The Amity Affliction

It’s perhaps a gross understatement and equally redundant phrasing, but Australia’s The Amity Affliction are one the hottest bands at the moment. A national headline tour kicking off this month and a spot on Soundwave 2013 announced, the group is well positioned. With their new album ‘Chasing Ghosts’ hitting stores this week, Killyourstereo caught up with guitarist Troy Brady to get the lowdown on all things Amity.

G’day Troy, how’s it going?

Yeah not too bad thanks, I’m just getting organised for day, it’s midday so it’s about time (laughs).

It’s probably an understatement but I imagine it must be an exciting time to be a member of The Amity Affliction at the moment?

It will be. It depends what you are focusing on at the time. I’m just about to jump in and record some friends of mine; they’re called Driven Fear from Brisbane. We’re going to punch out a big day. And, then we [Amity] actually start rehearsals over the weekend. So, I feel that will be an exciting time for me, to be finally playing the new stuff and to get back into it. It’s been four months since we played a show.

Do you find that’s sort of the emphasis, to keep yourself busy at a time like this? When you’ve got the album about to launch and you’re about to go on tour, just to sort of keep the mind busy.

Yeah, I think other people keep me busy (laughs). I don’t know if it’s me in general. At this point, there’s so many different things going on and when you do so much travelling and bits and pieces, there’s always a million things to talk about and preferences. There’s an endless amount of emails you can respond to if you choose to (laughs). You just pick and choose the times you want to deal with more personal things. Like this time at the moment, I’m just taking a couple of personal days to do this band and basically try and relax with my girl before I have to rehearse.

And, how much planning goes in before a tour. Obviously the tour that is coming up is quite extensive. Do you try and relax beforehand or is there a lot of planning that goes into it?

Well this one tour is actually a very small part of a whole bunch of touring this year. I look at that American tour and that scares the shit out of me (laughs). Nearly 50 shows and 55 days. So, I’m pretty much looking at it as one big, long tour that goes until mid-December. And, for something like that, it’s probably not a good idea to get too comfortable before you go away cause then you just miss it too much. Keeping yourself busy is also another good way to stop getting lazy. Because no lazy bands get anywhere.

You have had a healthy following for quite some time, but was there a moment, whether for you personally or in terms of the band, where you stopped and thought: Hang on, we’re really onto something here and can really take this band to somewhere special?

Yes and no. We’ve always just wanted to do what we do and we’ve done it forever. It’s very natural for us to keep doing this. I think when you can look out at a big crowd every now and again, maybe you don’t necessarily appreciate it, but you always feel like you want more. At no point have I ever been satisfied. At no point have I ever said I could stop here and it will all be worth it. It’s just something I want to do for the rest of my life. So, to sit back and appreciate it too much, I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing? As soon as I do that, maybe I’ll become complacent and stop driving so hard. So I’m definitely trying to appreciate [everything]. You never know when your last tour might be. So, you try and make the most of every opportunity you get. But, I never want to sit back and say I’ve done enough.

Absolutely. Have you noticed if there’s a new dynamic in the band? In the sense, I know you’ve had five or six members permanently in the band previously. But now there’s just the four of you as a core. Has that changed at all?

Well, we’ve actually only had two other members in the band properly. So, for us things just feel like the core. The four of us have been playing together now for just going on eight years. It doesn’t feel like there’s been a single member change. We’ve just trimmed the fat, is the way I put it. The people that are in the band right now are the people that make the band and the new record is evidence of that. That is just the four of us together and it sounds like our band.

And I know it’s a hard question to answer, but recently over the past couple of years, heavy music has really been taken to another level. Have there been any observations you’ve noticed that have allowed this to happen?

