For all the people reading this interview, can you first introduce yourself and tell us what you do in Amber Pacific.
Justin Westcott and I am a guitarist in Amber Pacific.
Greg: I’m Greg and I play bass and do a bit of writing.
Will: I’m Will.
I read on your site that the band is from Washington. A lot of great music has and is coming out of there. Did you guys find it hard to get out and get noticed in such a big music scene?
Greg: There is defiantly a lot of good music coming from this area right now, its awesome. To put that question in the past tense with using the word “did” is probably the wrong word to use ha-ha. We are still trying to. It’s kind of a hard scene up here. There are so many different things going on! As of late our shows have been a lot of fun. Whenever we have more than 10-20 kids we get excited, but we’d still be happy to even just play for 2. Our past couple shows have been pretty packed and it feels really good. We feel kind of like our hometown is finally starting to feel like home when we play. Thanks to everyone who’s been coming out.
Justin: You’d be surprised at the music scene out here. There are a lot of great bands coming out of here like Gatsby’s and Acceptance, but we kind of sneaked under the radar. We, to this day, aren’t huge at home. So we’re Still looking to get a bigger fan base here as we do
Will: Our music with the “scene” in Washington doesn’t really match up to say the least, there isn’t a lot of “pop-punk” bands around the area so for us to get noticed is probably easier than it is for some other bands in the scene.
The band has been together since 2002, were any of you guys in any bands previous to Amber Pacific?
Greg: I was in a band in Jr High if that counts. Amber Pacific was really my first “real” band.
Justin: I was not. Dango, our drummer, has been playing drums for a while and has played for a lot of different people. His most recent band was called Three Word Name
Will: Nope, Amber Pacific (Follow Through), has been the only band that I’ve been in, I know Greg was in a band called 3.5 in his younger days I think and Dango had been in a few bands prior to us as well.
What has the ride been like from starting the band back in 2002 and then recently releasing the latest album?
Greg: Fast, crazy, surreal, so much fun. If you had told me in 2002 that we would have done anything we have done in the past year and a half I would have thought you were crazy. I myself am really thankful for every single that has happened to and for this band, I’m sure everyone else is too.
Justin: It’s been absolutely crazy! We started this band in high school just for fun. We made a CD to sell to our friends! We always joked around and thought about getting signed, but then when it actually happened it was amazing. We all left college(except Dango, he finished) to pursue this opportunity. Since then it’s been a wild ride. Good tours and bad tours,fun times and times that have just sucked hardcore. With the release of our new CD we are all very very excited. The ride is just going to get better from here on out.
Will: When the band formed in 2002, we had no idea we would end up where we are today, it was more of a hobbie in the past but now it’s become so much more, we’ve had to learn a lot of tough lessons about being a band and what it takes to get to the next step in our careers as a band. But for the most part, it’s just been exciting and definatly something that we’ll always have for the rest of our lives.
How did you go about getting signed to hopeless records?
Greg: They got a hold of 3 rough takes from the EP we were recording just for fun and then they contacted us and from there things started happening. Now that EP is out on Hopeless, I never expected that when we started recording it.
Justin: We were recording our EP called Fading Days for fun. Our producer, Martin Feveyear, really like our stuff so he showed it to a friend of his who was a lawyer named Michael Barber. He’s worked with Acceptance, and Vendetta Red. The lawyer liked it, and started to shop us to labels. Hopeless liked what they heard and the rest is history.
Will: We initially went into Jupitor Studios to work with Martin, our goal then was to just make something to show our kids when we get older; to have something to hand out to friends, but Martin believed in us and thought that we had something special so he brought in his friend Michael Barber to take a listen, Barber liked what he heard and said he’d work with it and Hopeless was the first label he shopped us to and they liked the sound.
The full length “The Possibility & The Promise” just came out on the 24th. Is it exciting to finally see all the work of recording an album to pay off?
Greg: Heck yea! We put so much time into it, our producer, Martin Feveyear, worked like a mad man on it. I’m so happy and proud about it. I don’t really know what else to say about it other than that. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WENT OUT AND BOUGHT IT!!!
Justin: You have no idea!!!! We are so proud of our record. We put our heart and soul into every part of the record. To now have it in people’s hands feels so good! We just hope the response of the public is great.
Will: Yes! It is so hard to be patient when we were making the record because you just want to hear/see the final product, but were really happy with how the record turned out, Martin made it sound great and Aaron did a great job with the artwork.
What was the writing process like with this album?
