How X Ambassadors took over the alt-rock scene
We catch up with X Ambassadors days before they take the stage at the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival alongside The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex and more than forty other performers.
X Ambassadors are steadily holding the number one slot on Billboard's alternative music chart with “Renegades,” the dates for their headlining tour consistently sells out in days, and Jay Z did a remix of their song “Jungle.” Oh, and their debut album has only been out a month.
To everyone else, their success may seem like it happened overnight, but drummer Adam Levin tells us that for the last couple years, they felt like things weren’t happening fast enough. “There were times when shows weren’t going well, the band was broke or we were dealing with legal stuff and just things that made [us] really discouraged,” Levin tells us. “But you just have to believe that it will work out and that if you work wholeheartedly at it that you will achieve success regardless of external factors.”
Back in 2012 before they were signed, a radio station in Norfolk, Virginia played their song, “Litost,” which became massively popular and became the station’s most played song of the year. When Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds was in town and heard it, he took it upon himself to hook them up with producer Alex da Kid and get them signed to Interscope Records.
“They really helped champion us,” Levin says. “They took us on their amphitheater and arena tours, Dan executive produced our two EPs and album, and we have a song with Imagine Dragons on the album. We just love those guys to death and really owe them the world.”
Levin says through it all, the foursome has remained as close as they were in the beginning, when they were all living in New York and playing half empty bars. “Our friendships were grounded before any of this happened and really hasn’t changed, which is a good thing, because it really shouldn’t change,” he says. “We all have each other to rely on as far as a support system goes.”
Keyboardist Casey Harris has been blind since birth and the band used their “Renegades” music video to show people with disabilities --- such as blindness or amputations --- overcoming intense physical obstacles. “It’s something Casey deals with every day and something we really wanted put out there and we also felt it fit well with the song,” Levin says. “People with disabilities can still do amazing things that even people who don’t have disabilities couldn’t dream of doing.”
For now, all four X Ambassadors members are living a life beyond what they ever dreamed and are loving every minute of it. But Levin says they have no plans of slowing down. “As a band, you always want more. You always want to reach that next level of success.”
If you go: Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival
Over 40 performers including:
Click here to see the full lineup.
Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
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