This week, I am introducing you to the Pop-Punk band Amber Lamps! Learn more about their debut album ‘Plaidypuss‘, released on January 2017!
Hey guys. Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions for us! Could you please introduce your band to our readers? We are Amber Lamps! A pop-punk band from Astoria, Queens. We’ve been a band for 8 years, and finally released our debut record this year. We are Brian Greene – Guitars and vocals, and Eddie James – Bass and vocals.
What’s the story behind your bands name? We had spent years without a name. We started as a Green Day cover band, briefly called Horseshoes and Handgrenades, then we were Purple Knights for a while, until I heard my brother call an Ambulance an “Amber Lamps”. I liked the sound of it, and we chose it as our name before finding out about the YouTube video he got the phrase from.
According to you, what sets your band apart from all the other bands in your genre? We pride ourselves on thoughtful lyrics, and a good balance between serious and fun songs. We infuse many of our songs with humor, but don’t sink to the immature or scatological levels of some pop punk bands out there. Many of our songs are meant to be understood in a variety of ways. Music is meant to be interpreted, and just because we experienced what inspired a song in a certain way, doesn’t mean the listener can relate to those specific circumstances.
Can you tell us more about your debut album ‘Plaidypuss’, released on January 13th 2017? Plaidypuss is the result of seven years of songwriting and growing pains, both in the band and in real life. What we ended up with is almost a concept album, from the perspective of someone reluctantly coming to terms with adulthood. At the beginning you have a character discussing the silly and mundane problems of the college years, such as being dumped, hating what’s on the radio, and the like.
Then you have “Between the Lines”, which finds our narrator embattled by the understanding that he is maturing, but doesn’t really want to. Then he goes through some more growing pains until the last four tracks on the album, unofficially known as “The Quadrillogy”, where he deals with two events that force him to come to terms with his getting older: anxiety and the death of a loved one.
How was the writing process for this record? Most of the songs grew out of melodies that Brian or Eddie had recorded on our phones. The first song we ever wrote, Eddie’s Basement, came from Eddie’s melody, and the lyrics were ad libbed on the spot. The song is about playing in a band in a cramped, sweltering practice space. Needless to say, it comes from experience. The songs in the Quadrillogy (“Adrenaline,” “It’s Not Alright,” “James,” and “Legacy”) are the most personal songs on the album, and were written in response to
What about the recording process? Any funny story from the studio? We actually recorded in a church on Long Island. The drums were done on the altar, which is why they sound so huge. We worked with Mike Mazzotta of Providence Music Group, and the legendary Scott Hull. The ticking sound you hear in “Bitter Ride” is actually the arms of a music stand, and the bell is a service bell that’s been lying around for years. Also, the echoing vocals at the end of “Discretion” are not modified, Eddie and Brian stood in the balcony of the church and shouted to a mic seated on the floor, fifty feet away.
Which of the new songs were you most excited for people to hear? Any particular reason? We were very excited for people to hear “James”. We don’t play the song live very often because of how serious the subject matter is. When we play live, we are there to have fun and to give the audience a good time, and though we are extremely proud of all of the songs, especially “James”, we wanted people to be able to really give it a good close listen. The lyrics are hard to hear live.
Who would you say are the biggest influences on the band? The most important influence for us is Green Day. Since we started by covering their songs, we learned how to be a unit and play together using their songs, so it was only natural when we started writing our own songs to write to that pop-punk style. We are also big fans of Blink 182 and Foo Fighters, as evidenced by some of the most alternative rock-leaning songs on the back half of the album.
Out of all the experiences you had as a band, has there been a particular one that has stood out to you? Recording this record was basically a professional musician boot camp. We learned so much and had such a great time doing it. Hearing the finished product for the first time was one of the most satisfying experiences in my life.
And to finish… If you could share the scene with any band, who would it be? The Gilman scene in California in the late eighties sounded like such a haven for punk bands. It was just a bunch of great musicians performing and supporting each other. We have begun building our own little scene in Queens, but all of the DIY venues are having trouble staying open.