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This article was originally published in issue #63
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After recently enjoying UK Top 40 success with their new album, 'Born To Break,' and a headline tour throughout the UK in support of the record. The Amorettes' Gill Montgomery s the subject of this issue's Guitar Interactive Songwriter Spotlight.
While today’s popular music world seems to be based around the idea of “style over substance”, Scottish Hard Rock Trio, The Amorettes, have a very simple but effective plan...Taking over the world, one show at a time!
I was asked to join a band as a singer when I was in high school, having never picked up a guitar previously, I remember one day we were talking about covers that we should try. Someone played “Want you to want me” by Cheap Trick on the cd player and I was really struck with the song and the solo. I’m not sure why it just made the guitar seem so exciting yet accessible. It gave me confidence that not everything had to be a complete shred fest! I think I went out that day and bought a guitar and started bashing around. It wasn’t till i had left school and really wanted to start a band of my own that i thought about songwriting. It was terrifying at first, as it’s always quite personal but you soon learn to become less precious.
I think It is important to a degree, I must admit I have noticed crowd love to sing our songs back to us at gigs so, during the writing process for the last album, I was very conscious about making the melodies and choruses more accessible to people. In the hope to encourage even more of a singalong! which is always nice. I do think you need to keep an audience entertained without jeopardising your artistic integrity though. It is hard, you always worry “What if no one likes it!”
Just being able to record at Rockfield studios was an incredible experience in itself. There is so much history there and we really did have a blast. There was a particular moment where we were all huddled and larking round the mic recording gang vocal just like queen did in the 80’s documentary it was all a bit surreal.
I never have. I would like to get better at it, so maybe I should! I think sometimes it’s better just to go out and do it. You can read as many books as you like, and go to classes but the bottom line is experience and practice. Writing with other people is a great is a great way to learn too. I have learned so much in the past couple of years alone writing with guys like Luke Morley and Ricky Warwick. Everyone has a slightly different approach and its very interesting.
Hmm I’m not sure! A famous Scottish singer once told me to just rip off other bands and that everybody does it, which I found as an odd piece of advice that I wasn’t sure how I feel about and still don’t. I don’t like to listen to music at all when I’m writing as I’m always terrified of sounding exactly like an existing band or piece of music. It’s intriguing though….. and can be a great starting point if you have writer’s block. Seems to work for them, so you never know, might be time to try it!
I usually know I’m done when I’m happy to send it to other people. I am my own worst critic so will often leave things and come back to them a few times with fresh ears, but usually, your gut tells you it’s done. You know it’s not right if you get those niggle pangs.
Last year I got given a Blackstar LT Dual Pedal which is excellent for doing those one-off fly-in shows abroad. It gives the same sound as my rig no matter what amp I’m playing through. It’s has come in really handy and is so accessible I take it with me everywhere.
Man, that’s a real tough one, everyone always loves cheesy pop music so that’s no secret! I grew up in a house that was obsessed with musicals, they were drilled into me at a very early age. so I’m ashamed to say I could probably sing you every word to the score of a Rodger & Hammerstein or Leonard Bernstein musical. I think Alan Menken is a genius. The score to Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favourites as is the Little Mermaid!
I was writing on the road while doing a small acoustic tour last year and spent an entire afternoon on a park bench in Paris while there was a manic carnival going on around me. I think people thought I was busking as the were trying to give me money and bring me drinks. It was strange, but lovely!
I wouldn’t say that I meditate, but it’s nice to take a quiet moment to try and visualise the show in your head, always think about the best case scenario and try and emulate that. It helps me to focus and tackle nerves. Also, you will probably always find me hanging around the hot tap to try and keep my hands warm as I have terrible circulation!
The Amorettes - Born to Break Track List:
1 Can You Feel The Fire?
2 Hello And Goodbye
3 Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock And Roll)
4 Born To Break
5 Whatever Get You Through The Night
6 Hell Or High Water
7 You Still Got Rock And Roll
8 Easy Tiger
9 Bat Shit Crazy
10 Comin Up The Middle
11 High On Your Energy
12 Want It Bad
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