Get To Know AMAG [Interview]

Ian Hansen

If I had to sum up AMAG in just two words, they would be authentic and versatile. He takes pride in his ability to think outside the box and translate his feelings into music, and he excels at it. Whether he's diving into country vibes with his recent track, “Matches,” or embracing a pop sound with “Ctrl Alt Delete,” he proves there's no genre he can't master. Get to know AMAG below:

One of your recent songs, “Ctrl Alt Delete,” is amazing. What does that track mean to you?

That is one of my personal favorites at this point because it feels like a next step in artistry for me. I have always approached, at least in the beginning, like it is my time to talk my shit or flex. I feel like this is me transitioning to the opposite. It was me pulling the armor off and saying, “Yeah, I am going through it.” I feel like most of our generation is, sometimes. It was the first time I have ever talked about me having ADD and OCD. It is not a pity party thing, but it does affect my life so I thought I would talk about it. I am sure a lot of people out there relate. I really liked tying it together with a theme that would be fun artistically. I went to a thrift store, and with 10 bucks, I got a baseball bat and a computer, and we shot loads of content, smashing computers and having fun with it. A lot of people are resonating with the mental health aspect of it. It has been really nice to see, and it did the best numbers out of the gate.

What made you want to switch from talking your shit to this different approach?

I still think there is a time and place for it. I just really like to try new things. Sure, I might want to come out with a summer song where it is fun and partying, but I think one thing that has been a blessing to my music career is being able to talk about different facets of myself. I don’t just want to be the party song guy or the rapping guy. I want to do whatever I feel. There are days where I do have a great day with my beautiful girlfriend and my friends. Those are the days I want to make a summer song that isn’t too deep. But the days that suck, I want to make both. My goal in music is to never get stuck just talking about one specific part of my life because it would just be packaged in. I was like, “This is the time where I talk about the darker side of my life in a way that helps people.”

Your songwriting is very strong and intentional. What got you so good at writing songs?

Yeah, I have always loved words. My grandpa passed away when I was 8 years old. I barely remembered anything at eight. But I remember feeling like I had a super strong connection to him. It is funny because over the years, I had these random interests that developed. My mom says it is exactly like him. He loved poetry. He would collect poems. I was never writing poems or anything. I was a high school musical jock growing up. I was always playing sports. I wasn’t in one band class. I have no musical experience whatsoever. I never picked up an instrument, but I loved listening to rap. I listened to Eminem, and I remember when I’d like a verse, I’d write it down. I was really good in my English classes, and I loved writing and telling stories. I also like to go backwards a lot. I never really start and then it fills. I always know where I want to go. I have been like this awhile because in English, I would take forever to start because I would have it mapped out in my head. With “Ctrl Alt Delete,” I worked backwards. I have always loved storytelling and freestyling.

What made you want to transfer writing into music?

There was the writing side that was a little bit deeper, and then there was the freestyle bug. We’d be at high school parties, and we would freestyle so much. It was just a fun hobby. It got to a point where my friends were like, “You have to actually do this.” I also used to make videos as a kid so I understood the content part of it. I went to school for marketing so I understood how to take myself out of the biases and look at myself from a worldview and how to garner people’s attention. I have always loved entertaining people. Checking all of these boxes really helps in music.

Regarding the content, I think it is very unique. I love the videos of you smashing those computers. What goes into making content for different songs?

I used to make videos as a little kid. I literally have a YouTube channel up right now of me as a little kid. Whatever it is, I like to entertain. If you look at my home videos, I was a little attention thief. If people weren’t looking at me, I’d run in and start dancing or something. I have always liked creating a moment. I like making people laugh or feel something. As I have gotten older, I have definitely felt more introverted, I don’t need eyes on me all of the time. I do like having an intentional piece of something that I feel like is going to make an impact on people, whether funny, serious, or whatever. I know there is a kid out there with OCD who is where I used to be and doesn’t want to talk about it. There was a breaking point where I was like, “Let me normalize this.” He might look up to me and hear it and be like, “Oh shit.” This is the first song that is a bit of free therapy.

Take me through the idea of smashing computers for this song?

I was in Boston visiting my guy Chris. We do everything together. I visited him in Boston because I knew the backdrop would be crazy. He lives in the middle of nowhere. We went to a thrift store and got a bat for I think three bucks. We had to find the right old computer. We spent an hour trying to find where we could put it on a tree. We finally found a tree that we could loop it on. I had no idea how it would go. The bat sounds like a cannon the way it reverberates. It was so loud and the bat snapped in half on the first hit. You’ll notice in the clips of me hitting the keyboard, it is half of a bat. It is splintered. It was nice because it tied together with the “Ctrl Alt Delete” theme.

You have the phrase rockstar, cowboy, rapper. Where did that come from?

It is formed out of frustration of not being able to clearly, in one word, tell people what it is that I am. I feel like I’ll bump into a friend from high school and they ask what music I make, and I don’t even have an answer. It just doesn’t feel right in my soul to go in a very specific direction because I feel like I am multifaceted. It feels wrong to only do one type of song. I like the cowboy theme of not having 100 different girls hitting my line. I have one good girl. The other facet is the rockstar vibe of the more rebellious pop punk sound. The rapper side is that I love to rap. I feel like I can rap.

What do you want fans to pick up from your music?

I want them to grasp authenticity. That is the one thing I have been proud of. I don’t think I have ever put anything lyrically that I don’t stand on or believe in. I literally have a song called “Beat-Up Honda.” I could easily do a song about having a Ferrari, but I don’t. I feel like everyone should feel like they are the shit. I want to in a non-cocky way feel that about myself. I want a random person, who may not know where he wants to be in his career path or doesn’t love his haircut, to put my music on and feel like the shit.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be that I was a real person and left a good impact even if the world is just slightly better. That is one thing I pride myself on.


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