Greg: We had most of it done before going into the studio. There were a few songs written while we were in there. Will would usually write the guitar part and then we would add our respective parts then Will or I would put lyrics to it
Justin: It was fun but interesting. We worked really hard. At times we were down because stuff wasn’t coming and it was almost time to record. But then it all came through and we are very happy.
Will: The writing process in this band starts with me coming up with the song, then I take it to practice where Dango will throw in arrangement ideas and then everyone else puts in there ideas and we go from there.
What is the normal formula for you guys to write songs? Is there someone that comes up with the idea of a song then shows the rest of the guys or?
Greg: Will would usually write the guitar part and then we would add our respective parts then Will or I would put lyrics to it.
Justin: Our other guitarist Will is the songwriter, so he comes up with the melody and basics of the song. Then Dango helps do most of the arranging of the song. Then it comes to the rest of us and we put in our ideas and we do our parts. It got down to crunch time with this record, but thankfully Will pulled through and came out with some amazing songs. He worked his butt off to get the record to have songs like this!
Will: I guess I just answered this question in the above question, but yes, I write the songs and then show the band.
I see that Amber Pacific will be heading out on warped tour. Are you going out on the whole tour or just part of it?
Greg: We are on the whole tour. As of now we aren’t on a stage all the time, but that could change at anytime, we can be added to a stage last minute on any random day. The days we aren’t going to be on a stage we will play acoustic at our merch tent. The days we are on a stage look for us on the Volcom or Smartpunk stage.
Justin: The Whole Shabang! We will be playing on the Volcom stage and Smartpunk stage for some of it, but the dates we aren’t playing a stage we will have a tent and be doing private acoustic performances for everyone and anyone that would like to watch.
Will: We will be on the whole tour, however, were only playing somewhere around 15 dates I think mostly in the Midwestern states and all of Canada, but on the days that we don’t have a stage we will be playing an acoustic set in front of our tent so make sure to check that out if you have some time!
How has your experience of touring on warped tour previous been?
Greg: Last year warped was really kind of our first real tour. We had heard it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. That’s exactly what it was,a ton of fun, and a lot of hard work. But it made us the band we are today. It took us a little bit to know how everything works on warped but we figured it out and now we are excited and ready for another year of it!
Justin: It was absolutely amazing! It’s such a fun tour, but then it’s also so hard. We are the band that is out at our tent the whole day, so we’re in the sun trying to get people to listen to what we have. Then we have to drive all night to the next place, and wake up early and do it all over again. But besides the hard work it’s very fun.
Will: Warped 2004 was amazing! I remember when we pulled into the first venue in Houston, we pulled right up next to Coheed and Cambria’s tour bus and I know that I was all star struck from seeing so many bands, it was definatly a memorable experience, we got to play wiffleball with New Found Glory later that day and we knew that it was going to be a sweet summer, not to mention the exposure you get on Warped is something you can’t get on a regular tour.
After warped is there any talks of other tours?
Greg: There’s a few ideas floating around, but nothing is solid enough to mention. As soon as we know it will be posted online.
Justin: As of now just talks. We haven’t booked anything yet, but we’re hoping to get picked up for some of the great tours this fall.
Will: We are trying to put something together after Warped but as of right now we’ve got nothing, so if there are any bands out there who wouldn’t mind taking us out or who would want to put something together let us know! Were going to try to tour for the next year or two as much
as we can.
What kind of musical influences did all of you have growing up? Or when did you become interested in playing music?
Greg: For me it started with Bill Joel when I was 6 or 7. I couldn’t get enough of his song “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. From there it was Green Day. Dookie came out and changed my life. Then it was Rancid and Operation Ivy. Then Ska hit and it was all about Less Than Jake for me. Then I got into the old school punk like Exploited, Dead Kennedys,Misfits, tons more. Then street punk and Oi, like Oxymoron and Dropkick.Then I heard New Found Glory’s Nothing Gold Can Stay and I’ve been hooked on the pop punk since then. Now I’m just into anything that I think is good. I’ve also had this craving for hardcore lately so I’ve been listen to a lot of Bane.
Justin: It varies for each of us. Will listened to rap, Matt listened to pop.Greg and I have been into the scene since we were 12. My first show was Strung Out. Then I really got into NOFX, Guttermouth, Save Ferris (I was a Rude Boy for awhile for all the ska fans!!), bands like
that. Then I started getting into Pop-punk with New found Glory and Starting line. Dango has always been into punk, like MxPx, Bad Religion, NOFX.
Will: I know that when I was in junior high all I listened to was rap! Haha, I didn’t start playing guitar until 10th grade and that’s when I started listening to bands like Blink, New Found, and The Starting Line. I know that Justin and Greg were fans of this scene for as way back as they can remember and Dango has always been a real big fan of bands like Lagwagon, NOFX, Strung Out, Bad Religion, No Use, and MxPx.
