• Jordan Millar

"One of the most powerful changemakers is culture" - Midnight Ambulance Interview

Hello and welcome to this week's interview! I had the opportunity to chat with Amelia and Fraser from Midnight Ambulance about their most recent single 5 AM, creating a more divers music industry and the artists they are excited about right now!

Lets get into it....

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, Amelia and Fraser! I am loving your new single 5 AM, such an incredible tune! Could you tell me about the inspiration behind the song and how it came to be?

Amelia: We wrote 5 AM back during lockdown 2020, when I was based in Paris and Fraser in North Berwick. It came about kind of unexpectedly – I’d written a song and asked Fraser to re-record it with him on guitar. He ended up coming up with a totally weird guitar riff (the one now in 5 AM’s chorus). I liked it so much I convinced him we should write a whole new song from it. The song is based on the conflicting memories of looking back and reminiscing of the good old days, maybe with slightly rose tinted glasses.

I would love to hear about how Midnight Ambulance was created! When did you first start playing together?

Fraser: We met many years ago on the Scottish music scene back when I was running an open mic at the Pear Tree in Edinburgh with my old band, ‘Victorian Trout Conspiracy’ and Amelia was playing with her high-school band ‘Where’s George?’. About 8 years later, at the start of 2020, we randomly reconnected after Amelia posted a new song online and discussed the idea of collaborating. When lockdown hit we suddenly both had time on our hands we were able to start writing together.

I would love to hear about your songwriting process! Do you have a set way that you always go about writing?

Amelia: When we started collaborating, I was living in Paris and Fraser based in North Berwick so all of our writing sessions were via video call. It wasn’t until I moved back to Scotland in November 2020 that we finally had a chance to jam together in the same room.

Fraser: Now we usually start writing on an acoustic guitar. From there, Amelia experiments with lyrics and melody and I start figuring out the harmony. After that we take it over to drums and bass guitar. Once the song is demoed we start playing around and experimenting. After that we head across to Paul Winton’s studio (North Road Studios) where we record the track. Paul has a great ear and has some great ideas that really complete the track.

Is there a way that you think that as a society and a community that we can work towards creating a more equal and diverse environment within the Scottish music industries?

Amelia: I think as well as funding programmes that promote and support diversity and equality we can all help create a more inclusive space as individuals. One of the most powerful changemakers is culture so hopefully, if we continue challenging prejudice and negative stereotypes, and ensure we have a welcoming environment, the rest will follow.

Is there a moment within your career so far that you would say was your most rewarding experience or something that you are significantly proud of out of all your achievements?

Amelia: my highlight would probably be when our first single, ‘Black Gloves’, was premiered on BBC Introducing Scotland. They were really encouraging and it was so nice to hear that someone had enjoyed something we’d written together. After writing together for so many months, alone in our rooms, then finally coming together and recording the material, we hadn’t really thought much about people actually hearing the music or how it would be received. Another big highlight is just getting to be creative and play music again. For me that’s the most important thing.

Who are some of your past and present influences?

Amelia: Classics like Led Zeppelin (obsessed with John Bonham drums), Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles...also some great contemporary artists like Sylvan Esso and Anita Tijoux. I discovered Anita at University and fell in love with her bold, feminist songwriting, the way she challenged stereotypes and battled against female objectification. When Fraser and I started collabing he also introduced me to loads of amazing artists - Sylvan Esso, Chartreuse, Gang of Youths - that inspired our writing.

Lastly, I was wondering what female or non-binary Scottish artists are you most excited about right now?

Amelia: I really love Zoe Graham and Bonnie Kemplay. Great songwriters and really unique styles. We would absolutely love to do a gig with them sometime!

There you have it! Thank you so much to Amelia and Fraser for taking the time to chat with me! Make sure to check out 5 AM and their social media to stay up to date with upcoming releases and gig announcements!

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