Ahead of their gig at Exeter Phoenix on 13 February, I got the chance to have a Q and A with Joe Keogh of Amber Run.
So, are you looking forward to playing Exeter? You played Cavern on your last tour, did you enjoy that?
The Cavern was our first ever encore. Ever. I still think it’s one of my favourite shows ever just because it was so unexpected. So of course we are looking forward to playing Exeter.
Did you all go to university? What do you miss the most?
Tom, Henry and I left at the end of our second year (although Henry went back to finish this year) whilst Will started at Sussex before coming to join us in Nottingham. I think I miss the community of university the most. The fact that you know you could go to any bar or club in the city and you knew you’d bump into a mate. That and all the student discounts.
‘No Answers’ is perhaps a bit heavier than what we are used to from you. Is that a sign of things to come?
It is a sign of things to come. ‘Perfect’ is even heavier… ‘Dark Bloom’ too. We just like writing music we like. We wanted to challenge ourselves on this record, as well as the people that listen to us, so we tried out some different things. I think it sounds great.
How do you think the new album is different from ‘5AM’?
It’s better. A more concise body of work. It’s darker and more truthful.
Has it been more difficult writing the second album?
I wouldn’t say it was any more difficult than writing the first. If you have a bit of success with your first record you’re more likely to be worrying about whether your second release will have the same kind of reception – I think that’s the main reason people find their second album difficult. We didn’t really think or care about that. We wrote what we needed to write in that moment.
How do you get your inspiration lyrically? For example, ‘No Answers’, does that describe somebody in particular?
You just describe how you’re feeling as best you can. ‘No Answers’ does describe a specific moment and relationship. I hate giving away too much about the meaning of songs because as soon as we put it out into the world it’s up to the listener to decide what it is all about. Anything I say about my interpretation of it will influence that. A lot of people have been asking about whether it’s about a failing romantic relationship – and all I can say about that is sure if you want it to be.
How do you go about writing songs as a band?
Changes every time. Which is why it’s such an exciting and enjoyable process. There isn’t any formula and if there was every song would probably be naff. One of the things we learned on this album session is that it’s so important to listen to each other’s opinions and truly engage with them.