A chat with Liverpool alt-pop artist Amber Jay.
Amber Jay is the Liverpool hailing artist who is pushing bedroom pop into a new direction. We caught up with her for a chat about her upcoming EP ‘Never Too Far From A Dark Thought’ which is set for release on March 3rd
EE: Could you say a few words to introduce yourself to our readers at WFM?
AJ: “I’m Amber Jay and I’m a songwriter and music artist from Liverpool. I write acoustic sort of alternative pop songs or bedroom pop songs they’re sometimes called. They’re dark and atmospheric and sometimes kind of cinematic, so that’s what I do!”
EE: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t listened to your music before?
AJ: “It’s quite dark in some moments but it’s really heartfelt. The lyrics are quite delicate and emotive and my voice is quite soft, so I like to take a different stance when it comes to the production. I’d say soft delicate lyrics against bold, cinematic production.”
EE: Last month you blessed us with ‘Stay The Same’, what is the track about?
AJ: “’Stay The Same’ is about relationships and about when you break up with someone and you just want everything to go back to how it was, but every time you try to do something to fix the situation is just makes things worse and it makes you look like an idiot for even trying to fix things. It’s about those thought processes of yearning for someone and wanting things to go back to how they were.”
EE: How did you find the reaction to it?
AJ: “It was really good honestly I’m just so grateful for anyone who listens to it or shares it, the reaction was great. I got some great write ups and reviews from lovely press people, its always great to release something and see what the feedback is like, its good publicity so I’m happy to keep going and keep momentum.”
EE: Your previous releases have saw you gain regular support from BBC Introducing, Radio 1, and Spotify; how has that been?
AJ: “That was such a shock, when I got the email saying that my single ‘Pencilled Brims’ was going to be played on radio 1 I was so happy, there was no one else in the house it was just me in, I was thinking I need t tell someone but there was no one there! I was so over the moon it was like one of those late slots around midnight and I think my entire family stayed up to listen to that show, it was so great. BBC introducing Merseyside have always had my back and been so supportive, they’re great. With the Spotify playlist I remember being in work and I got a notification through from the distributor and I told some random guy that I hardly know in work that I’ve been added to a playlist, obviously that meant nothing to him and he didn’t understand what it meant at all, but I was trying to keep my cool being at work. The support has been amazing and it’s exciting to get that sort of response.”
EE: You’re set to release ‘Never Too Far From A Dark Thought’ on March 3rd, how did you find writing it?
AJ: “It was written over a long period of time, I didn’t set out to write an EP, I just had a collection of songs that were written over time about experiences, relationships, and different narratives. The EP just came about really randomly and out of the blue; I just recorded one track in the studio and I was so happy with it I decided to record my catalogue of songs that I thought were my best ones and send them to the producer. It all came about very naturally; I think its just one of those universe signs where it just all came together.”
EE: Which track is your favourite?
AJ: “I’d probably say ‘Pencilled Brims’ just because it was the first thing I put out and it got the biggest response so far, we did a video for it and I just felt it was such an exciting time to bring a single out which felt entirely in the direction I wanted to go creatively. To share it and to have a visual that was really strong to go alongside it as well, its like it all came together for that track and it felt very natural and exciting, so I’d definitely say ‘Pencilled Brims’. The bridge part as well is really quirky and it just makes me laugh hysterically every time I hear it, I don’t know why. Even though I wrote it, I just hear it and think ‘that’s so funny’, I don’t know if its out of disbelief because its kind of good, but I always have that reaction when I think somethings really good, I laugh at it. It’s my favourite I reckon.”
EE: Who were some of your biggest musical influences writing the EP?
AJ: “I’d say when I started discovering a lot of new female artists, I started thinking about changing my sound. I originally had quite an acoustic sound with quite traditional productions but it didn’t fit me and I didn’t want to make that sort of music. I was quite lost and I didn’t know how to get myself together, so when I discovered people like Billie Eilish when she was first coming up, I was inspired by how she has such a soft voice but she puts it against these crazy productions which are just so unconventional for her style of voice. When I started seeing people like that, like Phoebe Bridgers and The Japanese House and stuff like that, I could sort of see a bit of myself and it helped me shape a bit more of an idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.”
EE: I was really interested to read that the experimental production of your music is influenced by film, and as a film student I’ve got to ask, what’s your all-time favourite movie?
AJ: “That’s such a hard question! I’m sure there’s like a really obvious one that I just can’t remember but I really liked ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ which is a French film. The visuals are really stunning and every shot looks like a painting, and with it being French as well it adds to the elegance. I’m sure that there’s a glaringly obvious one that I can’t pick out of my brain at the moment but that’s definitely up there with my favourites I’d say.”
EE: Liverpool has so many exciting new bands and artists, who are a few of your favourites at the moment?
AJ: “There are so many, my friend Callum Crighton makes synth 80’s-pop music and he’s always been a huge inspiration, he’s been making music for so much longer than me and he has this aesthetic and drive and such a clear direction in where he wanted to go and this belief in himself which is infectious, it kind of spreads across everyone. Callum for sure and also my friend Zuzu is the queen, her song writing is insane. My friend Munkey Junkey produces as well as being an artist and his work is incredible. There are so many and I feel like I’ve just said my mates but honestly I love their music so much I’m not just saying it because they’re my mates, they’re all really good, talented people. There are so many and Liverpool has so many amazing artists, its great to have that community because everyone is somehow linked through someone else. There’s this girl called Pixie as well who has just released her EP and I love her sound, she’s really cool.”
EE: And lastly, what do you hope to accomplish next as an artist?
AJ: “I think I want to just keep writing and getting better, I’m still at the very start so I just want to keep growing and practicing my music to make sure that it’s the best it can be. I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio and get more tracks out that have just piled up over the past year being in lockdown, so I want to get them up and out and into the world.”