Following the summer release of her standout debut album Fading Lines on Heavenly Recordings and her recent US tour this past September and October supporting Nada Surf, Dutch musician Amber Arcades has shared a pop-fueled reinterpretation of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon track “Which Will”. Trading in Drake’s understated emotional beauty for jangling dream-pop verve; Amber Arcades’ Annelotte de Graaf commands her catchy rendition all the while upholding the integrity of an artist she unquestionably respects. She elaborates on the process: “I’m a huge Nick Drake fan. There’s something intangible and obscure about his work (and especially the melodies) that I love. I thought it would be interesting to examine how these mysterious melodies would function in a more upbeat musical environment. I like how it turned out to be quite a poppy tune but the melodies still add this layer of strangeness to it.”
Recorded at Strange Weather Studio in New York with producer Ben Greenberg (The Men, Beach Fossils, Destruction Unit), Fading Lines was inspired by time, continuity, coincidence and magic. Other inspirations include early-morning jetlag (‘Turning Light’) and an artist’s plans for a utopian city (‘Constant’s Dream’). Although this sounds dreamy in nature (and these songs do posses a seamless, ethereal quality), De Graaf’s dreams are not necessarily rooted in whimsy. In fact they have led to her working as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals (she currently works in human rights law people who had fled Syria), to inviting strangers to share her Utrecht squat (which led to a friendship and later to her signing to Heavenly), and to spending her life savings on a flight to New York because that’s where she wanted to record her first album.
After researching producers and deciding to work with Greenberg (“the odd one out as he’d produced all this hardcore punk shit”), Annelotte was joined by Shane Butler and Keven Lareau of Quilt on guitar and bass, Jackson Pollis of Real Estate on drums, plus Meg Duffy on slide guitar on the eerie, clip-clopping “Apophenia”. They listened to “a lot of Suicide, Broadcast, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, The Gun Club…” and worked on the songs that Annelotte had written at home in Utrecht.”In New York everything came together beautifully,” says De Graaf. “The whole team, the producer and the band. It was a magical time – writing an album had been an abstract thing in my mind and recording it in New York had been a wild, surreal plan. It never really occurred to me that it would happen until I sat on the plane. I had this money in my savings account and I thought, I’m going to make an album.”