I first met Ambush AmericanA’s singer and guitarist, Bishop Mayes, as he worked behind the counter at Sam Ash – a heavily tattooed man with a very impressive beard and a vast knowledge of gear. Almost a month and a half later, he would be successfully hosting the CG’s/Anti-Vision split release show in his backyard. A night where nearly 300 kids raised hell just a couple of houses down from the Las Vegas District Attorney’s home. From then on, he had my unwarranted seal of approval. With his band Ambush AmericanA’s new EP, Terror, he’s captured my attention yet again.
Terror is composed of three tracks, all recorded and mixed by the band themselves. Extracting from a plethora of influences, they’ve crafted a sound that has a little bit of everything. Somewhat punk, somewhat rock n roll, somewhat melodic-driven, but ultimately 100% passionate and dynamic musicianship.
The band — composed of Bishop Mayes on vocals and guitar, Robert Reynolds on bass/backup vocals, Matthew Connolly on lead guitar, and Loren Garz on drums — were kind enough to answer a few questions.
How did Ambush AmericanA form to be?
Ambush AmericanA started back in 2012 when our former band, “Sweater Kitty,” teamed up with Matthew Connolly of “Days After Hail” to record our debut album. Sweater Kitty was a three-piece “punkish” setting that really had no defining sound. Just three friends who decided to start making music to ultimately get free beers. It was fun, but something was missing, there was this huge void in our sound to where we basically flat lined when it came to excitement in our music, writing, and overall performance. We had toyed with the idea of adding a second guitar but never pursued it. Somewhere during the recording process, Matt had started writing alternate riffs to some of our newer songs, being they were unfamiliar to any ears and we hadn’t really performed them around town…we decided to invite Matt to start jamming.
Right away everything was different. The sound, the vibe, the dynamic. We knew that Sweater Kitty was evolving and the new sound wasn’t gonna fit. We basically scratched all the old material and started new. That’s when Ambush was founded. Literally six weeks later we were booking shows with all new material.
How has it been dealing with family and jobs while trying to craft a worthwhile band?
Rehearsal is definitely more difficult these days. But, hey, we are getting older. Careers. Families. Court orders. All that real life mess gets in the way. We try to get together at least a couple hours a week even if it’s just to run through setlists for upcoming shows. Every once in a while, the stars align and we are able to get in productive writing sessions that seem to be progressive. One thing’s for sure, we love this shit and that makes it much easier. We are into the whole DIY aspect, so everything you hear is a lot of takes and serious computer staring by mostly Matt, but Rob and I as well. Loren has a new-born so he lets us do all the fucking off. The cool part is we still are just a bunch of friends that happen to make music together, so we always have a good time and it’s never too stressful.
What are some memorable shows the band has played and what are you hoping to accomplish in the Vegas scene?
We have played a bunch of shows over the years so it’s hard to pinpoint the “best.” Honestly, playing live original music in front of any amount of people is fun. Whether there are touring bands, duel stages, big name stages, or playing a house party in front of 200 kids. It’s why we do this, to show people our passion. It doesn’t always go as planned, but it always goes and each one is memorable in its own right. One thing we haven’t done is headline a night that was about us. Saturday, August 8th at Backstage Bar and Billiards, for our E.P. release show [will be the first time]. That should be a fun night!
What are some new things the band learned from recording this E.P. on your own?
We have learned a lot. From breaking points due to frustration, to acknowledging the fact that not everything sounds good and sometimes you have to redo. Going from direct in [our] guitars to re-recording everything live with multiple mics. Really, this project has taught us patience. Almost two years ago we starting tracking and here we finally are. Experimenting with different rooms for vocals and spending multiple sessions mixing it all down. We did it. Good thing we didn’t have to pay a third party, because literally countless hours, many moons, and pounds of grass went into this thing. Loren got married and started a family, Rob went through three career moves, and Bishop went from a raging alcoholic to a responsible member of society. All while Matt put his heart and dedication to mixing it all down. So we learned this: Bishop can’t drink and shouldn’t ever again, Rob has learned a few helpful trades that benefit the band, and without Matt there is no Ambush AmericanA. Loren still can’t count.
Finally, why should people listen to the E.P.?
People should listen to Terror because…why not?! It’s eleven minutes of in-your-face, dynamic soul driven music that goes everywhere. There is a lil bit of something for everyone. If you like music you will like this album. You can find it anywhere online. If you want a hard copy…we will give you one! We feel this is a side of the local music scene that perhaps you didn’t know exists, and we would love to be the tour guide.
‘Terror’ is available now via iTunes. You can catch Ambush AmericanA live at the Double Down September 5 with The People’s Whiskley, The Quitters and Three Rounds!