“Stop feeding my baby booze!”
We talk Facebook messages, In My Mind and Magic Nostalgia with The Amazons.
If you were to blend a pounding drum beat with soaring vocals and place it within an indie-rock frame, the end result would come close to The Amazons.
The Reading four piece have become known for everything they represent. Fun, fuck it attitudes surround their boisterous swagger whilst slick tunes transfer any crowd into party mode.
How does it feel to be back in Glasgow? Last time you were here were you playing a club night?
Matt: Yeah it was This Feeling at King Tuts
Elliot: It’s wicked to be back! Whenever you come back to a town or city it’s always good to see the shows getting a little bigger and being able to play your own shows as well
Matt: Yeah you can play for as long as you want! Well we want to play for about 45 minutes because we don’t want to bore anyone
Joe: It’s nice this time around because we did a tour last year which was majority of club shows and then this time because it’s a headline tour, people are actually purchasing tickets to see us! Sort of shows us that it’s all paying off! We’ve been so overwhelmed with the amount of support we’ve been getting from everywhere we’ve been visiting – so it’s great!
Matt: We had a bit of a night out last time we were in Glasgow, we went to ABC after King Tuts
Ah what night was it?
Matt: It had a big spinning wheel in the room
Elliot: Oh yeah!
Joe: So good
Matt: Yeah that was it! We went with, do you know that singer Kloe? And then Baby Strange as well
Joe: So much fun!
Matt: Yeah it was a bit of a wild night actually
Elliot: We got so fucked ha!
Matt: That was the first time we had Bucky! Actually no Edinburgh was the first but then in Glasgow we really went to town, so happy to be back! I don’t know if it’ll be as wild as last time
Elliot: Still give it a go though, it is Friday!
Matt: Yeah we’ll give it a go
Elliot: But yeah, we’re so happy to be back and that’s the difference!
Matt: Last time we were here we saw a girl under some guys kilt…
Elliot: And I got thrown up on as well!
Matt: And we got started on, ha! This all happened within the space of like 10 minutes
Elliot: When we were walking from the venue to a bar, all those fucking three things happened!
Ha, what? Wait how did you manage to get thrown up on?
Elliot: I was walking past someone who had just finished throwing up and I think there was a bit of splash back or something… But I ended up with sick on me
Matt: It was like the island bit in The Pirates of the Caribbean , felt like we were in that scene! Fucking mental
Joe: So we love Glasgow
Elliot: It’s a lot more theatrical than Reading
Joe: Like a good musical
Matt: Or a renaissance painting
Joe: Definitely yeah!
How has tour been so far then?
Elliot: It’s been wicked
Joes: Bloody marvelous
Elliot: Last two shows have been sold out and today is a bigger venue than we’ve been playing for the last two gigs
Matt: Yeah it’ll be good to have an actual risen stage tonight because we’ve just played in rooms the past two dates – which have been great! But will be nice to have a little change
Elliot: Yeah yesterday was this absolutely tiny room that was just completely crammed
Matt: Yeah and the venue was on this hill and had the sickest view of the sea and the coast and light houses and everything like that really which was sweet. It’s different here though so we’re looking forward to it! The whole tour has been amazing so far
Elliot: All two days of it
Joe: Don’t let us down Glasgow!
Ha! Best tip would be to just not get thrown up on
Elliot: I agree!
Joe: Nah I reckon it’ll be me who’s doing all the throwing up
Elliot: Yeah I’m in that kind of mood
Well going back a bit, how did you decide on the name “The Amazons”?
Matt: It was sort of during a time where we took about a year to name the band basically – or whatever we were doing at the time because it wasn’t really a band until Joe joined us three! And I remember I was just looking through books I had read and there was one called ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Arthur Ransome and it was just the most inventive tail about these Victorian children going on holiday to the Lake District and it’s all really posh and nothing happens but I just though “okay Swallows, maybe not but The Amazons, there must be a band called that somewhere?!” and there wasn’t
Elliot: So we took it
Joe: And that is copyrighted in case anyone is now wondering
Elliot: There was this weird thing that happened to us where the first time we got played on BBC and there’s a track list from each show usually made, so we looked up our own song and we had a hyperlink attached and you clicked on that and it took it to some weird Japanese three girl piece band! Remember that?
