Arts and Entertainment

Power pop band packs up for Warp Tour

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

The Queers released their latest album on Hopeless Records. Common Rider, composed of former members of Operation Ivy and Screeching Weasel, will put out their next album on the label this fall. Samiam and Canada’s Weakerthans have signed to the Van Nuys, Calif. independent pop punk label. And, recently, so did Federal Way power pop band Amber Pacific.

Members of Amber Pacific began playing together about two years ago under a different name after members met at Federal Way High School and decided to start a band.

At the Battle of the Bands in Federal Way last August, hundreds of kids showed up at the skate park and saw the band’s old lineup, then called Follow Through, play a short, energetic set. But at the time, the band wasn’t that interested in doing anything bigger than playing locally for their friends.

Their two-song demo, recorded at Studio B in Tacoma, “did really well at school,” said Will Nutter, 18, who plays guitar and writes the majority of the music. “We weren’t taking it too serious at the time. It was something fun to do.”

“Our goal was only to play at Club Impact in Tacoma,” said singer Matt Young, 19.

But soon after the Battle, the band decided they wanted more. They altered their lineup and changed their name to Amber Pacific.

Last August, while recording their four-song EP, “Fading Days,” they decided they wanted to do something more serious — “Serious to the point of wanting to go somewhere,” said Justin Westcott, 19, who plays guitar.

Last January, the group signed to Hopeless Records. Dango, a 23-year-old who was at school in Tennessee, moved here in March to play drums. Greg Strong, 19, plays bass.

So far, the band’s new dedication to rock appears to be working. They took their infectious concoction of radio-friendly teen angst, high school drama and a freshly broken heart to Warp Tour’s Take Action stage this year, playing several dates in the Midwest.

Though some of the members allude to punk rock influences, they’re not interested in being affiliated with the genre.

“Please do not say we’re a punk band,” Dango said. “It will not go over well.”

Nutter, the band’s creative force, said his influences include classical music and, of course, punk. But the bands he listens to include power pop like Story of the Year, New Found Glory, Fallout Boy and Autopilot Off.

“I write stuff people can relate to,” he said.

Warp Tour was the first tour ever for all the band members but Dango. None of them have ever booked — or gone on — a tour, slept on strangers’ floors or taken turns driving a van all night to the next town.

But they’re convinced they’ll love it, so much so all have dropped out of college to focus their energy on the band. They said they’re hoping one of the bigger Warp Tour bands will like their catchy riffs and positive energy and take them out on a longer tour. Warp Tour headliners this year include New Found Glory, NOFX, Bad Religion, Good Charlotte and Simple Plan.

“It’s the experience of a lifetime,” Nutter said. “I’m sure there’s other jobs we can do, but getting to go out and see the whole country ... the people we’ll meet along the way....”

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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