When making a move from the deserts of the U.S. Southwest to Scandinavia, guitarist Amparo channeled nostalgia into music.
When I told my family and friends I’d be leaving the heat of Tucson, Arizona for the remote forests of Norway, most wondered how long I could survive the harsh weather conditions or how I would make it without the daily comforts of Mexican food. Meanwhile, my close friends and I were too busy planning how to get two blue Fender telecasters, one Fender jazz bass and a countless amount of midi controllers over to Norway without breaking the budget (or breaking the gear).
Prior to leaving Arizona, I took several trips (one a month to be exact) going back and forth between Tucson and Sweden to help my girlfriend Hanna prepare things for this soon to be life changing moment. There were a lot of hours spent alone at airports and I started to become more attached to those surroundings. I’d take my phone out before my flight would land and capture the flight attendant’s conversations. Other times I would sit at places like Sky Harbor and record the audio of people coming and going. I never really knew when I’d use these samples but sure enough, they would find their way into my songs – there to help tell the story of this adventure.
Though my music is ambient-guitar based, adding in these recorded samples helped bring in another layer of texture but was also my way of showing where I had been and the atmosphere of how I felt during those times.
Naturally, when the day came to say goodbye to sleepy Tucson and all my loved ones, I was filled with an endless amount of positive and depressingly sad emotions. All I wanted was to get a hold of my guitars and to write what I was feeling, but I had to wait for several weeks until everything arrived in my new home.
Fast forward to April of 2018 and I’m in a bedroom north of Oslo filled with pieces of music equipment. There were parts of guitars, random pedals, cables upon cables and the overwhelming feeling to write. Soon after organizing the mess, I would take a couple hours every day to sit down and see what guitar hooks and melodies would float to the surface. I hadn’t planned to write for a release but more to get that melancholic feeling out of my system.
The first song I wrote in my new home was “Gardermoen.” I had the idea it would be about the feeling when you’re on a journey and you’re moments from it beginning and all the excitement attached to that space in time. I happened to have an audio recording of a French flight attendant speaking about the actual airport, “Gardermoen.” It only felt right to have this as the song’s ending to signal the abrupt end and start of my own journey from Arizona to Norway.
Shortly after writing “Gardermoen”, my girlfriend and I went to southern Sweden and spent a few days in the beach town, Båstad. My only plan was to sleep in, embrace Scandinavian living and hopefully capture some audio samples. The trip to Båstad was the first time I felt at home in my new location, where I could ease into the culture and see the future I would be carving out for myself. I began to record the sound of the waves crashing at the beach, glasses clinking together at cafes and the noise of laughter from nearby restaurants.
From there, I took the recordings and started to write the track, “Coastal Dusk.” This song was my way of embracing my new home – a place that has a care-free and relaxed feeling that I’ve come to admire and appreciate.
I used to write with visions of Arizona sunsets but now it’s changed and I’m writing with the sights and sounds of Norway and Sweden. There might not be an obvious change in my work but I can feel how my guitar hooks have moved from a hazy, reverb filled sound to a more crisp, organic and warm type of tone.
I wonder, had I stayed in Arizona would I still be writing the same tones or was this move a needed change into new writing styles?