Matt: Oh yeah!
Joe: It was the very early days as well
Elliot: There was also this Nigerian talk show called ‘The Amazons’ and we get messages all the time on Facebook from Nigerian men saying like “will you marry me?”
Matt: There are some real brilliant ones as well but they’re usually just like “I’m really interested, I want to marry you”
Elliot: And then ones asking our views on virginity and all this shit
Matt: And that we must be virgins before marriage
This is all just on Facebook?
Matt: They really don’t understand that they’re just messaging a band so I don’t really get what they’re doing!
Elliot: It’s hilarious for us though
None of them pick up the fact you’re not a Nigerian talk show just by looking at the page or photos?
Joe: You’d think so!
Matt: A couple always manage to slip through the net and we get some really strange ones
Elliot: They probably get really excited and just don’t think to check
Do you ever reply? Just sort of like “sound, thanks”
Matt: No I just screenshot them and make a collage! Maybe for the album sleeves right at the end
Joe: Yeah or outtakes or something
Just give them all a shout out
Matt: Yes! On how they’re the real winners and couldn’t of done any of this without them
So what can you tell us about your latest single In My Mind?
Matt: I actually wrote it on the drive back from that night I was talking about in Glasgow in ABC
Matt: Yeah we were all super hungover
Joe: And had a nine hour drive ahead of us
Matt: Which we just cut between the four of us and when it was my turn to drive, I was just driving along and everyone else was asleep and there was nothing to do so I kind of just came up with this riff and sang it to myself quite a bit with my voice memos out and recorded it on my phone. Once we got home I started working on it a bit and then we kind of forgot about it for a while and then brought it up for pre-production with the album and I’d come up with a chorus so we played it through a couple of times and it was just straight in and sorted – which doesn’t usually happen! It’s one of the more newer songs on the album which our producer Catherine Marks helped to bring out quite a big influence on really. It was something we built up all together which makes it slightly more sophisticated than our earlier records I think – so yeah that’s the story of that song!
What was it like to work with Catherine? Because she’s worked with the likes of Wolf Alice, Foals, The Killers – so to have someone with that experience invest in your music must be pretty mental!
Matt: Yeah completely! It doesn’t happen a lot that you’re a fan of a producer before you work with them! It was so good, she’s got a funny way of working like it’s quite a collabretive effort basically which leads to a lot more discussions and a lot more emotions getting involved but at the end of the day it’s more rewarding! She doesn’t have the whole “it’s my way or the high way” sort of approach, it’s more “what do you guys think of that?”
Elliot: Yeah she liked to bring us all together and play a song through like twenty times each time to make sure we always got it right
Joe: Got to get the vibe right
Matt: Yeah and we’d be choking on incense trying to get in the zone
Elliot: Basically building our own shrines
Matt: Yeah we had a Buddha and candles
Elliot: You had the Indian shrug as well
Matt: Yeah it was good! She’s very much all about the vibe and she’s sort of the prodige of two slightly more established producers, called Flood andthen Alan Moulder who’s done everyone from The Killers to U2 and all of that lot. And from what she told me, I think she learned from them that it’s not about the producer putting their mark on it, it’s about working together for the artist pretty much and servicing the song, just whatever it needs at the time basically. But yeah it was great working with her!
Cool! So you guys have quite a few videos out but what was the favourite in terms of filming and the final result?
Matt/Joe/Elliot/Chris: Stay With Me
Elliot: The story behind that one is that about a month before we actually filmed that one, we had a director and a crew working on it but somehow everyone kind of got lost and we had not a fucking clue what was going on because we were on tour so it was left up to everyone else and then it came to the day of shooting and no one really knew what was happening so everything got kind of muddled up. When it came to the editing part it just wasn’t right for us at all
Matt: We were in York when they sent it over just like head in hands, we couldn’t put it out like it wasn’t anything we were about. The video was fine it just wasn’t anything to do with us, we weren’t in it and it was just a really clean and smiley video with these really ultra good looking people and shit – so pretty different from us! But we have this young photohrapher/film maker called Matt Geoff who is the visual kind of guy behind The Amazons and stuff. We were just shooting tour stuff anyway and we just kind of thought instead of sending this video back like “we can’t have this” and not follow through with any solution we thought “right, what have we got?!” and we had a gig that night in York, then off to a Travel Lodge! So we just filmed the video in the Travel Lodge, trashed the room a little bit and have pillow fights
Elliot: Just take the piss out of ourselves really
Matt: Yeah! And jump around and rock out in bath tubs and stuff like that. So we shot over that night and the next day, then Matt put it together with tour footage! And that was it really, it was filmed and finished in like two days and everyone was so happy
Elliot: It was so off the cuff and we were all so relaxed doing it
Matt: Yeah it was good! A lot of fun and less pressure, I mean there was pressure but we had nothing to lose at that point I guess
So you released a few singles and an EP last year along with a few more singles this year. Where about’s does that put you guys with an album?
