-Interview- Amber Architect (11/5/17)

Amber Architect talks about their demos, the Australian music scene and much more.


From: Sydney, Australia
Sounds like: Hard Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Amber Architect” and is there any meaning behind it?

Ash: Jerome and I met in one of our university classes and decided to start playing music with a bunch of other guys in the class but eventually, both of us were the only two who were serious in making something of it. We decided to start working on a project that had no specific sound until we met and had Max join the band. From there, we moved towards a more classic metal sound. Our sound has been one that has been slowly molded over the course of us being a band. Slowly moving towards that of classic metal; we have taken influence from genres such as hard rock, punk and classic rock, and developed our sound through jamming and writing new songs for us to perform and record. The name “Amber Architect” came from a technique that Jerome used to combine harsh and soft words to find a name that stuck. I’ve had many people comment on how the name is easy to remember due to its alliteration and ease when rolling off the tongue.

Curtains (Tom): I first started playing with Amber Architect about in late March this year (2017). At that point, the band had cycled through quite a few temporary players, and sought only to continue playing live once the position was filled. And thus, Curtains was born.

Jerome: When AA first started, Ash and I met while studying music at uni in 2015. We were in the same class and I asked Ash if he was interested in starting a band after hearing that he played drums. Soon after, we were just testing the waters and jamming at his house. We got a feeling for what the other played and continued on wanting to get another guitarist and a bassist. Just a couple months later, we invited Max to join us. We knew him from our lectures. We also invited a friend of Ash’s to join us on bass. One practice trial in and Max was already with us all the way. The bassist however did not really come back, which was for the best. As we wrote, we were discovering our sound and practicing and getting a gauge for everyone’s goals and tastes. Each one of us was of a completely different influence with music as a whole. Although it all centered around rock generally, Max was influenced by Iron Maiden and melodic styles, Ash was quite punk with a lot of influence from classic rock and metal, and mine was a lot of 90s-00s rock and musical theatre. You’d probably think that we were all too different to work and mesh together but it worked into something incredible. We had a bassist for the majority of 2016, Angus Jones, awesome guy who rounded off our tastes and influences and helped thicken us up with some fat bass. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to him so that he could go back to his hometown. Luckily, that was when, in our search for a new bassist, we met Tom, or as we like to call him, Curtains. We jammed with him for one practice as a final sort of audition and he was instantly in. Another perfect bassist to go with us all the way. When the band was just Ash and I, we spent a bit of time discussing and trying out names. We wanted something memorable that encapsulated our style or at least the style we were working towards. We really wanted a name, not one like a sentence, it just wouldn’t have fit. To give us a few options I used a method I discovered when I was researching Killing Heidi in high school. Apparently they didn’t have a name for a while and they made a list of harsh and soft words and put together Killing Heidi. I did the same thing and saw the words Amber and Architect in my list and it just clicked to me. It put the image of a mosquito in amber as the architect, and the amber as the material. A kind of literal metaphor of sorts.

Max: For me, I was in my first year of uni, just like Jerome and Ash, and I had wanted to start playing in a band again for a while, which is something I hadn’t done since high school. Jerome showed me some very rough clips of his ideas and asked if I wanted to come along to a practice so I thought I might as well. To be honest, when I was there, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it and didn’t feel very comfortable. It went okay but I didn’t leave the practice with any strong feelings. I was happy to continue but I wouldn’t care that much if the other guys didn’t want to. I was never told I was in the band or anything like that, or I never said I wanted to be in it. I just came kept in contact with them and showed up to the next practice so it was assumed I was still interested. We weren’t having any regular practices until the summer break. Once we started to get going, I started getting a bit more excited about it. I felt like things really didn’t kick off until we got our first permanent bassist (Angus) after uni started up again. We all felt more motivated once we had a full band. We started writing up agendas before practices to make sure we were actually moving forward. Until that point, we were going through a number of songs but I felt like nothing was really getting done. We decided we wanted to record a demo and then start playing gigs soon after. Our sound has developed the way it has due to the contribution of each member in the songwriting process. We all compose our own parts and we all think of ways we can improve our songs. My influences for Amber Architect’s music include bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Judas Priest and Pantera. The other guys have different influences though and I think that’s part of the reason we don’t sound cliché or like any particular band.

2. What do you want people to take away from your two demo tracks?

Ash: From our demo tracks, we want people to see what the Amber Architect sound is and from watching our live shows; to see how we are developing our music as a band. The track “Over”, in particular has definitely developed since we recorded it and made it available online, and I think that's representative of our sound over the past year. We've become heavier, we're getting better in making the music we envisioned and have become better musicians.

