2019 American Music Awards

X Ambassadors Explain Inspiration for 'Ahead of Myself' Video, Label Trump 'An Idiot' Over DACA

Catie Laffoon
X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors premiered their “Ahead Of Myself” music video, directed by Jake Kovnat, on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Microsoft Lounge in Venice, CA -- and now they're sharing it with the world.

“The video for 'Ahead of Myself' is a very simple concept," singer Sam Harris told Billboard. "We’ve done the narrative film structure of the music video. We’ve done full-on big performance video with lights and stuff and we wanted to do something that felt really intimate and real, authentic, so we shot this video in upstate New York, in Rochester. We’re from Ithaca, New York, upstate. My grandfather used to work at the Kodak building in Rochester.

"But the concept of it is we wanted to do a live vocal take, so we wanted me actually singing instead of lip syncing to create something that felt intimate, that felt real and vulnerable and in the moment. I had to prepare for like a week and not eat anything acidic. No alcohol. Nothing spicy. Nothing fried. No tomatoes. No citrus. I had to make sure I didn’t eat at least 3 hours before I went to bed. There’s a whole lot of stuff.”

At the end of the video, you see Sam walking into an old movie theater with "Joyful" written on the marquee, which Sam says is a tease for their new single.

After the video was shown, Sam Harris, Casey Harris, and Adam Levin (Noah Feldshuh, who has health issues, is on hiatus) played an intimate acoustic set that included "Renegades," "Unsteady," "Ahead of Time" and the first performance of "Joyful," all while attendees sipped on Interscope's portable Electric Sky wine.

Of the new album, Sam said, "We’re going to probably have it out at the top of the year next year. It’s done. We’re just mixing it and we’re fine tuning it and in the gestation period of creating content for it, like the videos and stuff like that.”

Sam also talked about his inspiration behind the “Ahead of Myself” lyrics: “I have definitely had times in my life in relationships where I dove in too early before I really wasn’t ready to commit to somebody. I messed things up there. There have also been times in my life where I have put my trust in someone else too early before they really were deserving of my trust.” He continues, “A good friend of mine I am not really speaking to anymore and that’s been really, really hard. This is one of my closest friends -- the end of that friendship, the dissolution of that friendship, which involved some substance abuse, was really, really hard on me and took a big toll on me emotionally. But that was a big emotional trauma for me. I also, on the lighter side, I got engaged to be married to my fiancée. We’ve been together six years… but getting married and the idea of it is a scary thing. Once you’ve actually committed to it, it’s like, 'Oh, my God! Are we really ready for this?'"

He also said: “This was a year and a half of a lot of transition, a lot of really emotional loss and gain.”

As for his feelings on the controversial sitting president, Sam was blunt when asked about Trump and DACA. 

"Look, I think that he is an idiot. We, as a country, extended an olive branch to these young kids whose parents are undocumented immigrants here. We gave them an opportunity to be here and to live here, and these kids have risen to the occasion. I mean like 100 percent of these kids are, I mean, they’re all just like…they’re working. They are part of our communities. They are saving lives down in Houston. There is a fire fighter down in Houston who was saving peoples lives after Hurricane Harvey, and now he is in danger of being deported, and his story is one of many, many. And Donald Trump is just trying to leave it up to Congress to actually fix this problem by taking…by trying to force them into that position and then tweeting subsequently like, 'Oh, but I might reinstate it if I feel like it,' which gives Congress an easy out.  You know what I’m saying, so he’s not approaching this situation with any sort of tact or any sort of heart or empathy for these kids and treating them just like illegal aliens and not as active members of this…of our communities and our society in this country.”

X Ambassadors will return to Ithaca, NY, on Sept. 23, co-headlining the inaugural Cayuga Sound Festival with The Roots, giving back to the community that nurtured their talent. 

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.