INTERVIEW: INTRODUCING MICHIGAN MELODIC METALCORE BREAKOUTS “AMOURA” AND SINGLE “BACK THEN”.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce to its readers an interview our editor-in-chief Alex had with AMOURA metalcore, melodic metalcore outfit hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We are following up with the band after the release of their brand new single BACK THEN, which comes as a first run of 2019 singles releases after Inhabit Me and Ghostlike dating to 2018 and debut with EP Wishful Sinking released in 2016. Amoura are: Jesse Curtis at vocals, Mike Brumm and Patrick Young at guitars, Scott Werner at bass guitar and JR Kotrč at drums.
The metalcore quintet took some time out of their day to sit down and talk with us about what they’ve been up to. We are getting to know the guys, discussing their music and latest single BACK THEN, along with their songwriting process, lyrical inspiration and future plans.
- Hello Amoura, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Let’s introduce your outfit. How did you get into music in the first place and what’s been your journey so far?
Hey Sick & Sound! Thanks for having us! All of us have been playing music in bands for quite awhile! JR (drums) played in a couple bands, Northern and We Call This Irony. He joined us most recently, which was the tail end of 2017. Scott (bass) has been in quite a few bands, most notably With Wings of Lead and Misfortunate Sons, he joined us early 2016. Jesse (vocals), Mike (guitar) and Patrick (guitar) were in a band called Mickey Lane between 2009-2012 which eventually turned into Amoura. I think we all have a pretty similiar backstory; got into the local music scene, fell in love, and decided to start making music. We all just met each other on the way, through mutual friends and playing shows together.
- What’s the meaning behind you name “Amoura”?
There’s honestly not too much of a meaning behind the name. Back when Jesse, Mike & Patrick were in Mickey Lane, they decided to rebrand towards the end of 2011 and a name change was in order. ‘Aurora’ was very briefly agreed upon, but it just seemed too cliché and was swapped to Amoura. It just really seemed to fit with the style we wanted to move towards, melodic, yet dark and still heavy. Nothing overly complex, simple and rolled off the tongue well.
- Let’s describe the emotional and melodic sound you have crafted into the metalcore scenario and the combination of heaviness and massive catchiness you have found.
We really try to bring a nice mixture of melodies and heaviness to the music. One thing we’ve been trying to get away from is relying strictly on breakdowns to portray the heavy aspects in our music. In our opinion that’s one of the most beautiful things about Back Then. The song is heavy, but not in the sense that some of our other music is. When the chorus comes in, it’s just powerful. It’s heavy in a different sense and I think that’s been a good resource we’ve tapped into. As far as catchiness goes, I think that comes down to the structure of the songs. The chorus hit in the right spots, and Jesse does a really great job writing melodies that work within the chorus.
- What’s the creative and songwriting process when you guys sit down to write and record a new material?
Typically, one of us prepro’s a minute and a half of a song (typically a intro/verse/chorus, etc), and shoots it over to the group chat and from there we build and discuss what we like and don’t like and move forward with it. We talk about the structure and the vibe we want for the song. JR works on solidifying drums through MIDI, and once we have a full instrumental skeleton, Jesse writes and records his rough vocals. From there we book time and take it to the studio. We did just switch it up a bit though, and decided to try taking 6 of those minute and a half clips straight to the studio and building off of those right then and there. That was a really cool experience. Stoked to show those off!
- Your new single BACK THEN. Can you tell us about the lyrical inspiration of the song and how it was put together?
I (Jesse) started writing Back Then shortly after my daughter was born, and I was thinking a lot about when I lost my father at such a young age. This obviously impacted me in a negative way, and can put a kid’s head in a dark place. A tidal wave of emotion I would never want my own children to feel in their youth. So, I basically just started writing about the pain I felt back then, as well as doing whatever I can to keep her from experiencing the same.
- BACK THEN is the very first material coming out after singles Inhabit Me and Ghostlike dating back to 2018 and debut EP Wishful Sinking released in 2016. So in what measure BACK THEN is representing your new music output and how much has your sound progressed or changed since your first EP?
The past 3 singles are really good examples of a spectrum we want to work inside of. Back Then is softer and melodic. Very emotionally powerful/heavy and shows that we’re capable of really throwing passion and emotion into our writing. GHOSTLIKE is raw aggression, and a good example showing that we can go heavy if we would like to. Inhabit Me is a nice medium, showcasing the melodic and heavy aspects we can bring to our music. Back Then most likely isn’t a good indication of the type of vibe we’re looking for permanently, but more a good sign of us wanting to stick to a more formal songwriting structure and writing personal and straight from the heart music.
As far as the progression we came from Wishful Sinking, it’s almost night and day. We’re more conscious of our writing, and trying to make sure things fit together within a song instead of throwing parts together and calling it a song. These new songs are a lot more thought out than anything on the Wishful Sinking EP.
Everytime I (Jesse) sit down to work on a new song, I find myself digging up the worst parts of my life. Turning terrible moments into something I can find beauty in, while creating something I hope the audience can resonate with, or impact, is my main goal when writing.
- What was your favorite ever on-stage moment so far maybe along with Citizen, Beartooth and The Plot in You?
That’s a tough one! For me personally (Patrick), it’s hard to answer. I kind of black out when I’m physically on stage playing. I just get so into it, I don’t think my brain actually processes remembering what happens, haha. Unless something unexpected happens, which in most cases is not something I would like to remember. For instance, I’ve dislocated my knee a couple times during our set and that was never fun. I think one of my favorite things that seems to happen since we’re still relatively unknown, is after we play we get people who come up and are just amazed that they never have heard of us. I think we’re all really emotionally passionate about our music and that translates well in a live environment. Those shows with Citizen, Beartooth, and Plot were all awesome though. We played with Citizen at a festival, so that was on a bigger scale for a show. Beartooth was awesome. That was shortly after Caleb left Attack Attack, and Beartooth was just starting. They did a small run where the majority of their shows were basement and house shows. That show got pretty rowdy. We’ve played with Plot a handful of times, and they’ve always been so tight.
- What else can we expect from Amoura in 2019? Is a new album under wraps?
We’re really trying to keep a steady stream of material coming out. We go back into the studio at the end of the month to wrap up the songs mentioned earlier and hope to be releasing one within the next few months. We also hope to start branching out from Michigan more and more. Touring is a little out of reach at the moment, but short runs through the Midwest are definitely on the horizon during the summer. Then as long as everything goes to plan, a new EP will be worked on during the fall.
- How do you see yourself in five years’ time? Any personal or general goals and achievements.
Our main focus is trying to make this more of a business. Getting to a point where we can afford to get merchandise, book studio, make quality content without spending money out of our pockets to afford what we want to do with our music. We’ve never really sat down and talked about what we would be doing 5 years from now. We’re all at least halfway through our 20’s. Some of us have families, and we all have careers outside of music. I think within 5 years we just want to be self sufficient, and to reach as many ears as possible.
Thank you for your time Amoura, all the best and keep up the amazing music. We are supporting you into Europe and US!
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