Q: Starting in 2013, how did the band come about?
A: A: So we were part of bands when we were in school, and we followed each other to university to, you know, be in a band together there, so we started there. Henry was Tom’s next door neighbor, Felix, who was in the band at that moment was a bloke I met at Latitude festival and lived close to the town next to us and he’s an unbelievable drummer. He’s a drummer, he was there and he’s a great musician so yeah, it spawned out of boredom and wanting to do music and long summers doing nothing.
Q: When did you realise your potential for success and when did you start taking it seriously?
A: I think when we got our Reading and Leeds offer we began to start taking it more seriously, but I barely even think that we have the potential, I rarely think about the potential success even now you know? Like, you release music to the world and people like it or they don’t like it, you can’t really argue but you know, at the same there are lots of people that don’t really like us as well as like it so we’ll just keep releasing music as long as we’re still enjoying it, it’s still challenging us and I don’t know about any success or anything like that but yeah, we’ll just keep on doing it.
Q: Your fourth gig was Reading and Leeds but how were the previous three?
A: They were fucking dreadful man, they were horrific. We weren’t very good like, it was like our third show, even for like our fourth, fifth show how are we supposed to be any good? I look back on that video of us playing Reading and Leeds now and I just wince. We are a great live band, a great live band. If you ever ask about shows from our last tour we can talk about how much better we are and how good we are live now, we can have a little discussion about it.
Q: After Reading and Leeds you were signed very quickly, could you run me through exactly how that came about and exactly how quickly was the process from Reading and Leeds to RCA?
A: I think we had labels from like all the majors watching us at R&L and I think it was the week after or there and thereabouts that we started getting all our contractual offers through and basically we just had stupid sums of money being thrown around and we had labels being like, “Tell us how much they are offering you and just scrub out their name on top and write ours and then we’ll sign it off” and stuff like this and it was a fun time, but I wish I could go back now and just tell myself not to sign to anyone and just give yourself some time and give yourselves a moment and keep working forward, but look, here we are.
Q: Why would you tell yourself not to sign? Do you think you needed more time to develop, do you think the record label held you back in terms of finding your sound more naturally?
A: That’s exactly it! I just don’t think, you know, how great acts are born now like, the music system is kind of broken, you need a team of people who are going to help you make the things you need to make and sometimes people need money but, you know, the system is totally broken and it doesn’t allow artists and musicians to develop into anything great you know? People are flung aside after their first release doesn’t go so well or you know, their first record isn’t what people though it should have been or wasn’t what they should have done but you look at these groups like Radiohead, Pablo Honey was nothing compared to the albums they released after that. Like the biggest bands in the world… The Rolling Stones first album was a fucking cover album, they would have been crucified if they were releasing in this day and age, crucified, but they were given the time and respect to develop into something whereas that’s just not doable anymore because of the label system and everyone’s obsession with the new and the now which, you know… New musicians are super, super important and I’m not saying that but let them be new for a moment and then let them develop into something else….
Q: Let them get used to themselves and find what they want to do more naturally, like Chance The Rapper….
A: Exactly, and then you can get another David Bowie and stuff, and another, you know… there’s a reason we don’t have heroes and cult figures like that anymore, now things like Social Media and stuff certainly plays into it, but because no one is given the chance to develop into anything great because we’re so desperate to tear people down and throw them aside very quickly.
Q: To put them into a box with rules that we decide and throw them out when they don’t understand…
A: Exactly man and then they move onto their next sexy project that hasn’t been put into that box as of yet but we all know that it will yeah, yeah, I wish we could go back and have a conversation and I wish that I, it comes from a vein place at times but also not like.
Q No No you want to be the best you can be, it’s an understandable thing
A: Exactly! Exactly and you know people have got to invest time and respect into great art and I just don’t think people are willing to do that anymore and definitely not the people who count the money.
Q: Why did you choose RCA over all the others? Did they give you more freedom or was it at the time purely financial?
A: We believed they were the ones, they weren’t the largest offer we received but we believed when meeting them that they were the ones who were going to give us the most amount of time, the most amount of respect to do all the things we wanted to do but very quickly after we arrived our A&R was sacked and yeah (Sounds resigned and sick of it), the face started to change as in like different people coming in and you know, it’s frustrating but it’s just the way the music industry works. It’s not a place where people stay in the bear pit for like years and years and years, they’re there for a bit, realise it’s horrible and not really fun and not what they want to be doing and then they leave. So all the good people leave and all the nasty money grabbers stay. It’s not, you know (Laughs).
