Band Bios

The Amber Herd have self-released two double A sided singles and their 'This Town EP’ to date, receiving some outstanding reviews.

The Nottingham-based band have spent the past couple of years playing headline shows and support slots with the likes of Delays, That Petrol Emotion, CUD, Ultrasound, Milagres and Sound of Guns at various venues around the country.

The band has also played at a number of major festivals including Bearded Theory and Headstock and by personal invitation, Attila the Stockbroker’s Glastonwick festival. In 2011 the band won a national competition to headline the acoustic stage at The High Voltage festival in Victoria Park, London.

Local media has said that The Amber Herd are “a cracking band...one to be watching", “Nottingham's best kept secret?" and "Mind blowing!" Over the last couple of years they have received airplay and played live sessions on several local radio shows. They also had ‘Magnolia’ featured on the Channel 4 primetime show ‘Hollyoaks’ in 2013.

The band have been hidden away for most of the last six months writing and recording their debut album, due for release in early summer 2014.

“All in all the EP is a real masterpiece and if you want to make yourself comfortable on a summer evening, with a warm summer breeze and simply listening to music, The Amber Herd will be one of the best recommendations.”
Lilly - Static Magazine Germany

Nottingham city-based post-punk outfit The Amber Herd - and when we say "post punk", we mean like the master class of 1984 perfected so vehemently back in the day".
Dom Gourlay - Drowned in Sound

“It’s an irony of the internet age that when the potential for choice is nearly limitless, everything suddenly seems to sound the same. But that’s not a problem facing this Chesterfield/Notts band. The Amber Herd prove here they won’t be led by the nose by the diktats of fickle fashion. They are an intriguing band with an eye for drama and melody. And that’s no bull".
Phil Bramley - The Derbyshire Times

".... both blissfully melancholic indie and uplifting stripped-back folk and comes to a sprawling, open-mouthed finish with an almost Velvet Underground-esque wall of sound, acoustics flitting between prog keyboard stabs and all buried under Neil Beards' darkly overdriven Mary Chain guitar. Nottingham's best kept secret?"
This City Magazine - live review

Neil Beards - Guitar / Vocals

Neil BeardsNeil has been making noise in one capacity or other since short trousers to varying degrees of success.

His first post- University band, Sheffield- based rock pigs, Guns For Hire, had the honour of playing legendary punk venue The Limit on West Street Sheffield, which promptly closed- possibly due to an unrelated incident.

He then formed The Wiltons with a crew of like- minded sonic adventurers and this floppy- fringed quintet enjoyed some airplay on BBC Radio Sheffield and gigs at Sheffield University at the height of the baggy movement.

 

In 1994, Neil joined jangle-noise types Beulah Kop for a successful year including gigs at The Sheffield Leadmill and Sheffield Polytechnic. Mark joined the band for several shows during this period.

Unable to be contained within the confines of a group following this, Neil struck out with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a copy of The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter. This period culminated with gigs at the Cambridge Folk Festival and a memorable support to Wide Eyed Wonder at The Old Angel in Nottingham. The rest you know….

When not furthering The Herd’s total world domination plans, Neil can be found being an unimpeachably wonderful husband and dad together with being a full time drinker and part time environmentalist. His favourite other bands are Pink Floyd and Fairport Convention and as such, he clearly don’t care what anybody thinks!.

Top 5 albums:

  • Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon
  • Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
  • Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
  • Mercury Rev - Deserter’s Songs
  • Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy

Paul Wentworth - Guitar / Vocals

This wholesome Yorkshireman has been plucking away since the early nineties, his musical influences at that time were predominantly metal, so the black electric guitar coated in stickers was his early instrument of choice, although noise rather than tune was the order of the day!

Coming from the agricultural zone bands were few and far between but he managed to get together with a few likeminded friends to cover popular guitar based songs like T-Rex and U2 in a barn by the local golf course. Moving onto the writing side of things with a close friend became the popular 'folk' duo Fresh fruit (joined by the occasional bassist) which consisted of them drinking free beer at the local brewery pub (Suddabys) whilst playing what they could ‘til they couldn't!

In the mid nineties he upped and left the sticks and moved in with his lady in Nottingham, consequently he put down his guitar and didn't pick it up again properly for 10 years, until the call to arms came in 2006 and The Amber Herd was born.

 

 

In his parallel life, from the age of 16 onwards, he's been a precision engineer, apprentice trained, now residing at Nottingham University in a specialist micro/nano machining lab and still lives with that special lady that brought him here in the first place. Favourite bands range from Metallica (pre Black Album years) New Model Army, Muse, QoTSA, System of a Down, Monster Magnet, Kate Bush...the list is endless.

Top 5 albums:

  • New Model Army - For the Love of Hopeless Causes
  • Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
  • Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama - There Will be the Light
  • Monster Magnet - Spine of God

Mark Lasbury - Drums / Percussion

Mark’s first ever live gig was at a six-form party in Nottingham, playing dodgy covers (he will not reveal what these were unless you get him very drunk first), at Nottingham’s legendary Boat Club (where such greats as Led Zeppelin and The Sex Pistols had performed). Having caught the bug, Mark continued his drumming at University with the band Induced Room (or “Mazzy Maze and the Induced Room Band” depending on how hammered the guitarist was).

