Amber Mary Bain, known professionally as Japanese House, was born in Buckinghamshire, England. Bain contributes vocals and plays guitar, synthesizer, and keyboard for her music. She began writing music under the moniker the Japanese House in 2012, after being introduced to Matty Healy. Matthew Timothy Healy (born 8 April 1989) is an English singer-songwriter and record producer who is the lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the indie art pop band 1975.
Introduced to Japanese House by Stephen Thompson, writer for NPR music in the best new album of 2023 review, In the End, it Always Does. Our real introduction comes from Anne Powers who directed us to the the NPR new of 2023 review by reposting it on her X page early 2024. The NPR TinyDesk concert, featured herein, begins with the track, Sunshine Baby. We are smitten from the first line of the lyric. “Everything is cyclical, hold on to this feeling cause it won’t be here for long”. Sunshine Baby continues to the chorus, refrain, “I don’t know what’s right anymore, I don’t want to fight anymore” Sunshine Baby is right in the indie sweet spot; prosaicly simple emotive lyrics and chorally arranged vocals, piano, tenor sax, moog synthesizer voicings and artful violin (from coproducer Chloe Kraemer).
Disovering a new singer songwriter to crow about, releasing us from another Nostalgic forray into the Laurel Canyon, tin pany alley singer songwriter abundantly rich land. Japanese House and Amber Mary Bain do not need additional publicity since they now have appeared within the music journalism stratosphere. Our goal, per usual, is to bring you quality artists when they resonate with our writers. One important detail which happens each time this writer listens to a heretofore unknown to him ascending star artist is a track is so well crafted we cannot shake it; it must be played in continous loops ( so far several times throughout the day and night), The track for us is Sunshine Baby. Now we know Amber composed the strings on MIDI and played them on the Moog Synthesizer. The instruments featured on Sunshine Baby are acoustic (guitars, violin, sax, drums) and the orchestral strings played on a Moog synthethizer.
The Japanese House, Tiny Desk Concert
The Japanese House Feat. Matty Healy — Sunshine Baby [Live @ SiriusXM]
The Japanese House Reveals Early Versions Of ‘Sunshine Baby’ With George (The 1975) & Chloe Kraemer
In the End It Always Does, Amber Bain’s second album as the Japanese House, strikes a beautiful equilibrium, wedding perceptive writing with bright, buoyant production. Reveling in the raw sting of a breakup, it continues Bain’s collaboration with the 1975 drummer and producer George Daniel, who, along with London-based producer and engineer Chloe Kraemer (Lava La Rue, Glass Animals) co-produces every song. While Bain’s early music tended toward hazy tones that occasionally overwhelmed her contemplative vocals, the music here is emotional and danceable, elevating her forlorn melodies and nuanced thematic through-lines.
Amber Bain speaks to Alexandra Pollard about debut album Good at Falling, her break-up with musician Marika Hackman and why she feels like she needs to be ‘chained to a wall’ to stop herself from drinking
Of all the ways to get over a breakup, adopting a German Shepherd puppy is a fairly unusual one. But that’s what Amber Bain, AKA The Japanese House, did last year when her four-year relationship with fellow musician Marika Hackman ended.
“It was so stupid,” says the 23-year-old, as we walk Calvin – the big, boisterous result of that decision – around London Fields. “I went away for a couple of weeks after we broke up because we were living together, and then I came back with a dog, and we had to live together for another month. I was like, ‘Yeah, sorry, I’ve got a German shepherd’. But it delayed my depression by quite a lot.”
Calvin is certainly an effective distraction – even from our interview. “He’s going through some weird teenage boy phase,” says Bain, as he careers over to a toddler, then a man attempting to do yoga, and then a prim, alarmed woman with three tiny dogs on leads. But as with all attempts to fast-forward the pain of heartbreak, the Calvin diversion only worked for so long.
“When it did hit,” says Bain, “it was quite intense. I had to give Calvin to my dad for a couple of weeks because I was like, ‘I actually physically can’t do this. I can’t.’ I broke down. I think I had a full breakdown.”
Bain is surprisingly candid for someone who spent the early part of her career shrouded in mystery – with enigmatic artwork, no press shots, and a vague, gender-neutral moniker. She was so mysterious, in fact, that many believed her to be a secret side-project of The 1975’s Matt Healy. The music, after all, with its layered vocals, reverb-filled guitars, and snatches of kaleidoscopic samples, was not dissimilar to The 1975’s. And the voice was androgynous enough that it could have belonged to anyone.
Critically acclaimed artist The Japanese House has announced details of her long-awaited sophomore album, In the End It Always Does. Featuring the recent single “Boyhood,” much of the album lives in the contradictory: beginnings and endings, obsession and mundanity, falling in love and falling apart. Four years after her widely celebrated debut, Good at Falling, this album sees Amber Bain lean even further into the pop realm whilst elevating her signature sound.
The Japanese House – In the End it Always Does
In the End It Always Does, Amber Bain’s second album as the Japanese House, strikes an equilibrium, merging introspective writing, and emotionally nuanced threads, with textured production. A grand departure from her debut album, Good at Falling, which embraced hazy tones, uplifting enough to prevent the lyrics from sounding too melancholic. This time around, Bain does not stray far away from her signature pessimistic lyricism, heavily revelling in the raw cut of a heartbreak. In the End sees the continuation of the long-standing musical collaboration between Bain and the 1975 drummer and producer, George Daniel, whose influences are undeniable throughout the record, elevating the record from acoustics and string to fizzy pop songs.
The Japanese House – In the End it Always Does (Official Live Film)