songwriter. As a musical performer she has been mesmerizing many an intimate festival stage over the years (Big Chill, Glastonbury) and chill-out rooms (Fridge, Mass, Pendragon, Samsara) with her celestial voice, always enchanting the stage with her breezy seductive songs. A regular performer at Dulwich Festival and with ongoing writing and recording, Aquamanda has also taken to making video film clips of some tracks. From exploring the sensuality of flowers in “Honey” and the autumnal landscapes in “Kiss the Wind” to the Twin Peaks/Hitchcock-esque “Now it’s Dark”.
The albums here, feature songs old and new, drawn from personal experience, exposing an emotional Aquamanda very much with her own take on life. Songs of longing & intimacy, wonderment and angels, a need for space, a need for expressing love. The compilation Dark Side of the Room is at times heart wrenchingly sad… “we all have moments at the end of the day where we sit alone in the dark side of the room, where life catches up with us, where you try to hold on, carry on, and move on – it’s about picking up the pieces”.
Many tracks feature real instruments whilst embracing technology, with Amanda playing grand piano, autoharp & monochord (a 26 stringed instrument producing a drone and harmonics – as heard on “Kiss the wind”) or a string quartet swelling around that heavenly voice (“Angels”). Her craft of songwriting shines through this timeless collection of songs.
John Peel put her first release “Knees Up Mother Earth” (with Knights of The Occasional Table) in his Festive 50 calling it “a lovely record”. Amanda wrote all the hippy trippy lyrics and multi layered the spacey vocals in keeping with this iconic rare sell-out of an album. See Timeline below for NME & Melody maker reviews.
“Weightlessness” (heard here on Wonderland album) was quite possibly the first ever internet only release in 1996 via Cerberus Digital Jukebox in Soho, London. Pioneering musical streaming and downloads at the time was revolutionary and pre-itunes, though few people had access to colour, visuals or sound on their computers never mind a secure way of paying for a transaction! See timeline below for related press articles.
Aquamanda has released 12″ dance tracks on her own label Fairy Cake Universe. Here Amanda is in her own Cosmic Disco! Evidence of her scientific and intuitive thoughts on the universe are abundant. The joy of enlightenment through dance, love, stars, meditation, the elements, the interconnectedness of everything. (see Wonderweb video). Already with a BA in Fashion/textiles under her designer belt, she then went on to explore her natural abilities to work with energy Tama Do Academy of Sound, Colour & Movement Diploma with “the father of Vibrational healing”, Fabian Maman. Red gave her a headache. Magenta pink was her colour top to toe for a decade. Amanda interviews Fabian in her mini documentary “The Monochord”.
Amanda’s vocals have impressed and inspired other artists to collaborate and remix her tracks. 2011’s Rude Audio album That Dirty Echo has Aquamanda collaborating with this eclectic South London Collective. Many of which were further remixed for the 2012 Dirty Remixes EP. Tracks include: Now it’s Dark, Fin on a Hill, Fever Scientist, Lufbra Vigil, Rise in Peckham. Vocals have already been laid down for a proposed Autumn 2015 EP of new material with Rude Audio.
The ethereal vocals of Angels were sampled and dance remixed by Haris & Automatic (LAUS01). James Hare chops and twists vocals originally from “Statue” to produce “Close my eyes” and “Oblivious”. Amanda is also the vocals on Lenovo laptops advertising campaign throughout Asia, a collaboration with Murmur Creative Agency.
In the leafy ‘burbs of Dulwich you may find Aquamanda performing in the open air at events at Dulwich Picture Gallery (Dulwich On View Party, Gallery Lates) or Open House Launch Party for Dulwich Festival. When not creating her own music, Amanda can be found nestled amongst the soprano’s in a local choral society, singing Verdi’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah at Venues such as St John Smiths Square, Blackheath Halls, Southwark Cathedral. Like such sacred music you get the sense that Amanda’s music connects to the source.
Also in 2015 performing with both Note-Orious and Hearst choir (Music in Offices) at The Roundhouse, Royal Academy, Trafalgar Square, The Guildhall and st Paul’s Cathedral.