I know things that restrict other bands getting to that status – too much international touring to compete with. There are just so many shows and bands constantly touring. If you’re just trying to start out, it’s hard to get people’s attention. Australia is slowly becoming Americanised, which means the bigger bands are getting bigger and the smaller bands are finding it hard to get to that point. So, I think a lot of segregation in Australia is about to go. I think that after the Soundwaves, it has peaked in Australia. I think Australia’s music is so strong now. Bands like Northlane, I think they’re an incredibly talented band, they’re getting nice and big. There are just a bunch of bands that are springing up, that I think will fill that gap between bands that are doing sort of 400 cap venues and the bands that are doing the 2,000-3,000 cap venues. There’s no one in the middle, but I can see that gap being filled.

In terms of being in a band, it can be a rollercoaster. We hear a lot of the good things, but what’s a time in Amity where things seemed to go from bad to worse?

Every bloody day (laughs). If things can go wrong they generally do. It’s the music industry – everyone wants something from you. My latest revelation or realisation is that you can’t trust the people you don’t love. If you don’t love them, you don’t trust them. People are always looking for something from you. And, I feel with this record, we had some people get involved (not label or management wise), I’m over the moon with our label and management. But, in regards to producers and a couple of other things, we definitely felt like the band is so strong at the moment, we didn’t need any help on the record. And I guess we’re looking back on it now, sort of kicking ourselves because we know we would’ve had a better product had we done it ourselves.

That’s an interesting point. And while we’re on the topic of the record, what’s one thing you’d like listeners to take away after listening to ‘Chasing Ghosts’?

Well people wouldn’t realise it, but it’s actually a very organic live recording. We wanted to go into it, but not do anything that we couldn’t achieve live or do as a band. So it’s basically the sound of the band live because we wrote these songs jamming together in a room. Even if we did jam with an electric kit, it was still us playing, getting the natural grooves and tempos and vibes and stuff, which is something we haven’t done in the past. This was written in such a live state of mind and our live shows are really going to be a testament to these songs being strong.

Absolutely. In regards to tours, the big announcements have obviously been this national tour and Soundwave. Do you have preference in terms of do you prefer playing club shows more than festivals or is it too hard to compare?

They’re both different. I mean it can just depend on your personal mood on the day. I tend to hurt myself on tour a lot. So it just depends on what I’ve hurt and where the show is. Broken fingers etc. and on the last Australian tour I tore my rotor cuff on my hip and played a show sitting down and you know that is quite a big show and I’d look out and say that is going to be a fun show and I’d spend it sitting down, feeling like a jackass (laughs).

I mean you’re right, it is too different, but there is more pressure on a headline show to come out – it’s more profiling of your band. Something like Soundwave, there are another 80 awesome bands playing. And, when there’s just like four bands, you’re more under the magnifying glass. So, something like Soundwave I wouldn’t be getting nervous, it would just feel like a big, fun holiday with a bunch of new friends, which I guess this next tour essentially is. But, we’re playing for an hour and a quarter and we really have to reserve ourselves and not go out afterwards too much or you probably won’t make it to the end of December.

(Laughs) Yeah, understandable. And you were mentioning before, you’re really striving to improve and better yourself. Is there anything on the Amity Affliction bucket list you’d like to tick off in the next couple of years?

Asia. Seeing the world is the greatest by-product to playing music. Not only seeing the country, but usually you see the country through the music, which means you see the venues, you meet the fans and they’re the likeminded people, so it’s a perfect way to travel. And, seeing those cultural differences is one of the greatest things and it’s such an eye opener to how big the world actually is. We definitely want to get over to Asia in the next 12 months. Apart from that, just keep doing what we do. We were the first band that was meant to break up and we’re the last one that has. So just keep proving people wrong.

For sure. We know Amity fans are going to embrace and support this release incredibly well, but what’s one reason why a neutral listener who may be familiar with band but never owned an Amity album should go out and buy ‘Chasing Ghosts’?

