I settled into a drink in the reasonably empty Pipe and Slippers after a decent walk from Temple Meads. Not knowing what to expect from The Amazons, there was a hint of apprehension; they are new on the scene, and this was their first headline tour. The foursome were a fashionable ten minutes late, easy to identify with the mane of red hair and tall figure of the lead singer, Matt. However, he would not be getting interviewed by me. There was a reporter there from the Epigram, the Bristol student paper, and he got Matt and the bassist Elliott. Joe and Chris, drummer and guitarist respectively, made their way over to me.
The Amazons are Reading through and through, and described their gigs in their hometown as always being enjoyable, although recent radio play and the increased hype has led to their tour gigs being “a bit crazy”. Joe was the chattier of the two, but both he and Chris were incredibly easy-going, with no trace of rockstar arrogance. They were obviously keen to make a good impression. ‘In My Mind’, their latest single, is the kind of track that could fill stadiums, all punchy guitar and singalong chorus. “It was really annoying”, the pair described how Matt had been humming the distinctive riff from the track over and over again driving from gig to gig. Describing the song writing process in general, Matt seems to get a fair amount of the credit; “he comes to us with an idea.” Joe struggles to explain, so I try to help, “like a framework, and you guys fill in the gaps?” He replies, almost relieved, “yeah, exactly.”
As the pub starts to get busier during the interview, the music is turned up a notch higher. The topic changes to their influences and what they enjoy themselves. Nirvana get a mention, as do Led Zeppelin, which is easy to hear in their music. The pair are keen to state that they want to produce unpretentious rock music, perhaps tired of 1975 indie-pop-rock clones (or maybe that’s just me).
The gig itself was in the Crofters Rights, over the road from the Pipe and Slippers. Joe and Chris emphasise that their reputation has been built on live gigs, described recently by the Independent as “rowdy”. Although sold out, I felt that the venue wasn’t as full as it could have been. The front few rows really got stuck in, but there were a fair few statues further back.
‘In My Mind’ is the kind of track that could fill stadiums
For ‘In My Mind’ they both felt that their live sound was more accurately reproduced. The sound of the new tracks was put down to Catherine Marks; Marks is a breakthrough producer who has recently worked extensively with Wolf Alice, and has previously worked with the likes of Foals and Kanye West. Joe was eager to give Marks credit for the “big sound” on their newer records. “It’s more like how we sound live,” he explains. There was a clear sense of satisfaction and achievement with the new single emanating from the pair, and it wasn’t unjustified. The Amazons really filled the room with their sound for the gig. Matt was a towering figure on stage, throwing his hair around and belting out near flawless vocals. They described playing Wembley as the dream, and it is not too hard to imagine that happening further down the line if they carry on producing such massive songs.
The perception that their songs didn’t capture their live gigs was somewhat surprising to me at first; ‘Ultraviolet’, ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Nightdriving’, are all tracks with some serious meat to them. However, played live these songs get a new lease of life. There was so much excitement emanating from The Amazons, the energy they produce and the depth of sound needs to be listened to live to fully appreciate.
When pushed on when to expect a new album Joe laughs, “next year, definitely”; he explains that the bulk of the tracks are finished, but there is still work to do in production. However, as the interview winds down Chris chips in, “We do have an exclusive though. There’s a single coming out before Christmas”. I’m definitely looking forward to it.