As DJ Aquamanda her versatile repertoire has delighted 8th’s to 80th’s (Brucie’s birthday/ Strictly Come Dancing wrap party at the BBC), charity Silent Disco at the Rivoli Ballroom, 40th’s at Soho House, 50th’s at Shoreditch House, Weddings and civil partnerships at Dulwich College.
Amanda was the regular rollerdisco DJ (2011–2015) at the Saturday afternoon session FamilyJam. “It’s like the Chart Show on wheels”. www.rollerdisco.com
Aquamanda.biz is the PR side of Amanda’s day job, her main client being The Charity Awards. For 9 years she has sourced and managed the smooth running of the stage award presentations featuring many familiar household names – actors, writers, TV broadcasters and personalities. Gaby Roslin, Huw Edwards, Larry Lamb, Amanda Redman, Mel & Sue, Olivia Colman, Sir Peter Blake plus hosts including Stephen Mangan and Jo Brand. www.civilsociety.co.uk/charityawards
Amanda was also responsible for press relations for MidCentury Modern shows and an occasional writer for DulwichOnView. She’s also a part-time property developer and full-time mother of two.
28 June, 1997 Glastonbury & 90’s chillout clubroomsGlastonbury 1997 Vibe tent Saturday & Sunday, including Avalon radio broadcast, Aquamanda in the mix live sets. 1993-98 regular London club Chill-out rooms: Megatripolis (Heaven), The Fridge, Pendragon, Escape from Samsara, Brixton Academy, Mass, Escape (Brighton), Wow, Seed. Featured with Knights of Occasional Table & Path: Whirl-y-gig, Club Dog, Vox Brixton. Harvey Floorbangers NME gig of the week (KOTOT 1996)
24 March, 1996 Virtual Hit24 March 1996 Press Association GMT 08:37 A singer-songwriter to launch her latest single only on the Internet. Aquamanda claims it is the first time a record has been released on the computer network without going on sale in shops. The single, Weightlessness, will be available exclusively for surfers to hear via the Internet’s own virtual jukebox from Monday. Aquamanda, a partner in the Fairy Cake Universe record label, says she decided to take the hi-tech approach to cut the enormous marketing and production costs of releasing a record conventionally. She said “ we’re a small label.It’s a great opportunity for people to get access to our music. “We’d rather put the money we’ve got into recording a quality product, so it’s the music that’s interesting not the marketing. “My vocals are quite ethereal and it’s nice to think it’s out there in the ether. We think it will appeal to the Internet market”. The juke box, run by Cerberus, charges users 60p to download a song and half of the cash is passed to the artist. To tune into the record go to http://cdj.co.uk/cdj/inart/aqua.htm
15 August, 1995 12″ singles Kiss fm to PrideFrom Primetime Kiss fm airplay (Graham Gold) to Pride on Clapham Common, These dance singles have lifted spirits with euphoric tech house. Proud to have had an "Aquamanda" section in Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street and sold via many an independent Soho vinyl shop Free Your Spirit 12” orange vinyl 4 track limited edition single EP Supernatural Love 12” Aquamanda / Automatic limited edition black vinyl Angels reworked. Mixes by Haris and Automatic LAUS 001 first label release Beautiful 12” pink Vinyl 4 track limited edition single EP
15 July, 1993 Shamanarchy in the UK album(evolution) Features Knights Of the Occasional Table track “Breathe” Other artists: Spiral Tribe, Eat static, Astralasia, Irresistible Force, Psychic TV, Zion Train, Monkey Pilot & Another Green World, Tribal Drift, Fraser Clark & The Evolution House Band,, Tribal Drift, Universal Mind, Michael Dog, Tim Leary, Terrence McKenna, Bob Dobbs.
10 July, 1993 MELODY MAKER Albums. ZaneEven though the name Knights of the Occasional Table is a bit of a mouthful, it has been dropped regularly these past few months. For, down in underground of the crusty dance scene, KOTOT are viewed with teary -eyed awe. That’s because this amorphous bunch of south London skinheads and hippies have shied away from publicity like badgers confronted with a flashlight. Mystery is so enticing, you know. So, after plenty of saliva-inducing build up, we get the amusingly titled “Kness Up Mother Eart” . True, it’s ecological morals and moon loon lyrics would have your average rock fan spitting insults or collapsing in uncontrollable laughter, but you get the sneaking suspicion that KOTOT already know this. They’re proud to be lost in a world of incest, tie-dye kaftans and mind – enhancing subsances.
