Expect the unexpected when it comes to Pennsylvania band AM0RA, who throw in elements of pop-punk with emo, metal and more not only on a song-by-song basis but even within the same song.
The five-piece first met back in 2014 but first got going with some force in 2017 – much more on that in the interview below – and have since set about honing an engaging, intriguing heavy yet melodic sound.
They sent us excellent latest track Girls’ Night, which effectively piles all their influences into one place. It opens up with drums that continue under a lively opening riff with distant high-pitched guitars. Stabbing guitars kick in under screamed opening vocals that end on the line “When everything is OK and I’m doing just fine.” That jumps back into the screamed verse vocals, then clean vocals “You’ve got to go, No glance back, No second chance, I’m letting this go, Commit this to memory this time” take over.
Palm-muted guitars come in under gradually building vocals that lead into a pre-chorus of screams and feeds into the catchy clean chorus vocals. A cool little punky spinning riff comes in with big stabs of guitar, then a cool little fast-paced riff feeds into a solo over heavy chords then screamed vocals.
The pace suddenly drops down as spoken/screamed vocals come in over light guitars. That drops into a final chorus of clean vocals answered by screams to bring the track to a heavy ending. We’re loving this track and you can check it out in the video below… and kudos to frontman Billy Zee for the awesome Norma Jean jacket.
That followed Silvertongue, which opens up with lively guitars then an emo feeling opening verse of engaging vocals. More intense screamed vocals take over alongside driving guitars then drops into a chorus.
It increases in heaviness, ending with huge screams and heavy guitars that drop into a final chorus. Check it out in the video here:
We had a chat with frontman Billy Zee to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are AM0RA?
BZ: “AM0RA is Chris Swanson (Guitar), Tristan Wikler (Guitar), Bryan Rodriguez (Drums), Nick Magidson (Bass), and myself, Billy Zee (Vocals). Everyone also contributes vocals in some way to the band. We are from Lansdale and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA. Right outside of Philadelphia.
“This story is a little outdated, but back in 2014 I was getting out of high school and i was working at a Wendy’s in the drive thru. Someone came through and I complimented their warped tour shirt. That person proceeded to find me through a mutual friend at the time and contacted me over Facebook, he had a drummer and i was with Tristan.
“Ironically enough we were talking about how we would both be in different bands as he is way more into pop punk and i was more into melodic hardcore. That person who coordinated this at the time was our original guitar player, we met at the Wendy’s I worked at and I got us free food and we decided to have a practice. Tried out a bass player but he had a lot going on in his life and Nick hit me up on Facebook. We were hesitant cause his Facebook photo was so sketchy but we gave him a chance and when he came to practice I realized that Tristan and myself met him at a local show a few weeks prior. We didn’t feel the need to try out anyone else he fit right along with us.
“Our guitar player left in 2016 and we rocked it being a 4 piece band for a while. Fast forward to November 2017 we played a hometown show at a record store called Siren Records. Chris came out and we just finished recording some demos for our album at the time called Martyr: A Recital of Self-Destruction and we just received our bounces for that day.
“Tristan was outside the venue with Chris and asked him if he wanted to hear some new stuff and Chris got in his car and heard the first demo to How Blue the Ocean Is. Chris got really into it and expressed how he wanted to play music like that. Tristan looked at him and said “you want to?” and that proceeded to having Chris hang around us more often. We known him forever as a friend at shows who played in other bands. The first practice with him, if i am not mistaken, we wrote 11:19 and that was his brain child. As time went on, he really found his place in the band and its hard to picture our past before him.”
GR: You just released Girls’ Night. Sounds awesome! What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
BZ: “Thank you so much! Best way i can say it is that it is a different song. We all have our own different influences that we bring to the table and this song is no exception to that. It has the fun, pop punk, fast warmer side that gets you going but has the colder, right in your face, aggressive melodic hardcore side of it. The instruments really compliment each other, and it is just a fun party song. It makes you want to dance and move. I really feel like the bass comes through a lot in the mix and when you hear that beginning of every instrument coming together you cant help but bop your head and dance.
“This song had a lot of moments that really inspired it. As a young band its easy to get involved with really crappy people who can you offer you “a big opportunity” and at first you take it then you watch as it makes your friends and fans feel uncomfortable until you feel it too. You have to make that adult right choice to speak up on it and put the comfort of your friends, fans, and yourself first before some big opportunity.
“This also creates a lot of intrusive thoughts of the worst that can come and they can mess you up everyday if you let them get you like that. People can make it seem as soon as you go against them they will take you down but I can assure you they aren’t shit. When your friends, your peers, or even you are held accountable for your actions when they aren’t right that is how we inspire change in the world.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
BZ: “Every song is different then the other, they each have their own place and own thing that stands out with them. There is something for everyone. If you dig Sum 41 but also enjoy Counterparts you may have a new favorite song with us.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
BZ: “Just about anything really. When music becomes a big part of your life, everything becomes an influence. Life, the world, your thoughts, art, etc… Everything becomes an inspiration.
“There are themes we write about but the motive lately is to not write the same record twice. I had a bad habit of rewriting about the same thing over and over again and the band would pull apart my lyrics and point out that I wrote that same style of line in this song or I wrote about this subject in that song. They did this because I know I can write way better than how I always held myself too. The goal lately has to been to write in a way anyone can relate with any situation, a more ‘universal’ approach. None of us feel the same when we wrote the lyrics to our previous songs so why rewrite them?
“I haven’t been writing much lately, I am starting to figure out what this chapter of life is going to have me talk about. I usually express a lot of my struggles with anxiety and overthinking. I turned 24 recently and I made a promise to myself to cut out friends and people who are not good for my life. I want to grow up and not surround myself with people who want to drain me and see how far they can push their boundaries with me. That has been on my mind a lot lately, however, I am letting what themes I will write about find me.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
BZ: “It’s all over the place. We all come from different backgrounds but if I could pick a universal few, I would say: Silverstein, Touche Amore, The Used, Adaliah, Underoath, Pianos Become The Teeth, My Chemical Romance.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
BZ: “Welp, so far nothing! We have a tour we’ve been working out with some friends for sometime this August and hopefully all will be fine before then. We have new music too we are sitting on. This whole virus thing put a dent in everyone in the world’s plans. Maybe you’ll hear new things come out this year, its all a matter of time, place, and what the grand master plan will be to get to where we want to.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
BZ: “Listen to our new single Girls’ Night and our other single Silvertongue that came out back in July. Our full length Martyr: A Recital of Self-Destruction is there too. We are on every streaming network. Thank you for checking us out and giving us your time. Please stay inside so the world can gig when all this blows over.”