In the latter hours of the evening we embarked on a journey to a the hazy depths of a small basement, the melodic tunes of Amber Run escaping through the doors. We sway from side to side as the deep tones are infused into our senses. The five-member band are modest, quietly wowed by the crowd. Unlimited by the rock music category, Amber Run are producing music with no limitations. The boys are growing rapidly and continuing to grow their dream. Photographer Nicola Collins and stylist Dasha Kova take to the back streets of East London to capture their infectious personalities.
From humble school beginnings the band are focused, their eyes set on their ambitious futures. Having just announced an album, and released a new single today, we get to know more about the heart behind the sound, and the adventures the boys get up too as a band. With Felix's jokes, Joe's 'seriousness', and Will's sleeveless roll-neck collection, we can't help but admire these boys drive and their charismatic sense of humour.
Tell us a bit more about Amber run as a band.
Felix: So Joe, Will and Tom were originally in bands together at school. You know, just a school band. A group of mates that just enjoy playing music, and then that kind of just fizzled out I guess.
Will: We broke up.
Tom: It still hurts.
Felix: Then Joe started a solo project. They went to Nottingham with everyone, met Henry, took him under their wing, and then invited me to play drums. We formed a band in December 2012.
Above Left to Right: Tom wears Jacket by DIESEL, Sweatshirt by MARTINE ROSE, Trousers Stylist's own and Shoes by DR. MARTENS. Henry wears Jacket by ALL SAINTS, Shirt by BLOOD BROTHER, Trousers Stylist's Own and Shoes by DR. MARTENS. Joe wears Coat by WOOD WOOD, Top by VELVET, Trouser's Stylist's Own and Shoes by Robert Clergerie. Will wears Jacket by BLOOD BROTHERS, Roll-neck and Trousers Stylist's Own, Shoes by ALL SAINTS. Felix wears jacket by SOULLAND, Shirt by ALL SAINTS, Roll-neck and Trousers Stylist's Own. Shoes by UNDERGROUND.
Above left to right: Felix wears Shirt by DIESEL, Blazer by SAND, Shoes by Underground and Trousers Stylist's own. Will wears Blazer by ICEBERG, Shirt by PENGUIN, Trousers Stylist's own and Shoes by ALL SAINTS. Joe wears Blazer by CHRISTIAN LACROIX, Shirt by SOULLAND. Henry wears Blazer by T.LIPOP, Shirt by DUCHAMP, Trousers Stylist's own and Shoes by UNDERGROUND. Tom wears Blazer by ICEBERG, Shirt by ALL SAINTS, Trouser's Stylist's own and shoes by DR. MARTENS.
Tell us a bit more about yourselves as individuals.
Felix: I am Felix. I’m 21. I play drums and race cars.
Tom: I’m Tom, I’m 21. I play bass and collect classic motorbikes.
Will: I’m Will. I’m 21. I play guitar and collect sleeveless roll-necks. I don’t really have any hobbies beyond playing guitar.
Henry: I’m Henry. I’m 21. I play keys and enjoy sports. I do Sudoku. Logic puzzles. Im just quite sad really.
Joe: My name is Joe, I play guitar and sing. I basically kind of write songs as a hobby and manage to make a job from it as well.
Tell me a bit about how you came up with the name Amber Run.
Henry: So originally I don’t know why or where it came from. We liked the name Amber, because it's warm and conveys the music we make. Around the time of signing with the record label we became aware of the fact that there was another artist called Amber making music, so people would try to find us on Spotify and Itunes and they were finding her instead.
Joe: It was a potential for getting sued basically, so we changed it to Amber Run. We’re already pretty romantic in the music that we write, and in the sentiments we put across, so there’s nothing really sentimental about Amber Run. We wanted a name with a blank canvas - something ambiguous just so we could do whatever we wanted with it. I mean naming bands is a funny old thing. Look at the ‘Arctic Monkeys’. The first time you heard that you would have thought 'What is going on?', but you know it’s not really about the name, but rather the band behind the name.
What are your biggest influences in terms of music?
Felix: We all have totally different influences. It’s from one extreme to another. I think that is what makes it so fun to make music. If we all listened to the same music, then it would be so limiting. Where would you go? You wouldn’t be able to draw influence from anything els,e so we all have our own areas.
