X Ambassadors have silently taken over the world.
Not only have they collaborated with Jay-Z on a remix of their hit single Jungle, had their music in the ‘Beats by Dre’ World Cup advert and featured in top video games such as Battlefield: Hardline – X Ambassadors have just announced that they have co-written a song entitled American Oxygen with producer Alex da Kid and super star Rihanna. Now THIS we have to hear.
They are signed to KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records after having been discovered by none other than label mate Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons fame. Since then they have gone from strength to strength and are going to be releasing their first full length album called “VHS” on June 23rd. They can’t wait, and neither can we.
See the full interview below:
1. You’re originally from Ithaca in New York state – just across Lake Ontario from us. Tell us how you guys met and started the original band – Ambassadors?
Casey and I are brothers, so we met each other the day I was born (he’s older). Noah and I met when we were 5 during nap time on the first day of kindergarten. The three of us started playing in bands together when we were in middle school and have only played with each other since. Adam, we met on our first week of college, in the New School dorms. He was the final piece of the puzzle.
2. What made you add the “X” to become X Ambassadors?
Legal issues. We would’ve had to pay like 6 other bands a lot of money for the right to use the name Ambassadors. By adding the X, we got rid of all that.
3. Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons heard an acoustic version of Unconsolable that you guys did, and told Interscope to sign you ASAP! Not bad at all. How did you feel when you were contacted? Was it a WTF moment?
Yeah, to be honest it was all a little fast and weird. At the time, we were being poked and prodded at by a couple other labels who were interested so we didn’t have much time to register how unique the situation was. Then, once we talked more with Alex and Dan, we realized that this could be a huge opportunity for us.
4. You’re perhaps best known for the single Jungle done in collaboration with singer Jamie N Commons. Jay-Z featured on a remix of Jungle! Have you found that this collaboration exposed you to a new fan base?
It has most definitely expanded our base, though I’m still not so sure that those people are connecting the song back to the band. It kinda grew out of our control.. a lot of people who like that song still have no idea who we are. But, it’s still really cool how much it’s used everywhere.
5. How do you think having a hip-hop super producer like Alex da Kid has helped shaped your last couple of releases?
Alex is the hardest working person I’ve ever met. And he drives us to work just as hard, if not harder, than him. He’s not the type of person to ever tell you “good job”, which is the type of personality you need in this industry. He’s also a real forward thinker– you’d assume that because he’s had so many pop crossover hits, that he’d be more of an in-the-box kinda guy. But that’s not the case at all. We wouldn’t be where we are right now if not for him.
6. For the benefit of the uninitiated, what would you say are the biggest differences in your sound between yourselves and label-mates Imagine Dragons?
A lot. We’re two completely different bands. But we both draw influences from hip-hop, and we’re both unafraid to make catchy, anthemic songs. They are like brothers to us, so we both support each other’s music in a big way. That said, we sound a lot different than each other. Our music is very much influenced by soul and R&B, that’s the foundation of who we are.
7. We read that growing up you cited legendary bands such as Incubus and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as major influences. Who influences you today?
We listen to a lot of hip-hop. We’re all huge Kanye fans, Jay, Kendrick, Drake, J.Cole, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep.. the greats. Really feeling Joey Badass and Isaiah Rashad right now. Outside of hip-hop, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince, Staples Singers (Mavis and Pops, in particular), Bruce Springsteen, Seinobo Sey, The Stooges, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Otis Redding… so many things. Hard to keep track.
8. You guys have toured a lot with Canadian singer-songwriter LIGHTS. If you could tour with any band in the future, who would it be and why?
We’re always surprised by the bands we get paired up with… a lot of the time we come in not knowing much at all about the band or their scene, and then end up having the best time ever on that tour. We’ve been lucky to have toured with such nice, hard-working, professional people. We’ll go out with anyone like that.
9. What venue/arena/festival do you think is the most iconic for a band to play at and why? (Madison Square Garden/Red Rocks/Glastonbury/Hollywood Bowl etc)
The Garden, for sure. That’s the closest major city to where we grew up, so that was always a dream. Also the Hollywood Bowl because I remember watching a Coldplay documentary in high school and they played there… it looked very fucking cool.
10. Top 3 weapons in your production arsenal? (certain guitar/outboard gear/mics etc)
RC-300 Loop station, SM58, my Keilwerth alto saxophone that I’ve had since 8th grade.
There’s always someone out there working harder than you. So keep up.
12. Your songs have been heard in the past year on many different platforms including video games such as Need For Speed Rivals and as the trailer for Battlefield: Hardline. Any upcoming projects that we can look forward to from X Ambassadors in 2015?
OUR DEBUT ALBUM!! It’s called VHS and it’ll be out June 23rd. We’re so ready.
13. What does Paradise mean to X Ambassadors?
Whatever you make it, wherever you are.
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