Music by Amos the Transparent suspends you in time as you’re transported to a nostalgic moment in your life, thinking about the lover that got away or the regret of a path not taken. It is music that evokes the imperfection of the choices that we make and has you singing along with all your heart.
You would say the music belonged to a favourite movie soundtrack about real people, with all their quirks and dramas. It is their ability to connect through disarming music and lyrics that has launched Amos the Transparent into Canadian stardom.
“Sure as the weather” off the Goodnight My Dear… I’m Falling Apart album, for example, has a sound that merges local sweetheart Kathleen Edwards with Broken Social Scene. The lyrics remind one of Death Cab for Cutie and The Decemberists, as they start with “I don’t want to hear about your bad weekend. And, I don’t want to hear about not trusting your friends.” But the refrain is hopeful as it echoes “It’s gonna be Ok-ay.” And, the one-shot music video is super fun and looks like a folksy OK GO video.
It is along those musical expectations, and the desire to exceed them, that Amos the Transparent is raising funds through PledgeMusic in order to independently produce their next album This Cold Escape.
Lead singer Jonathan Chandler explains that the new album is about “the struggle of trying to maintain everything. As we try to build this [band] to be a little bit bigger every time, our families are growing, our careers are becoming more demanding and really at what point would something give? And would it be a good thing or would it be a bad thing? So in the record we’re kind of painting a picture of what if it went one way and how quickly would you regret that decision.”
The new record offers intricately arranged ballads and is “very cinematic, with an old rock and roll from the 50’s sound rolled in there”, explains cellist Mike Yates.
To help bring the album together, they added sixth member, vocalist Olenka Reshitnyk, and also called on artists from other groups to do vocals, including Kalle Mattson.
With all this great potential for an album, the band decided to go the route of crowdfunding to produce it, going fully independent for the first time. Jon explains, ”We’d never done anything like this before. We’ve written a record, we’ve demoed it, we’ve torn it apart and now we’re ready to record it. And for the first time we don’t have any money or anyone to go to and say ‘ok we’re ready to record and we’re going to send you the bill.’ It’s a scary thing. This time, since we’re doing everything ourselves, any help is appreciated. “
However the band is really hopeful about this new independence. “The whole feeling of it now is so communal. [Before] we had to share visions with people who don’t really see the same things, whereas now we are completely independent. We do have careers and families, so it would be really hard for all of us to agree to certain things at this point in our lives.” Olenka continues, “Now we apply for our own festivals and we’ve been getting everything that we’ve been getting because we put the work and time and effort into writing all the applications ourselves. Which is big because we’ve got some great things lined up.”
And indeed they do. First up is a May 17th show at the Herb Garden in West Carleton. A concert where all proceeds will be going to CHEO Foundation, an organization close to the band’s heart. They’re also playing Dragonboat Festival on June 21st, Kanata Festival on Canada Day and opening day of Bluesfest on July 3rd .
This new found independence and these amazing gigs have brought the band closer to their fans and their fans closer to them. Olenka smiles, “It’s also a really cool way to interact with your audience. Being an independent band we’re very much into anyone who writes us, we’ll write them back the second we read the email. That’s always fun, we do it because we love it.”
It has also been a way to gauge and grow their audience from Ottawa to Vancouver to the US. “It’s great to know the music is getting out there”, says Jon.
With every pledge you also get a variety of perks. From a personalized guitar, to a private party, to a special thank you in the record liner notes, which as Jon says, “it’s kind of cool to open up a record and see your name.” Not only that, pledgers also get great behind the scenes updates thanks to band friend Justin. Jon explains, “I was really intrigued by the way PledgeMusic does it because you’re constantly updating behind the scenes stuff for the people who pledge. I’ve found this whole folder of old demos from the last three records. So I’ve had a lot of fun going ‘here everyone!’”
Possibly due to all the Whistney Houston on their PledgeMusic page, Amos the Transparent has reached their fundraising goal. So stay tuned for My Cold Escape sure to be coming soon.