Just before they embarked on their tour, Amber Run’s Joe Keogh is on the phone to me from Brighton in an excitable mood ahead of the first show in the band’s native Nottingham. Now with the upcoming release of their second full-length, ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost”, Joe outlines what has led them to this point, being pals with Hudson Taylor, and why you should oblige to take a good support band on the road.
“We’ve been working away on the album for a year and a half now. We wanted to write songs they way we wanted and that wasn’t what our label had in mind” opens Joe when asked how the process had gone on the new record. Amber Run, of course, were signed to RCA when a number of singles appeared first. Singles that would later appear on their debut album, ‘5AM”, which went out under the Sony imprint.
The goal with the new record was to “sound as live as possible” as he puts it, “It is a darker record. We had longer to write the first album and when we parted ways with the label, we started again, the way we wanted. When you are writing, you ask yourself ‘How do you make people keep coming back?”
Joe Keogh is an Irish sounding name if there ever was. Yet it is his connection with Dublin’s former notorious busking duo of Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor that introduced him to more acts from this side of the Irish Sea. “I have big respect for Irish music. What I love with the guys [Harry and Alfie] is that they want to connect with what made them good [the fans].”
It is also fond memories of playing Whelan’s Upstairs a few years ago that really took the band by surprise. They played a packed room and as Joe recalls; “Whelan’s was wicked, I love that kind of stuff. We aren’t getting over on this tour but we would like to tour Ireland after the Summer.”
For much of this interview, myself and Joe end up talking about influences and what he feels makes great music. For instance, you might find touches of Radiohead and Foals ring through on this record, particularly on ‘No Answers’. The writing process in his words are all about making a record that is “more honest, stronger, and fun.”
Speaking of touring, Amber Run take fast-rising London outfit, ISLAND, on tour with them in the UK this time around, a band that have been featured here many times in recent months. But just how important is the decision to bring a band on tour with you that have a certain calibre? “ISLAND are unbelievable, I think we have done ourselves a favour here. They are a band that needs to be heard because some of the levels of stuff you hear on the radio is horrific. There is an obligation to take good music out on the road.”
‘For A Moment, I Was Lost” is out now.