After the successful album release and UK tour Amber Run encountered earlier on in the year, the band don’t seem too eager to sit back and relax just yet. Recently treating us to the exciting news of another UK tour (starting in Bournemouth on 29th September) which will roll out into an extensive further spate of touring, taking in dates across Europe, the following month (some dates of which have already sold out).
Not only that but the band are also releasing an acoustic EP that contains a mixture of covers from various artists, as well as different takes on songs from their second album ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’. The first track to be released from this EP was a stunningly performed cover of Maggie Rogers’ ‘Alaska,’ and if their breathtaking rendition is anything to go by, this EP will be sure to move even the coldest of hearts to tears.
As I was saying, it’s clear to see Amber Run are not ones for shying away from a busy schedule, and luckily for us we managed to secure a few minutes of the band’s time with lead singer, Joe Keogh answering some of our burning questions.
Ok let’s start off with an easy and fun question, what’s your favourite alcoholic drink?
Tequila is the bands drink of choice.
Amber Run have been touring relentlessly throughout 2017, culminating in the assembly of a new Acoustic EP. What drove the decision to slow things down and share a more intimate side of the band with this release?
It’s fun to reimagine the songs you’ve been playing for months. Keeps the whole making music thing more engaging and inspiring. Tackling songs acoustically is such a different challenge – casting off the costume of production and showing the bones beneath.
The Acoustic EP includes an emotional rendition of Maggie Rogers’ ‘Alaska’, why did you choose this song as the main focus for a cover?
It’s a beautiful song and not a song that I would or could have written. It goes in different directions melodically and lyrically that I don’t naturally go, and so we chose it to challenge ourselves.
I’m always fascinated to learn about beginnings and the early moments in a band’s career. Do you remember the first time you actually thought ‘this thing could work, this could actually be a viable band’?
I don’t think it’s about being a “viable” band – we were signed super early in our careers so money prospects weren’t something that motivated us – I think it’s all about building and curating something that you’re really proud of. And I think that moment where I personally thought we could actually make something great was when we were recording our first album and specifically songs like 5am, I Found and See You Soon.
It’s no secret that fortune smiled favourably on Amber Run early into the band’s formation. What were your first thoughts when your career started to skyrocket?
It was funny if I’m honest. We were just in Uni and writing some songs for fun and suddenly we were getting wined and dined and offers to play the festivals that we’d grown up going to. It gave us confidence but also a bit of humility hopefully because things that come quickly like that can be taken away just as quickly.
From what I know, the members of Amber Run all seem like a really close-knit group, who like to have a laugh with each other – be a bit silly and maybe participate in the odd tour prank. Who would you say has the best sense of humour? Who’s the one out of the group that is first to get a bit silly?
I’d say that Henry is the prankster and Tom can be pretty silly. Being in a band and making music is fun – we’ve had our low moments and arguments but they just make the good times sweeter.
You’ve stated how ‘Haze’ was written in a time of upset and uncertainty, is that something you were all dealing with and would you say it’s done you guys good as a band to have gone through it together?
Absolutely. We’ve learnt so much about each other over the last few years. How each other tick, what we need and don’t need in any given situation. The uncertainty of the moment that Haze was conceived was toxic but by not turning in on each other and instead by throwing ourselves into writing music like Haze – it helps you to keep moving forward and help each other.
So two tours in a year, and a lot of the shows hitting sell-out status – do you think the favourable reception of ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’ has given Amber Run a chance to experience “fame” or some kind of “popular success”?
Who fucking knows. FAMIWL was written because we needed to write it and we tour because we love it. Fame is a fickle beast – I try not to engage with it because for every person that loves what you do, there is another who hates it and another 10 who just don’t care!
Who would you say is your biggest musical inspiration as a band, and also personally?
I think we’ve all been listening to a load of Radiohead in the last year. The way they go about making their music is super inspiring. For me, my girlfriend and I have been listening to unbelievable amount of Nina Simone. What a singer. The pain or the joy you can here in what she does is palpable.
Is there a particular person in Amber Run who writes the majority of the songs, or is it quite evenly spread throughout the band?
I write the bulk of the melody and lyrics but Amber Run is a collaborative project. There is no right or wrong way for us to go about writing a song and no one person’s ideas are more valuable than another’s.
To me, there’s quite a musical difference between ‘5am’ and ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’, do you feel the need to keep reinventing your musical style to keep the band current or is it something that just comes naturally?
I think that we wanted to challenge ourselves. Repeating 5am wouldn’t have been fun or challenging. We’ve also learnt to love playing live more than any other aspect of what we do, and so we really wanted to make an album based on what we sounded like live rather than dressing our selves up in studio tricks.
The recent Acoustic EP provides great satisfaction between album releases, but prompts the question, can we hope for a longer body of work to be released in 2018?
Absolutely you can.
Amber Run’s sophomore album ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’ is out now via Easy Life Records.
Amber Run will be touring the UK this Autumn for the following dates:
Friday 29th September – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
Saturday 30th September – Gloucester, Guildhall
Monday 2nd October – Reading, Sub 89
Tuesday 3rd October – Cambridge, Junction
Wednesday 4th October – Brighton, Concorde 2
Friday 6th October – Cardiff, Tramshed
Saturday 7th October – Oxford, O2 Academy
Sunday 8th October – Liverpool, Hangar3
Tuesday 10th October – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
Thursday 12th October – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Friday 13th October – Belfast, Mandela Hall
Saturday 14th October – Dublin, Whelans