I guess at this point of our careers, it’s a no bullshit type of situation. We’re not looking for gimmicks; we’re not trying to milk anything. We are just doing what we do. If people don’t like this record, they probably just don’t like the band. We didn’t try to be anything else; we just want to write some stuff that is fun to play live. We wanted to infuse as much punk rock into the album as possible. We all grew up on punk and we feel it’s a timeless genre. In such a fickle genre that attaching yourself or infusing those timeless elements is something I hope people can appreciate in such a sea of horrible digital [recordings]. And, we deal with the worst of it, so we see it first hand and we know what not to aspire to be. I think this band is a more mature approach to that genre. I think older listeners are definitely going to be interested in the record.

Ok, cool. And, just some easy ones to finish off with. Favourite album of 2012?

A whole bunch of weird ones really. I’m going to put it out there and say Antagonist’s new record. It’s retardedly good. I have some sort of man crush on Sam Crocker. He’s one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen. They’re three times better live than their record, which makes me love their record even more. I know the way they do things, and that’s them getting in and writing a bunch of songs in a room and banging it out. I’m proud of that band because they’ve been doing it for so long and they’re at the top of their game. And they’re really, really noble at what they do [too]. I’m going to say them and the absolute polar opposite and an artist called The Weeknd. He just released a mix tape and it’s somewhat in between Michael Jackson, Moby and something else. It’s one extreme to another but those are the things I’m sweating. That and I’ve been able to listen to Letlive for pretty much twelve months straight now. I know it’s not a 2012 release, but I can’t stop listening to it.

What’s one guitar riff you wish you’d written?

There’s one beatdown by Day of Contempt off ‘Seen Through the Lies’. I sweated that band so much. It was ‘Whatever it Takes’. There’s one beatdown that comes in, it’s the catchiest thing in the world and it’s so simple. I remember seeing it live and feeling like it was 1000 trains coming at you. And, I’d never think of it because it was so fucking easy and I’d never let my mind go there, so I’m very jealous. They were one of the bands that got me into Australian hardcore. So I feel that was it at its purist.

I know it’s a cheeky one, but if you had some magical authority to stop one band and/or musician from ever playing and/or performing music again. Who would it be?

Only one person? (laughs)

Oh god, I’m overwhelmed. I wish I wasn’t so angry at so many bands and have so many mutual friends. For the hell of it, Short Shack already broke up didn’t they?

I don’t know? But I haven’t anything about them for a while. So, it wouldn’t surprise me.

They talked a bunch of smack on us and they tried to suck up to us at a couple of festivals. We weren’t psyched on those kids at all. Um, it’s too raw a question; I’m trying to think.

You could go for easy targets like Pitbull and the Black Eyed Peas if you want?

I guess when I’m absolutely wasted there’s a time and a place for some of those tracks. When I’m as intelligent as a cigarette butt, then maybe I do want to listen to some Black Eyed Peas (laughs). I mean watching too much of the likes of X Factor and all that bullshit and all the people like the Good Charlotte singer. He just shits me so much, and I kind of just want him to fade away. One band I wish would write more music though is Raised Fist; I’ll give you that. And other than that, I’m going to take the old approach and say, if I’ve got nothing nice to say, I’ll probably say nothing.

That’s probably the way to go (laughs). And just to conclude, do you have any final words you want to share with the Killyourstereo readers?

I guess just generally this tour is four or five months between shows. The band is so eager to get out and play shows. We are just hungry for it and we want people to come, we want people to see it. We’re so psyched to be playing with bands like Architects and The Ghost Inside because we personally love their music and them as people. So, I feel there’s so many good vibes to this tour that people should really come out and check it out. Because so many tours I see where bands aren’t friends and things and there’s an entirely different feel. I think people can see a quality show with a bunch of bands that want to give everything they’ve got.

Thanks for your time today. I’m really looking forward to the shows coming up and hope the album takes off for you guys.

Awesome, really appreciate it mate.

Take care Troy, bye. presents The Amity AfflictionChasing GhostsAustralia tour this September/October.

Chasing Ghosts‘ is avilable for pre-order via UNFD.

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