Ambleside’s diet of Dopamine, Serotonin, and Endorphins—Latin for Anime, nature, and new adventures

Adelaide’s scene has profoundly influenced Ambleside’s post-hardcore sound, forged from shared experiences and genuine connections.

Hard rock veterans Ambleside have been setting stages ablaze for over a decade. With two successful EPs under their belt, the band latest drop “Contact High,” is a long-play record that delves deep into their sonic identity.

We caught up with guitarist Jackson Buckler to discuss the record. Now based in Adelaide, known for its vibrant music scene and diverse attractions, the bands days are a blend of work, creativity, and leisure.


“Contact High” represents a pivotal time in their lives, exploring themes of growth, loss, and mental health. Ambleside’s energetic live performances, honed through extensive touring with bands like Polaris and Ocean Grove, infuse the album with a dynamic edge.

Building on the success of their EPs, Ambleside refines their signature style in this full-length release. The album title, inspired by a friend’s remark, perfectly encapsulates its essence. Produced locally and in the US, “Contact High” is a testament to Ambleside’s evolution. Future plans remain open-ended, prioritizing the band’s enjoyment over obligations.

For Jackson, happiness lies in the simple joys of life—anime, nature, and new experiences.

Happy: What are you up to today?

Jackson: Not much, just another day at the office selling instruments to the next generation and old blokes.

Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

Jackson:  Adelaide, South Australia. 20-30 mins will get you to beautiful beaches, hikes, wine country, football games, art galleries, museums and clubs. Much cheaper than Melb or Syd too! Music scene in Adelaide is pretty juicy for its size. There’s heaps of venues willing to host tunes, and theres plenty of really talented bands in all genres kicking around. Compared to other cities, the scene is on the smaller side so you pretty much get to know everyone fairly quickly.

Happy: Describe an average day?

Jackson:  Wake up early, try smash out fulfilling activities first thing such as reading, writing, exercise etc. Smash breakfast, head to work, change lives. Days off/weekends are pretty much just jam as much fulfilling stuff into the day as possible. Read, write, hike, game, catch up with the pals, watch a tonne of anime – this one is very important. 

Happy: Congratulations on the release of your debut album, Contact High. Can you share some insights into the creative process behind this album and how it represents a new chapter for Ambleside?

Jackson:  Thank you! A fair chunk of the album was written while we were all living together. Jono and myself pretty much wrote the music 50/50 and worked together a lot with it. Dan wrote a fair chunk of the lyrics and we all kind of just helped each other out from there once we had skeletons ready. For best results, we typically would crack a bottle of something cheeky and watch time skip for a few hours until a song appeared.

We actually wrote the album 5+ years ago so it represents a time when we were really coming of age, dealing with loss in some form and mental health. We had quite a band focused lifestyle; living together, going to shows together, touring, the supermarket, basically everything. During the writing process, we decided to split the band into a few different houses to allow a bit more space to be creative and I guess good morning Contact High. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ambleside (@ambleside_music)

Happy: With over a decade in the industry, Ambleside has built a reputation for energetic live performances. How did your extensive touring experience with bands like Polaris and Ocean Grove influence the sound and direction of Contact High?

Jackson: Touring with these calibre bands can cause 2 outcomes. You either want to throw every idea out and just become them, or give up because they’re just too good.

I think Ocean Grove and Polaris have both really nailed balance. At their shows you can experience singalongs, breakdowns, moshing and get your torch ready moments which I really appreciate about them. I think Contact High does capture a lot of variety and energy in our own Ambleside kind of way.

Happy: Your previous EPs, ‘New Tide’ and ‘Shape Me,’ received a positive response from both critics and fans. How did the success of these releases influence your approach to creating a full-length album?

Jackson:  I guess New Tide and Shape Me helped us feel out who we wanted to be as a band. We took what we liked about them, such as unique sections or riffs, strong melodies, energy and general vibe and just tried to push those aspects a bit harder and more creatively. 

Happy: Adelaide has a vibrant music scene, and Ambleside has been a significant part of it for years. How has your local environment and community shaped the sound and identity of the band?

Jackson:  None of us are actually from Adelaide, so we moved up together from regional towns with basically 0 friends and went from there. It was as the local scene was shifting away from deathcore/metal to more of a post hardcore feelsy kind of scene which suited us well. (When we first went to a show it was heavy af, and I remember discussing if we should cancel all the clean vocals in our music to try fit in better.) 

Fast forward a few of years and we found ourselves with a heap of friends and fans. I would say my favourite local moment was our Shape Me EP launch at the Uni bar. We had our besties and local heroes Hindsight and Sleep Talk on the bill.

We sold heapsss more tickets than what we were expecting and it was just such a killer night for vibe, friendship and memories.

In my mind that was around the peak of the post hardcore kind of genre in Adelaide, it’s since slowly shifted off into new vibes.

Happy: The album title, Contact High, is intriguing. What’s the story behind the name, and how does it reflect the themes explored in the music?

Jackson:  Contact High was something our bestie and film director Kez Ellis-Jones casually said in passing once. He said something like… ‘you know when you are contact high after having a really good night with a friend or just being in good company’ and Jono wrote it down in his notes which inspired the song Contact High.

The album wasn’t themed around being Contact High, but in the end we felt the song Contact High was a really nice summary of the album, had a ring to it and the rest is history. 

Happy: Can you tell us a little about the recording process?

Jackson:  We tracked it locally in Adelaide at House of SAP with our friend Jarred Nettle. Netsy was always really energetic with it and made sure we were really thorough.

I remember one night Netsy and I got lost in the session and all of a sudden everyone had left and i’d been tracking guitar parts for 10 straight hours with him.

It took us around 4-6 weeks from memory… Then we then sent it to Zach Tuch in the US. Zach had worked with our friends in Eat Your Heart Out and we always really enjoyed their production.

Originally we had Zach just to do ‘Still Life’ as a one off single. But afterwards he said he had heaps of fun with it and recalled me mentioning an album. He really wanted to do it which we were stoked about.

His work on Contact High is incredible, the production is one of my favourite parts about it, he smashed it. 

Happy: Looking ahead, what can fans expect from Ambleside in terms of future projects, live performances, or any exciting developments on the horizon?

Jackson:  We honestly don’t know at this point… We are all tied up in new lives and full time work which makes it hard. We decided to take the band easy so it remains fun and not a chore. So we will do shows here and there, maybeee write some more tunes if we are feeling it etc, but there’s no pressure, we will have to see where the new year takes us!

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Jackson:  Dopamine, Serotonin and Endorphins, which I believe are the latin terms for Anime, nature and new experiences.