'Wow, this song sounds just like The Japanese House', we thought when we finally made it through the second episode (side two of the first tape) of 13 Reasons Why last night, before realising that it was in fact The Japanese House. We first met the London-based singer and producer -- whose IRL name is Amber Bain -- a year and a half ago when we took her for coffee/one of her very first interviews, later introducing you lot to "the musician responsible for the Imogen Heap-like vocoder harmonies currently weaving their way around your heart".
A key member of the Dirty Hit Records family to which her equally talented girlfriend Marika Hackman was once signed, she's still very much doing that. Amber has had a productive few years, putting out three water-based EPs Pools To Bathe In, Clean, and Swim Against The Tide, and touring extensively -- she's currently on a trip up and down the UK, playing London's Koko tomorrow night (Wednesday 17th) before heading to the south coast for everyone's favourite party by the beach that is The Great Escape.
Heading inland and to another state of mind, Amber's forthcoming EP Saw You In A Dream promises a look into the workings of her subconscious, which brings us to the fun stuff! Calling on director Lucy Tcherniak and Jason Baum -- who also helped realise Kendrick's Humble -- Amber wanted the music video for the title track to emulate the feeling of drifting between multiple dreams via a series of old Hollywood style sets. There's something quite La La Land about it, and while nostalgic, the song is warm and easy to drift along to. Our favourite bit is when Amber's guitar flies in from the ceiling. Amber's favourite bit is the fact that they had to re-sweep the beach after each take.
We re-united over email to discuss important things like beach BBQs with Wolf Alice, Amber's top TGE tips, and The Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican.
Hi Amber! How has your life changed since we first met you?
I guess the touring has increased, along with my confidence in what I'm doing. I've also made a lot of great friends. Other than that, it's pretty much the same.
And how have you changed?
I don't think I've changed at all apart from maybe now I'm a little less awkward on stage.
Have you been to The Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican yet?
Been to it? I created it! A lot of Japanese House fans don't know about my inherent passion for Japanese architecture. I put a lot of time and effort into this exhibition so if anyone has a chance they should go and see it.
What's Saw You In A Dream all about then?
It's about seeing somebody I used to be very close to, a long time ago, and who passed away recently, in a dream. Ultimately it's about the loss of someone and having them back for a fleeting moment.
What other dreams have you had recently?
I have nightmares almost every night about very strange things. But recently I had a dream and woke up hysterically laughing about it; everyone on the tour was pointing at Kam (my bass/guitar player) and laughing whilst screaming 'lol biddley man!' at him. He was laughing too. Now 'Biddley' has become a part of our lexicon.
What do you think it means?
What's the idea behind the video then?
I envisioned a series of classic -- almost tongue in cheek -- series of Hollywood sets being created around me as the song played out. The door/guitar emerging from the sky, being in a desert, lying on a beach kind of thing. Emulating the feeling of having several dreams in a night all merging into one.
The set looks amazing. What was your favourite bit of filming?
My favourite bit was the beach. Every time we messed up the whole sandy bit had to be re-broomed. It was hilarious.
What was the last actual beach you were on?
I think in Florida when me and the gorgeous babes from Wolf Alice had a BBQ and listened to All Night Long by Beyoncé about 40 times.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at The Great Escape this week?
Marika Hackman, Our Girl, Fake Laugh.
Text Frankie Dunn