Q and A with ambient composer Ken Davis

Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017

Stepping in a yoga studio, treatment room, or sitting down in the somewhat daunting dentist's chair is usually an abrupt change from the busy outside world. The relaxing, soothing music played at businesses specialising in health and wellbeing is integral to the customer's experience. A recent neuroscience study on the effects of music and stress found the Marconi Union song Weightless to significantly reduce anxiety levels in study participants, due in part to how the song was purposely composed to be in tune with the body's vital signs.  

Mood-based streaming playlists curated on themes of relaxation, concentration, and sleep are some of the most popular on Spotify as well, giving ambient music an increased focus in the industry. Ahead of Ambient Music Reporting Forms due 31 August, and to gain insight into this unique genre of music, Sydney-based APRA AMCOS member and ambient music composer Ken Davis shared his thoughts on the field.

Q: What are your commercial clients looking for when programming music in their place of business?
Ken Davis: In my mind they would be using the style of music I create or my nature sounds to relax their customers or patients, if played in a doctor's waiting room, hospital, dental clinic, or anywhere else to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony -- like a yoga or meditation class.

Q: Can you share any tips on how an upcoming ambient songwriter can reach out to the network of businesses that support this genre of music?
Ken Davis: Post a video to YouTube or upload your music to SoundCloud, and email the link around to businesses that use this style of music.

Q: What are the current or evolving trends in ambient music in regard to how music is created, the sound, distribution, and/or other issues?   
Ken Davis: Ambient music generally does not include bass or drums. It relies on textures of sound, creatively interwoven with emotional chord structures, creating a deep connection to one's emotions. Distribution is now mainly through Spotify or streaming as CDs are becoming a thing of the past.

Q: What inspires you?
Ken Davis: The endless opportunities to use one's talent to create music that is forever evolving. I am still as passionate as when I first began composing ambient, relaxing music.

Ambient Music Reporting Forms are due 31 August and can be downloaded here. If you need any assistance in completing your Ambient Music Reporting form, please contact your local Writer Services Representative.


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