I completely agree, it’s where you go, get your money and get out as quickly as you can without screwing up too many lives in the process
Yeah, but I think in their heart everyone means well but you know, how people are trained to do this stuff is by selling themselves, selling people’s lives and how they’re living, when you think about it it’s the same technique they use to sell like hoovers, you know what I mean? The difference is the consumer marketing and all this kind of stuff, the business is that the hoover doesn’t go to bed fucking crying at night.
They don’t consider the human aspect that much when all they see a bunch of figures on a spreadsheet
Exactly that, and you know it’s that human element that makes great art so if they cultivated that human element they’d get some great stuff and probably making more money but it’s a slower process and some people are so scared for their job that they just need that quick fix which is why we have all the shit pop on the radio and stuff.
Q: 2015 “5 A.M. ” was released, what was it like working with such a big producer on your very first album? Did you feel pressured or did you expect it to happen that quickly?
A: Well no, it was amazing. Mike was like top of our list so we wanted to do it and then he wanted to do it too it was awesome. He’s a really fucking talented guy, really inspiring and the team he has around him, like John Gilmore who’s still with him now who’s really an amazing producer in his own right as well and yeah, it was so great to be there and it was a really beautiful moment for the band.
Q: Were you happy with the albums response when it was released?
A: Yeah I was happy I think we were all happy with the…. you know it’s a funny one. I love that album actually, I think it’s really, really great but there are specific bits of it that I think are just really, really, really wonderful and I think that people have reacted to those bits more than others parts as well, like stuff like “I found” on 5 A.M. have done unbelievably well for us and like make people react in an emotional way which is the kind of currency that I and the rest of the guys really care about so yeah, we’re really happy with it.
Q: Touring almost constantly in 2016, you recently said it was a very bad and difficult year for you, why was this exactly?
A: Emm Well Henry was suffering from really serious depression and Felix left the band and we left the label and we didn’t know whether we were going to be able to make a second record because we didn’t have any money and it was just a really, like, tempestuous kind of year of like hits and knock-backs and it took like, the lowest moment when Felix left, for us to all come together and realise that we really do want to make another record and it took us to really make some really good stuff to kind of, get out of that hole. And I said it it’s a bad year but it’s also the making of what this band and its new motive, to write and make music. But yeah, it was a bad year but I wouldn’t say it was so awful that we weren’t going to carry on. It was a year which was the making of Amber Run.
Q: Was there ever a point where you considered calling it a day? Was there ever that conversation?
A: Ohh absolutely, that conversation was had like three or four times, it was a really difficult time there and no one was happy and at the end of the day like I really want to be in a band that people love but…. (silence)
You have to be happy first…
Yeah, they wouldn’t love the band if I was miserable, I mean like you look at all our heroes and they’re all dead at 27, you know, I’ve got a girlfriend that I love, I’ve got a family that I love and maybe life is more important, I don’t know.
Q: You returned to the studio and wrote your new album, how was the writing process compared to the first album, did you find it easier?
A: Yeah, it was easier in the fact that we were talking about really trivial subjects so we were talking about things that were really obvious and present at the time that we were writing it and the other guys really stepped up and it was a lot more of a collaborative writing process which was really fun and really cool and as I said like, we’re an act that loves playing live and we tracked a lot of the album live which adds a whole new flavor to the album as a whole but it also just made it a lot more fun for us because we like playing live.
Q: When you got into the studio were you even tempted to erase all of Felix’s work and start from scratch?
A: Well no man, if somethings good, regardless of who’s in the band or not, you don’t want to erase good work and I mean, it wasn’t really like… there was no anger or bitterness when he left because think of how difficult it must have been for him to come up to his four closest mates and be like, “I can’t be in the band anymore, it’s not good for me”. There was no animosity and it would have been a discredit to how much work we’d all put in if we were to get rid of it, like it’s still Felix’s drum take on “Fickle Game”, the same take as when we first did it, because we recorded it earlier that the rest and you know, I think` that’s important because you can’t forget where you came from with this stuff and I think it’s really lovely that Felix has his voice on this album and a lot of the stuff has changed, simply because we’ve played it live and it’s a new drummer with his own ideas and a way of doing things but I think it would be a bit careless and a bit crass to forget Felix and to delete all his work and just start again.
