Fresh from the release of their first single "Heroes", Brooklyn based indie rockers AMFM are set to truly make their mark on the music world later this year with the release of their debut EP. With big plans for the future and already working on their next record, front-man David Caruso kindly agreed to this interview to chat social media, Madison Square Garden and The Beatles.
PW: Please introduce the band for us.
David Caruso: We are a new band out of Brooklyn...we have either been playing jazz gigs together for years, dealing vintage instruments, or working in the recording industry. The band was something that I wanted to put together so I just started writing tunes and called some friends. It’s a very different situation for me being the principal writer and singer but it’s been probably the most satisfying project.
PW: How would you sum up the band and your music up in a couple of sentences?
DC: We are certainly a band that loves the chorus/hook. I think at this point in our lives it’s about the simplicity of the song and not denying what it wants to become, you know? Most important is remaining original and using our individual influences to hopefully produce something organic.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
DC: I grew up really loving guitar. I heard Van Halen's “Fair Warning” and that started me playing at a young age and pop radio in the 80's was really fun. Eventually I found Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Dead, Phish and paid attention to what each of those great bands were doing. Then I heard Wes Montgomery and it changed everything, leading me to follow a path playing jazz. I never stopped loving rock and pop, I just wasn't paying attention to it any-more. I started AMFM really out of nowhere and it was influenced by SO much great music that I suddenly was hearing after almost ignoring it for about 12+ years. I dig bands like Tame Impala, Real Estate, Kurt Vile, New Pornographers, Stephen Malkmus, Radiohead and Dawes. They're all different but they all have very strong elements in each of their personalities.
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be part of the music industry? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
DC: I was very young and kind of obsessed with Elvis Presley. It sounds funny, but I would spin Elvis records and look at pictures of him singing in Hawaii or something...I was totally amazed with the whole entertainer thing. But I think the "moment" for me was when I was in middle school and I participated in a talent contest. I was a self-taught guitarist and getting up and playing in front of 600 cheering kids did it to me. It will do it to anyone I suppose.
PW: Tell me about your single "Heroes" Is there a story behind it?
DC: I wrote that song very quickly. We were in the studio playing around with some sounds and got the groove for the chorus. The lyrics just sort of came to me based on the rhythm.
PW: Are their plans for an EP/album in the pipeline?
DC: The EP is done! “Heroes” is the first single to be released from it. We will be releasing the EP in the fall. Right now I am writing and hope to get back in the studio soon for the next record.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
DC: Oh man. Sometimes it’s the easiest thing in the world while other times I feel like I will never write another song. But I know that the next day I may write something that I love, so I have no fear with the process. I just let it happen. Normally I am inspired to write after I have a great experience like spending time with people, yoga/meditation, seeing some art exhibit or just something beautiful in general.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
DC: I can't pick just one – it’s impossible - so I’ll say anything by The Beatles.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
DC: I'd have to be MSG. I have seen a hundred shows there and it’s just the greatest room.
PW: If you could share a stage with four other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
DC: David Bowie because he influenced me and everyone else. Neil Young because he can kill you with a Martin or a Les Paul. Grateful Dead circa 1974ish...because it’s the dead in '74 and Mick Jagger on guitar.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year? Will fans see you at any festivals or are you focussing more on headline shows etc?
DC: We are just releasing some music now and plan to play A LOT of gigs!
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's necessary for bands and artists today?
DC: It’s a love/hate thing for me. I really hate dealing with it and keeping up with it. I’d rather be playing guitar. But at the same time it’s amazing how it has allowed artists to get out in front of fans like never before. I couldn't imagine being a band and not doing it.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
DC: For the rest of 2016 we will be releasing new music and getting started on the next record. In the fall we plan to play some shows, so it’s a really exciting year!
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band? At what point would you be happy to call it a day?
DC: Making good music that connects with people and growing our fan-base would define our success as a band. Even as that happens I do not think there is an end-point in sight. Growing as musicians makes it impossible to quit writing and getting better at the craft, but I guess if that stops happening it’s time to hang it up!