The Japanese House
Sounds Like: Tame Impala’s chilled moments crossed with Jamie xx’s magical rhythms
For Fans Of: The xx, The 1975, Hana
When Amber Bain went to Iceland two years ago, she accidentally overdosed on cough medicine and endured “a four hour trip to hell”.
“It was horrible,” she says. “I thought I’d get an early night, but half an hour later the wall started moving.” The experience is echoed in Bain’s lush, woozy music and in her psychedelic artwork, but it’s not the only trip to have left a lasting impression on the London-based 21-year-old. Aged eight, Bain spent a family holiday in a cottage in Cornwall owned by actress Kate Winslet. Years later, she’d lift the name of the country lodge for her alt-pop project The Japanese House. “I’d love to go back,” she says. “But it’s this huge thing in my brain, and I don’t want to spoil the memory.”
She doesn’t have much time for a holiday anyway. When not in the studio making dreamy, synth-tinged new music Bain’s out on the road, recently supporting pop megastars and Dirty Hit labelmates The 1975 on a six month long tour. “I first met the boys after a gig at London’s Barfly three or four years ago,” she says. “It was the first place I played in London and they were such nice guys. I haven’t got a bad word to say about them.”
Since then the friendship has blossomed, with the pals collaborating on all three of The Japanese House’s EPs to date – drummer George Daniel co-produced the latest, ‘Swim Against The Tide’.
Bain counts herself as “more of a producer than a performer”, and wants do more. “When I write a nice song I feel a lot better about myself,” she says. “I love playing live, but songwriting is the reason I like making music.”
She’s also happy for her music to speak for itself – in the early days, she says, “Nobody knew if I was a boy or a girl. I think that meant people just listened to the music instead of being focused on who I was.” With her debut album close to being ready (“I’m finishing and mixing the songs. It’s getting there”) we’re a lot closer to finding out who The Japanese House really is. Alex Flood
My goal for 2017 is: “To finish my album and just to be happy.”
The one thing you need to know about me is: “That I don’t use a vocoder!”
See them live: Manchester Arena supporting The 1975, (Dec 13), London O2 Arena supporting The 1975 (15) Newcastle Metro Radio Arena supporting The 1975 (17)
Essential track: ‘Face Like Thunder’