Having already spent the last few months releasing a wave of bright and impressive alt-rock offerings, British outfit The Amber Bugs are now back once again with their latest energetic belter 'Rat vs Mole'.
With nods to the likes of Jack White, Radiohead, and Royal Blood making their way into the band's sound, 'Rat vs Mole' sits as one of their more cavalier releases. Filled with blistering hooks, killer brass tones, and distinctive direction, expect to be hearing a lot more from these guys throughout the new year.
So with the new single out and about, we sat down with Ben from the group to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Guitars. It’s always been guitars. They’re just magic to me.
I got a strat when I was about 15. I’ll flirt with other guitars from time to time but I’ll always come home to her.
What was the first song that inspired you to make your own music?
My own song writing was never something that was for the public when I was young. The Bright Eyes album Lifted or the story is in the soil…. changed my life though, that album has everything and it’s delivered in such a raw and emotional way, it really opened my eyes to a style of songwriting and delivery that I wanted to emulate. “Let’s not shit ourselves” is the perfect song on that album. It’s the yardstick I’ll always measure short on.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
All that 90’s Brit pop stuff, Blur over Oasis every time!
What do you find is the best environment to find inspiration for your music?
I think of this as having two opposite sides. Like calm and chaos. The ideas will come in the calm moments but if there hasn’t been some chaos preceding it it’s likely those ideas will be rubbish. Walks are a goldmine for the calm. A lot of ideas appear while walking the dog. This year has been tough though. The mundanity of lockdown has robbed life of some of that glorious chaos. Can’t wait to get some back.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
First up. Massive shout out to The Ha’pennies. Those boys are the real deal, we’ve played a few gigs with them and they always smash it. Cannot wait for gigs to come back and see them again. Also I was listening to loads of Sonic Boom Six and Gaffa Tape Sandy while writing the new EP and those influences can definitely be heard on a bunch of tracks.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
Maybe half of them. One of my personal favourite lyrics is…
My best friend, don’t come out no more
he’s got a wife a job and a sprog
now he’s fucking boring
That’s about most of my mates.
What has been the most unusual moment in your career so far?
In my old band Cook and the Case there was a moment when the pianist jumped off his stool and threw his jacket over me because I’d caught fire on a candle on the side of the stage. That was out of the norm.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Conor Oberst. He’s my Elvis. Preferably when he’s doing his Decaparecidos thing.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
I’m passionate about loads of stuff from all walks of life, I’m a bit of a nerd, in my spare time I read physics and philosophy journals, I’m into cooking and I’m pretty competitive in a go kart. I think what all those things have in common with music is that they take a bit of practice but as you get better you can find yourself in a state of flow where everything else in the world disappears and there’s just you and that thing. It’s addictive. I’m happy doing anything where you can find that headspace.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
I read a thing Ben Folds said years ago about being cool being the death of good music. Being passionate and showing that you really fucking care about something is the antithesis of cool. That’s stayed with me, I think he’s bang on.
The Amber Bugs' new single 'Rat vs Mole' is available to stream and download now. Watch the new video for it in the player below.