Interview with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

TMN: Hey guys! Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions for us today. Currently, you’re in the midst of a pretty massive tour, playing with Panic at the Disco for some dates, and Imagine Dragons for some. How has it been going so far?

XA: So far, so good! We’re back in New York now for a couple days, so we get to see friends and girlfriends for a minute. Doing laundry and shit, ya know.

TMN: After you wrap up as support for those guys, you head out and headline a few shows of your own, wrapping up at Firefly Festival in Delaware. Are there any shows during that span that you’re particularly looking forward to? Maybe the Bowery show so you can have your home crowd supporting you?

Yea we’re all super excited about Bowery. I remember when I first moved to New York thinking that the day my band headlined Bowery Ballroom would be the day I’d feel like I was a real musician. And now that day has come and I don’t think any of us feel like any of this is real yet hahah.

X Ambassadors

TMN: As you already know, we’re huge fans of your work over here at TMN. We’ve posted your music in the past, including a couple of premieres. Talk to us about the songwriting process that you went through to write Love Songs Drug Songs.

LSDS was a culmination of a lot of years of independent work, combined with stepping into the big leagues with a producer like Alex. He really made us all so excited about making music again; we banged out the whole EP in like 2 weeks. Love Songs Drug Songs and Stranger were two brand new ones we wrote in the studio with Alex and those came together in a day or two.

TMN: Speaking of that EP, how did you come up with the title?

I was in the studio early in the morning with our engineer, and I needed to come up with the verses for Love Songs Drug Songs. That line just kind of came to me, I don’t know how. Then we decided that it was appropriate for the EP title, considering that half the songs had a real dark vibe to them and half a more light, uplifting vibe. We call that shit a dichotomy.


TMN: Touching back on one of the premieres we did with you, your cover of “Power Trip” was one of our favorites to date. How did that decision come about?

We all just fucking loved that song so much and loved that record. That’s pretty much it. We had done a series of covers in the past that we all really liked and figured it was time for another. I think that Born Sinner was one of the best hip-hop albums of the year.. it could even give Kendrick a run for his money. And Miguel is one of my biggest idols, so that was another reason why we did it.

X Ambassadors
J Cole Power Trip (cover version)

TMN: Let’s talk a little bit about your musical background. How did you all get into playing instruments, and how did X Ambassadors come to be?

Well, it all started around Kindergarten… I met Noah on the first day and we became best friends. We started our first band in middle school and then Casey started playing with us around high school. Casey and I had been playing music together since we were little kids, but it wasn’t until then that we were cool enough as siblings to work together creatively. Then we moved down to the big city, met Adam in the freshman dorms at The New School University, and started jamming a bit. Wasn’t until after we graduated in 2010 that we went into the studio to make our first serious EP, Litost.

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (February 2014 Round #1)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaAt this very moment in time you could be happy, sad, tired, pissed, ecstatic, indifferent, smitten, irritated, energized, sick, confidant, confused…..the list goes on and on. Whatever emotion you may be experiencing as you stumble across this page, we ask that you put it aside for a moment, hit play, and let the Indie Dojo set the mood for you. If you are instantly irritated, we won’t be offended. We understand that not everyone likes all the same things we do and still love you for who you are. If you are instantly smitten, we love you too and want to remind you that we are here every Tuesday. Either way, we are glad you stopped by.

Gold Spectacles
Steal You Away
Young Yeller
Fever Kids
Holding Grass
The Mispers
Tamu Massif
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[Indie Rock] Model Aeroplanes – Innocent Love

Innocent Love

Take a look out your window. Can you see snow piled up? If you opened the door, would you see your breath as you curse Old Man Winter? We’re right there with you, wishing we could witness temps somewhere north of 70 degrees. While we know this isn’t possible while living in Colorado, we know that there’s some infectious indie rock via Model Aeroplanes that can help assuage our winter-time blues.

Coming out of Scotland, this pop rock quartet has a sound ready for a trip to the beach. Something about the playful bassline, catchy guitar riffs, and dance-inspiring drums has us reaching for our flip flops, ready to be drenched in the warm summer sun.

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[Out There] Beaty Heart – Kanute’s Coming Home

Kanute's Comin' Round

Coming out of the South-London hub of Peckham, the lovingly unique psych-pop trio Beaty Heart are set to welcome in the New Year with a new single, ‘Kanute’s Comin’ Round’. Due out by way of Nusic Sounds on March 3rd, this tune is another taste from the band’s debut record ‘Mixed Blessings’, which was recorded with Dave Eringa.

The eclectic nature of this track takes you to the plains of the wild with its buzzing didgeridoo, playful guitar riffs and tribal style drums. It’s all of the place, but only in all the best ways. For a brief moment, we asked ourselves, “what the hell do we classify this as?” As soon as that thought came in our head, it left as we pressed play again, with a huge smile beaming across our faces.

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[Indie] ETCHES – The Charm Offensive

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo Da Vinci

In it’s simplicity, we find ourselves overwhelmingly charmed by the guitar centric nature of ETCHES new track. Focusing highly on non-traditional guitar structuring, and post-rock inspired lyrics, we’ve been won over with one listen of “The Charm Offensive.”

This single, coming out on the 24th of this month, has nothing complicated to it. Yes, the structure might not be something that you’re used to, something that may be more complex than your traditional pop tune. However, there’s no guitar solo. There’s no intricate sampling, looping countless clips over and over, endlessly. Quite the contrary. However, it’s laid back and unassuming nature will captivate your ears, asking you to hear more from this Liverpool based outfit.

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[Indie] Wake Owl – Letters

Wake Owl

Walking out of a decorated 1950’s gymnasium, Wake Owl’s tune, “Letters,” is something you would come to see from another Back to the Future film. While this song starts off with something you’d expect Marty McFly to be endorsing, it crosses musical eras with it’s strings section. As a whole, the track boasts a nostalgic feel, giving these Vancouver BC based musicians a spot in music lover’s hearts, both young and old.

With an album coming up soon, we can guarantee that we’ll be writing up more of this talented outfit’s work. Make sure to keep your eyes open.

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[Rock] Meg Myers – Go

Meg Myers

There’s no mystery around the fact that we’re huge fans of Meg Myers. Spawned out of an affinity for her music, and some rather quirky interview responses, she’s always held a little piece of our ears and hearts here at TMN. Today reinforces why we’ve come to love this LA based indie rocker, as we feature her newly released single, “Go.”

Harnessing classic women of rock like Joan Jett and Heart, Meg’s softly sung lyric float over twangy guitar riffs and eerie piano chords. The chorus of “Go” is anything but soft, breaking into a frenetic bout of power chords coupled with intense screaming that would make any punk lover proud. We’re once again left impressed by the ability to combine to vastly different soundscapes into one track, culminating in something that’s both raw and beautiful.

“Go” drops later this month (2/11) on her upcoming EP, Make a Shadow.

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