X Ambassadors from Ithaca, NY are currently on tour with German duo Milky Chance. They took out some of their precious free time to answer some questions for Rock On Philly prior to their show at the Mann Center on 7/28.
Rock On Philly: How long did it take to go through all of the recording for your latest album VHS? How did you decide on VHS to be the name of your debut album?
X Ambassadors: We recorded VHS over a three-year period. The majority of the recording was done while we were on the road, in hotel rooms, and green rooms at venues. We only spent a few weeks in a traditional studio.
We decided to name the album VHS because it tells a story through the interludes on the album. The interludes really span our whole lives – from kids playing in our garages and at backyard barbecues to the present. It was really cool to look back at all of the footage from home videos of us as kids, videos we took on our first tour in 2008, and videos we filmed while recording. We decided that we wanted to include the interludes because so many of our favorite hip hop artists growing up used interludes on their records.
XA: We were so excited when we first got the opportunity to work with Alex and Imagine Dragons. Imagine Dragons are the reason we got signed and got the opportunity to work with Alex. They discovered us and brought us to Alex and Interscope. They have taken us on tour and championed our music. We have learned so much from them while on tour. They are true professionals, and the best guys in the world.
Alex has also championed us in an amazing way and is one of the best producers in the game. He changed the way we work and encouraged us to work on things outside of a traditional studio. Our output of music has gone up 100 percent since we started working with Alex. He is an amazing producer and industry mogul, he has made things happen for us in a big way.
ROP: What was working with Jamie N Commons and Jay Z like on “Jungle”?
XA: Jungle was the second song we collaborated on with Jamie. We got the chance to spend a lot of time with him on tour and while promoting “Jungle,” and has become one of our close friends. He has a super unique and amazing voice, and is a great writer. We were obviously honored when we found out Jay had done a remix of “Jungle.” We flew out to L.A. and Alex played the verse for the band and Jamie at the Beats by Dre Studio in LA. It was a great moment for all of us.
ROP: Who are your favorite bands/artists right now?
ROP: Who would you love to collaborate with in the future? Any in the works?
XA: We do have some new collaborations in the works, but nothing we can talk about!! We’d love to collaborate with so many people, it’s such a hard question to answer. Here’s the short list: Trent Reznor, Radiohead, Jamie xx.
If you’re heading out to the show and haven’t listened to their latest album yet, be sure to check it out (and read our review here)! You’ll seriously regret it if you don’t. Get tickets for their show here.