Artist of the day: Bambery
A few years ago, during their first year of college, dorm-mates Jeremy Bambery (drums) and Sam Lagos (guitar/vocals) started playing music together. They recently decided to expand their sound and form a full band. With the addition of Alexa Toro on vocals and tambourine (and soon, bass guitar); and Ryan “Blade Death” Scanlan on keyboards, Bambery was born.
Bambery are a smart, up-tempo, ethereal, melodic, poppy quartet. Having formed only five months ago, they have been well received, and have stretched out geographically, recently performing in Tampa, Orlando, and Athens, Ga. Bambery, Lagos and Scanlan hail from Orlando, with Toro residing in Tampa.
Wasting no time, the band recently recorded an EP in Tampa, and had it mastered in Portland, Ore. The album is slated to be released this winter.
Lagos, Toro and Bambery sat down with us to let us into their secrets.
How did Alexa and Blade Death end up entering the fold?
Lagos: A few years ago she was doing music, I was doing music; I was doing hip hop. I waked into the studio and this guy’s like “Oh, s---! You look just like this girl Alexa Toro, you guys should totally do a collaboration.” And two years later I was like, “I want a female influence and vocalist to work with,” and hit her up on Facebook. A sketchy, (in creepy voice) “Hey, you wanna do some music through Facebook?”
Toro: I was up in New York still (studying musical theatre). I’m like, “That would be awesome. I’m coming back to Florida, I’m going to Bonnaroo, bull I’ll be back from Bonnaroo, and I’ll be right on that train.”
Lagos: That’s how it happened. We started working together…
Toro: And fell in love.
Lagos: All three of us (Lagos, Bambery, and Scanlan) live together in Orlando in a house, and go back and forth with Alexa.
Does distance complicate things?
Toro: It’s complicated, but we’re doing the best with what we have.
Bambery: Yeah, it’s tough, but with three of us playing music and living in the same house, it’s kinda easy, where you just wake up and walk out in the living room and have all the music (equipment) set up.
Toro: We’ve all become such a family. We literally LOVE each other. I would do anything for these guys, and they would do anything for me, and the thing is we KNOW it. It’s not a question, it’s a fact. We’re really lucky that we have that relationship together.
What is the creative process behind your songwriting?
Lagos: I’ll come up with an idea, and I usually write the music in my room drunk at five in the morning, playing guitar. I come to Jeremy, and we’ll go upstairs and start writing. Blade will come into the picture and Alexa will come into the picture. It’s been that order so far. Now, it’s changing. Now that we’ve been a band altogether for five months, we’re all getting more involved, she’s (Alexa) learning bass, we’re all writing songs together and trying to grow towards that. Now we’re starting to change time signatures and do a lot more tapping and sliding and stuff. We’re trying to get more technical … challenge ourselves as artists … make something really interesting happen.
Bambery: We all like the technical aspect of music. It’s like, how can we make things super complicated without it being too mushy and still appealing to people? It’s getting more experimental, which is nice. It’s fun to be under the category of experimental, ’cause you can do whatever you want, and you’re not pigeonholed.
Lagos: We definitely don’t give a s--- about money.
You’ve definitely picked the right profession for that.
Lagos: The best thing I’ve seen in this industry is seeing even that one person dancing or smiling, ’cause you might have done something that got them through a hard time. We wanna make people still vibe to that lo-fi sound. Appreciate music more, and try our best to make them happy through that.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*. Photo: Jeff Howlett