Amason | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Riding the Big Horse

Jul 29, 2015 Amason Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Bookmark and Share

Amason never had a plan. The story of this Swedish band’s formation spans years of friendship and admiration, a bond that eventually assembled itself into a band in 2012, when members Amanda Bergman, Pontus Winnberg, Petter Winnberg, Nils Törnqvist, and Gustav Ejstes put aside their musical projects to start anew. Having played in various other bands such as Miike Snow, Dungen, Idiot Wind, and Little Majorette, it was evidently tough at first to nail down some time to write and record, but as soon as the ball started rolling, there was no stopping Amason.

“We realized it was a band that we wanted to spend time on,” Bergman admits. “It’s a healthy thing to have several projects and to spread your wings creatively and we all wanted to do this.” Pontus Winnberg adds: “It just gradually went from one thing to the otherplaying music to hanging out at shows to hanging out to play music.”

Although the studio time was limitedmembers were still actively busy with their other bands at the timethe music organically developed immediately and the lack of limitations and guidelines gave them room to explore any and all avenues of sound. “It’s like we were trying to do it with complete freedom,” Winnberg says. “Of course there’s no such thing as complete freedom, but the traditional obstacles just weren’t there.”

In 2013, Amason released their self-titled EP, a testing grounds for their newly-forged rustic folk sound. Aesthetically, these songs bear little resemblance to their previous efforts with other bands. There are no synth-pop bursts like Miike Snow, no psychedelic breakdowns like Dungen; perhaps its most familiar reference point is Bergman’s caliginous rasp, which steers the ship of Amason along an effortless wave of breezy horns and pianos. Though it’s undoubtedly a selling point, it didn’t stop judgmental ears from bringing up comparisons and even dubbing them a Swedish supergroup. “I have a hard time taking that stuff seriously,” Winnberg laughs. “I’m not sure what that is. We can either be celebrated or slaughtered for something like that, but I know it’s beyond our control.”

Regardless, Amason wanted to capitalize on this momentum and positive feeling with a full-length. As Bergman told Winnberg, “We achieved the small horse, which was the EP, and now we had to make a big horse!”

Sky City was that big horse, the results of another 30 days in the studio together, just feeding off of one another’s free-spirited energy and excitement. Similar to their EP, Sky City traverses many sonic ideas, never saying no to an inclination and somehow seamlessly weaving it all together into a coherent end product. Although hard to pin down, it’s not hard to find hints of artists in their songs, like Hall & Oates (“Kelly”), Of Monsters and Men (”Älgen”), and Feist, who sometimes seems like Bergman’s vocal doppelgänger.

Much is said by Bergman and Winnberg about this prolific ease, but they are aware that this may not sustain itself in the future. “Maybe it can only happen once,” Bergman says, of the band’s laissez-faire fortune. “It worked this time, but maybe the second album will be a completely different process. We haven’t had any reason to put pressure on ourselves until now. We’ve been taking everything as it comes, but now that we’ve released an album and we’re trying to get ourselves an audience of our own, we can’t fool around anymore.”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s April/May 2015 print issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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May 30th 2019

Children are most creative when given various materials and then left alone. You can give them horse jump cups and everything will be fine. I recently placed my two grandsons (age 6 & 8) outside with eight large cardboard boxes. They played with them for about two hours, so I added some crayons and colored markers, which gave them another couple of hours.