Amanda Blank: Pure Energy!

This Philly filly is itching to unleash debut solo album I Love You on the world.

Text by Jennifer Nies

Photograph by Alexander Wagner

Amanda Blank is busting with so much energy and excitement that she needs multiple outlets to unleash it all. The Philly phenomenon raps, writes, sings, fills out rolls in Spankrock and Sweathearts and is about to release her first solo album on Downtown Records. Titled I Love You, the album’s tightness is rivaled only by it’s talent with guests Lykke Li, Santigold and Spankrock. When we caught up with Amanda she was reeling from just having lost her phone for the third time in two weeks.

Are you happy with the album?
Amanda Blank: I’ve been so stuck in the thick of it, in the trenches with Switch and XXXchange finishing everything that I’m feeling a little crazy but I’m really fucking happy with it. I’m a control freak, perfectionist, psycho, I don’t want anyone to hear anything I don’t totally, totally love. XXXchange and Switch are amazing, they really worked with me to make it exactly what I wanted it to be because I had a specific idea for this album. But I think we got it.

How do you know when it’s done?
Amanda Blank: You do and you don’t. Sometimes you need people to kind of say, “Amanda lay off” then it’s like, ‘Shit, okay this is right and ready.’

How did you decide what goes on the album?
Amanda Blank: There were a good 20-30 songs in the running for the record, I just sat and wrote for the last year and a half. Every song I make I know can make it on the record if it’s something I feel comfortable performing. For example my original song with Santigold was a totally different song. We wrote it about a year ago and I wasn’t really sure about it. I thought, ‘Man it’s me and Santi. We could fucking bring it’ and I don’t know if I felt like we did on that song. This year has been so nuts for her and she’s on this weird funny little break from touring so she came to the studio the other day and Switch had made this new instrumental I had written something to and I thought ‘Santi needs to get on this, it really sounds like a song for her.’ I had all these ideas, I wrote this hook then we just played around in the studio, ate french fries and wrote the song. I’m just psyched to perform it.

Where does Sweathearts fit in?
Amanda Blank: Sweatheart is a band I’m in. It’s totally different it’s more rock/pop. I started rapping first then Tom and Rose, who are OG Philly heroes ask ‘do you want to be in our band with us.” It’s a bit more performance arty and it’s a very theatrical show but the music is really fun. It’s very Philly. It’s cool because I get this balance.

Is there anything else you want to add to the balance?
Amanda Blank: I really want to make a pop record, not corny pop but fun pop music. Because I grew up in the 80’s, I grew up listening to the best pop music ever. It doesn’t get much better than Depeche Mode, The Smiths and Stacey Q. Philly and pop music man, my first cassette single was Boyz II Men. I grew up on all that pop.

Is it hard waiting until July for the record to be out?
Amanda Blank: Well, I’m going on tour with Santigold in May and June. Santi is so together she’s so focused. We were joking that we get to go back to the hotel at night and do our nails, eat good food then wake up and do yoga. She’s got a band of dudes I’ve known forever so we were talking about how we’re going to rage out on tour and Santi was not having that, she is like “no-no-no-no-no.” I’ve always toured with Spank Rock, it’s usually me and all the boys and they go hard, so I think it will be nice to be on the ladies tour. We are going to take good care of ourselves.

I Love You is out July 14th on Downtown Records.

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