Chatting with Amber Arcades @ Green Man Festival 2018

Amber Arcades press shot for Heavenly Records by Nick Helderman

Fresh faced and bright eyed on the first day of Green Man, we got the chance to chat with the ethereal Annelotte de Graaf, better known as her stage name, Amber Arcades, shortly after she'd finished playing to an eager audience on Green Man's Mountain (main) Stage. The Dutch musician was more than happy to chat with us on all things Green Man, her relationship with her label, Heavenly, and future comings. Read the interview below:

How are you finding Green Man so far?
Well I mean we just got here, but we played the festival two years ago before, and I really fell in love with the festival then. The location is so beautiful in between these hills, even driving here was nice. And the line-up is always fantastic, I'm always honoured if they ask me to play.

How does playing Green Man, a festival with such a diverse line-up, compare to other festivals you have played?
Well I haven't really had the chance to look at the line-up, so I'm not really sure what the percentage of women that are playing this year are..

It's pretty much even.
Like 50/50?!

Yep!
Woah, that's like really good. Unheard of, even. I think normally it's like 20%, so that's amazing.

There's not any female headliners, but we think it's a step in the right direction for festival bills. 
Well of course! There's so many arguments as to why festivals don't include that many women on line-ups, like 'Oh, they don't sell any tickets', or that there just aren't enough female bands to choose from, but that's just all bullshit, and it's good that Green Man, and even End of the Road too, are proving it is possible.

In your Guardian interview you stated that people often only focus on your voice in comparrison to other female singers, this seems to be an industry-wide problem, how do you think we can tackle this? 
Just school your music journalists! I think sometimes music writers can be quite lazy, like it's easy for them to compare female voices so they don't have to go any deeper than that. But it's also like, somehow if you're a woman making music people always focus on your voice.

Yeah, rather than your music ability or songwriting, it's always your voice?
It's not like everyone ignores everything else, but a lot of the time it's like 'your voice sounds like so-and-so'. Especially when I started, I only really listened to male-fronted music, like Deerhunter and Yo La Tengo, so that's where I got most of my inspiration from, so it's weird to be compared to only female acts.

So who else inspires your songwriting?
Well, a lot of Deerhunter, Yo La Tengo, Stereo Lab for the first record, but for this new one, a lot of Brazilian music, a lot of older 70s folk music, some jazzy stuff, Americana.. It's taken quite a big turn for this record.

Sounds exciting! When's that album out?
20 September.

How do you find becoming an international musician compared to just playing in your home country?
I love it. It's a completely different thing, especially because my own country is so small. I guess if my own country was the UK it would be different. In Holland, it doesn't matter where you play in the country but I can always sleep in my own bed and be home in maximum two hours drive. I just love touring as well, driving every day, visiting different countries every day, it's kind of a form of escapism I guess.

How do you find working with Heavenly?
Well it's a really small label but that's actually really nice because you know everyone and it doesn't feel really that corporate. Of course it's about money in some ways because they need money, I need money, everyone needs money, but it feels like it's more than that. It feels like it's more about investing in artists and trusting them and giving them creative freedom to develop and grow, and caring about artists and music, and I think that's a really special thing.

How did your Green Man set go and what can an audience who hasn't already seen you expect from your live show?
I think it went well, I was a bit nervous because it was on the main stage, it was a big thing in an exciting way. I was just really happy to see as many people as there was standing there listening. For me it went great, and people didn't run away so I guess it wasn't horrible.

Who are you planning on seeing this weekend?
Lemon Twigs, and I'm not sure who else yet.. I'm gonna try to keep an open mind and see where the night takes me!

What can fans expect from you in future?
Well I've got a new record coming out 20 September, and I'm gonna tour that for a bit in October, and that's the main thing for this year, and depending on how the record's received we'll just keep doing more of that next year!

What's your favourite festival memory?
Hmm, it's so hard to think of best or worst! I mean I'm not really great with crowds, but when I was 16 I went to my first festival in Holland called Lowlands, it's a three day festival but on the second day I just locked myself in my tent and just read books with earplugs in. I mean I like festivals as an artist and I can deal with the crowds a little bit, but I can also go backstage and hang out there for a bit.

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