Interview with Nick Raya (Amarionette)

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Amarionette’s distinct yet versatile sound has got so much to offer that it’s guaranteed to get every head in the room bobbing along.  Back in August, the band exclusively premiered their latest album Repeating History on Teal Cheese which you can find here. Whether your preference is Quin spitting bars in the hip hop influenced song “All I Have,” or the immediate hard hitting instrumentation in “My Body Says” the band’s undeniable passion, talent, and personality dominates each track. I spoke with guitarist Nick Raya to discuss Amarionette’s background and what they’ve got in store for us next.

Ary: We’ll start with everyone’s favorite cliché. How did you decide on the name Amarionette?

Nick: It was a long time ago, but according to Quin, him and Dan (former drummer) were having a conversation back in 2007 and Dan wanted the name to be “March of the Marionette’s” and Quin somehow came up with “how about Amarionette?” Something to that nature, anyways.

A: For a band that’s been around for over half a decade, it’s no surprise that you’ve undergone a few line-up changes.  How did the current line-up of Amarionette come to be?

N: This line-up of Amarionette (Quin, Nick, Ron, Justin) formed in 2010; we had a different guitarist Paul during that time. Justin and myself were in another band in early 2010 called Erva with members Ricky, Skylar, and Mason currently of the band Oranges. Long story short, that band ended and I got in touch with Quin who was technically still in a band with Paul and knew Ron briefly. We had a good time jamming some songs and have been a band ever since.

A: Throughout the years, were the band’s influences altered any? What were your main influences, musical or not, while breathing life into Repeating History?

N: Our musical interests and influences have definitely changed. When the band first started with this line-up, I think the only bands I listened to were Saosin and Paramore. So, yeah, we’ve definitely changed and I think you can hear the stylistic changes and differences in all of our albums. For example, in 2013 when we put out our full length album Brandon (former guitarist) and myself were very much into progressive metal and it shows in the guitar playing. Definitely the hardest/ most technical album we ever did. When Brandon left in 2014, I wrote all of the songs for our Picture Perfect EP (excluding lyrics and melody) and it was toned down a lot guitar wise. I wanted the songs to be more about the songs itself as opposed to how progressive and crazy can I make this song and have it still be a song.

For Repeating History, I basically had the same mindset as I did for the Picture Perfect EP musically. I wanted there to be a lot more structure and substance to the record as opposed to being considered a prog rock band. Don’t get me wrong, I love progressive music, and I still have that progressive influence, but that isn’t who we are as a unit. We wrote all of these songs with the intention of all of them having potential to be singles. Big choruses, lots of motifs, and groovy verses. I can honestly say I don’t know if I personally had a lot of influences on this record. I tried to not listen to a lot of music while writing this record because I wanted it sound as much of myself as possible. I listened to a lot of voice memos that I had written previously, but that’s about it. The other guys though, I have no idea. I feel like Quin really established himself on this record and really made it his own. By far his best vocal performances in my opinion.

A: Repeating History was based on the concept of interpreting the different moods of love. What would you say is your favorite track off the album, for both the symbolism of the song and it’s instrumentation?

N: I would say “Out of Fear” and “Out of My Skin” are my two favorite tracks off this record. I like both the instrumentation and symbolism behind both of those songs. Also, the end of Out of Fear is my jam.

A: What’s Amarionette’s writing process like and how might it differ from any other bands?

N: I write the majority of the music and Quin writes the vocals and melody after the instrumentation is done. I would say that other bands may differ from this approach, as they may write in a more collaborative way. We do what works for us, and this what we prefer. Justin and Ron also write all of their parts respectively.

A: The Dangerous Times and My Dangerous Ways EP was recorded in as little as 4 days. What was the recording process of Repeating History like, and how long did it take to come together?

N: Repeating History was recorded in about 10 days total. Justin recorded drums in 13 hours, bass took 2 days, guitars were done in 2 days, and vocals took about 5. It was great because we had tons of pre-pros and did most of our revisions at home before we went into the studio. We basically had everything mapped out before we went in there. It was really efficient and smooth for everyone.

A: Repeating History is your first release under Esque Records. How has the response to it been different from your previously self released EPs/LP?

N: The response for Repeating History was great for us. I don’t think we’ve really gotten any negative feedback from it all, honestly. Maybe some constructive criticism here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think the difference from this release and others was that it had a lot more hype around it due to the signing of Esque Records right before we entered the studio. It was all positive, though.

A: For someone who’s never heard Amarionette, what EP/album of yours would you recommend they check out first?

N: I would say to check out Picture Perfect. Zachary Garren and Kurt Travis loved it! Ha! No, but really, it was probably the easiest to get into. It set the tone for the modern Amarionette identity. However, the Dangerous EP was also a really fun listen.

A: As a band, what is the one thing you hope to accomplish with your music?

N: As a band, I think I speak for everyone in hopes that we get a big enough following to make this our career. Currently, we all have day jobs to support this dream.

A: Following the success of the Esque Records tour, do you have any other plans lined up?

N: We plan on going back out on the road again to promote the band, Repeating History, and Esque Records. Hopefully we are back out on the road in the Spring of 2017. Also, the new music we’ve been writing is pretty cool.

Check out Amarionette’s music video for “Get it Right” featuring Esque Record‘s owner Kurt Travis below!

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