Ampthetex is the musical guise of now 30 year old "Steven Price", coming from a very small village called "Fochriw", Deep in the South Wales valleys. Where there is nothing much more than mountains, sheep, high unemployment rates, bad weather, and not much to do.
After taking an avid interest in electronic music from around 1996/7, I started listening more and more to artists such as "The Chemical Brothers", "Future Sound of London", "The Prodigy", "Orbital", "The Orb", "Aphex Twin", "Leftfield", etc., to name just a few. After getting into the music more and more, I started to take an interest in the making and production of the music.
I started out into the world of electronic music, and production by reading magazines such as "The Mix", "Future Music", "Computer Music" and "Sound on Sound".
Looking at all the expensive new equipment which was usually on review in these magazines, only dreaming of one day maybe being able to afford such equipment and to call it my own.
My first start out into the creation of music came from fiddling with some audio programs on an old 486 computer system, which I had been given by my eldest brother.
The first audio computer program I purchased was called "Techno Maker" by a company called DataBecker, it was one of those drag and drop looped based programs, very similar to the well known "eJay" series of music arrangement programs. A good friend of mine called Ricci Coughlin also started to experiment using a computer and music software. Some of the first audio programs I come acrossed and used were "Stomper", "RubberDuck" and "HammerHead".
I was quite limited with what could be done using a computer at the time, and also the programs at the time weren't available or able to do what I wanted it to do. Old computer systems running Microsoft Windows 3.11, or if you were lucky Windows 95 wasn't very stable especially on a 486 with only a minimum amount of "RAM" memory, and a Creative SoundBlaster 16-bit. System crashes was just something you took in your stride or was just normal, but very annoying as you can imagine, you have just spent an hour creating some sounds and bass lines etc., and the system decides to lock up and crash. Losing all your precious hard worked music data in the process.
After leaving school, I started to look and see if any college's in the area done anything which was remotely close to sound engineering, music production, audio technician, etc., but there was just nothing available, especially in the deepest darkest corners of the South Wales valleys.
I tried contacting TV stations such as the "BBC", "ITV", "S4C", etc., to see if they had any apprenticeships or anything in the way of work regarding sound engineering, audio technician, etc., to get a foot on the ladder and learn the trade. No where could help, so I was in dire straits.
I decided to go to "Ystrad Mynach" college on a two year course in computers, I thought I would broaden my arisen with computers and take it from there. Whilst in college I had access to the then all new world of the "Internet". This was a god send as you could type in what you wish and you would get hundreds of results, it was like an whole new world.
I started to look at these unique machines which you would hear about in magazines such as the classics's "Roland TB-303", "Roland TR-909", "Korg MS-10", etc., The internet allowed you to actually see images of them, and download samples created by them. After trawling the internet I downloaded quite a few interesting audio programs, "Stomper", "RubberDuck", "Hammerhead", are just a few. These would let you create your own drum sounds, and sequence a bass line. The technology was starting to really take off, and the programs were getting more and more sophisticated. I had been in college for around a year, and decided it was time to try something else and maybe seeing if there was any apprenticeships available. I quit college, and got a temporary job in a local factory. I would save my money and put it to a piece of equipment, the first item I purchased, for no idea why I chose it, but it was a Yamaha PSR-37 Keyboard, I think it was the sheer size of the keyboard with full size keys impressed me. As I'm sure the sounds wouldn't. It cost me my first wage packet and set me back £99. Oh I wish I had looked in the free ads and purchased what I was initially after a "Drum Machine". I was really after the "Alesis SR-16" drum machine, but I couldn't wait and hold onto the money, I just had to get something. I think I sold the keyboard about 6 months later for a measly £30 in the local free ads. My first piece of proper gear didn't come until a few months later on, it was an old 1980's Cheetah MD-16 Drum Machine which I purchased through the local free ads newspaper for about £60 If I remember correctly.
In 1999/2000 after being unemployed for a period, I noticed that there was a place called "Immtech" in Cardiff, which done training in sound engineering, music technology, etc., I got some information regarding it and managed to eventually get a place on a course which was a NOCN Advanced Diploma in Music Technology.
It did mean I had to get up at 5.30am every Monday-Friday, walk a mile in all weather to the local train station, each way. Then a dull drum of an hour train journey, each way.
The course was great though, and the studio we was learning in was quite well equipped too, so we got quite a bit of hands on training. The course took around 9 months to complete, and I passed it successfully gaining a certificate for "NOCN Advanced Diploma in Music Technology". I thought after gaining this I might have more of a chance in possibly getting some work in the studio environment, etc., but no such luck. No studio's, TV Stations, etc., were interested.
I never did get a job in a studio....
In 2004, I moved to Nottingham, England. Soon after the move I found work with an online retail company called Vionic Technology Ltd (mp3players.co.uk), selling MP3/MP4 Players, Headphones, Speakers and later on Flatscreen Televisions, etc. I enjoyed the job very much and working with the people there. This was probably one of the most greatest and happiest times in my life.
I took orders, answered the telephone, technical support, picked and packed
the orders, and got to play with all the latest and greatest MP3 gadgets and
Portable multimedia gadgets, etc.
Later on in the year I started to convert the loft in my fiancés house into a studio. I slowly built it up over time and created a floating floor, partition walls, laid new insulation etc.