Elliot: Well we spent a month in the Summer recording it and are just finishing off little bits and bobs of it now but it’s all been tracked! So maybe an album but next year some time
Matt: Yeah pre-festival season we’re hoping
Elliot: So could be March maybe…
Matt: They’ll be a couple more singles in between now and then though! We’ve got another single to come out before the end of the year as well so will see how that goes! And then with the album, like Elliot said it’s pretty much finished so it’ll be ready to go whenever we need to drop it
Ah cool! And with all your singles it’s safe to say you’ve secured yourself a whole range of sounds, so what sort of thing can fans be expecting with the album?
Matt: It’s definitely more along the lines of last single ‘In My Mind’ that it’s a lot darker then maybe ‘Nightdriving’ was
Joe: We definitely wanted to set the scene with the album with this single for sure! I think there was a debate or some form of a confliction around what our sound was with like ‘Nightdriving’ and stuff but Matt wrote those songs when he was like 16/17 so a long time ago but then ‘In My Mind’ was a lot more recent so it represented us much better so it made sense to go with that single as a teaser
Matt: Yeah there’s much darker sounds on the album, I think it’s a rock record. I would say that because it’s definitely not an indie-pop record especially with our last few singles. Saying that though, there’s a lot more quieter moments, there’s a lot more acoustic instruments and some strings dotted about and locked away in a couple of tracks also! Then there’s a piano ballad also so hopefully people will be a little surprised! We like the idea of surprising fans with it like for someone to listen to ‘Nightdriving’ and then be like “what the fuck?!” when they hear tracks like ‘In My Mind’ you know just like “shit, that’s not what we expected!” I think there’s a few on the album that can be taken lots of different ways – but it’s exciting! It’s not an album of the same track, that’s how I’d describe it I think like that was a big thing for us, not wanting to do 10 things of the same kind of sound
Joe: When I listen to a great album I never want to turn it off
Matt: Yeah exactly! Because it should be well rounded and cover all the bases
Joe: Yeah! And that’s what we were going for with this one
Matt: Yeah we don’t exclusively listen to a particular genre either like I was listening to Coldplay earlier which had a couple piano ballads and then The Last Shadow Puppets and like Royal Blood
Elliot: So it’s a total mixture!
Matt: We kind of want that to reflect in the music we make also I guess
Looking forward to it! So we read in an interview that you guys use to slip your old demos into people’s shopping baskets in Waitrose – amazing. How does it feel to go from that to now having support from Radio 1, NME and selling out shows on a headline tour?
Matt: Ha! It’s so good, like you don’t want to be putting demos in old ladies shopping baskets your whole life! You want there to be progression and to build a fan base and have tracks played on the radio! Well we do at least, we want to reach as many people as possible. That’s the aim of the game for us and at the time, putting demo CD’s in baskets was all we could do
Makes for a good story also
Matt: Exactly! I also really don’t know how we didn’t get caught, I don’t think a lot of people would’ve have been happy either! So there will just be a whole load of old people in villages out in Berkshire rocking the fuck out to these really shit demos
Joe: Ha! Blaring it out till 3 in the moring
Matt: Got ourselves some closet fans out there! But yeah you just do what you can really, I mean it’s not about being the coolest band on the block or anything like we don’t care about particular trends right now it’s just about connecting with people who like music
Elliot: Yeah people who dig it
Matt: And appreciate the spirit of it and don’t want to listen to music made on a computer
You had a pretty hectic summer this year, what was a particular highlight?
Elliot: Truck festival I think we can agree on for that one! It was our first time ever on a main stage, the fucking crowd was nuts and we all played great!
