As I phone in Jonathan Chandler, leader of Ottawa-based indie-rock band Amos The Transparent, I can hear kids screaming in the background. It’s a very real reminder that the music scene is not all drugs and rock & roll for most of these independent artists. ʺThe age range of the band sits between 25 and 40 years old, so we’re all in different places in our lives and we all have careers and families.ʺ says Jonathan who’ll admit a 6-member band can get complicated to manage: ʺBut once we’re all together, it’s amazing. We’re 6 really good friends and when we sit in the van it gets crazy ‘cause everyone’s wives are mad at them. We get where everyone’s coming from and everyone is really supportive of each other.ʺ
Launching their third full-length album This Cold Escape on September 20th, the band decided to try their luck at crowd-funding through pledgemusic.com: ʺIf you set a realistic goal, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In theory you’re talking to people that are going to buy your music anyway so in my own opinion, they’re just buying something in advance really.ʺ This financing option might just be a more reliable one than the usual ol’ grant – which is often so lovingly accompanied by the word ʺNOʺ.
But above all that, there’s also the desire to involve fans in the process of making a record: ʺIn this day and age, I feel like people need this kind of engagement, especially since the record-making process is so foreign to some people. You can make a record on an iPad now, whether that’s going to be good or not is up to anyone’s discretion, but the general public could really think that to make a record you just need to buy a $2.99 app. At least this way they can see what we’re doing and what it’s really like.ʺ
And the dedication to their fans actually goes beyond that: one of the offered pledges consisted of writing and recording a personal song. (Unfortunately none of the 4 lucky pledgers requested a song about yeti-hunting in Mexico – only adorable, reasonable subjects): ʺthis is really different for us; we’re just completely out of the box with something we don’t really know anything about.ʺ
I have to admit, I’m in awe of this concept.
If anyone out there is into this; I will easily go for a song.
Talking about this record, This Cold Escape is one that reflects the reality of musicians who are – ugh – getting up there in age and trying to maintain the life of being in a band: ʺThe album really explores what it would be like to choose an extreme and how quickly one would regret it. Or maybe that would be the greatest thing in the worldʺ explains Chandler who admits there was a point before the album was written where he considered opting out of the band. Needless to say he was easily convinced otherwise by his bandmates. ʺI did a lot of searching of what it would be like to escape something without no real gain.’’ But that would also mean not being true to what you really want, right? ‘’Exactly, and that would be a very cold escape.ʺ
Impressive how he managed to work that in so beautifully, ain’t it?
Now on their third appearance at POP Montreal, Amos The Transparent will be performing at midnight, Sunday, September 21st at Le Petit Campus. Expect a few crowd-pleasing French words; these guys are genuinely charming and committed. Oh and their music is obviously well worth the listen!
Just go! I’ll be there waiting… Waiting for a song about me.