Here’s my interview with young California post rock outfit THE AMBIENT LIGHT, who have just released the deluxe edition of debut album “Nostalgia Trip”. Whilst taking influence from the likes of EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and THIS WILL DESTROY YOU, the album sees THE AMBIENT LIGHT beginning to embrace a path separate to that of their forebears, confidently mastering their own sound in the process.
The band was founded in 2010, whereby they wasted no time in starting their campaign with an almost immediate release of first EP called “Everything Up Until Now”. Despite being only three tracks in length, the outing managed to clearly showcase the bands overwhelming instrumental intentions. Chocked to the brim with shimmering guitars and fleshed out, glistening passages, the record showed instant comparisons to the contemporary work of instrumental front runners such as the aforementioned two or the titans from CASPIAN. The new album sees THE AMBIENT LIGHT beginning to embrace a path separate to that of their forebears. Taking a little over a year to create, it documents a view into the working mind of a band willing to challenge the stylistic boundaries of their own aesthetic.
2013 looks set to be a bright and action-packed year for the blossoming quartet. Let’s see what they have to say about their quest. THE AMBIENT LIGHT is Steven Martinez, Steve Lizzaraga, Irvin Venedero and Chris Alvarez.
The New Album
Hello, guys! How are you? How’s the summer treating you? :)
We’ve been enjoying our A/C units and backyard pool. The practice sessions here at our home can get very “toasty” :)
So, you have a new collection of tracks previously locked up in your vault out now. Tell us more about the reissue.
The reissue of Nostalgia Trip contains all of the material we have recorded up until now. From when the band was just a duo until the evolution of what is now THE AMBIENT LIGHT. We also included a couple of demos I recorded here at our home/studio “Casa De TAL”.
What are the latest stats as far as downloads and units sold? :)
The free downloads on www.TheAmbientLight.Bandcamp.com have always done well. We’ve noticed that our material has leaked onto numerous blogs & file sharing sites. We sell a decent amount of physical copies as well. We recently opened our online store.
Have you received a lot of attention for the original edition? How did that feel?
I don’t think we realized how much support we had until we saw the turn out at the Nostalgia Trip release show last year. We are always enamored when strangers reach out to us to make us aware of their affection towards our music.
You’ve recently released the official video for the song “Twenty-Two”, summing up the last year of your adventures. Looks like it was fun. How do you remember 2012?
It was definitely a crazy year for us and as a band our best yet. The music festivals were a great time.
You have some sort of visual project planned for further down the calendar… Can you discuss it and reveal some details on that?
Rather than releasing one music video, we are creating a short film for our music. It will be about the experiences people have when they dive deep within their subconscious and explore their lucid dream worlds.
OK, so what are your next steps record-wise? What are your plans for the new material?
We are currently recording demos at home of our new material. We plan to release a full-length album early next year.
Will there be a running thematic concept to your next release? Or do you prefer to have each song stand alone and independent? Is it even possible to build a concept around an instrumental form?
You can definitely build a concept around instrumental music. You can think of instrumental music being like pieces of modern classical music. In the 1700’s composers created music that expressed a vast ocean of emotion in a way that words never could. The theme on next album will coincide with our short film.
How does the music when you started compare with what you are up to now?
The most noticeable change would be the vocals. We have a nice balance of instrumental pieces and songs including vocals.
What else, buddies? What does the future hold for THE AMBIENT LIGHT?
Expect to see a “Live from our Living Room” session soon on YouTube.
Alright, let’s learn more about the background of THE AMBIENT LIGHT. When did you start writing music? Have you had any other bands prior to this project?
Irvin & I “Steven” have been in bands together since 2003. We had an instrumental Post-hardcore band with our bassist “Steve” in high school called THE VACANCY TRIP. From that band we met “Chris” and we all started to jam again in 2010.
What was it like where you were growing up? Was music always what you wanted to do?
I think we all learned early on that music is what we wanted to do. We spent most of our high school weekends locked away in a garage writing music.
How did you come together?
Irvin, Steve & I met in middle school. We went to this 8-year catholic school and the only thing that got us by was the music we shared together. I met Chris in high school when we had to start a band to play a Strokes cover in front of the entire school.
What was the catalyst for choosing the path of the instrumental? Was it the original intention?
We’ve never really labeled ourselves as an instrumental band. Nostalgia Trip just had a lot of emotion and experience tied into it. We felt the music spoke for itself. We try to create music that allows the mind of the listener to drift off.
Instrumental post rock often gets the wrap for being boring and doesn’t seem radio friendly at all. Your songs are more accessible. Do you have a set length and melodiousness that you try to achieve with each song, or is it more of an organic process?
It’s very organic. We don’t take any of that into consideration. A song is done when it feels right.
Sorry for the cliché question, but I’d really like to learn more about your inspirations. Who or what are your influences? :)
Film & Music. There’s a Richard Linklater film called ‘Waking Life” that has had a heavy inspiration on the music we create. We listen to so much music. We are inspired by many different artists. Most recently the band TAME IMPALA has had a huge impact on us. They really raise the bar when it comes to live music. I got to discuss some musical nerd talk with Kevin from TAME IMPALA. That band is really doing some innovative things.
Would you say that you enjoy performing live more than the process of writing and recording music? Tell me more about your experience concert-wise.
Recording music is always the most beautiful part. You can create anything. Layer and layers on top of more layers. This band was started from bedroom demos that were worked on until they became something we could perform live.
If you had to spend the rest of your existence with the works of just a few different artists, whose would you choose?
What other interests or hobbies do you have, when you are not making and promoting your music?
I am also a freelance photographer. I photograph promos for bands as well as compose personal conceptual pieces. I plan to be recording music videos very soon.
Well, good luck with all of that, guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. Cheers from Warsaw! :)
Thank you! –Sven & The Ambient Light
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