That’s good. What has been your best memory as a band?
Joe: When we first started we took loads of instruments to a house in Wales, and we sat there and just wrote for a week. That was really inspiring. When you can just lock yourself away from the world for a little bit you get in a different headspace, so it’s a lot of fun to do that kind of thing.
What is the best thing about being in a band?
Felix: Being multi-millionaires and driving Ferraris and throwing TV’s out the window. The best thing is being able to drive round and play music to people that wanna hear your music.
That’s cool. How does it feel to perform live?
Joe: Generally we work really hard in our live shows, so it feels natural. We work so hard so it’s second nature to do some of the things we do now, and it’s just gratifying to get the response that we seem to be getting nowadays.
How would you describe your sound?
Henry: Apart from wicked? It’s rock. It’s guitar music, but we’re not afraid to strip it back and make it small and intimate.
Joe: We write quite personal songs, so it kind of follows the emotion of what we’re all about. Sometimes it can be big and angry, but sometimes it can be small and upset. It can be whatever we want it to be really. Just like with the band name. It’s just a blank page. We’re writing a kind of music now that I have no doubt will change later, and I think that’s what exciting for us. It's never gonna feel stagnant, because we could really do anything. I’d love to do some R&B. Why not?
Who is the funniest here?
Henry: It’s so difficult. Everyone has a different sense of humour. Felix is the clown.
Will: I'm basically horribly offensive and pretty cynical.
Felix: Tom’s humour is quite dry.
Joe: We hang in a crew. We run around with each other literally 24 hours of the day, so I don’t know if anyone else would actually find us funny. We spend so much time with each other, we have jokes that we find funny and then you bring those up all the time. I don’t think anyone from the outside world would understand.
Felix: I had a friend who came into rehearsals the other day and he was just kind of sitting observing us like we were in a zoo or something, and afterwards I was driving home and he was like that was really weird. That was really, really weird. You spend way too much time together don’t you?
Will: The short answer to the question is me.
Ok I’ll take that answer. Who is the most serious then?
Will: Me. No probably Joey. Felix can be quite serious though. Game face on.
Felix: I am not serious in any way.
Joe: It’s moments. Everyone has their moments of intensity. I don’t know about serious. It’s just we take what we do seriously and I think that comes across in the music as well. We love that we get to do this, and we’re really grateful for the fact we get to do it with our mates. We get to joke around. I don’t wanna work 9 till 5. I want to be making music for the rest of my life, so why would I not work hard at it. I guess the rest of the guys feel the same.
What is your funniest memory as a band?
Felix: I was handcuffed to a bed after a show in Exeter.
Will: Let’s talk about funny memories, not bad ones.
Tom: I remember this time when I was 8 and I got stuck in the mud. That was hilarious.
Will: One time we tried to get to France and we got to the airport and Henry’s ticket wouldn’t check in. It was because his passport had expired the week before.
Henry: It was just a genuine mistake. Everyone was on the commute wherever they were going. On the way home and I was just surrounded by these people fighting back tears, and I got home and my parents were in the south of France for a holiday so the house was empty.
What is your weirdest memory as a band?
Felix: I was chained to the side of a bed in Exeter.
Tom: What about when Joe shat himself?
Henry: Weirdest is like two days ago some fans came to a show in Birmingham and baked us brownies and bought us a bottle of red wine and sat us down and poured us glasses of red wine and cut up brownies.
Felix: I mean it was nice.
Joe: I mean it’s weird there’s different ways you can go about things. Six guys from Norway turned up to our show in Manchester. They had driven from Norway apparently to come to our show. I think that’s nuts.
Tom: It felt like we triumphed.
Henry: Yeah it felt like we had worked towards something and achieved it. We’ve been working really hard for the last few years. We achieved that goal and now we just have to carry on. So yeah that was it for me.
Tom: Yeah, last night was wicked too.
What would your dream gig be?
Felix: Wembley Stadium.
Will, Henry, Joe: Headlining Glastonbury or Coachella.
Will: Rock and Rear.
Tom: The first Gig on the moon.
Henry: Yes zero gravity gig.
