The Amber Herd are a five piece post punk/ alt rock band from Nottingham.
The band have self released two singles and one e.p. to date and spent 2011 playing some very prestigious festival gigs at Bearded Theory, High Voltage, Green Peaks and Headstock as well as headline shows in London and Nottingham. In the past the band have also played with the likes of Delays, Sound of Guns and That Petrol Emotion at Nottingham venues such as The Rescue Rooms and the Bodega.
Plans for 2012 involve more touring, including Attila The Stockbroker's Glastonwick festival in June and hopefully some overseas shows. The band also plan to record and release their first full length album.
Local media has said that The Amber Herd are “a cracking band...one to be watching", “Nottingham's best kept secret?" and "Mind blowing!" Over the last year they have received airplay and played live sessions on BBC Radio Nottingham (the Beat with Dean Jackson, and John Holmes’ show) University of Nottingham Radio, Fly FM, Sherwood Radio and Trent Sound. “Thursday” achieved the Number One position in Sherwood Radio’s Festive Thirty for 2010. The band have also been featured in The Nottingham Evening Post, The Derbyshire Times, Nottingham Live and Live@ magazines and appeared on podcasts for Leftlion, Nusic and Soundsashire.
".... both blissfully melancholic
indie and uplifting stripped-back folk and comes to a sprawling,
open-mouthed finish with an almost Velvet Underground-esque wall
of sound, acoustics flitting between prog keyboard stabs and all
buried under Neil Beards' darkly overdriven Mary Chain guitar.
Nottingham's best kept secret?" thiscitymagazine
Neil has been making noise in one capacity or other since short trousers to varying degrees of success.
His first post- University band, Sheffield- based rock pigs, Guns For Hire, had the honour of playing legendary punk venue The Limit on West Street Sheffield, which promptly closed- possibly due to an unrelated incident.
He then formed The Wiltons with a crew of like- minded sonic adventurers and this floppy- fringed quintet enjoyed some airplay on BBC Radio Sheffield and gigs at Sheffield University at the height of the baggy movement.
In 1994, Neil joined jangle-noise types Beulah Kop for a successful year including gigs at The Sheffield Leadmill and Sheffield Polytechnic. Mark joined the band for several shows during this period.
Unable to be contained within the confines of a group following this, Neil struck out with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a copy of The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter. This period culminated with gigs at the Cambridge Folk Festival and a memorable support to Wide Eyed Wonder at The Old Angel in Nottingham. The rest you know….
When not furthering The Herd’s total world domination plans, Neil can be found being an unimpeachably wonderful husband and dad together with being a full time drinker and part time environmentalist. His favourite other bands are Pink Floyd and Fairport Convention and as such, he clearly don’t care what anybody thinks!.
Top 5 albums:
wholesome Yorkshireman has been plucking away since the early
nineties, his musical influences at that time were predominantly
metal, so the black electric guitar coated in stickers was his
early instrument of choice, although noise rather than tune was
the order of the day!
Coming from the agricultural zone bands were few and far between but he managed to get together with a few likeminded friends to cover popular guitar based songs like T-Rex and U2 in a barn by the local golf course. Moving onto the writing side of things with a close friend became the popular 'folk' duo Fresh fruit (joined by the occasional bassist) which consisted of them drinking free beer at the local brewery pub (Suddabys) whilst playing what they could ‘til they couldn't!
In the mid nineties he upped and left the sticks and moved in with his lady in Nottingham, consequently he put down his guitar and didn't pick it up again properly for 10 years, until the call to arms came in 2006 and The Amber Herd was born.
In his parallel life, from the age of 16 onwards, he's been a
precision engineer, apprentice trained, now residing at
Nottingham University in a specialist micro/nano machining lab
and still lives with that special lady that brought him here in
the first place. Favourite bands range from Metallica (pre Black
Album years) New Model Army, Muse, QoTSA, System of a Down,
Monster Magnet, Kate Bush...the list is endless.
Top 5 albums:
Mark’s first ever live gig was at a six-form party in Nottingham, playing dodgy covers (he will not reveal what these were unless you get him very drunk first), at Nottingham’s legendary Boat Club (where such greats as Led Zeppelin and The Sex Pistols had performed). Having caught the bug, Mark continued his drumming at University with the band Induced Room (or “Mazzy Maze and the Induced Room Band” depending on how hammered the guitarist was).
