Platinum selling rock band X Ambassadors are plotting a journey: all the way back to their hometown of Ithaca, New York. The band is homeward bound in order to host an outdoor concert and citywide weekend event: The inaugural Cayuga Sound Festival, which will take place Sept. 22-23. The concert will feature performances from the Roots, K.Flay, the Knocks, Margaret Glaspy, Jukebox the Ghost, Tei Shi, and more, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a series of local nonprofits.
Of course, the show will include a set from X Ambassadors themselves. The band sat down with BUILD Series in New York City to discuss the festival, the evolution of their sound, and how they plan to do Ithaca proud this weekend.
Frontman Sam Harris took time to describe how the quartet came up with their unique sound, explaining that it is a product of their eclectic musical tastes growing up — which included a healthy diet of hip-hop.
“What’s so great about hip-hop is it’s incorporating all of these different elements,” he notes. “You can have a klezmer sound over a soul funk beat with a Moog synthesizer underneath it. And you’re working with all these different genres and creating something so unique, so fresh sounding. And that’s always how I’ve approached our sound.”
The band also explained how their hometown has had an indelible influence on their evolution. “There’s a lot of, sort of, grayness in upstate New York. Almost a listless feeling. And Ithaca is kind of the little bright spot there,” notes keyboardist Casey Harris. “Even on the gloomiest days there’s always happy people around and amazing things to do. Even having grown up there I still go back and find new things to discover about it.
“It’s also a weird community,” adds Sam Harris. “You’re allowed to be yourself completely and utterly, and that is such a nurturing environment for a young artist.”
Watch the full BUILD interview below.