Interview with Gabe Vicknair of Ambassador

By Mick Michaels

Gabe! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Gabe Vicknair: No problem. Thanks for the opportunity!

CV: The band's style and sound is an eclectic array of various musical genres and influences...ranging from Russian Circles to even Depeche Mode. Ambassador is more than just Rock though. How would you classify the band's music as a whole if prompted to provide such a label?
GV: Atmospheric and emotional music rooted in post-rock, post-punk, and alternative metal. Or as a reviewer once coined it… ‘Sad-boi rock with a light prog metal slant for fans of Katatonia and Ghost Brigade’. Not sure that we agree, but…

CV: Do you see labeling yourself in one particular genre over another as an unfair assessment when it comes to a band's ability, such as Ambassador's, to write in a large musical spectrum?
GV: It really baffles us that we are seemingly among very few bands that can’t be pigeon holed into a certain genre. Aren’t most musicians influenced by a wide variety of music? Not sure why bands choose to limit themselves. It isn’t like we are weirdly mixing drastically different genres. In any of these ‘genres’, you find tons of bands that dress the same, sound the same, and do what they have to do to fit. If I think back to some of my favorite bands growing up, they all had their own distinct style. I don’t remember really caring what genre they fit into. There are however many more bands at your fingertips now, so it makes sense when sifting through the piles.

CV: Do you feel that having such a diverse music style offers the band a unique songwriting perspective that would not exist otherwise?
GV: Absolutely. We don’t see our music as ‘diverse’. Unique, probably, but that’s the way it should be. If we as a band said ‘let’s write X type of music, appeal to X scene, and get a deal with X label;’ you would not hear the sound that we produce. It’s a double edged sword.

CV: In addition, does such a diverse pallet of musical influences provide Ambassador a bigger net, so to say, to capture a larger listening audience?
GV: Sort of, but I’m not sure if that is the case. I think it is more of a risk at the end of the day.

CV: Bands today need to be more than just musicians. A band's role, responsibility and relevance is multi faceted given the modern music industry world. Do you see any drawbacks in a band doing too many things besides or in addition to writing and performing?
GV: Obviously, people expect a strong social media presence and the days of mystery are over. It really seems like a strong social presence can get you further than your actual music these days, and bands focus more on these elements rather than just making great music. It is a trade off though, since social media helps bands reach people from all over the globe, and communicate their brand or ethos more effectively. When it comes to the business and marketing side of things, a DIY self-managed band can get overwhelmed and frustrated at times handling all of the tasks that keep a band operating. I guess this has always been the case though.

CV: How did the band approach writing "Care Vale" initially after coming off the success of "Belly of the Whale?" Was there a level of concern to surpass what the band had done on their debut record?
GV: We knew that we had gotten better as a band, and liked what we came up with, so we were pretty confident that it would hold its own as an album. The concern was less about surpassing the debut, and more about the reception of a slightly different sounding album. We wanted Care Vale to be a bit more immediately gratifying in comparison, a bit heavier, and better reflect our live sound. We looked at Care Vale as more of a second chapter. I think there is always some level of pressure to progress from album to album. We may eventually write an album that we worry about being able to surpass, but I think we all feel like the best is yet to come, so we are always looking forward.

CV: COVID has changed the world over. Many claim we will never return to our previous state of normal ever again. How has the COVID pandemic changed Ambassador? Are there any concerns with moving towards what will be the "new norm" post COVID?
GV: Well, the pandemic certainly made promoting the new album tough. No release shows or touring at all. We are still getting together to write and staying as active as possible online, so it could be worse. No matter what the world looks like, we will find a way to make music. Live shows may be few for a bit, but this too shall pass.

CV: What do you see as the biggest change that will occur in the music business following the pandemic and global restriction lifts?
GV: I think bands will have to beef up their online presence, develop closer relationships with fans, and be creative to stay relevant. I also think there will be less competition overall for a period of time, as bands slowly come out of hiatus. Even as (if) the pandemic ends, the music industry would be smart to be less reliant on live shows, and more equipped to provide different and unique listening experiences and ways to engage fans.

CV: What's next following the album's release? What can fans expect to see coming from Ambassador in 2021?
GV: We are planning to release some music videos and vinyl record presses in the coming months, so look out for that. We hope to start playing shows again as soon as possible. Also, don’t be surprised if you see our third album before the end of 2021.

CV: Thank you again Gabe for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.
GV: Appreciate the chat. Keep in touch. Cheers.

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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