Whilst in his final year at University, Mark received a call
from Neil, who he’d worked with during a placement year. Neil
was after a stand-in drummer for his band Beulah Kop who had a
couple of gigs booked, but their drummer had gone to America.
Despite never having heard the band, Mark agreed, and a three
track demo was sent to him to learn the drum tracks. So whilst
writing up his dissertation he learnt the three songs and ended
up playing a gig later that week (with no rehearsals, and not
having heard half the set!) After the unexpected success of this
gig, Mark played a few more shows with the band until their
drummer returned from America.
After University, Mark went on to play drums with the Nottingham/Mansfield band Wide Eyed Wonder. The Wonders, as they were rarely called, enjoyed a great couple of years, playing gigs at Nottingham’s Rock City and London’s The Garage and Mean Fiddler venues amongst others, and getting rave reviews from the likes of the BBC’s Dean Jackson.
Following the demise of Wide Eyed Wonder, Mark hung up his drum sticks until he received another call from Neil...and The Amber Herd were formed...
Top 5 albums:
The opening bars of the Icicle Works "Hollow Horse" convinced
Fitz that the future lay in ditching posh piano and clarinet
lessons and becoming a rock and rock roll star via the medium of
Fender Telecaster and over several years and several bands has
selflessly allowed others to take the fame whilst he's been at
the bar getting the ale in.
Fitz opened his live account with legends in their own mind school bands "Cosmic Suit" and "Inanum" and in an early peer recognition of his terminal unfashionability was not allowed to weld his foot to the monitor and gurn through screaming guitar solos, instead being asked to pick up bass duties.
The subsequent call for Fitz's melodic engine room work has been varied - a couple of school musicals at a notorious Ellesmere Port High School when the drama teacher plied him with enough beer to agree to anything, Chester powerhouse drinkers / rockers "Catherine Street", drunken gigs of drinking songs with "The Family Mahones" and Cheshire's "With Bob on Our Side" Bob Dylan tribute band have been some of the better known, for one reason or another, appearances over the years at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl (AKA Crewe Limelight), Wembley Stadium (AKA King's Lock, Middlewich) and The Cavern, Liverpool.
Since moving to Nottingham about 3 years ago, Fitz has made a guest appearance on mandolin with local rockers Lois whilst waiting for the right opportunity to turn up on his doorstep: enter stage left, The Amber Herd....
Top 5 albums:
Honourable mentions for everything ever done by: The Beatles, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, The Byrds and Neil Diamond.
Ollie first began playing live and recording as part of Nottingham five piece Made of Leaves, with the guitar as his weapon of choice.
A founding member of the short-lived Green Bus Collective, who began organising and promoting gigs at various local venues, he and the Leaves shared the stage at several shows with the Amber Herd and soon became friends.
With an interest in electronica and armed with his laptop, he was invited to join the band for a few shows as a temporary replacement on keyboards, and has not yet left! Aside from The Amber Herd, Ollie can be found playing and recording with his new band, librarymusic, on guitar and bass.
Top 5 Albums
Prior to joining The Amber Herd, Rachel’s previous gig experience consisted mainly of sweaty venues watching the artists on stage rather than actually taking to the stage. On hearing that The Amber Herd had been formed she decided that she’d like a piece of the action and quickly took her Grade one piano exams, purchased a piano and synth, followed by another synth and then another one!
Top 5 albums:
Guy’s music-making began with studying the piano, moving on to the pipe organ and church bells, then a short spell playing steel drums, finally settling with the guitar and bass. He played guitar for a couple of skate rock bands at university, then played bass for Moriarty (indie rock) for two years before joining The Amber Herd. During this time with the Herd, Guy completed a PhD on visual complexity in art, and began to investigate complexity in music.
Guy left the band to concentrate on developing a solo project based on his research into musical complexity. His debut album, Symmetry-Breaking, was released in 2011 via Runningonair Music. Current interests focus on generative and process music, using techniques such as computer programming, Fourier analysis and granular synthesis to explore the production and perception of musical structure.
Favourite albums include:
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