Coming out of Brooklyn, Ambassadors is a rising indie-rock band that play more than just the usual brand of indie rock. Influences from blues, rock and roll, electronic, and many other musical styles are all merged together in Ambassadors' music. The band is finishing up a tour with Lights, and the band sat down with us at MuzikDizcovery near the beginning of the tour to discuss the band's brand new record, playing in a band with a brother, how they got hooked up with Lights, one-off headlining shows, and much more which you can read below.
Firstly, can you guys introduce yourselves?
S: I’m Sam Harris
C: I’m his brother Casey
S: And we are half of Ambassadors.
Your first release, the self-titled EP, was released back in late 2010. How has the reception to that carried over to the band’s new record?
S: Well, it’s carried over a little bit. Our new record sounds a hell of a lot different than the EP sounded. There is one track on it that carried over to the LP. That’s “Bodybag”. That was the newest song that appeared on the EP and now it’s the oldest song on the LP. So a little bit of that sound has carried over, but we’ve really grown a lot as a band even in just those two years. We’ve started to incorporate a lot of different instruments into our lineup and I started playing extra auxiliary percussion and Casey started picking up bass synth a little bit, so the sound has changed a little bit but we’re still the same band.
The album is somewhat “inspired” by Casey’s recovery from an illness.
S: I wouldn’t say the album was inspired by that period. It was written during that phase, when we all had a moment to breathe. We were just finishing up school, Casey was hiding out in a cabin in the woods.
C: They all wrote it and all I had to do was relax.
S: And we’d go out and visit and kick it there, but we were all sort of spread out, so it was a good time for everyone to sort of collect themselves and come up with different ideas, and all those ideas turned into the record Litost, which just came out last month. We self-released it, and put it out there.
What is it like playing in the band with a brother? Do you think your relationship in the band is different because you are brothers than it is between most band members?
S: I mean, honestly, it’s hard to compare it to anything else. We’ve never really played music with other people, except in like, middle school. But, I think it’s good to have people in your band who you feel very comfortable with and that allows for the creative process to happen. I feel most comfortable when I’m with my close friends and family, so that’s what this band is.
Going back to the new record, you said that most of the writing process was done during the time of the recovery. Do you feel that some of those emotions maybe bled into the writing?
S: Possibly. It’s hard because I always feel like I can’t write about things as they are happening to me. It has to be at least a year after something has occurred. It is always different obviously, sometimes I can write about something right after it happens. This record is about a series of old girlfriends for me, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately. But probably a little of the emotion is there, lingering in the background.
How’s the tour going so far?
S: We’re about a week in. I can’t believe it, but we’re about a week in. It’s been going phenomenally. We started out in Buffalo, and Buffalo was awesome. Then Pittsburgh, and Richmond, and Philly in between. In Philly, we did our own show, not with Lights there, and that was awesome. It’s been going great. Lights is amazing and her band and crew are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Those Canadians.
How did you actually get involved with Lights. There’s not too much musical overlap that would put you guys together as tour partners.
S: It’s a very boring story. Our booking agent is her booking agent as well. He had us open for her a couple months ago for three shows in the northeast area, so I guess they wanted us back. They couldn’t get enough of Ambassadors.
Adam: Our manly stank and our music.
S: Our manly stank and our crass rude ways.
A: Delicate we are not.
How are Lights fans reacting to your performance? How are they reacting to the large sonic difference between the two bands?
S: Honestly, we’ve only been getting pretty positive reactions from these kids. I feel that the younger you are, the more open you are to different kinds of music and that’s something that disappears the older you get. You get more jaded and particular about what you like and what you don’t like. It’s happening to us.
A: We haven’t gotten booed off stage yet!
S: We haven’t gotten booed off stage yet, so I guess things are going pretty well.
As you guys said, you recently did a one-off show in the middle of the tour. How is it going from supporting one night to headlining the next? Is it a radical difference, or is it just an easy transition?
S: It’s a radical difference, but there are aspects about both things that are still the same. You still get the same thrill playing in front of a huge crowd as you do as when four of your fans are at this random club one night, heard you, and were desperately trying to find out who this band was and happened to see that one night. There’s something serendipitous about that, which is pretty incredible. It makes you feel really great.
You recently released the record, and you have this tour going on. What other plans do you have in the near future.
S: We’re going down to South By Southwest during this tour, which is going to be a lot of fun. We’re playing a bunch of day parties, we have like three or four of those going on, and you can go online to find those parties. If you’re in the Austin area, you can check those out. After that, we are doing a couple more shows with Lights, then heading back to New York. We’re all going to be pretty ready for a week long break, probably less because we are going to be super anxious to continue writing. We’ve been working on a lot of new material, and our goal is to finish something very soon. I think by the end of the summer we will have a whole new record to put out, and we want to do it as quickly as possible and just put it out there. That’s what people want, and that’s what we want.
Any final things you guys have to say?
S: Go online. Follow us on Twitter, on Tumblr, on Facebook. I guess Myspace is like Internet purgatory now, so don’t go there. We have a lot of great things that are always happening and we love to keep people updated, so we are constantly updating these things and putting out more material. We did a series of covers that we put out once a week a couple months ago, some really weird shit, which I think a lot of people enjoy. We may do that again because it was so much fun. Keep up to date with us, and spread the word. Word of mouth is the greatest advertisement tool.
I'd like to again thank Sam and the rest of Ambassadors for answering our questions. The band put on a killer show, and their recorded material is just as good. As the band said, word of mouth is the greatest advertising tool, so make sure to tell your friends about Ambassadors. You can listen to their music on Bandcamp, and you can follow them on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.