Matt: Yeah “rock man” ha!
Elliot: Ha! But seriously it was pretty much the perfect show for us for Summer – it was wicked!
Joe: Yeah it was a good way to kick it off because that festival was quite early on in festival season
Matt: All the festivals were pretty good, I don’t think there were any really bad ones I would say
Joe: Yeah no stinkers!
Matt: Completely yeah, no stinkers. It was always fun, like whether you’re knee deep in mud or it’s an absolute dust bowl – which did happen a couple of times – you just keep going! Festivals keep you guessing like you sort of get a bit of a rhythm an routine when you’re on tour, with sound checks and interviews and driving from venue to venue etc
Joe: They’re all sort of the same but also different. Like the process is the same in getting there and you do the same thing every time but also always differ
Elliot: There was Festival No. 6 which was so different
Matt: In the middle of this Biblical storm or something as well
Elliot: Yeah and we were losing our minds trying to park and actually get there then we had load all our stuff onto a bus which had people on it
Joe: A school bus pretty much
Matt: But it was fun! Keeps you on your toes
Elliot: Exactly yeah!
Whenever we go somewhere and it’s maybe going pretty South pretty quickly, we just say how “it’s all a part of the experience!”
Matt: We always say “rock ‘n roll” like if the van’s broken down, it’s rock n roll
Elliot: Apart from V Festival
Joe: We don’t talk about V Festival… ha!
Matt: Yeah we don’t talk about V Festival
Matt: I mean there’s ups and downs everywhere you go but it’s always worth it!
True! You guys have played your fair share of shows and to a whole load of crowds, but what would you say has been the weirdest thing you’ve ever had shouted at you while on stage?
Matt/Joe: Oh shit ha!
Joe: This is a good one
Matt: Yeah this guy at the end of one of our shows was shouting like “I fucking love you! I’m gonna kill ya!” which is…
Matt: Yeah, endearing!
Joe: I mean to be in Glasgow and have a guy completely off his nut to go “that was brilliant – I’m gonna kill ya!” is probably quite a nice thing
Elliot: Excuse the attempt at Scottish accents as well
Joe: Are they really bad?!
I mean, each to there own!
Elliot: Oh they’re terrible aren’t they? Ha!
You hear all sorts of accents in Glasgow and Scotland so fair enough!
Joe: We’ll take it!
Matt: But yeah we do get shouted at a lot but I wouldn’t say heckled… especially when it comes to my hair which is one thing I thought would happen!
Elliot: Oh yeah
Matt: None of us get shit for it though, which is great
Elliot: 2016 bro
Matt: I’m gonna get shit for it tonight I bet now after saying that! We do get asked what conditioner we use
Ha! People shout that during a show?
Joe: I’d say that’s more a Facebook and Twitter thing we get
Matt: yeah people who are protected by their screen
Elliot: “Keyboard warriors”
Matt: I mean maybe it is a legitimate question
Maybe they really do want to know what conditioner you guys are using
Matt: Who knows!
Joe: Actually I remember we had someone shout something really weird last time we were in Glasgow… but I cant remember what it is! Let’s just go with the conditioner thing
Matt: I’d say that “indie-rock” crowds are pretty tame like if they don’t like you they’re usually quite subdued or give you shit
Joe: Even the uni festival we did in Bournemouth, we didn’t really get heckled! We thought that would be a bad one and I remember England were playing that day so I was like “fuck it!” and I put on an England shirt so they wouldn’t throw bottles at us because we thought they were pretty much just there to listen to dance music – so not us! But it was great
Matt: Sometimes we just get “Wonderwall” like people shouting it at us wanting us to play it I guess
We’ve heard that before actually at other gigs! So I don’t think that’s just at your shows, pretty much anyone on a stage!
Joe: Ha good! Anyone with a guitar really
Matt: We seem to be doing okay I guess with the whole heckling front though
Joe: Yeah I’d just say that death threats have been the weirdest thing
Matt: Yeah just death threats, I mean they don’t happen often but when they do, it’s weird
Ha! So it’s new music Friday, what new music would you guys be recommending today?
Joe: Oh I’ve got a good one
Matt: Yeah same
Elliot: We’ve all been listening to that new song by The Growlers with Julien Casablancas – so good! They’re new album came out a couple of days ago as well and it’s insane
Matt: Oh yeah that’s so good that one! Also the Bon Iver album actually
Elliot: “Bon Iver” how do you say it?
