Melbourne modernist trio AM Reruns announce their debut self-titled LP, which is out now. Conceived by guitar player and singer Andy Campbell, AM Reruns’ 10 tracks of mod guitar music marry classic pop intros to the hyper-compressed structures of Red Bird 7″s: each song is brief, thrilling, noisy and vital. The result is an idiosyncratic take on ’70s LA punk rock with a sliver of Northern England drama. Andy Campbell tells Hi Fi Way more about AM Reruns.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of your debut album?
It’s been a slow build, but with a lot of great achievements. Last year, Erica Dunn from PBS included Looking For A Victim in her ‘Best of 2018’ countdown, which was huge. We got our first US airplay with that track at the start of this year. We did a video for Thrill Me which was really fun. And lately the gigs have started to take on a life of their own. Our best shows have been our most recent, which is really exciting. We’ve started to find our audience, and they’ve started to find us. It’s brilliant.
Was the process of making your album as challenging as you thought?
It was probably more challenging. Playing guitar and arranging the music as a band felt very natural. I’ve done a lot of that in the past. Recording my vocals and getting the lyrics right was a challenge. It was one year from the time we recorded the full band tracks till we got the record mastered. I spent most of that time trying to get the vocals right: learning to sing and learning to record my voice. There were nights spent recording the vocals where I thought of binning the whole record – it felt like it was never gonna be finished or get released. So yeah… challenging!
Is it hard to narrow down the final ten songs that best reflects where the band is at now?
It wasn’t. Like a lot of debut LPs, these songs are the material from our live set. We wanted to make a record where every track sounded like an up-tempo, new-wave single. That’s what the LP is, besides the closing track Bring That Boy Back, which we added at the last minute to add some pause to the track listing. There were other tracks that we rehearsed that never made it into the live set, probably because we were just instinctively drawn towards these ones.
Sonically, how would describe your music?
Tough, badass new-wave guitar music with aspects of power pop, a lot of drama packed into short, sharp arrangements, Brill Building style. I love it and I’m very proud of what we’ve made. The sound is perhaps a reflection of what I would like to be, rather than the kind of person that I really am. That’s why it’s so exciting – going on stage and showing off your craft is bit of an act, so it helps if you love your character.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
The guitar player, songwriter, collaborator and singer Johnny Marr. My life changed the day I bought the Smiths Singles from JB Hifi as a nineteen-year-old. (Not a compilation that Marr and Morrissey endorse by the way.) His music and interviews have been a musical and introspective education. I’ve discovered so much great music, literature and people through him. Watching him play live with Modest Mouse in 2006 and again with The Cribs in 2010 was a revelation. Arguably the path toward AM Reruns began with that Cribs show.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
When the sun is shining, don’t question it. Just accept that it is. That’s a misquote from Bernard Sumner. He’s referring to the creative impulse – it’s not the artist’s prerogative to analyse what they’re doing or why, when they’re doing it. Doing so will only derail the creative act, and interfere with the mindset required for making art. Analysis is the journalist’s job. The artist should just create, and analyse later. Further, you should always be making art. Creativity is a muscle and you’ve got to keep it fit. Inspiration exists but it has to find you working. I think that last one is Johnny Marr via Picasso.
How did the band get together?
We got together in mid 2016, and we rehearsed for about 6 months without a singer. I’d written a fair few guitar riffs by that time, but there were no words and no melodies. Quang Dinh from Little Red sang with us briefly before doing Moonlover. Then later that year I watched a Buzzcocks documentary where Pete Shelley spoke about taking over lead vocals after Howard Devoto left. That inspired me to try singing and fronting the band. It was a case of our music getting heard or not – I needed to take responsibility for the thing and start fronting it.
How did you come up with the name?
‘AM Reruns’ refers to whatever is on T.V. or AM radio after midnight. The lower quality the programme the better. I like B-grade horror films. I think I was watching “Lust For A Vampire” on Gem at 3.00AM one night after a gig.
Are you looking to tour around the country later this year?
Of course! For this LP, we’re playing Sydney, Canberra, Thirroul, Ballarat and Melbourne. We may add Brisbane and Adelaide later in the year – an early Christmas present for us and whoever can come out! All dates are on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
What’s next for AM Reruns?
A lot of writing, and a lot more shows. We have about five new songs at the moment. After our tour, we’ll look at them, plan a release for next year, and start writing more. Writing songs, or having a new riff, is the whole thing.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch AM Reruns on the following dates…