Interview: Amber Run
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If you haven’t heard of Amber Run as of yet, then firstly, where have you been? And secondly, you can thank me for doing the honours of introduction once you finish reading this piece. The five piece (Will Jones, Tomas Sperring, Joshua Keogh, Henry Wyeth and Felix Archer) have been making waves online for quite a while. Even more so upon the release of their debut album 5AM earlier last week. The last song that Tom Sperring (bassist) listened to before talking to us was ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive. Which is kind of fitting, considering these guys are revealing bit by bit really what they’re made of and they’re doing it with kickass style. Speaking of the dynamics within the band, it’s transpires that “Will is definitely the bossiest. And the most diva. We're all divas really.” The five "diva" friends have known each other for a while, having grown up attending nearby schools. All except Henry, who was welcomed as Tom’s neighbour in university halls. Studying at the University of Nottingham together, they started playing open mic nights at the locally famous Rescue Rooms back in 2010. After releasing several singles and an EP, last week marked the release of their debut album. Acting as a time capsule of their time together with plenty to choose from, some of the tracks date back to four years, whereas others are “newbies”. “Well we've been sitting on it for a while, and we've had the songs for years, so it feels great to finally release. To be honest, you don't really have any idea when is right, we just wanted it to be out there so people could hear what we've been working on.” Recorded with Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals) 5AM is chockablock with gorgeous harmonies, blending indie vibes with anthems of choruses. Neat arrangements of glittering keys, folksy chords and bellowing vocals infuse to make something that sounds different in its entirety, with familiar elements making exciting listening. Each member of Amber Run brings something new to the table in the part they play, and each has a style in their musicianship. It’s easy to assume that if even one member of the band were absent, we wouldn’t have the same sound we have today. “Joe is really in to classic songwriting, more timeless songs, and Will listens to more electronic music, so songs like 5AM end up being a healthy mix of the two.” The title track is perhaps the most subtle on the album, but instantly captivating. Eerie instrumentals create a hazy backdrop for natural vocals, raw and honest pouring sublime emotional lyrics. An electronic beat lifts the slow paced proceedings, letting us know from the start that Amber Run are not just as they appear on the exterior. The evolution of the band shows great development since their early recordings. Crowd pleaser ‘Noah’ was released a few years back, though for the album it was tweaked and re-recorded. “'Noah' was one of the first demos we all did together, around three years ago, and it gained more of an edge live, so we wanted to take away from its softer, folkier roots and record it almost entirely live. Also, it was instrumental in propelling us to where we are now, so we owed it a 2015 outing.” As part of the full length, 'Noah' is a stand out track. Pulsing drums create an air of intensity on the biblical tale. Injected with a burst of energy, explosive vocals don’t fight for their place above strong instrumentals; they earn it and work together. Amber Run example their passion for story telling with effortless flair ‘my name is Noah, the sea is my home. This small waiting boat will be my throne.’ In fact, the album almost acts as a coming-of-age story. With each track revolving around a new narrative, there’s a personal connection with the music, each relatable in a sense. This is a band that feels it is important to write from experience.
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