How do you feel about sites like purevolume that allow bands from anywhere in the world show their music?
Greg: I love them. Purevolume is so freakin cool. I remember when MP3.com closed down I was all worried there wouldn’t be anything cool to replace it but PV did it and did it better.
Justin: That’s great for bands of any size. It’s especially great because the bands themselves are putting it out to be heard.
Will: I think that those sites are so good for people to check out because so many bands get a chance to put their music out there and I know that I’ve discovered a lot of new bands that I like just from going to those sites and checking out bands that I haven’t heard of.
What are some of your favorite albums of all time?
Greg: Green Day – Dookie, New Found Glory – Self Titled, Further Seems Forever – The Moon Is Down, Less Than Jake – Losing Streak and Hello Rockview, AFI- Black Sails In the Sunset, Autopilot Off- S/T EP, Billy Joel – Storm Front, Misfits – American Psycho, John Mayer – Room For Squares, NOFX – Punk In Drublic, Operation Ivy- Energy, Rancid – Lets Go and .And Out Come The Wolves, Saves The Day – Through Being Cool and StayWhat You Are, Strung Out – Too Close To See, Suicide Machines – Destruction By Definition. There’s a bunch of others, sorry the list is so long haha.
Justin: New Found Glory “Sticks and Stones”, Starting Line “Say It Like You Mean It,” Less Than Jake “Losing Streak”.
Will: I know that there are a lot of albums out there that I have yet to listen to that are great ones, but my favorites are Green Day’s American Idiot, New Found Glory’s Sticks and Stones, Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool, The Starting Line’s Say It Like You Mean It, and Underoath’s
They’re Only Chasing Safety.
Any current favorites that the band has been listening to lately?
Greg: Bane, the new Blink cd, the new Fall Out Boy has grown to be a fav at the moment, Acceptance, All Time Low, Eisley, Alk 3, there’s more but I’ll just stop there haha.
Justin: Acceptance’s “Phantoms” is amazing! They should be huge! And they’re just really nice guys.
Will: Our band has a huge variety of music that we listen to, I know that during the summer we were hooked on Story of the Year for a long time but there’s so much new music out these days we’ve all been listening to a lot of different things. Personally, I’ve been listening to a lot of the new Fall Out Boy and the new Starting Line and I’m looking forward to hearing the new All American Rejects album as well as Yellowcard’s later in the year.
If there was one thing that you could change about the music scene these days, what would it be?
Greg: Getting all these TV stars out of music. It’s all fake, heartless music and good for nothing more than a few laughs. If you can’t even sing the songs how they are on your cd with out the help of pre-recorded vocals just don’t bother trying, that’s not talent or skill, its just lazyness.
Justin: Honestly, I would change some of the music. I respect every band that puts music out becuase they are doing what they love. But in a lot of ways for my personal taste I dont like the way the scene has gone.
Will: I would love to take away the titles and stereotypes or anything else that doesn’t have to do with just the music. If people could just listen to a band and judge them by their music, not because their an “emo band” or because “they’re not punk”, I don’t know, I just feel like titles are stupid.
If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself?
Greg: I know I would, i’d start at the shoulder.
Justin: I’m not the biggest fan of long skinny objects near my mouth, so probably not.
Will: I would eat myself over and over again, but who wouldn’t eat themselves if they were a hot dog, hot dogs are so good.
I guess that’s about all the questions I have for you guys. Is there anything you would like to say to all the readers and fans out there in absolutepunk.net land?
Greg: Thanks so much to everyone who has ever supported us, said hi at a show, given us a place to shower, or told your friends to listen to us!! Thanks to AP, its literally been a dream come true to be on your site, let alone be the featured artist, I almost had a heart attack when I saw that.Hope to see everyone at warped, come say hi!!
Justin: Thank you everyone at absolutepunk.net! It’s an amazing site! And thank you everyone who has gone out and bought our record! We owe it all to you.If you haven’t heard of us, please go check us out and choose for yourself!
Will: Thank you absolutepunk for helping our band out by posting things about us, thank you to everyone who has checked out our album, thank you to everyone who’s a fan of our music, thank you to all the bands out there who have helped us out or has just been cool to us, Acceptance, All Time Low, Break Away, Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, MxPx, Good Charlotte, Lucky For Nothing, Truce, Rufio, Mike from Senses Fail, and Something Corporate. And for anyone who hasn’t listened yet we only ask that you give us a chance and if you don’t like it after you listen,that’s ok, thanks for giving it a chance.