 

 

 

Whilst in his final year at University, Mark received a call from Neil, who he’d worked with during a placement year. Neil was after a stand-in drummer for his band Beulah Kop who had a couple of gigs booked, but their drummer had gone to America. Despite never having heard the band, Mark agreed, and a three track demo was sent to him to learn the drum tracks. So whilst writing up his dissertation he learnt the three songs and ended up playing a gig later that week (with no rehearsals, and not having heard half the set!) After the unexpected success of this gig, Mark played a few more shows with the band until their drummer returned from America.

After University, Mark went on to play drums with the Nottingham/Mansfield band Wide Eyed Wonder. The Wonders, as they were rarely called, enjoyed a great couple of years, playing gigs at Nottingham’s Rock City and London’s The Garage and Mean Fiddler venues amongst others, and getting rave reviews from the likes of the BBC’s Dean Jackson.

Following the demise of Wide Eyed Wonder, Mark hung up his drum sticks until he received another call from Neil...and The Amber Herd were formed...

Top 5 albums:

  • Ride - Nowhere
  • January - I Heard Myself in You
  • A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
  • M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
  • The Cure - Disintegration

Rob ‘Fitz’ Fitzmaurice – Bass

The opening bars of the Icicle Works "Hollow Horse" convinced Fitz that the future lay in ditching posh piano and clarinet lessons and becoming a rock and rock roll star via the medium of Fender Telecaster and over several years and several bands has selflessly allowed others to take the fame whilst he's been at the bar getting the ale in.

Fitz opened his live account with legends in their own mind school bands "Cosmic Suit" and "Inanum" and in an early peer recognition of his terminal unfashionability was not allowed to weld his foot to the monitor and gurn through screaming guitar solos, instead being asked to pick up bass duties.

The subsequent call for Fitz's melodic engine room work has been varied - a couple of school musicals at a notorious Ellesmere Port High School when the drama teacher plied him with enough beer to agree to anything, Chester powerhouse drinkers / rockers "Catherine Street", drunken gigs of drinking songs with "The Family Mahones" and Cheshire's "With Bob on Our Side" Bob Dylan tribute band have been some of the better known, for one reason or another, appearances over the years at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl (AKA Crewe Limelight), Wembley Stadium (AKA King's Lock, Middlewich) and The Cavern, Liverpool.

Since moving to Nottingham about 3 years ago, Fitz has made a guest appearance on mandolin with local rockers Lois whilst waiting for the right opportunity to turn up on his doorstep: enter stage left, The Amber Herd....

Top 5 albums:

  • Amsterdam - Arm in Arm
  • Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
  • Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
  • Fairport Convention - Babbacombe Lee
  • The Icicle Works - The Icicle Works

Honourable mentions for everything ever done by: The Beatles, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, The Byrds and Neil Diamond.

Ollie Powditch - Keyboards

OllieOllie first began playing live and recording as part of Nottingham five piece Made of Leaves, with the guitar as his weapon of choice.

A founding member of the short-lived Green Bus Collective, who began organising and promoting gigs at various local venues, he and the Leaves shared the stage at several shows with the Amber Herd and soon became friends.

With an interest in electronica and armed with his laptop, he was invited to join the band for a few shows as a temporary replacement on keyboards, and has not yet left!  Aside from The Amber Herd, Ollie can be found playing and recording with his new band, librarymusic, on guitar and bass.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Albums

  • The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
  • Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider
  • TV on the Radio - Dear Science
  • Pink Floyd - Animals
  • SixbySeven - The Closer You Get

Herd Alumni

Rachel Edge - Keyboards / Vocals

Prior to joining The Amber Herd, Rachel’s previous gig experience consisted mainly of sweaty venues watching the artists on stage rather than actually taking to the stage. On hearing that The Amber Herd had been formed she decided that she’d like a piece of the action and quickly took her Grade one piano exams, purchased a piano and synth, followed by another synth and then another one!

 

 

 

 

Top 5 albums:

  • Evan Dando – Baby, I’m Bored
  • U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • The Cure – Disintegration
  • Neil Diamond – 12 Songs
  • U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

Guy Birkin - Bass

Guy’s music-making began with studying the piano, moving on to the pipe organ and church bells, then a short spell playing steel drums, finally settling with the guitar and bass.  He played guitar for a couple of skate rock bands at university, then played bass for Moriarty (indie rock) for two years before joining The Amber Herd.  During this time with the Herd, Guy completed a PhD on visual complexity in art, and began to investigate complexity in music.

Guy left the band to concentrate on developing a solo project based on his research into musical complexity.  His debut album, Symmetry-Breaking, was released in 2011 via Runningonair Music.  Current interests focus on generative and process music, using techniques such as computer programming, Fourier analysis and granular synthesis to explore the production and perception of musical structure.

Website: www.aestheticcomplexity.wordpress.com/

SoundCloud: www.soundcloud.com/notl

Album: www.runningonair.com/GB_SB.html

Favourite albums include:

  • Arvo Pärt – Tabula Rasa
  • NoMeansNo – Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed
  • Chris Watson ¬ B.J. Nilsen – Storm
  • Tortoise – TNT
  • Efterklang – Magic Chairs
  • Fennesz – Black Sea
  • SND – Atavism

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