amnita 2019
[Photo by: JJ Sorensen]

Ottawa-based indie act Amnita are beginning a fresh chapter from their days as Nighttime In Kansas. They’re teaming up with AltPress to premiere their new track and video for “Control.”

The band released their final effort, “Better Feeling Alone,” under their previous name in February. Transitioning to their new persona, the four-piece—vocalist/guitarist Michael Watson, drummer Nathan Resi, bassist/synthesizer Nicholas Boone and guitarist Eric Graham—acknowledge their roots stem from a “very youthful place.” With Watson and Resi starting the band at 14 and 15 years old, respectively, they knew it was time for a change.

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“As hard as it was to let go of that era of our lives, the focus shifted. A clean slate felt appropriate for the platform we’re building on now,” Watson explains. “The name Amnita comes from a psychoactive mushroom called Amanita muscaria. None of us have taken it, [but] I’ve found it in the woods a couple times. As a band, a key element for us growing as people and connecting to our creative selves has been exploring our consciousness through the use of psychedelics. That’s something that we want to take with us wherever we go.”

Influenced by everyone from the 1975 to ’80s-inspired darkwave such as the Black Queen and Black Marble, Amnita are using “Control” to present a commentary on society’s attachment to technology and how it affects mental health.

“When we interact with it so frequently on a daily basis and on such a personal level, I guess for me at least, it’s hard to not feel like a little bit of a drone,” Watson says. “It’s not a ‘phones are bad, go outside!’ song. I think it’s just an observational and personal take on a pretty big thing happening to humanity right now.”

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The band captured the melodic track’s vibe through a trippy cellphone-centric video. With lyrics and tech-based imagery flashing across screens, the band aimed to make it “extremely stimulating.”

“[It] represents this heavily intrusive aspect of our lives and how we don’t really have a say in whether or not we embrace it even though we know it can be detrimental,” Watson explains. “You’re pretty much forced to give yourself up to it, and that’s something we wanted to communicate visually. It’s hard to not feel alone when the world around you is so immersed. I hope anyone who feels the weight of our imbalanced relationship with the digital world can find solace in this song.”

As a self-produced band, Amnita have are hitting the studio with a producer for the first time ever this fall. Following a few more releases, the band will be hitting the road later on. Keep up with them here, and check out the latest from Amnita below.