Curtains (Tom): Basically, just the overall vibe and energy from the tracks. There’s quite a bit of variety on the demo so there’s a lot there for listeners to connect and relate with. Also, we want people to appreciate and give our music a chance. We all stem from different musical backgrounds and we understand that everyone has different tastes when it comes to music, but “metal music” does have the reputation of just being screaming and loud obnoxious guitars. But anyone that instantly shuns metal probably hasn’t actually listened to it and appreciated it for what it is.

Jerome: Really they’re just a couple demos that we put out when we had been gigging for a little while. They’re not as refined as we play them now but we have them as a taste of what we can offer. Since they’re demos, we just put them out for free because we want to put out something done properly that’s worth paying for. The tracks will be recorded again one day.

Max: I want people to know that we’re a diverse act that can create interesting, melodic, and heavy tracks. I think “Over” and “Ubar” are both very different, however they both represent what we’re about. With saying that, our sound has developed further since we put our demo out. We’ve incorporated a lot of new influences into our music so I don’t think those two tracks alone show the extent of what we’re capable of.

3. What's your favorite track to play live?

Ash: My personal favourite to play live is “The Witch Hunt” or “Premature Burial”. It has that Avenged Sevenfold/Slipknot feel that I like in metal.

Curtains (Tom): One of the favourite tracks for everyone to play live has got to be “The Witch Hunt”. It’s not one of those tracks which revolve around what the guitar or the drums are doing. It’s a very involved song which keeps us all on our toes. There’s never a dull moment. It’s like running the 100-metre sprint at the Olympics. You have to give 100% the entire time or you’ll fall behind, and you can’t rest at all until you pass the finish line.

Jerome: We haven’t played it since our first couple of gigs but “Ubar” was always such a blast. The heavy first half felt like work a little but it was always such a reward to play the jazz break at the end.

Max: “Premature Burial” is my favourite song to play live at the moment. It has a lot of energy, and it’s something people can really get into and headbang to.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Ash: Definitely Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold and Guns N' Roses.

Curtains (Tom): One band that comes to mind straight away is “Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown”. The past three years they’ve been on the road supporting bands like Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC. Their style is very classic but they have a really refreshing sound. I think we could learn a lot from them, and of course we’d love to tour with those who inspire us, like Iron Maiden and Metallica.

Jerome: Papa Roach, The Dear Hunter, and Destiny Potato. All for different reasons and probably not at the same time, but I would love to tour and work with them all.

Max: Three bands I’d love to tour with would be Metallica, Iron Maiden and Opeth.

5. What are your three desert island albums that you'd never get tired of listening to?

Ash: “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns N’ Roses, “Theatre of Pain” by Mötley Crüe and “Nightmare” by Avenged Sevenfold.

Curtains (Tom): Got to be “Appetite for Destruction”, “Rust In Peace”, and “Abbey Road”. You can never get sick of those albums.

Jerome: Go West - "Go West", Periphery - "Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal", and Papa Roach - "Crooked Teeth"

Max: I don’t think there’s anything I couldn’t get tired of listening to, even my favourite albums.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?

Ash: Metal is going through a weird phase where it’s being meshed and altered to create all these little sub genres within metal itself. You see this with genres like progressive metal, metalcore, nu-metal, black metal and all those really niche styles of music. It’s definitely becoming a genre that is getting progressively more technical in terms of musicianship and there are some amazing musicians coming out of it. For me personally, classic metal acts such as Metallica and Iron Maiden are my favourite.

Curtains (Tom): I suppose metal is a music genre like any other, and almost any genre these days describes a broad range of music. For example, what is considered RnB these days is very different to what it originally was. Classic RnB still exists but it sounds nothing like current RnB. The same goes for metal music. Metal these days can sound very different to when it first started. I mean, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin was called heavy metal when they first became popular. However, metal today combines so much more than just hard rock and punk rock, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Music just evolves over time. It’s like a model of Ferrari, nothing beats a classic.

Jerome: Metal has definitely branched out a lot and should continue to do so. There’s no point sticking to the same old conventions unless you want to. I want to make something different of it. I want to use metal and rock and create something new. It’s the Common Ancestor in the Theory of Evolution. Everything is a branch off. I want to make a big branch. Although, I don’t expect to make anything very progressive, I would love to progress the state of metal.

Max: Even though a lot of my favourite metal is from the 80s and 90s, I think there’s a lot of great metal still being created. It seems as if people think the melodies or guitar solos aren’t there anymore, but I don’t think this perception is really the case. People may just look at a few popular bands and then make a broad assumptions from that. I think these elements are still retained in a lot of new metal. With saying this, I think metal should continue to evolve. A lot of new sub genres have been created in the last 10 years. As a result, a lot of interesting things have been put out there.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in Australia both locally and country wide?

Ash: The Australian music scene is definitely a very specific market whereby a large portion is consuming mainstream music such as global chart toppers. However, there is also a large following behind indie artists. Specifically, genres such as metalcore, progressive metal, indie folk, experimental music, rap and electronic music are big within Australia, favouring Australian artists, but also international artists.

