Colosoul spoke to lead singer Joel Birch of The Amity Afflicition ahead of their F*@k The Reaper tour reaching Perth.
What was the inspiration behind your massive album Youngbloods?
I can’t speak for the music itself, but lyrically it was inspired by my personal struggle with depression, which culminated in a very brief, but necessary hospitalisation. I came out of that experience with a greater will to affect people that are or were going through same things positively, and not join the long list of bands that sing about absolute bullshit or unnecessary negative imagery.
The Amity Affliction are a major influence on my writing and indeed the writing of many other bands or musicians in the hardcore scene. Who are some of your musical influences?
Good Riddance, Propagandi, Raised Fist and Atreyu. Hard to really put the finger on this, everyone has really different tastes and I dare say would be ‘influenced’ by different bands. Lyrically speaking, I can name bands whose lyrics I love, I’m just not sure I’m specifically influenced by any; but in saying that, lyrically, bands that I admire for that reason include mewithoutyou, La Dispute, Defeater, The Carrier and American Nightmare.
Describe the bands song writing process
Well I only write the lyrics, and I do that entirely separate from the others, and then Ahren and I go over the lyrics before adding vocals to songs and decide which ones fit. Troy writes songs, Ahren writes songs, but until we’re actually in the studio we don’t really write as a collective, so to speak.
How do you decide which songs make it onto the album and which ones don’t?
Hahaha that’s always something that has the potential to become a contentious issue, but one that we always get around. We just pick the best songs at the time. Last time we left two off that in hindsight we should have put on the record, hopefully this time we won’t make the same mistake.
The beginning of every album starts with “I Heart ______”. Why is this?
The only reason we changed it was because our mates name was Hartley and you can’t double up on the heart, right? They’re all mates, it’s a joke that started a long time ago and I guess we’re stuck with it.
What CD do you have in your car stereo at the moment?
I’ve been listening to Miles Away – Endless Roads a whole lot recently, but also Local Natives – Gorilla Manor has been getting some high rotation along with Radiohead’s King Of Limbs.
What’s an album that your embarrassed to say that you own?
I’m not embarrassed about any of them.
If you could tour with any band/musician living or dead who would it be?
Defeater. I’d get to watch them every night – I’d lose my shit. Obviously if we could tour with 60s Rolling Stones, Nirvana and all the classics that would rule, but that’s kinda ridiculous right?
A lot of your songs contain samples from movies, if you could star in any movie what movie would it be and what role would you play?
Wow, what a question… Uhh, I’d think maybe something that would be super depressing hahaha I love those movies for some reason… I’d just play the junkie in the corner with no speaking parts because I can’t act.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
Guns ‘n’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I on tape.
You just got signed to Roadrunner records, are there any plans for releases in the near future?
Yep, we’re working on a new record right now, it’s already sounding awesome, we’re stoked to be writing again.
What can we expect from the upcoming tour?
Fun. Loads of fun; if anyone wants to get involved in the wall of high fives we’ve been doing you can have even more fun!
Are there any up and coming Australian bands that you think our readers should keep a look out for?
Break Even, Miles Away, Confession, Buried In Verona, Hopeless… There are actually heaps, get lookin’
And finally, any advice for aspiring musicians trying to make it big in the music industry?
Always have a hard working ethic – tour until you think you can’t tour anymore and then tour some more.
Don’t miss The Amity Affliction at the Newport Hotel this Sunday 16 October as they play a strictly under 18s show in the afternoon and an 18+ show in the evening. Joining The Amity Affliction on F*@k The Reaper touring bill is Asking Alexandria and Skyway.
Interview by Michael Hilliard