3 July, 1993 Album Review NME. Ben WillmottThe DIY generation is among us – from manifesto-scrawling angry young women to the “go fort it” mentality of the free party movement, people have had enough of the big business raw deal and are doing it themselves. All over the country, people like KOTOT are fed up with sanitised dance music and are cooking up delights like “knees Up Mother Earth”, rendering shoe string budgets irrelevant by sheer enthusiasm and heaps of good, old fashioned talent. Loosely termed “dance” music, the Knights veer from the sort of dub-related pop that Back to the Planet would produce if someone confiscated their guitars to a very British kind of pop with the charm of St Etienne but non of the trendier-than-thou attitude. As the title and pro-eco statement on the inside cover suggests, there’s a serious side to the album. But it’s all executed with a frenetic joy and a sense of humour that means there’s no time to get bogged down with the message., somehow without trivialising it. Even the lyrics to the eminently catchy “Rainbows of Gaia”, which would make David Bellamy cringe if executed by anyone else, sounds perfectly natural in the hands of the Knights. “Knees Up…” is proof indeed of the theory that sheer verve will always overcome the limitations of cash: bugger the multi-nationals and their squeaky clean imitations, and get behind the Knights on their crusade to save the earth! p34 Long Play. Ben Willmott 8/10
26 June, 1993 BOOGIE KNIGHTS NME. Sherman(On. Interview p3) Amid the grimness of South East London, THE KNIGHTS OF THE OCCASIONAL TABLE are preparing to spearhead a revolution, a musical uprising aiming to fuse the world of technology – and the more obvious music it has spawned – with that sacred and hallowed great British breakfast, the “song”. More and more of Albion’s tribes are beginning to take the more obvious route to making music using the instruments of the 90’s – computers, drum machines and sampler. The results is bands like Ultramarine, Transglobal Underground and Astralasia. They refuse to tread water in one particular pool, but wish to surf on the whole musical ocean. The Knights, (Steve, Nygell, Moose, Andrew and vocalist Aquamanda) are currently hawking their debut LP “Knees Up Mother Earth”, initially released on their own label before those Club Dog cavaliers rode in to take over. It’s an exciting collection of misshaped pegs in even odder-shaped holes. Pinning it down is difficult: try imagining techno-pop pioneers Section 25 and New Order meeting The Raincoats. In the Orb’s bathroom, tanked up on top bubble bath Matey. They are, according to Steve, a “happy accident”, a mongrel breed of every imaginable strain of music that’s mutated into a heady concoction of songs composed on the basic studio equipment that’s making this decade tick. They take the influences of anything you care to mention and turn them into a melodic ocean of sounds inspired by technology, swimming with ambience and atmosphere and topped with the angelic and innocently inviting vocals of Aquamanda, or Mandi as she is known to her funkily magpie-minded teammates. “I think in our basic approach to music, we’ve still got a lot of the basic attitude we had when we were making music with guitars” says Steve, who’s also a psychiatric nurse. “It’s just that the instruments have changed”. “Knees Up Mother Earth” pokes it’s tongue out at you whilst making you think and funk, and carries a vibe throughout it’s frolicsome romp that also has a message: an ecological focus that, according to Andy, tells you we tuned into whilst we were doing it” “I like to think of it as an evolutionary process” adds Aquamanda, whose lyrics front the thoughts of the rest of group. “I think there are a lot of positive things to say about the planet that we live on; you can show people that there are things you can do and celebrate” The Knights are also on a sampling crusade – from the huge collection of records in the front room of Nygells castle (where 85% of the album was recorded), they bum, steal and borrow to what Andy describes as “ an amorphous genepool” “It’s quite nice to be able to take something like a snippet of, say, Genesis and turn it into a hookline that’s quite trancy” continues Andy who combines his musical mission with work on Stage & Television Today. “We like to get a bit of irony and subversion in there, as well as the cultural significance of taking something old and creating something new with it. I think we’re creating something quite organic. It’s electronic but not machine-like. “Knees Up Mother Earth” available for an £11 cheque to: KNIGHTS OF THE OCCASIONAL TABLE PO BOX 3149 LONDON SE16 2QA