Glasgow five piece AmatrArt have been catching our ears, particularly with their double a-side single Mirror/Soft Skin which dropped last month via Bloc+ Music. Shimmering guitars, synth lines, liberal doses of vocal harmonies and catchy melodies are the order of the day with the band, and we were frankly bowled over by them. Mirror in particular is one that’s on constant playback in our office (my front room) and so we spoke to the band to find out a little more.
We are: AmatrArt – Jonathan Mullen (guit/vox) Josh McGeechan (guit) Niall Jootun (bass) Lewis Orr (drums) Niall M (synths/pads)
We are from: Glasgow
We met Jonathan, Josh and Niall M are childhood friends who met Niall M at high school. I (Lewis) met Josh and Niall J at a council run songwriting course in our early teens and we’ve been jamming together ever since.
We make music that sounds like Foals, Radiohead, Warpaint, AltJ
When people ask us who or what we sound like, we say It’s indie music with a dark electronic twist.
We bonded over Lots of Nintendo, Always Sunny and Community.
Our name comes from It was originally the name of our first ever single “Souls” but when we changed it we still really liked AmatrArt so recycled it as the band name.
We got together, and our first rehearsal was Our first rehearsal as the band we are now with the songs that we’re playing now was in the Spring 2014. It was a bit trial and error in a sense in that we had these songs written and recorded that we’d done electronically, but we hadn’t thought about how we were going to portray this stuff live yet. Some of us have been jamming together in garages and rehearsal rooms for years together though, cutting our teeth as teens.
Our first gig was The first show we played together was the release show for our first single in July 2014. We put it on ourselves in The Old Hairdressers. It was such a fun show, so many people came out to see us because we’d always been talking about this band and how we jammed together and stuff, but we never actually properly got it together or released anything or played any shows for so long. So it was kind of a “see? This is what we’ve been upto” for everyone.
Our new record is Our new AA side single Soft Skin/Mirror. These were a couple of the very first songs we wrote as a band in the way that we do stuff now, by just jamming it out together. I couldn’t even give you a month in terms of when they written, it kind of feels like we’ve had them forever. I’m pretty sure we played Soft Skin at our first ever show.
We recorded it We recorded both of the tracks alongside another two in Chem 19 in Blantyre with Jamie Savage which was a joy. We spent a whole lot of time working on finding the right sounds that we wanted to convey. There was also a lot of downtime for whoever wasn’t needed at any given time so we all really honed our foosball and SNES skills over the few days we were there.
The writing process for us is We generally always write the music first, lyrics come later and we tend to write collaboratively. We will start with somebodies idea that could come from a cool drum groove or a riff or even from a cool guitar/synth sound and we all build on it from there. We will just get together and jam out ideas and play around with them until something cool sticks. We always try everything that gets suggested too, even if it sounds like a bad idea we’ll give it a shot and we’re often pleasantly surprised.
We tried to make it sound like We wanted to do our own thing with it, but at the same time you can always draw comparisons from your influences whether intentional or not. We spent a lot of time during the recording process on getting the right sounds though, that’s one of the benefits of working with someone like Jamie Savage. He has such a good ear for that stuff, he knows just the tiny tweaks to make to really get the most out of a sound. We often get “sounds like… Radiohead, Foals, the XX, AltJ” etc. and they’re all bands that we like and listen to so a lot of that naturally comes through in our music but we’re not really “trying to make it sound like” those bands..
You could say our live show is Energetic! It’s got a lot of of ups and downs, it can get really frantic but it also gets pretty subdued/ We’re all always totally into whatever we’re playing.
You can catch us We’re playing at Brew at the Bog (3rd + 4th June) this year which we’re really excited about.
Look out for The Vegan Leather, The Van T’s, Martha Ffion, Spinning Coin, Mayor Stubbs, Earths cos’ they’re all super great.
This year, we are going to try to We have another couple of tracks in the pipeline so hopefully they’ll be out by the end of the year. We’re also currently planning a tour of the UK. More immediately we have a video for our new single “Soft Skin” coming out pretty soon too.