Matt: “Bon Iver”? Sounding quite French maybe? I don’t know ha!
Joe: Yeah he locked himself away in a cabin in the woods for his first record after breaking up with his girlfriend, probably came out looking like Grizzly Adams or something as well
Matt: Yeah that was good album though! His second one though, can’t remember where but some site just absolutely brutalised it – gave it a 5 out of 10
Matt: I kind of agree with it in that it’s a really nice sounding album but at the end of the day, there aren’t any songs on it, like he doesn’t really do them. There’s never any structure to them I guess
Elliot: I’d say it’s his production on them which is pretty ground breaking on them though
Chris: That’s like saying Aphex Twin isn’t any good because he doesn’t have any songs
Matt: I’d say that’s different though because Aphex Twin is like an ambient artist whereas Bon Iver is a singer-songwriter. But yeah his fan base will be expecting that sort of album that’s like ‘Skinny Live’ and all that but if he wants to go down a different route then obviously that’s cool
Elliot: Fair enough!
Joe: We’re not going to stop him, ha!
Matt: Yeah it still sounds really good
Elliot: And Warpaint’s new album is really good
Matt: Oh yeah! Think that’s about it for now
For the last part of the interview we’re going to play a game of Who’s Most Likely To
Joe: Oh shit!
Just going to you guys completely on the spot if that’s alright? Ha!
Elliot: Yeah can’t wait!
So who’s most likely to get lost in a city and show up at the wrong venue?
Chris: Yeah Elliot
Elliot: Wait me?
Joe: Yeah your phone never works and you’re always walking about 10 steps behind us
Elliot: Okay yeah definitely me
Who’s most likely to end up on Jeremy Kyle?
Joe: I’ll put myself up for that one, easy!
Matt: Yeah Joe
Elliot: What would the caption be?
Joe: “He’s got my baby but he’s always at the pub!” “He keeps taking our son to the pub!”
Matt: “Stop feeding my baby booze!”
Joe: Ha! So yeah I’d say me
Who’s most likely to become the next Kanye West on Twitter?
Joe: I don’t have Twitter so not me this time
Matt: Yeah I’m the only one that does Twitter really
Do you think you could become a Kanye?
Matt: Just pretty much chat shit all the time and vamp myself up? Yeah on you go! I mean to be fair after living somewhere like L.A for so long with that lifestyle you’re mind will go a bit
It’d be pretty intense yeah!
Elliot: And that thing that happened to Kim the other week? It’s sort of funny… but also really not
Have you seen the meme going around about it?
Joe: I’ve seen that yeah!
Elliot: Ha! That’s good
Joe: Our tour manager has some conspiracy theory that it’s a massive insurance scam because Kanye West is broke
Matt: We are not connected with that kind of thing though!
Joe: That’s what I’m saying! It’s a conspiracy
Matt: Did he not tweet Mark Zuckerberg though asking for money?
Joe: Yeah! He asked loads of people
Matt: I would not give Kanye West a million dollars
Elliot: Pretty ballsy to tweet also
Matt: Yeah the guys does have balls
Joe: Got game
Who’s most likely to fall off stage?
Matt: I come close! I’m not gonna lie, I’m a bit of a deer on ice sometimes
Joe: Your spacial awareness isn’t great
Elliot: Yeah you’re like Bambi
Matt: Yeah my spacial awareness is bad, I’ve got a lot of hair and I’m a lanky bastard so none of these things really work in my favour – so yeah! I mean the rest of you are okay and Joe you’re sitting down!
Joe: I’ve nearly fallen off the back of the stage before at a festival actually! I remember sitting down and thinking that this was the end
Lastly, who’s most likely to get married on a night out in Vegas?
Elliot: I’d say Joe again actually
Joe: I mean I amgetting married next year
Matt: I’m good at convincing myself that I’m heavenly in love with people at the time and then sort of thinking how I’m maybe not… I’m more impromptu with my displays of love and affection
Joe: So I’ll take this one!
Elliot: Chris has been lucky this round! Hasn’t gotten any
Joe: Who’s most likely to get pissed tonight?
Joe: There you go!