Q: What did you make of 2016 as a whole, what with Trump and Brexit and has Brexit influenced a bands capability to tour Europe, America and everywhere else?
A: Well obviously it’s all terrible, like what is going on with the world like, it’s scary. I think that’s startling about and I think that’s one of the worst things you can feel because if you’re scared that quite quickly turns into anger and scared and quickly turn into like retaliation or like closing yourself off to these type of conversations and Brexit again, a mad one because more than 50% of the people I turn around and see I don’t agree with anymore on something fundamental, and I found that quite difficult because again we all feel disillusioned with no so much the people around us but like with the country we identify with and it’s really difficult one and it’s… yeah it’s just terrifying but all you can do is keep on having these type of conversations, keep on airing your opinions and like no one’s right or wrong, everyone is just trying to formulate the best way through life.
Nobody knows what they’re doing….
Yeah, exactly and you know, for better or for worse I don’t think the people that voted out of Brexit are fundamentally evil people, they still like love their mum and stuff, you just need to have open debates where it doesn’t just turn into people screaming “You’re fucking wrong” or “He’s fucking wrong” but it allows us to come to a table and understand that people just want to live their lives and everyone wants to just have food and drink and be happy and no one’s really that different, whether you’re Syrian or whether you’re like English or whether you’re Irish or whether you’re from anywhere and I just don’t understand why people don’t get that and that’s just terrifying.
Q: How does Brexit influence a bands ability to travel?
A Ohh yeah that was part of the question wasn’t it (Laughs) Emm, I personally haven’t looked that much into this, I think that it will play a big role. I mean going to tour America was already partially difficult because of VISA charges and if we don’t have a, if we can’t be in the open market and free market then I would think that it would be a similar system, that you have to pay for a visa and be taxed from earnings and that sort of things and it’s so expensive to tour already I think that it would inhibit bands from being able to go to tour abroad. I think it will make it even more difficult than it already is and it’s already pretty difficult.
Q: Would you ever consider moving to a country within the boundaries of Europe in order to make it a little easier for yourselves to progress as a band?
A: Oh I’d definitely think about it yeah, I’d definitely think about it. I mean, this is really important to me but I’d also really think about it because you know I don’t really believe in the kind of policies and the ways we are living in the UK anymore. I think, I don’t mean this as an angry attack at the people that do I mean it more just that you need to go to where you can identify with people and where you feel at home and I’m becoming gradually disillusioned with the way my country thinks we need to be living and you know, yeah?
Q: How did you feel about Theresa May taking over negotiations and speaking to Trump a
nd holding his hand?
A: I wasn’t really happy about it, emm, if I’m honest I don’t know the ins and outs of it all and I want to come to a, you know, reasoned conclusion with it, but I think that he doesn’t have the world’s best interests at heart and I think that he’s got a really fascist agenda so I don’t think that I want the person in charge of the country where me and my family and my loved ones live to have any dealings with him. I think the fact that Brexit’s happened has kinda tied her hand on stuff like this because He would be one of our main trade partners if we were to leave the free market in Europe so I imagine it’s really fucking difficult for her but at the same time obviously I don’t agree but then again I’m not a politician so I don’t really know, so I can have an opinion but I often think that you know, that if you’re in the situation, if you’re in the room then you can have like a really… like you can know the ins and outs and understand how difficult it is but yeah, I’m not happy about it, I think it’s pretty gross but I think it’s important to have reasoned conclusions before you start shouting and telling everyone they’re racist and stuff.
Q: What are your plans for 2017, where do you hope the band will be?
A: We’ve started writing for our third album and we’re emm, we’re gonna be going out on the road as much as humanly possible, we love playing live so yeah… We have plans for Europe and if w can get the money together we’ll attempt America and we’ll just keep on trying to tour and keep on trying to show people our music because I think they’ll like it.
Amber Run’s new album “For a Moment, I Was Lost” is now available to buy and stream from all major streaming platforms. Released from Easy Life Records.