A Q&A with Blue Amber
Experimental art rock/jazz trio from Cardiff – here’s Drew from Blue Amber…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our new single is called ‘The Great British Sitcom (for Jozef Raczka)’. It’s the first song where I co-wrote the lyrics with a friend, in this case the titular Joe Raczka. It chronicles our frustrations and insecurities at a time in our lives where we didn’t really know where we were going or what we were doing.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Probably laying the guitar part down. It’s not a particularly hard guitar part, but at the time I was recording most of the instrumentation myself. I’m not the best guitar player in the world anyway, and when I was in the studio the pressure really got to me. I can’t tell you the amount of times I messed up this line.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it? If you produced it yourselves what do enjoy most about producing your own material?
The bulk of this song was engineered by Henry Simm, who also mixed our debut album, Rockland’s Workshop. He brought a lot of patience to the sessions – I felt very stressed throughout a lot of the sessions, and he helped keep me level headed. He also suggested asking our mutual friend Kate Willetts to contribute vocals to this track, which adds a whole new dimension to the song.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I’d hope the listener would find something in our music that they hadn’t heard from other artists, or found a trope that they hadn’t come across before that they really enjoyed.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Each track has been different, but generally it will begin with myself laying down the foundations, be that a beat, a riff, or a baseline. I’ll periodically come back to it, adding and changing things. I’ll often take it to the band for their opinions or suggestions. When the instrumentation is down, the lyrics are the final piece to add, although being the perfectionist I am, this can often take weeks!
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
We’d be here forever if I listed them all, but The Velvet Underground, Feist and Neutral Milk Hotel were the three artists that made me want to start writing my own music. Elsewhere I’d say Kendrick Lamar, The Microphones and Portishead have all been quite instrumental in influencing our sound.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
To be honest the UK is the main one at the moment! The Windmill and Shacklewell Arms in London and The Leadmill in Sheffield are the main ones on my radar at the moment.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Currently I’d say our single, ‘University Jesus’. It’s a song in five parts that touches on all the different elements that encapsulate Blue Amber at this time. There’s conflicting time signatures, jazz interludes and spoken words passages all thrown together.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Like any band we really want to play to new audiences, continue to write new music and experiment with new sounds. This album is hopefully just the beginning.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
We’re Blue Amber from Cardiff. Good Night!
For more info visit: facebook.com/theblueambers