Rich Howells

VIDEO PREMIERE: Get ‘Lightheaded’ in basement show with Wilkes-Barre’s Alma Mater

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As the fall gets colder and turns to winter, you may be missing the summertime and those hot, sweaty basement shows packed with all your friends, watching with your favorite local band. Wilkes-Barre alternative rock band Alma Mater captures that feeling in their debut music video for “Lightheaded,” premiering exclusively on NEPA Scene.

Guitarist/vocalist Vinny Amarando, drummer/vocalist Jerry Maloney, and guitarist/backing vocalist Jon Higgins started jamming together two years ago, but they took their time with the music and released a demo back in January under the name Cloud Cover.

“We play alternative rock, but we’re mainly influenced by punk, alternative, and indie bands,” the band told NEPA Scene.

“Most of our songs are upbeat with catchy guitar leads, raw bass tones, and emotionally rooted lyrics. People often ask us which artists we can compare ourselves to, but we can never say for sure. We’ll let our audience be the judge.”

After they were contacted by a record label that claimed one of its artists already had the rights to the name Cloud Cover, they changed their name to Alma Mater and moved forward.

They started recording “Lightheaded” in May in Higgins’ home studio in Dallas and finished post-production in July.

“‘Lightheaded’ is essentially about realizing you’ve been misled into doing something you don’t want to do. I got the inspiration while away at college when I realized that I actually do not enjoy the day-to-day life that college brought to me, and that there’s a way better life for me somewhere else. That’s when I got the words ‘I can’t seem to love this better’ glued in my head, so I decided I had to write a song about it so others can relate to it and actually take some time to decide what they want to do with their life, not just live their life a certain way because someone told them to,” Amarando explained.

The accompanying video was shot in one day in mid-August in Alma Mater’s practice space in Swoyersville with Scranton videographer Matthias Claflin after two months of planning.

“It was honestly such a blast. We were surrounded by a group of really awesome people who made the entire day enjoyable. We set up in the morning and shot the video all afternoon and into the evening. It was insanely hot that day and our house doesn’t have air conditioning, so we set up as many fans as we had and recorded as much as we could before we couldn’t take the heat any longer,” the band recalled.

“We definitely want to give a ton of credit to Matthias Claflin for the awesome work he put into every aspect the music video. And we definitely cannot forget everyone who was with us and helped us the day we shot the video.”

“Lightheaded” is the first single from their upcoming EP, “Cloud Cover,” in reference to their original name, and they are currently working on finishing the four or five-song album for release at the end of the year or early 2017.

“The other songs are pretty similar to ‘Lightheaded.’ We decided to make ‘Lightheaded’ the single for the EP since it sets up some lyrical concepts that we touch upon in other songs and offers an overall sound that we think is representative of our band,” they said.

“‘Lightheaded’ is a good representation of the direction we are going as a band and the music we will be releasing in the future. Each song is well-connected in the sense that the feelings and emotions expressed in each song are related and further elaborated as the EP progresses. This is definitely the most honest material we’ve ever written in the context of any projects we’ve been involved in. We’re definitely very excited to release ‘Lightheaded’ and our forthcoming EP.”