So, I’m backstage with the lovely guys from Amber Run at the Isle of Wight Festival! Henry (keys), Joe (guitar and vocals), Tom (bass), Will (guitar) and Felix (drums)
For people who haven’t heard you before, what is your music like and what sort of mood does the crowd get into when they’re listening to you?
It varies from crowd to crowd, there are some songs in the set that I wouldn’t say are sad but more mellow, and then others which are more dancey – so there’s a whole spectrum. When we come to places like this though, we like to hit the big songs and hit them quite hard. Everyone wants to have a good time, us included.
So I’m right in thinking that you all met at Nottingham Uni?
Well the three of us – Will, Tom and I (Joe) – all went to school together, so we’ve known each other for years and years. Felix lived where we lived and was just notorious for being an absolute joke… but awesome at the drums! Tom and I went up to Nottingham and starting studying there, and then Will came and joined us. Henry was Tom’s next door neighbour, so we all decided to start playing and writing some music!
It’s quite impressive in a year and a half that you were on tour with Kodaline and you are now set to be touring with Lewis Watson. At what point did you realise ‘wow’ this is really going somewhere now?
I don’t think there was a real moment – there’s defining moments in your musical life cycle, but I think the whole thing as a whole hasn’t sunk in yet for me personally. I haven’t really rated us on the bands we have played with or the places that we’ve played; some of my favourite shows we’ve played are real moments that I’ve thought we’ve been good enough to do it.
This has been really small shows in towns that we’ve never played before with, the room full of people singing words back and getting really really into it.
We’re really lucky that we’ve played Brixton Academy, and it’s amazing to be here at the Isle of Wight Festival. The things that have really stuck with me are the small places that you really expect nothing of but turn into something amazing.
This is a really exciting one for us. You only have to look at who’s actually played here, it’s such a prestigious festival. Jimi Hendrix played here – being given the opportunity to play these sort of shows is crazy.
So are you used to the size of this stage, or is this quite big?
It’s rather big… I mean Brixton Academy’s quite a big stage, but this is definitely the biggest stage. We haven’t really played a proper big stage at festivals. It’s a different vibe as well because the crowd have to see you when you’re playing with a band like Kodaline, whereas at a festival you have to draw a crowd to your stage.
It’s a different vibe entirely, we haven’t done a colossal festival stage like this. Felix is on a riser, he gets to sit on a massive drum stand – so he’s pretty excited.
Y Not Festival , Dot2Dot obviously Isle of Wight, Bushstock, Leefest, Truck Festival, anymore festivals to add to that list?
Splendour, Barn on the Farm, Boardmasters, Goldcoast; there’s a few more to add, but they’re all going to be wicked. We played four festivals last year. We played Bushstock last night and we were playing in a church, the crowd started going nuts.
It was a little bit odd. I wanted it to happen, but at the same time they’re dancing on the pews, we were like – have some respect. (Jokingly) Will you stop, please, stop enjoying it. I swore at one point as well because I was getting into it. Will was wearing all black as well – not allowed. Yesterday was really fun.
So you were in London last night, you don’t get to see much of Isle of Wight Festival do you really?
We would’ve loved to – It would’ve been cool to see Kings of Leon. We’ve got this set we’re doing, then another little set with The Mahogany Sessions – a little acoustic set in a little tent.
How does it feel having the support of such an inspiring blog as The Mahogany Blog?
Well that was a big thing for us last year as well, because it suddenly started to build us some momentum. We all watch the Mahogany Blog, and people have done incredible things with versions of their songs on there. It’s amazing to have been given the opportunity to do that. It was really early on in our life cycle too, so it was cool to get asked.
It wasn’t what we were expecting it at all. It’s quite intimidating because it’s so well done on the internet – when they asked us to do one we were like god are we up to scratch? But when we arrived they were just like ‘man yeah, just chill’.
They’ve got their own lingo there. I remember them saying ‘ah man that was bad’, ‘mate that was stupid’. We were like ‘shall we do it again?’ and they were like ‘nah, like, good stupid’.
So, your new single Spark – how long’s that been out? From what I can see it’s going down really well.
About a month and a half – yeah, we really like the song. It was one of our favourite songs so we always wanted to put it out and have everyone hear it. For people that come to our shows, it’s one that they know. We just love playing it as well, it was on Made In Chelsea the other day too – so that was cool.
You have so little time to soak up how things are doing. About two weeks ago we straight away started thinking about the next single – there will be a video up within the next matter of weeks. We don’t really get to soak it up – we’re either on the road or in the studio, thinking about what we’re doing tomorrow.
It’s a weird thing as well, thanks so much for saying it’s going well, but for us we are pretty ambitious with where we want to go – the goal posts are always one step further ahead. We obviously enjoy the moment we’re in, we want to keep doing this but make it better.
How long does it take to put together a track like ‘Spark?’
Spark fell into place, it was just natural. It was one of the first tracks we did that was brought to life in practice – before then all the songs we’d worked on in the studios first. Spark was one we’d played live before going to the studio. It feels good.
The guy who made the video went to National Film & Television School in Beaconsfield. We had some ideas for the video, but we had nothing that was actually sticking that was good enough for the song.
The video made us laugh and was what the song meant to us as well – something small becoming something bigger, and just trying to make people smile. There’s so much cynicism flying around with music nowadays that musicians are sad all the time – we just want to make people smile.
So is this going towards an album, have you got an album in the lines?
Yeah, well we’ve pretty much finished the album – it’s 99.99% done. We did that in January/February this year, and went in a couple of weeks ago to do a few more tracks – all done and dusted.
We might do a few more songs for it, but I don’t think so. We have loads and loads of songs because we like writing and we like hanging out and doing it, so yeah, we’re in a good position.
The album could be released tomorrow, we’re so so pleased with it. We want to make sure that when we release it, it goes to the biggest amount of people possible. There’s no rush for us, we could do two more EPs before we release it – we’re looking at early next year, but yeah that’s a very rough time.
Check out Amber Run’s latest single Spark below: