- 11 Aug 22
Derry duo Amberlight return with a fun-filled, '80s-inspired version of A-ha’s classic hit ‘Take On Me’
After his son – a fan of all things '80s – suggested ‘Take On Me’ as a cover for his band Amberlight, Paul Casey’s childhood soundscape kicked into overdrive.
“I immediately knew it was the perfect choice!” recalls Casey. “My kids are huge fans of Stranger Things and their playlists keep popping up in the car. It's incredible how good the music of the '80s was, and A-ha was right at the forefront of that sound.”
Talking to Hot Press, the other half of Amberlight, Lauren Doherty, reminisces: "As a teenager, I always heard the song on the radio. Once that iconic riff kicks in, there’s a feeling you get, a seemingly universal reaction that’s rare even in the pantheon of truly great songs.
"I'm a sucker for a ballad, so when Paul suggested doing our own version of Take On Me, I jumped at the challenge!" she continues. "And the video required a bit more dancing than usual!"
On production duties, Casey tore up the rule book in his approach to the iconic song.
“I knew I had to do this differently," he says. "The groove had to be real – I heard a kinetic Stuart Copeland drum part in my head, a fiddle for the iconic riff, a plec-driven bass guitar and Lauren’s vocal hitting all those falsetto notes!”
Drum duties fell to regular Amberlight wingman Liam Bradley, whose stickwork forms the backbone of the recording. Belfast’s John McCullough, another band regular, adds his deft piano to the track while Donegal fiddle player Damien McGeehan brings a hint of The Waterboys’ Steve Wickham to the song’s seminal riff. Casey’s guitars and production – it was recorded at his Cable Junction home studio in Derry – round off a punchy summer-themed version of the classic song.
As with all Amberlight releases, Casey filmed and directed the accompanying music video. The Brunswick Moviebowl in Derry delivered a beautifully nostalgic '80s feel to the video, with thrills and spills added by local skateboarders at the city’s Guildhall!
"Paul's vision for music videos tends to be quite adventurous and I’m always amazed at the result!" Doherty enthuses. "Recording this track allowed me to develop my ‘pop’ voice, which was a really enjoyable process!”
Watch the video for Amberlight’s ‘Take On Me’ – premiering at 4pm on the Hot Press YouTube channel today, August 11: