American Ink is a three-piece punk rock band based out of Boston, MA. They've grown exponentially since the release of their debut EP Hand-Drawn Hearts, and show no signs of stopping.
Photo by Lindsey Hernandez
American Ink brings a fresh take to the future of rock music with heavy-hearted lyrics and jaw-dropping drum solos. They've really managed to twist the imperfections of DIY music into a sound that's twice their size, and their most recent single "Wishing" sets an exciting new stage for what they have coming next.
I had the chance to catch up with American Ink after their recent show at a local venue, the Middle East. Here's what we talked about:
Q: Why was this show so special for you guys?
Nick: We haven't played at the Middle East together before and we've all been wanting to for years.
Aidan: Nick didn't bring up how he put this whole thing together. He organized all of this, he got lighting, backing tracks, a whole camera crew filming this, and a friend at Bedford TV filming this too.
Q: Can you tell me about those camera crews?
Nick: I had a solo performance for a fundraiser where I met these really cool camera crew guys. I was a huge fan of how they filmed my performance, so I wanted them to come out to at least one of our shows before the summer ended. This was a great opportunity, and that's how we got three cameras here.
Q: How did you get involved in this?
Nick: In terms of the Boston scene, we didn't really have any other choice than to just dive into it. We knew there was a big music scene out here, so we tried to reach out to the right people, and with every show, we're growing.
Aidan: We're all from Boston, Michael and I went to a Green Day-themed School of Rock camp, that's how we met. Michael knew Nick, but it still took around three years before we grew closer and formed the band around 8th grade- freshman year of high school.
Q: How do you draw inspiration from the DIY scene into your music?
Aidan: I know for me at least, it's a lot just stage presence, and seeing what other bands do in terms of connecting to the audience. On top of that, I like a lot of DIY bands, and how they recorded themselves. Besides that, We
're also looking at the next level like how labels work to try and emulate that.
Q: This one is mostly for Aidan, How do the Boston and Philly scenes compare?
Aidan: I think in Philly, it's a lot easier to find all these collectives that are really bringing the music scene together. There's a really big Instagram/social media presence there and I'd love to see more of that in Boston. It's refreshing to see this type of music really take off in both places though, there's not much of a difference there.
Q: How has playing music changed the way you listen to music?
Nick: When we play shows, we definitely get a feel for what people want to see at the moment. When I listen to music I envision us playing something like that live, so that's impacted my taste a little bit.
Aidan: From my perspective, I've started to notice every instrument on its own. You start to hear "oh that guitar lick is cool over this chord, or this combination, and that harmony" you just start dissecting songs in a way that's hard to imagine if you don't play music.
Michael: I think I've become more impressed by the technical proficiency than I ever was before I started playing music. Having been in a studio, and spending an hour, two hours, or three hours, struggling to hit notes on the same verse of a song. When you hear someone who does it with attitude, and does it well, it makes music a lot more impressive when you can recognize the work that goes into it.
Q: How have you changed since you started playing music?
Nick: Being in a band, you kinda learn about other people, it's not just a solo endeavor anymore. I think that really influenced us to change the way we listen to other people.
Aidan: I completely agree, I think the biggest thing I've learned through this was how to work with other people. It's given me a new set of skills that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
Michael: I think I've become a better collaborator, when we first started playing music I was very much a control freak. Maybe I still am to an extent, but I'm much more comfortable now being "alright I have this idea that's very incomplete and half-formed". Then just trusting that these guys are gonna be able to help me finish it, and trusting their input.
Q: What new music have you guys been listening to?
Aidan: The song is Earth to Mike by the band Spiritual Cramp, I saw them play at the Unitarian Church in Philly, anyone apart of that scene knows that venue. You gotta listen to that band and you gotta see them play live. Their live presence was unmatched in my opinion.
Michael: I've been listening to the new Kendrick Lamar album, its fire.
Q: What was the last concert you saw? Are there any coming up that you want to catch?
Nick: The last concert I saw Machine Gun Kelly, like two weeks ago. I thought it was really cool. I got to see Travis Barker, I've always wanted to see him, he's definitely an influence to me.
Aidan: I think the most recent concert for me was Spiritual Cramp, the headliner was Angel Dust and that was at the Unitarian Church.
Micheal: I think the last show I saw was Ty Segall. I've never listened to him before, but he was absolutely phenomenal, some great garage rock. In terms of concerts, I want to see in the future, I want to do more stuff like that, just going to shows with bands I have no clue about. There's nothing better than going to a concert with zero expectation and being surprised by the wildest bands.
Aidan: That's how I felt with Spiritual Cramp, I keep bringing them up, but they were that good.
Q: What are your short and long-term goals in music?
Nick: Short term, I'm going to school for music production and I'm excited to meet more people there. Long term, I would love to keep going with American Ink, take it as far as we can. I think what we need are management and connections, but we have the work ethic and the talent. I think we've done the hard part already.
Michael: Short-term goals, I want to buy a mini synthesizer and learn how to play it. I want to finish the next song we're working on right now-
Aidan: That's what I want to do too!
Michael: I want to finish that song so bad.
Q: What do you guys have coming up?
Nick: We have a single in the next few months, We'll see how that goes. Hopefully, we'll continue to work together virtually while we're at school, so we can try to book some shows when we're back for thanksgiving.
Michael: We want to try and come to Philadelphia too.
Q: That's my last question! When are you guys coming to Philly?
Michael: Whenever this guy (Aidan) will have us.
Aidan: I need to work on reaching out to people, but Philly dates coming soon!