Curtains (Tom): Australian music does follow suit of the Western music scene. Whatever is popular in America is popular here. However, there are radio stations, venues, and even magazines dedicated to supporting local Aussie music, especially in Sydney. A big genre in Sydney at the moment is the “Indie” genre, but that branches out into many categories like indie-pop, indie-rock, or indie-psych- funk. There is a metal scene in Sydney, but if we were honest, the genre isn’t in as much demand as the poppy-er genres. It’s hard to say what’s the leading genre in Australia, as the entirety of the US pop market trumps most of the radio, TV, and media.

Jerome: Australia has a pretty standard taste for what gets around and is enjoyed most. People don’t want to analyse music, they just want something that’s easy and can get in your skin like an anaesthetic. Pop music dominates, particularly all this fad of pitch shifting the crap out of choruses. Even poppy acoustic ballads are still reasonably popular. The biggest thing among local bands I’ve found is that if it’s not indie rock or chilled colder, they won’t consider it much if at all. The money is at the alternative, mellow, and indie styles. I hate using indie in the wrong context but it’s always referred to as a style. It makes things hard for us to get attention. Australian music just doesn’t give a chance too much I find.

Max: Indie pop and electronic styles are dominating the scene in Australia at the moment. In terms of metal, it’s mostly about styles such as hardcore, metalcore and deathcore. This is represented through some of Australia’s biggest metal acts such as The Amity Affliction, Parkway Drive and Thy Art Is Murder. I feel like this is what makes Amber Architect a bit different. Most Australian metal bands are not playing our type of music.

8. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

Ash: For me personally, I refuse to download illegal music anymore and have used services like Spotify and YouTube for any music listening purposes. My take on it is that artists like us put in a lot of time, money and talent into making these albums, and for people to take these without any form of contribution to their art is unfair.

Curtains (Tom): When I was younger, I had one of the first iPods. To get music on it, I’d have to get my hands on the CD to get the music onto my iPod. I’d probably still go buy the CD if I was after a certain song or band. I mean music is still a business. It has to make money. With saying that, social media has evolved so much in such a short amount of time that stuff like music, movies, and anything digital is so easy to get your hands on without paying for it properly I guess.

Jerome: We’re well into the 21st century and pirating is just a normal thing now. Streaming is there to assist and stop it in a way but even then that doesn’t help the artist. Starting out, I would think that if people were pirating our shit I’d be damn proud because people would want to pirate it. I certainly encourage legally downloading and purchasing your music but piracy of music is going to be there for ages if not forever. I accept it as a part of the career. To face it, I want to play live lots but more so to create more content than can just be pirated. If you make a lot, someone will eventually buy at least something.

Max: I think it’s good to support an artist by paying for their music, however bands need to be realistic and realise this is not where the money is anymore. I don’t see music piracy going away anytime soon so artists need to take this into consideration. I think it’s becoming less of an issue anyway with the rise of streaming services. The fact of the matter is that people are less inclined to purchase music. Therefore, bands should be focusing on getting as many people to listen to their music as possible and use that to get them to gigs.

9. What’s next for Amber Architect?

Ash: In the past couple months; we have re-thought our take on where we need to get to and how we plan to do so. We have decided to implement a schedule that will see us book a string of shows for 2-3 months consecutively. We’ll then spend a month or two writing new material, revamping our live show and focusing on band promotion, networking to new bands, venues and other people in the music industry. By next year, this time roughly, our goal is to have started on the recording process of our debut EP, to work on doing bigger shows and to reach larger audiences.

Curtains (Tom): The band wanted to make sure they had a permanent bass player before they started moving towards more serious goals. Since I’ve joined the band, we have been playing a lot more gigs and meeting a lot more bands. I suppose now the next step for the band is to further cement ourselves into the Sydney Metal scene, by which we intend to meet more metal bands. We’ve also been writing a lot of new music, and with that we’ve been able to gauge where our sound is heading. With that said, one of our main goals for 2018 is to begin recording a 5-6 track EP to be available on most digital platforms.

Jerome: Playing a ton of gigs in the near future as the lot of us finish our degrees. Currently, we will be working up towards recording an EP. Fuck, we have enough material for an album but we’re going to draw it out and make the most of every moment. The last thing we want is to go big and burnout.

Max: Our goal is to start working towards an EP in the near future. Before the release of this EP, one or two singles will be released. Until then, we’ll keep playing lots of shows, building excitement around the Amber Architect name, writing new music, and making more connections in the Sydney music scene.

10. Any shoutouts?

We’d like to thank:
- Zac Roch for putting in a lot of time and effort into producing our demo.
- Matt Reid for his artwork for the demo, as well as our upcoming single.
- Clayton Segelov from The Brain Recording Studios for offering us a free single.
- Everyone that has done photography for us.
- Everyone that has come to our gigs.