Genre bender

Cincinnati’s Ampline at Bob’s

By Katie Christoff

Cincinnati-based rockers Ampline are no strangers to the stage at Blind Bob’s. The punk rock band has played many shows in Dayton over the course of its 15-plus year career, and always looks forward to coming back.

“We always get a lot of support in Dayton,” says Rick McCarty, the drummer of Ampline. “It’s always a good spot for us to go, and Blind Bob’s is one of our favorite places in Dayton to play.”

According to McCarty, Ampline plays frequently in Dayton, Cincinnati and Kentucky, but haven’t toured much lately, instead, focusing on writing their new album.

“We try to tour as much as we can, but we’ve been laying low recently trying to finish this record,” he says. “Once the record’s done, we’ll be playing all over the place.”

Their latest record will be the band’s first full-length record since 2010’s. According to McCarty, the album has been in the works for a couple years now, and they just finalized dates in the recording studio in May.

“We are all very anxious to finally get in studio and record all the new songs,” he says. The album is still unnamed, according to McCarty.

“There’s nothing we’ve committed to yet,” he says. “We haven’t discussed the conceptual side of that stuff yet.”

Though its been a while since Ampline has hit the recording studio, they still spend plenty of time there—guitarist Mike Montgomery owns and operates a recording studio called Candyland in Northern Kentucky. Montgomery is a recording engineer that works with other bands.

“He works with a ton of local bands, some from Dayton, and he produces them,” McCarty says. Montgomery is also involved in a side project with Kelly Deal, who plays as half of the Breeders.

Montgomery, McCarty and founding member and bassist Kevin Schmidt write, record and produce all their own music at Candyland.

Perhaps working with so many other musicians inspires Ampline’s sound, which fails to fall under any one specific genre.

“We usually just say we’re a mix of weird punk rock and surf rock vibes,” McCarty says. “We like to leave that up to listeners to tell us what they think we sound like.”

Upon first listen, their music is heavily instrumental. According to a bio on their website, they “initially enjoyed certain liberties in regards to song structure by not having to worry about framing music around traditional verses and choruses,” but “eventually began to use the subtle presence of vocal snippets to help steer listeners’ thoughts.”

Many of the song titles have religious or spiritual undertones, something that McCarty admits wasn’t intentional.

“That might be a little deceiving,” he says. “We were all raised Catholic, and did time in Catholic schools so we have a heavy background with the imagery of Catholicism. It influenced a lot of experiences recently, but the music is really more about everyday experiences we have with life, death and the struggle in between.

McCarty joined Ampline in 2001, and spoke of what drew him to become a full-time member.

“When I first joined, the band had already been established,” he says. “Instrumental was what I was most interested in, because it was different than anything I was doing. It’s very song-oriented still. It wasn’t about instrumental prowess—it was about the strength of songs, which drew me to it.”

Over the course of those years, Ampline went from a four-piece to the three-piece it is now.

They look forward to touring throughout the U.S. again soon to promote the upcoming album. Though it hasn’t been recorded yet, they’ll be playing new music at their show in Dayton.

“We always have the most fun working with new materials,” McCarty says. They’re especially excited to test out the new material in Dayton, where they have a more significant fan base.

“We hope that people appreciate how much we appreciate their support up there,” he says.

Ampline will play Saturday, April 30 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Doors are at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Self Evident and Grenades?! are also on the bill. For more information, please visit Ampline.net.
Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Christoff at KatieChristoff@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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