Based out of Santa Monica, The Strands cohesively blend Jazz and Rock instrumentals with a London twist. Their lyricism revolves around the journeys of self-discovery, and their music has been described as genre-defying. We had the opportunity to interview lead singer Amanda Campbell and discuss how she overcame her self-doubt, how The Strands came to be and more. Check out our interview below!
MM: Amanda, you say you didn’t realize you could sing until you were 44. We find that hard to believe. How did you overcome the criticism and self-doubt leading up to that moment?
AC: Well it has been a lifetime dream for me to be a singer, but I just had no idea I could sing, the desire was always strong and getting stronger all the time and I was always passionate about music. I guess it’s like that quote “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom” That sums it up for me.
MM: Did recognizing your talent coincide with your decision to move to LA? What other factors made you decide to make the leap from London?
AC: No, I came to L.A. at the tender age of 21, I really came just to see for myself what everybody was talking about. At first I didn’t really like it, I didn’t connect with it. Back in London I had been heavily into the Jazz Funk scene and I couldn’t find that here. I kinda got stuck and after awhile it began to grow on me and I’ve stayed.
MM: Where and when did you meet your bandmates? How have those relationships grown since?
AC: Well, I’m married to the bass player, have been for over 30 years, he started playing bass around the same time that I started singing. Playing music together has for sure made us closer. Richard Green, our guitar player is a friend and neighbor on Strand Street, and Lance Tamanaha our drummer is also a friend living on Strand Street. That’s why we are called The Strands. Emily Ashenfelter joined the band a couple years ago and she’s a friend of Lance’s. Being in a band is a bit like being in a family, sometimes it’s functional and sometimes it isn’t. Thankfully, this line up is functional!
MM: What was your thought process on your latest album? What message do you want to send to your fans?
AC: Well, I’m not sure we thought of the album as having a concept, it’s really a collection of songs that we were playing live and wanted to record. Always with our music we want to convey a feeling, a connection. We want to tell stories of our lives and our experiences. We like to record things pretty much the way we play them live, we like to keep things simple and we record with live instruments. That’s important to us, real people playing real instruments. I think you subconsciously know when you’re not listening to a real performance.
MM: You’ve done a great job at blending genres, which is a lot harder than it looks. What has that process has been like for you, and what are your thoughts about the trend of the lines continuing to blur between genres as a whole?
AC: I don’t think we pay much attention to trends, I know I don’t. We have never had a conversation about what kind of music we want to play. We have just interpreted our material instinctually I think. We come from such diverse backgrounds musically, it’s just such an organic process, I personally don’t “think” when it comes to music, it’s all about what feels good.
MM: Where do you see live music going from here? What have you done to pivot with venues being closed?
AC: Now, with Covid-19, we’ll be lucky if the usual places we play survive. It’s very sad. We were opening for Poncho Sanchez and that has been postponed indefinitely, it’s really a bummer. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s been hard not playing, but it’s given us all time to write.
MM: Can we expect new music on the horizon with all the extra time you have in quarantine?
AC: We were about to go into the studio to cut 5 more tracks at the end of March and that didn’t happen, but as soon as we can make that happen, we’ll be back at it. And yes, we’ll have some tunes that come out of this surreal time.