Drew Weikart, Tyler Taylor, Shay Biyington, Chris Childress of The Amends. (Source: theamendsmusic.com)
“My life is only half real,” admits Drew Weikart of Colorado band, The Amends, as he discusses the band’s latest album, What We Could Be, which was released on January 8th, 2013. Balancing just off the tip of the New Year and still brushing ourselves off after the Mayan cataclysm of December 21, 2012, many of us are likely to agree. The pursuit of a vision, however absurd, is certainly among the top resolutions our collective consciousness will be capsuling this year. When it comes to The Amends, they understand the urgency of following their passions and hope to share this message with anyone who will hear.
Entering the Colorado rock scene in 2010, The Amends consist of Shay Byington, Chris Childress, Tyler Taylor, and Drew Weikart. The band is now poised to take over North America, having already developed a loyal following in their home-state. Their self-titled debut release in July of 2011 quickly garnered positive attention and promised solid development for future albums. Various specimens of rock scions, from angsty garage to sophisticated blues, weaved through their composition and begged to be explored.
Now that their second full-length album is freshly available for mass ingestion, they are setting their sights on greater projects. They have their secrets too, slyly revealing that ominous symbolism was present in their album name and artwork. After having his mind and heart thoroughly pried apart, Tyler slipped in a passing mention of “interesting ideas about large-headed “men” in space helmets” which could only serve to further the mystery enshrouding this elusive band from the mountains. The enigmatic Chris Childress and studious Shay Biyington were occupied elsewhere, so Drew and Tyler were the only members of the band available for interview.
WBM: In favor of convention, we’ll start at the beginning. State your name, role in the band, and three all-encompassing words (brand-names are unacceptable) that will best introduce you to the world.
DREW: Vocals & lead guitar, plus the occasional harmonica – Rock, Work, Play
TYLER: Keys, rhythm guitar, backing vocals – Write, Travel, Music
WBM: You wouldn’t associate most rock bands with implied righteous intentions. Why pick such a name for the band? Are you compensating for something?
DREW: I think we are all compensating for something, life is filled with regrets and bad decision made, so I think it has a universal and relatable meaning, especially with music.
TYLER: This is gonna be wordy. In all honesty, we debated over names for months. We would decide on one and then find out it was taken. Or two of us would like one and someone else would veto it. And we decided not to go down the path of just putting two random words that sounded good together. It’s a shitty time to try to name a band. It’s almost like trying to find a new chord progression. Not gonna happen. When “The Amends” came up, we all decided that it would work for us. It felt appropriately weighty, and actually had some relation to the lyrics on some of our songs—working through past regrets, et cetera. Maybe it would be a better name for an emo band, but I think we’re growing into it. There’s also a much darker, unspoken implication of the name that we only refer to vaguely in our logo and album/EP artwork. And of course, it’s also meant as a reminder for the wider world to make peace with their loved ones before the ancient Olmec gods return in 2017. Plus, there’s this, from the liner notes of our first album (and from a song I wrote a long time ago):
We’ve got a lot to be sorry for, but we’ve forgotten the specifics.
We live by the mountains, but we’re adrift in the Pacific
They say you’ve gotta swim with the sharks to get back to the shore
But we’ve been swimming so long we don’t think of land anymore
We’re accustomed to these dark shapes writhing underneath
And we’re learning how to sharpen our own sets of teeth
WBM: How did The Amends come to be? Tell us about how you met.
DREW: Tyler and I met through our job in Boulder at an internet startup about three or so years ago. We began sharing music from past projects and decided we could have an interesting musical synergy with our different influences. We’d both already written a bunch of songs. Plus we didn’t totally hate each other. I had previously met Shay in Boulder, and had jammed with him some.
TYLER: One day Drew came over to my place and we started jamming. “Dance” from our first album came out of that first session. Drew had already been playing with Shay– who was then a music student at Naropa– and a couple weeks later the three of us started jamming together. We recruited a bassist named Patrick who stayed with us for a few months before he had to stop to focus on school. We found Chris through a music ad on Craigslist and we were impressed by his skill and musicianship. He’s the best pure musician out of any of us. We knew we only had till 2017 to get done everything we wanted to accomplish, so soon after that we began recording our first album.
WBM: Where do you like to write your music? Do you travel, in or outside of your state?
DREW: We write a lot of music within the plastic-coated walls of my dungeon-like basement (Which made cameo appearances in the two videos we filmed — TYLER) We do travel a lot for work, so inspiration does strike on planes and in hotels, also, the cities I go to have inspired my music. But there is one mecca for inspiration that can never be matched, that’s the shower. Warm water and solidarity is the ultimate musical muse.
TYLER: We all live in Colorado, but only Chris is actually from here. Drew is from Minnesota, I’m from the St. Louis area, and Shay from the San Juan Islands in Washington. Not many people in Colorado are actually from here– and that’s probably going to increase even more with the new pot legalization.
Drew and I both travel a lot for our day jobs. We’re both still in the internet business (laughs). And I travel a lot for fun—as you may be able to tell from our video for “A Certain Speed”. I was in Scotland over the summer, and Central America over Thanksgiving.
WBM: Are any of you studying or doing other work right now? How much of a role does sobriety play in your lives right now?
DREW: We are working way too much, I think that’s the main angst that fuels my blues and energy.
TYLER: Shay’s in a post-grad program now. Drew and I both work. Chris is a full-time musician, in a couple different bands. Neither sobriety nor inebriation are particularly big parts of our lives. Sometimes we drink, sometimes we don’t.