Tom: I’d love to… I know it doesn’t seem terribly ambitious, but just from when I was younger I would love to headline a show at Brixton Academy. That would just be like a life changing show for me. It would be insane and obviously I’d love to go bigger and better. If I got to that stage I would literally sit there and cry.
Felix: I was literally crying like a baby on stage with joy.
Joe: I’m really looking forward to Scala in April, and I’m really looking forward to doing these things every single moment. Even last night kids were screaming back our words and I had a little moment. It seems unbelievable, but then you wake up the next day and you know how good it felt, and how hard you worked for it. You wanna do that again and it gets to the next point and the next point.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in a band?
Tom: Crying a lot more.
Henry: I think I may have gone into teaching or the police force.
Joe: I think we all would have done university and stuff, because we were all there to begin with. I mean I was quite disappointed to not finish my degree, because I worked hard at that as well, but at the same time I’d rather do this.
Felix: I think I would have become a circus act or something like that.
Will: Wheeled out in a cannon ball. Woo ‘Worlds Weirdest Man’. Look at his tiny nipples. Yeah, Mr. Tickles.
Now I’m gonna ask some Boys by Girls Questions. Tell us some interesting facts about yourselves. Anything.
Will: I can’t wait to whip out the old roll neck.
Tom: My fingers look like little chipolatas.
Will: My fingers look like frankfurters. No, they’re thinner than that. What’s a long sausage?
Tom: Why are we talking about sausages, when there are pencils and needles?
Henry: Interesting fact about me; I don’t think anyone in my life has ever said to me ‘oh that’s interesting’. I actually think that it’s true.
Joe: I was born in Milan. I have a face.
If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Tom: To reverse Will’s vampirism.
Will: Thanks man.
Henry: It has quite a negative effect on the rest of us, because Will has a reputation of being out each night. He has a feast.
Tom: The average person goes missing, like in Hannibal.
Felix: Hannibal is based on his own life.
Will: Probably just to choose to be able to control people.
Tom: You have a vampire mind.
Felix: I dare you to not be a spirit.
Will: I don’t know why they are talking about this. The power of levitation.
Felix: I’d like to be able to fly.
Henry: But you wouldn’t get super speed then would you, you would just fly.
Felix: For fuck sake I would just be invisible then. Any problems with that?
Henry: Well do your clothes turn invisible as well? Everything you touch, everything you pick up. If I pick this up is it invisible now?
Felix: No, I would go naked in the nude.
Henry: So always in the nude? You’ll be well cold man.
What were your childhood ambitions?
Henry: I thought I was going to be a sniper until I was about 13. I genuinely thought I was going to be a sniper.
Will: I thought I was going to be Batman.
Felix: Indiana Jones and then a waiter. I genuinely thought I was going to be a waiter. I was in a restaurant and this guy gave me this grilled cheese sandwich and he called me dude, and I was like 8, so I wanna be a waiter now. I actually fulfilled that dream at some point so I might as well give up now.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Felix: Before rehab? Hopefully Henry is a sniper.
Joe: Big arenas and tours. Yeah a lot more.
Henry: Take the plunge and grow a huge beard. On a personal note I’d quite like to have started a family by then.
Joe: Own a property.
Felix: Will’s gonna start a beehive business.
Henry: We are ambitious and do want to be playing big shows by then.
Name three things you can’t live without.
Henry: Mobile phone, toothbrush and a shower. I know it’s not portable, but I just love showers and I love brushing my teeth in the shower.
Tom: A parka, that’s it. I literally don’t need anything else.
Will: A charger.
Henry: Garlic and a steak at the ready.
Joe: I would take a dog and if it was a desert island I would just deal with it.
What are your backstage essentials?
Felix: Babestation essentials?
Joe: We drink a lot of tequila. Probably too much.
Felix: Also a toilet. A toilet is very important with enough loo paper to cater for a touring crew.
How was your shoot for Boys by Girls?
Joe: Very fun.
Tom: Very cold, it was freezing.
Joe: We really appreciate everything. It’s one of those things you grow up and you see people looking cool and you’re like I’d like to be in those glossy magazines or those websites. We never thought it would be us, so much appreciated.
To learn more about Amber Run check out their website.
Amber Run will release their debut Album "5am" on April 27th.
Their Single "Noah" will be released April 19th.
Interview by Dasha Kova
Words by Rachel Abebrese