The band seamlessly blends elements of metalcore and dulcet pop while lacing their music with emotion and expressiveness.

Funk rock band Amarionette— comprised of vocalist Issy Berry, guitarist Nick Raya, guitarist AJ Sarmiento, and bassist Ron Wells— say that their fifth record, Gemini, due out on October 21st via self-release, is their best one yet. Over the course of  12 tracks, the group traverses the emotional landscape of relationship woes with a healthy dose of 80’s pop influence from icons such as Michael Jackson. The lead single “Criminal” has a dance vibe with Berry’s vocals sounding similar to the legendary musician, perfectly blending synth and rock.

Formed in 2010, the Las Vegas band has embarked on numerous tours with national acts such as  Kurt Travis, Strawberry Girls, and Eidola. With over 5 million Spotify streams, the band is solidifying a niche in the genre for those who are seeking a mashup of funk rock with 80’s pop feeling. They are touring in support of the band throughout the spring, starting in Amarillo, TX on October 21st and ending in Ontario, Canada on December 3rd.

Guitarist Nick Raya sat down with Substream to chat about the band’s latest effort, the inspiration for the lead single “Criminal”,  the art of songwriting, and more.


Interview highlights:


On the genesis of their album’s lead single “Criminal”: 

“Lyrically, I know that it’s mostly about a relationship that was not going well. It’s pretty evident in the lyrics. There’s talk of playing the victim and just constantly being made to feel that he was the “criminal” in the relationship. Musically, it was very much that we tried to push our boundaries. We thought it was going to be part of a demo series and then as the song evolved, it took on a life of its own. It’s definitely got that progressive feel, but we wanted it to be more pop. We wanted to have a pop chorus. I kept telling Issy [Berry] ‘Yo, channel your inner Michael [Jackson] and scat over the top of this. It’ll sound really sick.’ because of how the guitars are accented and the synth-based intro. It all came about very well.”

On their album title “Gemini” : 

” With the title, we felt like it was the evil twin sister of Sunset On This Generation. We went with a similar art style, but a little darker. The first half of Sunset On This Generation is more of an upbeat vibe and then the second half of the record was very chill. I think Gemini is a little bit more structured, song-wise, and controlled, but it has more chaotic moments. On this album, we made the slower songs a little slower. “Rescue Me” is a ballad and “Moving On” is a power ballad track. We wanted “Criminal” to be a progressive rock track but with pop vocals. It was more of a controlled experiment than Sunset On This Generation because that was a free for all. Lyrically, Issy was going through it and he wrote about it on this album. On the last album, 90% of the lyrics were a collaboration between him and me.”

On Izzy and Nick’s different approaches to songwriting: 

I write a lot more vague-sounding lyrical content than him. He’s a little more straightforward. He’s better at telling stories than I am. Because of the nature of that beast, I think you hear the emotional side of him on this album.

Listen to the full interview!