Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music A Fickle Game: An Interview with Amber Run’s Joe Keogh

A Fickle Game: An Interview with Amber Run’s Joe Keogh

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For those of us lucky enough to be on board with Exeter’s live music scene, Amber Run managed to come over to our very own Lemon Grove for a night full of great music. Seafret opened the night with some of their new music and some of their old tunes. Amber Run then took to the stage for one of the most atmospheric gigs I’ve ever been to. I’ve never seen the Lemmy so packed full of people all enjoying what they’re listening to. I was fortunate enough to have a chat over the phone with frontman Joe for Exeposé beforehand, here’s how that went:

Hi Joe, how are you doing?

Hey, yeah I’m doing alright thanks.

I’m not going to give you a word about myself as it’ll either be horrifically detrimental or horrifically arrogant

I feel like for a lot of people who may read this, we need some sort of introduction to the band, so could you tell us the role each member plays in the band, and also one word you’d use to best sum them up?

So I’m Joe and I sing and play the guitar, I’m not going to give you a word about myself as it’ll either be horrifically detrimental or horrifically arrogant. Henry plays keys and he’s a funny guy, he’s the funny one. Tom, he plays bass, and he’s a funny one too! No, he’s the strong willed one. Will plays guitar and he’s the shortest one. And Felix comes out on the road with us as well and he’s a weirdo.

At the end of the month you’ll be coming over to Exeter kickstarting your tour. How’s the preparation going?

Preparation?! I reckon we’ll do three or four days practice before the tour, but we’ve been playing shows all summer, and we wrote the songs so we should be alright seeing as we know them. I feel really confident so it should be a good tour.

For us eagle eyed fans, we saw that Exeter was a late addition to your string of shows. There’s a huge process behind creating a successful show and touring with it, is there any part you like in particular?

The structure of it is quite nice, like being a musician and being a writer isn’t really conducive with living the same kind of life that your family or friends live, but it is really nice. So the tour has a very good structure in that you know you have to be somewhere; soundcheck; playing the show etc. So yeah, I quite like that about the day. The whole reason we started the band was because we like live music, it’s genuinely one of the best things in the world.

Amber Run’s acoustic EP, Alaska, is out now

Seafret are coming on tour with you this time, and with so many new musicians rising up, how do you choose who you want to support you on tour?

Obviously we’ve got to think they’re good, and often we’re on the road for so long that we want to take people we like, people we’re friends with, and so the guys like Seafret are really lovely guys. Their music’s got to be good and we have to hope that they’re nice people.

After seeing you at Barn on the Farm this year, it became a lot more obvious that being a musician isn’t as plain-sailing as we see through social media. Is this why you took a break after supporting artists like Lewis Watson? What would you say are the highest points and lowest points of your job in general?

It’s all down to perspective, so there will be bad moments but you feel great about future things you can be excited about. I don’t feel like being a musician is conducive to having a good state of mental health, just because of the brutality of British media and the kind of all-or-nothing attitude in pretty much the entire industry, and the emotional nature of making music. So I don’t know if I can give you a specific high or a specific low because all of it is really high and all of it is really low and I think that’s kind of the problem, because it’s your dream to be doing this stuff and so then there comes a time and you wonder ‘if I never release another song, would anybody even care?’ you know, and it’s just navigating your way through those kind of feelings. Being in a band is actually well fun though.

I often see your music categorised under various genres, from cinematic, to alternative, to indie-pop. How would you best describe your genre of music?

Genuinely, I just think genres are down to laziness, I’m not going to attempt to categorise us. Once you put a name on something, everything you do starts to become that and I don’t want to feel like, if we start writing hip-hop songs, we can’t do it because we’ve been labelled as ‘indie-rock’. If I had to though, it would be rock, or indie-rock, or alternative-rock. Something awesome.

Genuinely I just think genres are down to laziness

Are there any artists your particularly into at the moment? Who would we find on your recently played list?

So Flyte are a band who are coming with us and touring with us in Europe, and they’re unbelievable, the best band. I’ve been listening to a lot of The War On Drugs and a guy called Tobias Jesso Jr.

After tour has finished have you got any plans? Is there anything you’ll be getting up to that doesn’t involve music, something to help you recuperate? Will we have more to start getting excited about?

Straight after the Europe dates my girlfriend and I are going to Marakesh for a week. Whenever I go away for a long period of time we try to make an effort to do something cool and fun afterwards because it’s really quite difficult to come home after tour and go straight back into just being back at home. Then I think we’re just going to try to get on with recording the next record.

Joe, I saw the other day that you did a solo performance in Brighton as a secret headliner, do you prefer working in a group or as a soloist? Will we maybe be seeing more of each of you as soloists in the future?

I much prefer being part of a collaborative group. The creative process is a lot more fun, you can learn a lot more and share in the experience as well. I do play shows without the band sometimes because it’s fun and easy but it’s also nice to do some of it stripped back with just one instrument and one voice. The guys in the band make what we do just 1000 times better and I could never say that doing it by myself would do it the same justice that we as a collective can do.

Finally, are there any questions you wish you’d get asked and never get asked and would you like to answer it?

It’s really funny, like maybe for the people who do the interview to see the human side of us and just ask how we are. I’d quite like for another human being, a stranger, to see if I’m doing alright, if I’m well. That would be a nice place to start, and the answer is yes, I am fine.

So, I’m now out of questions. Thank you so much for having a chat!
That’s okay, I realise I may have sounded like I was whinging throughout most of it, which I’m sorry about, I think I’m just in a weird mood. Thanks though, and hopefully we’ll see a big bunch of people on this tour!

Amber Run’s sophomore record, For A Moment, I Was Lost, is out now.

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