After about 6-9 months of hard graft, it was all complete and ready to go, so I put all my equipment together and set it up.
Unfortunately in 2006 I was made redundant and lost my job due to the financial climate, I was gutted that I no longer had a great job that made me happy and with great people. Later on that year I got married, for the next few years I had a few various jobs, and was still purchasing and collecting equipment for my little loft studio.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with a very rare condition called SMA (Superior
Mesenteric Artery) Syndrome, This is were the blood flow to the Duodenum
(the outlet from your stomach to your small intestine), becomes restricted.
The duodenum is made up of four parts and my third and fourth parts were strictured,
so food and liquid was having trouble getting through.
Thus causing all sorts of nasty symptoms from chronic acid reflux, nausea, choking sensation in the chest, trouble breathing from the stomach not emptying properly and pushing on other internal organs, diarrhoea, constipation, and stomach pains. I needed an operation called a Gastrojujenostomy, to connect a different part of the bowel to the non strictured duodenum parts one or two.
I was told I would be in hospital for around 3-4 days, after the operation, so July 2009 I was admitted to have the operation to sort the problem out. This is were my life took a sudden downward spiral for the next eighteen months to two years. The operation was done on the Monday and was said to be a success, I couldn't eat or drink for the first day or two, only sips of water, on about day three I was told to try and drink, so I did.
When I drank about five minutes later I vomited everything back up, I was very concerned as it seemed like nothing was going through, I kept trying for the next few days, but the same thing happened every-time, I drunk and five minutes later I vomited everything back up. They also found an abscess in my pelvis so I had to have a needle inserted into my lower abdomen and a pipe attached to drain it off, this took around two to three days. The sickness went on for about two weeks and then the surgeons decided that something wasn't quite right, so I then had to go back under the knife to make sure it was all done correctly.
They redone the operation and made the opening wider, they also put a drain from my stomach in case it wasn't emptying, a PEG feed tube into my stomach for nutrition, and also two drains. I was being fed via the PEG feed, and allowed to try and drink. But something wasn't right as my stomach was getting hard and I was still being sick, it was if the PEG feed was bloating my stomach and not going anywhere.
This went on for about another two weeks, then they decided something wasn't right and it was back under the knife for a third time. When I went to theatre they found that my upper and lower bowel had fused together, so there was no where for it to go, so they took all of my intestines out and checked everything and put it all back and separated the bowel which had stuck together. The bowel was full of the PEG feed, it couldn't empty so was stuck inside me. By this third operation my body had taken an hammering and I was down to around five and a half stone in weight, and looking battered and beaten. I didn't want to go through it any more and wanted out, as I was fed up and broken, I felt I would rather be dead than having to keep going through all what I was going through. I therefore had to have an Hickman Line inserted so I could be fed directly via the vein.
I was sick and tired of the Dr's telling me we are still waiting for the stomach
and bowels to start working again, this seemed to have went on for ages and
ages. After a small breakthrough, everything seemed to start working and I could
eat again, but only little and got terrible nausea all the time. After a few
more weeks I was told I could go home, I felt weak as a new born kitten and
got out of breath quite quickly. I thought this was all down to the recovery
I was sent home with various medicines and the painkiller Oxycodone which is an opiate. I got home and just laid up on the settee, eating small meals, being sick every 2-3 days, having to go back and forth the hospital twice a week to have the Hickman line flushed.
I went on for a few weeks like this eating small amounts, feeling weak, taking strong painkillers and having the Hickman line flushed, I then had the Hickman line removed. I was still being sick and it seemed to be getting more and more frequent so I thought, "this ain't right", so we went back and they said see how you get on. I went home and ended up getting so bad that when I went to the hospital again I was admitted because I was dehydrated, under nutrition, and had anaemia. I was in a bad way I was struggling to walk a few yards without feeling like I was going to collapse.
After being readmitted I was so badly under nourished I had to have another Hickman line inserted into my chest and was being fed artificially via the vein again because I couldn't hold down anything apart from some liquid. I was too weak for an operation so I was fed via the vein with what's called TPN (Total Parental Nutrition). After a few weeks they then did some tests, one of which involved a tube down the nose whilst your awake passed through the stomach into the duodenum, and then it was injected with barium whilst they X-ray you on the table. They then determined I had what's called adhesions, where parts of your intestines stick to each other bit like chewing gum etc. I needed the adhesions removed so I could start to eat again, so I needed another operation. They got me down urgently that weekend and the surgeon that originally did my operation was going to do the fourth one for me, I was hoping that this would be the last.
I had a laparoscopy and they removed the troublesome adhesions, the operation was said to have been a success and within a few days I started to try and eat again. I was still being viciously sick so long after eating and drinking, so I had paranoid episodes that its all happening all over again.
I was moved back to my original ward, and started eating and it was slowly starting to get better and being sick less often. This went on for a few weeks and I was still being sick so they did some more tests and it seemed that my intestines weren't completely being emptied so I started on some new medication and this helped a lot, I started to be sick and feel nausea's less and less. I then started to put back on the weight I had lost and felt a lot better, probably the best I had felt within the two year period. I was in for about another 2-3 weeks then I was discharged at last. I was sent home with some more medication.
The Quest Goes On...... For a Brighter Future.
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