The clock struck 7:30 and Syracuse University’s Schine Underground opened its doors for the first concert in University Union’s Bandersnatch concert series. The alternative up-and-coming band, Tribe Society opened for X Ambassadors, and these two powerhouse collectives made for an electric, powerful, and exciting sold-out performance.
Well known for their hit “Renegades”, X Ambassadors’ sound has been sweeping the country, and they’re making a name for themselves with their feel-good, eccentric vibe. Originally from Ithaca, their performance on campus proved to be an exciting and well-located homecoming to upstate New York.
20Watts had the opportunity to talk to the band about music, making platinum for the first time, and the future of X Ambassadors:
20Watts: How do you feel about playing at ‘Cuse tonight?
X Ambassadors: These types of shows are the best. It’s what got us into playing as a band. I remember sneaking into a show at Cornell, it was some band that I had never heard of called Arcade Fire, (laughs). There were probably 150 people, but it was electrifying. These student shows are very important to us.
20Watts: What’s it like to be on your own tour as opposed to opening for other bands?
X Ambassadors: It’s a different kind of challenge. When you’re opening, you have to try to impress fans who don’t necessarily know who you are. When you’re headlining, you’re working for people who are your loyal fans, and you want to give them the best show you possibly can.
20Watts: What’s it like being back in New York?
X Ambassadors: It feels very nice. We saw the leaves changing color on the way up here and it was very nostalgic. We miss it all the time. Even the cold, depressing parts of the year, I miss.
20Watts: What has your craziest fan encounter been on tour?
X Ambassadors: We came back downstairs after playing our set, and these two security guards walked up to us with two IDs, and asked “Are either of these women your wives?” These two women had told the security guards that they were our wives so they could come backstage. For the most part, we have really awesome, respectful fans. We’re really lucky.
20Watts: Who has been your favorite band to be on tour with?
X Ambassadors: We’ve been lucky enough to not have any bad touring experiences. We’ve definitely learned different things with all of them. The most fun tour we’ve been on was probably the Imagine Dragons Arena Tour. But, we love all the bands we’ve toured with equally.
20Watts: What are you listening to right now?
X Ambassadors: Kwabs. He’s a British solo artist, mainly electric-soul type. His voice is out of this world. We really love this girl Seinabo Sei from Sweden. She just came out with a new song. We love badass female singer-songwriters; Florence, Ella Eyre, Sia.
20Watts: Do you draw on past experiences when writing songs?
X Ambassadors: Absolutely. You have to, even if you do it subconsciously. I also draw from experiences from friends and family, and stories I have heard. Anything that I can get my hands on that’s a real human experience strikes a cord with me. I’m very particular about my lyrics.
20Watts: Who’s your dream collaborator?
X Ambassadors: It’s a cliché at this point, but definitely Kanye. We love him.
20Watts: Do you have any guilty pleasure songs you all listen to?
X Ambassadors: There are no guilty pleasures in this band. It’s all pleasure. We proudly listen to a lot of pop music and we love Taylor Swift and Rihanna. The new Bieber track is pretty fresh as well.
20Watts: If you could play any city in the world, where would you play?
X Ambassadors: Tokyo. We’ve always wanted to go to Asia.
20Watts: What has been your most special moment as a band?
X Ambassadors: Whether it’s playing at a festival, releasing an album, or even hearing a song on the radio, it’s all very satisfying. We had a pretty special moment when we found out we went platinum in Canada.