When it’s all said and done, AMBER PACIFIC are staying together for the kids.
Story: Megan Seling
Amber Pacific’s history is as squeaky clean as a straight-edge virgin. Since their 2002 beginning in Seattle’s east suburbs, the only drama the band have ever been wrapped up in is the notable firing of a prominent pop-punk guitarist. The worst crime they’ve committed is playing not-quite innovative-but highly spirited-mainstream pop-punk in 2007 when, according to Billie Joe Armstrong, punk rock is supposed to be dead because he fucking killed it.
Actually, that last part can be surprisingly more offensive than one might initially think.
“Being a pop-punk band, we get a lot of people that don’t like us,” says guitarist/vocalist Will Nutter before breaking into laughter. “I think it’s funny when people say they’ve heard it before. We’re not trying to be a groundbreaking band like Green Day: This is what we like to play. It’s fun for us. We never said we were trying to do something different.”
But these days, you gotta break ground to make ground. And if you can’t do that, you’ve got to at least surround yourself with controversy to hide your screaming inadequacies. Paris Hilton and Nicole’s Richie’s highly publicized quarrel worked wonders for their individual careers (and since hooking up with Miss Richie, Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden’s extra attention probably ain’t hurtin’ record sales, either). Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz took his band to new heights when photos of his “mini Pete” got spread all over the internet faster than the click of a Sidekick camera. Consider: How many people knew Ashlee Simpson before her notorious lip-syncing incident on Saturday Night Live? Even Simpson’s alleged fling/relationship/friendship/publicity stunt with Wentz doesn’t seem to be killing either of their careers.
The point? Those are the stories making today’s headlines in the music industry. It’s all about who you know, who you date and what you do (or don’t) show. If that’s how you’ve gotta fight to get on the front page, well, Amber Pacific are heading to war completely unarmed. The surprising part: They’re okay with it.
“The music industry is kind of like high school-everybody knows everybody,” says Matt Young, the band’s 22-year-old vocalist. “There’s the popular kids, the non-popular kids-and I sometimes feel like we’re the ones off in the corner and nobody really talks to us much because we’re a little different than everybody else. We’re not the typical band. I don’t like using the term ‘rockstar,’ but we try not to be rockstars. We try to be down to earth.”
Hence the title of their new release for Hopeless Records, Truth In Sincerity. The disc features a dozen songs referencing everything from self-empowerment, invites to fun and at least one inside joke, all with a peppy energy and a glossy production job from Martin Feveyear (R.E.M., Damien Jurado). The disc is guaranteed to initiate waves of pogoing, even if none of the tracks sound like common denominator gestures engineered to turn unknowns into full-on rockstars.
“The title is reflecting the fact that there’s a lot of bands out there that act one way in front of people but are different behind closed doors,” says bassist Greg Strong. “We just like to keep it real, I guess. When we’re hanging out with our fans, we just like to keep everything sincere. We want people to know we’re just normal people too.”
“The main idea behind this entire record was our fans,” adds Nutter. “We’ve spent a lot of time with them and I was really inspired by the stories they told us about our songs saving their lives or really helping them get through a hard time. I really wanted to write this record for them.”
Wanna read how Amber Pacific made a for-the-fans record? Pick up AP 228 for the full story.