11th September 2015
Writing: Finlay Carroll (Year 11)
Speaking from a van heading towards their next festival, Will Jones talks to me about his band Amber Run. With three of the five band members Old Challoners, the band’s past is strongly linked with the school. However, it is their future which is exciting and new, having placed in the top 40 with their debut album, 5AM.
Will has fond memories of his time as Challoner's, and comments that you don’t realise how much you’ll miss the school and your friends until it’s gone. Originally starting a band whilst in Sixth Form, he regards his last two years at DCGS as a ‘particular highlight’. Little did he know the same three people would be getting back together at university for something a lot more serious!
When, by chance, the three Old Challoners ended up at Nottingham University together, they decided to start up a band once more. Helped by the supportive Nottingham music scene, the band could flourish early on. Still, it was by no means an easy battle: getting stuck in and working hard is key to starting a band, Will tells me. Going from making music in someone’s bedroom to having a whole host of people working alongside you to produce an album ensures a very steep learning curve.
The naming of the band was perhaps one of the trickiest parts, says Will. The group originally went with Amber because it’s a warm colour and it was important for people to get a sense of that idea of warmth before they heard the music. When a German Eurodance act also called Amber raised issues, the name was changed to Amber Run. Described as ‘cinematic rock with pop sensibilities’, Amber Run has a lot of different musical influences, based on all the members' unique music tastes. Despite countless comparisons, none of them (he says) listen to Bastille!
The idea of a desk job doesn’t appeal at all, Will saying he’d hate to be stuck behind a desk all day. Instead, the dream would be to pursue a permanent career in music, or teaching if not. Inspired by some of his teachers whilst at Challoners, Will says he’d really enjoy an opportunity to teach. Later on this year, in November, the band are embarking on a UK tour in which they’ll play some of their biggest shows so far: most notably one at Koko, Camden, at which they are expecting a 1500-strong audience.
In the next five years, Will hopes the band will have a couple more albums under their belt and be regularly touring the UK, as well as Europe and the US. He talks of how you learn to love touring for the travel, adding that he can’t wait to see a lot more of the world. For any young people interested in a musical future, he gives the following advice:
‘Be prepared to work hard and believe in what you do, the bands that succeed are the bands with a strong vision, that they want to realise in every aspect.’
He also advises getting a manager early on to tell you exactly what to do, saying they were utterly clueless to start off with. They still are, he jokes.
Having listened to Amber Run’s album a lot in light of writing this article, I would strongly recommend having a listen to their tracks, to support the band as they start their next journey, and also because their music is just really good.Amber Run official website