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Amoramora Guitarist Danny Evans Talks Opening For Pigeons Playing Ping Pong [Interview]

Amoramora has been saving the world with rock ‘n’ roll since 2016. Every live show is guaranteed to blast you off into a cosmic dance party and features an ever-changing blend of psychedelic jams, funk, bluegrass, African Highlife, and beyond. Fueled by high-energy improvisation, the undeniable joy this quartet shares onstage and offstage is reflected by their devout and growing fanbase, The Amorons. Based out of Boulder, Colorado, the band is proud to be sharing the stage with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, opening up their Flocktober Fest at the Boulder Theater this Friday, October 6th. Read on to hear what Amoramora’s lead guitarist Danny Evans had to say about the group’s origins, influences, and where they’re headed!


Live For Live Music: Let’s start from the beginning. Tell me a little bit about the formation of Amoramora?

Danny Evans: We all kind of met in college at CU Boulder. Tommy Veronesi (drums) and I were fiddling around with different people—by the end of 2015, we got everything set and started playing heavily. 2015 was a heavy writing year for us. It was a period when we really worked on our setlist-staples and our heavy-hitters. In 2016, things really took off, and we started touring. We had a trio for about a month including Eric Levine (bass/trumpet), and then met Michael Lenssen ( trumpet/EWI/keys/percussion) through the CU jazz scene, since Eric is a graduate of the CU School of Music, having studied jazz trumpet.

L4LM: With all of this positive growth, how do you think your style and sound have developed over the past year?

DE: Oh my goodness. [laughs] It has literally been our biggest year of growth, and Amoramora’s sound is changing more than ever. We began the year with Lenssen just bringing the keys onstage, and now he plays keys and trumpet at the same time and will switch to EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). Lenssen runs multiple synthesizers through it at once, creating sonic textures that would normally come from a keyboard with his mouth. We’ve learned so much more bluegrass, and the jams have just gotten longer. Since we played so much this year, we’ve gotten to tickle every corner of the jam band world.

L4LM: It’s not all that common to see a four-piece band messing around with so many different instruments. What influences your guy’s unique sound?

DE: I can honestly say and feel confident speaking for the other guys that Miles Davis is a really big influence on our music. Having two trained trumpet players in the band, you know it instills that mindset of playing, performing, practicing, playing together as a band. You hear it a lot in Miles Davis’s quotes thrown around. We also really like the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead—we really developed a love together for bluegrass, and from time to time, we’ll listen to hip-hop. As a band, we want to give someone an experience that contains all of our influences and just rages.

L4LM: Particularly pertaining to you, what’s the most challenging thing about being a self-managed band?

DE: I’d say the hardest part is switching from, like “Okay, we’re about to book tours” to practicing and playing shows on the road. By the end of 2018, I will have booked four full tours, and Amoramora will have hit both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans twice. It’s kind of like, when do I get to just be Danny, pick up the guitar, and write some songs? We personally have to book the shows and deal with the venues regarding all matters, so we’re really doing everything still.

 

L4LM: So, you guys are making your first Boulder Theater appearance, opening for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong who are on the rise and in the spotlight in the scene. How did this all come to fruition?

DE: Honestly, I was probably just as surprised as you when we got the call. I mean, after Amoramora sold out the Fox Theatre, I think Z2 Entertainment was looking for another opportunity to get us in with the Boulder scene. With such a heavy upcoming touring schedule, a lot of gigs where we would’ve liked to link up didn’t work out, so this is really the perfect possible outcome! I’ve bumped into Pigeon’s management from time to time around Colorado, and I think they thought, “Let’s give these guys a shot.” We are truly blessed to open up such an awesome night, rage, and play with a band that has put in so much hard work over the years. I’m from Virginia and used to hear about Pigeons Playing Ping Pong playing my friends fraternity parties. It’s crazy we’re now playing the Boulder Theater with them on Friday.

We’ve played with a bunch of different acts, but Pigeons have this really nice organic following that genuinely loves the band and love the music. It’s really cool to be able to dip our toes in that water. Meeting people, selling tickets, and getting the stoke up for the show has been a really fun experience. There are definitely gonna be a lot of special people there who really like Pigeons.

 

L4LM: What does playing the Boulder Theater mean to you, as a Boulder resident and graduate of the University of Colorado?

DE: It’s enormous! It’s the biggest theater in town, and I’ve seen some world-class musical acts there plus some of my personal favorite shows ever. A lot of incredible shows that I even didn’t attend but have listened to have happened at the Boulder Theater. So, it’s a big night for me and for the band. I don’t know, I feel like it’s a big night for the Boulder scene. It seems like there’s a new theme going on in town. Younger bands are starting to tour and break out. We have a lot of great bands out here, and I just think it’s great how a band like Pigeons can look into a scene like that and say, “We’re going to support the locals and go with this big Flocktober gig.”

L4LM: Absolutely, it seems like the Fox and Boulder Theaters have a theme of supporting local talent.

DE: Yeah, they’ve always been there to help us and support our vision, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Everyone at the venues are part of our family now.

L4LM: Before we wrap this up, if you could give one piece of advice to an upcoming nationally touring act, what would it be?

DE: Practice, and, I’d like to say, make sure that you’re being original. The thing about this improvisational music scene is this: People want to hear groundbreaking music. They want to hear sonic textures that are really going to tickle their brain in different ways that they haven’t necessarily felt before. I think it’s important to break out new instruments and be multi-instrumentalists. Being truly original has gotten so washed out with cover bands and this and that, and you really have to fight to make sure that you’re doing your own thing.

L4LM: Well, thank you so much for taking this time to speak with us, Danny. Best of luck this upcoming weekend and this upcoming fall-touring season!