After two well-received EP’s and a string of high profile tours and supports, The Amity Affliction have finally delivered their debut full-length, and let me assure you, the wait was well and truly worth it.
The always-polite (and usually drunk) Joel Birch (vocals) talks about writing, touring and being a role model…
It’s been close to eighteen-months since we last spoke Joel, what’s changed in Camp Amity?
Long and time consuming are two terms that spring to mind when describing your debut full-length, but “Severed Ties” is finally out there for the world to hear/see/judge. Tell us about it…
I think it’s hard for me, personally, to look at the time we’ve spent and think of it as time-consuming or long, for that matter; it’s been a process that has made the time seem like nothing at all. I know it has been quite a while in the making, it just seems like yesterday that we were approached by Boomtown to even do the record, I don’t think I’m really able to properly grasp the distance between then and now to be perfectly honest.
Now that we’ve finally got the record in our hands it just means that all the effort was worth it, I’m super happy with how it turned out and I think that we finally have a solid reflection of where we’re at as a band, and as a group of individuals within a band. It really encompasses each personality and I think that is something that we’ve previously had a slight hard time with, so all in all it’s very fulfilling.
You’ve had a few line-up changes since the release of “High Hopes” (the band’s previous EP), what did your new members bring to the table as far as writing and recording goes?
Well Chris was actually a part of the writing process on High Hopes, and he stood back in this time around and basically just slotted back in where he was previously which was awesome. Ryan joined after High Hopes as well, but he’s been in the band almost since that record came out, so he is definitely a massive contributor in that he is an amazing drummer; he always seems to know when to go all out and when to hold back which is important with our music, I think there are definitely times where subtlety is a necessary component.
Any band worth their salt will tell you their new release is the best thing they’ve done, so how is this record a step-up from your previous work?
Well…it is definitely the best record we’ve done in our eyes; I’ll leave it to everyone else to decide how and why it’s a step up.
The vocal interplay between yourself and Ahren is definitely one of the band’s strengths, is it difficult to write and phrase lyrics that you’re both happy with?
I think that is definitely one of our strengths, it’s definitely something that Ahren has always brought to the band. I generally write the lyrics and then hand them over to him because he’s usually got a vocal melody worked out before I’ve written anything. In saying that though there are times when I disagree and will try something of my own accord and it works, it’s just that in most cases Ahren has a better idea than I do hahaha.
There are a lot less breakdowns this time around. Was this something you guys consciously phased out of your sound or is it just the way your song-writing has progressed?
That’s just what happens when we don’t force ourselves to be something we’re not. I don’t exactly know what you would call us as such, but I know we’re not a band that needs people to mosh to have a good time; previously we tried our hardest to write metalcore, something heavy, and something mellow – I think we were trying far too much to apply a formula to our music when clearly we work better without one.
The lyrics on “High Hopes” addressed issues like youth suicide and self-harming. What was up for discussion on “Severed Ties”?
That’s for everyone else to decide. This record for me was a cathartic process and as such I’m leaving the lyrics up for discussion, believe what you will.
Rumour has it you guys enjoy a drink or twelve. Should mums and dads be worried about their kids attending an Amity show?
Not at all, we don’t encourage under age drinking, we merely like to party ourselves, tiger can’t change its stripes…or something…
The packaging for “Severed Ties” looks great, does the story board/concept tie in with the lyrics at all?
Not really, we struggled really hard to come up with something that meant something pertaining to the lyrics as I’ve been pretty guarded with them even amongst the band. In the end we just wanted something that would be cool, but not so serious, hence being smothered in chocolate sauce; not really the stuff of violence eh?
October 10th signals the start of the “Severed Ties” tour. Why should someone shell out their hard earned to these shows?
It’s a solid line-up, A Secret Death are probably the best heavy band going around in Australia at the moment, we’re stoked on our new record and have really pushed to make our live set way better, Rex Banner are an awesome punk band and House vs Hurricane are the seemingly unstoppable rising stars of the scene; all in all I think the shows hold real bang-for-buck, there’s something there for everyone as well, and it gives people a chance to be exposed to different styles of music as well which I think is extremely important.
What’s your most embarrassing on stage incident?
Um, I wouldn’t be able to tell you I probably can’t remember it. The funniest was when Ahren put his can of beer down upside down and then passed out onto his quad hahaha, safe to say we were playing somewhere that wasn’t promoted well and the only way we managed to get on stage at all was to get disgustingly wasted…I’ve definitely chucked a chipped tooth tantrum in my day though hahaha.
If Amity could tour with any 3 bands (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Come on now Cam, that’s a little silly…who would I personally tour with dead or alive? Johnny Cash when he was younger, Elvis & The Doors, now THAT would be a party.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done for a buck?
Uhh…I’ve never done anything for a dollar.
Best hangover remedy?
I don’t know, if you find one let me know.
Finally, what does B.D.K.I.A.F. stand for?
None of your business.
Thanks for your time.
Hahaha wow, I just scrolled to the top and read “the always polite…” are you sure you sent this to the right person?
‘Severed Ties‘ is out now through Boomtown/Shock Records. For more info head to the bands Myspace page.