I Am Amity talks to eGigs

moving to Brighton, Stereophonics inspiration, a one woman band, the Stand Out Tour and more on Tuesday 8 November 2011

Black Country born Amy Forrester AKA I Am Amity has been described by Radio One's Huw Stephens as having a pretty voice. eGigs caught up with her before she embarks on the 7 date 'Stand Out Tour'.

Where does the name come from 'I Am Amity'? And why did you choose it?
I always get asked if it's after Jaws or Amityville Horror, which on some mornings it could well be. But because Amy Forrester isn't a very glamorous name, a friend of mine suggested the name AMiTY after the song 'Amity, Amity, Amity' by his favourite artist Elliot Smith. The 'i AM' bit comes in to avoid confusion with a heavy American rock band who go by the same name. It's an easy association to make.

For our online readers explain a bit about yourself and about your musical genre?
i AM AMiTY, a female, solo, singer songwriter in a one woman band. I play kick drum, tambourine, snare and guitar and whatever else is lying around, put it through a loop pedal and sing from lipsticked lips. No cymbals between the knees as yet though I'm afraid. People, including myself haven't been able to pin a specific genre on the musical donkey, so to speak. But where needed I've best described myself as acoustic, experimental, folk with a bit of pop thrown in. Not experimental as in electronic or folk as in country, just a girl in her bedroom creating music from everything that surrounds her.

You're originally from the 'Black Country', why did you move 'Down South'?
I am Wolverhampton born and brewed and the move past the Watford gap came as an ex shaped blessing. The person I was attached to at the time was offered a promotion, which resulted in packing up a two bed roomed flat in WV10 to downsize for double the money in BN2. Moving to Brighton and not really knowing much about its bulging music scene was definitely one of my better decisions. In four years I have gone from playing my local open mic night every Monday to gigging around London and organising my own UK and Ireland tour. Brighton accepted, accommodated and showed me the stage lights.

I've read that one of the first tracks to inspire you was 'A Thousand Trees' by the Stereophonics, why was this?
Back in the summer of '99 when I was 15, my best friend at the time used to get free tickets as an apology for the noise that would come from V Festival. So off we went in our daft hats and parental guidance in tow and with my CD collection consisting of 'Dance Tips '95' and Hanson, it's no surprise that a band like Stereophonics caught my little eye. But for some reason it was the song 'A Thousand Trees' that made something in me twinge and think...I want to do that.

You are one of life's talented musicians that can play more than one instrument, what would you say is the hardest instrument to master and why?
There is certainly a difference between playing more than one instrument and playing more than one instrument well. But I think I seem to pull it off. Maybe it has more to do with my attention span than talent. But the instrument that has defeated me has to be the piano. I mean I'm all about coordination, but it doesn't matter how many times I try to master 'Amazing Grace' on the keys. My fingers just won't do as they're told. Oh and I'm still trying to fine tune the ukulele.

You were in a band called 'Gregory and Eric' for a while: what's it like going out on your own rather than being in a band?
Yes, I was only ever in one band that was named after pet fish, which enjoyed every other minute of. There is nothing like doing something a little special on stage and catching the eye of a band mate who is thinking exactly the same as you. Who is thinking 'that was alright wasn't it?' then not being able to put a stop to the ear to ear grin.

Solo can be lonely, two is company, any more than three and you can have a troublesome crowd. Being a solo musician, with a car (because believe me that makes all the difference) means I only have myself to depend on. I only have only my own problems to solve and only myself to let down. Don't get me wrong though, to have another to share the great moments with would be electric but with all the support I get from family, friends and fans those moments are pretty much always shared with them, and rightly so.

I saw KT Tunstall's solo show a few weeks ago, which was totally awe inspiring: you are similar to her where she plays all the instruments on stage and loops them together with a Loop Station, what inspires you to do this?
With Gregory and Eric I used to play guitar and accordion, so when it came to the pet fish band being flushed, having nothing and no one to hide behind felt a little out of my comfort zone. But, I did always know that I didn't want to go down the usual girl with a guitar route. It was the night before my first ever solo gig and having learnt to play drums at school the light bulb above my head blew and I just tried playing the kick drum and tambourine along to my songs. The one woman band has only but expanded from that day, explaining the introduction of more instruments and even the Loop Station.

People would collar me off stage and say that I reminded them of KT Tunstall, which is nothing but a compliment considering her success. But I have to confess, I only actually listened to her debut album last year I think. Maybe in fear that I'd be too much like her. Just as I did with all the instruments I play, when it came to using the loop I wanted to find my own way. Like assembling a wardrobe without the instructions, it took me many-a-bad gig but the wardrobe still stands.

You've released an EP can you tell us about the songs on it and what inspired you to write the tracks on it?
I finally managed to scrape the savings together to create a CD that wasn't made by my own fair hands. I didn't realise how emotional you can get over having your own barcode. But after releasing my debut EP 'i' in June I can now cross it off my 'things to achieve' list.

I have never noticed this before but as I look at the track listing this EP practically tells my love life story. The opening track 'i SPY' not only introduces you to what AMiTY can do but that something is beginning between me and another, which then leads you on to 'WOMANiSER'. It says what it does in the title. What can only be the result of a womaniser but a song about heart break. 'FOR YOU' was written a good few years ago now about the (first) break up with my first love, when all you want is them and for them love you back. It's one of those songs that most can relate to and even sympathise with.

Once your tears have dried, a fundamental stage of the break up process is to feel a little anger towards the ex, which is where 'OH MY WORD' comes in. A song that defines the moment you realise that your special someone is in fact, not all they were cracked up to be. What better way to follow the heart ache and anger than with 'BEDPOST', a song about one night stands. Not that I'm talking from experience. The final track on the EP is titled 'SAiLOR TATTOO'. This is a song about one of my closest friends and the song that I am most proud of lyrically. Summing up our relationship through all the break ups and make ups, because lets face it, you can always count on your bestest.

What do you think about being on the 'Stand Out Tour 2011' with Comedians Zoë Lyons, Jen Brister and Suzi Ruffell?
I truly can't wait. It is a little daunting being the only musical act playing for 7 nights in front of a comedy hungry crowd. But saying that, I supported Heather Peace at a gig in Brighton a couple of months ago where Julie Jepson was the opening act and it worked amazingly. So I'm hoping they will go easy on me.

As for touring with Zoë Lyons, Jen Brister and Suzi Ruffell...it's too early to say. I mean you know what girls are like when they get together.

What can we expect from your musical interlude on the 'Stand Out Tour'?
You can expect to hear all the tracks off my debut EP (which will be available to buy each night) with a few cheeky extras thrown in. And for the people that haven't seen me perform live yet, who are maybe struggling to get their heads round exactly what it is that I do, all will become clear.

You're doing 7 dates with the 'Stand Out Tour', which one/s are you looking forward to the most?
Do I have to pick just a few? I love touring at the best of times, as long as there aren't too many baby wipes involved. I'm looking for to playing Glasgow as I've never been and heard so many great things about its music scene and the place itself. But I have been warned to stay clear of the Buckfast. Birmingham Glee Club will obviously be a highlight as it's the date closest to my stomping ground and to see friendly faces amongst the dark always fills you with home comforts. But what I've enjoyed saying the most is "I'm playing Leicester Square Theatre". I'm sure it's something my grandparents will be saying for years to come too.

The Stand Out Comedy Tour runs from the 21st – 27th November, taking in Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford and London.

For more info visit www.iamamity.com and tickets for Stand Out are available from www.ticketweb.co.uk

Voice your opinion in the eGigs forums...
article by: Michelle Owen-williams

published: 08/11/2011 17:08


more about I Am Amity