A Conversation With Amyl and the Sniffers

By Sun Noor

Amyl and the Sniffers are a Melbourne-based punk outfit consisting of vocalist Amy Taylor, guitarist Declan Martens, drummer Bryce Wilson and Bassist Gus Romer. The band initially took off when former housemates, Taylor, Martens and Wilson began to collaborate on their first project, “Giddy Up,” that would eventually become their first EP, which consisted of four songs. The record was put together in the span of 12 hours. Romer joined later on completing the lineup. The record essentially captures the energy of a live album given its raw production. Interestingly it also contains quite the contrasting with the punchy, guitar-heavy tracks that consist of light hearted lyrics, yet also features “Caltex Cowgirl,” which is a slower, ballad-like number. The quartet released their second EP, “Big Attraction,” last year which is a well-produced number that still maintains the band’s signature distorted, loud and guitar-heavy sound, which make for quite the rowdy yet exceedingly entraining live performances.

From left to right: Amy Taylor, Bryce Wilson, Declan Martens and Gus Romer

I caught up by the four piece right before they were due to take the stage at L’Olympia for their first Montreal gig , where they discussed everything from how they came about cultivating their sound to details regarding their upcoming debut album.

It’s your first time playing these cities, how had this tour been treating you thus far?

Amy: “Heaps good, yeah it’s been pretty fun. It’s pretty brutal lots of dates, lots of gigs, lots of cities but it’s been pretty sick.”

Gus: “Yeah it’s been good.”

Amy: “It’s been unreal, we’re pretty lucky because all the crowds have been huge since they come to see Gizzard so I feel like if we came over and played by ourselves it wouldn’t be the same perception I guess.”

Have you had any memorable shows lately?

Amy: “Detroit was pretty sick like everyone was getting crazy and yelling shit. It was pretty wild and then afterwards we went bowling because there was a bowling alley next door. The first one was also good as well because it was an all ages but we didn’t know so we were chucking beers out and everything and all the kids were like “Yay,!” The we realized it was because they were so underage, it was pretty funny.”

What do you enjoy doing on your days off or when you’re not touring?

Bryce: “We haven’t had many days off lately, we had only had a couple and we usually just wonder around the cities and stuff if we can.”

Declan: “Visit the museums”

Bryce:” It’s just like sites and the sounds and the beers.”

Amy: “it’s pretty different, everywhere’s kind of different not just from Australia but each city is very different from the last one and it’s nice to just look around and even just people watching is fun.

I know you previously mentioned being heavily influence by the 70s era not only musically by stylistically as well, do you have any specific influences when it comes to writing about music?

Amy: ” yeah just whatever’s around me I guess, lyrically I’m not really inspired by the 70s but what goes on around me. Musically I was inspired by how things sounded more raw and I like that, it’s hard to say what really inspires me.”

If you were to switch places with a band from the 70s what would be your choice?

Bryce: ” I would like to be in Coloured Balls they were like a really early Australian pub rock band that would be fun to play with or to play with Billy Thorpe’s band.”

Gus: “AC/DC works.”

Declan: “Yeah AC/DC”

Amy: ” I don’t really know, I’m not much of a big music nerd or know that much about music at all to be honest.”

Gus: “What about Dolly Parton in the 70s?”

Amy: *laughs* “Nah she was pretty young, I don’t know if I was in the 70s I’d probably be some dumb groupie backstage at AC/DC.”

Bryce: “Well then I’ll say AC/DC too then.”

How’s the creative process going for your upcoming full length record?

Amy: “I think we’re taking more time with this because it’s definitely something we want to be proud of, whereas the previous stuff was more rushed because we never really have much time left so we just push it out and don’t think about it too much. We have the luxury of time with this one so we sort of make it something we really like and it’s definitely less punk and more rock because we’ve basically gotten better at our instruments.”

Gus: “Also it’s taking a lot longer because we’re a lot more busy with doing lots of shows and touring and all that stuff it’s been harder to do all that and like Amy said, we’re trying to do it right.”

Declan: “It’s happening slowly.”

Amy: “Because it’s our first ever album so we want be like fuck that sucked.”

How long have you been working on the album?

Amy: ” Probably for about l six months I reckon.”

Bryce:” From about September or October last year.”

Gus: “So like about nine months.”

Amy: *laughs* “I could of had a baby around that time.”

Declan: “That’s because we’ve been very busy.”

Are you taking a different approach within the creative process for this album compared to the previous material?

Amy: “Well for the previous stuff we had a different basis for starters. It was a completely different dynamic because of the different people. It’s still pretty similar in terms of everyone bringing something in but usually someone would bring a riff and we’d work around that and I’d write the lyrics.”

Bryce: ” Yeah like the writing process is like someone’s got a riff and we just jam to it and pretty much half and hour later we’ll have it finished how we wanted and Amy will just do some touch ups on her vocals.”

Gus: “Its pretty simple but it works well.”

When can fans expect new music?

Amy: “Well we’re putting out a new single in the next couple of weeks within the next of month I reckon. It’s hard to say about the album because we’ve got a bunch of plans to keep doing his everywhere it depends on when we can finish record some touches.”

Gus: “The rest of the year is pretty booked out.”

Amy: “Were hoping for December for the full album but we’re definitely be putting out some single between now and then but who knows it could even be longer if we don’t get to that.”

Lastly, what are your current favourite records?

Amy: “We played with Surfbort in LA they were pretty sick.”

Gus: A Melbourne band called Civic, they’ve got a new album called New Vietnam.”

Bryce: “I don’t think I’ve listened to anything new recently.”

Declan: “Yeah I haven’t”

Amy: “it’s kind of weird but the last four weeks or so we’ve been busy doing shit so there’s not a lot of time to listen to stuff. We’ve only really been listening to Gizzard play and then ourselves.”

Gus: “Yeah watching Gizzard play.”

Declan: “The listening to podcasts in the car or just the radio.”

Bryce: “I’ve only listened to two songs off the that Civic album in a row.”

Declan: “What’d you reckon?”

Bryce: “It was good. I’ve been listening to a mix of stuff really. I’ve got a compilation of Sunny Boys they’re an Australian power pop band from the late 70s/early 80s. I just listen to that, all their singles that’s about it.”

Keep up with all things Amyl and the Snifferes here

Here are more photos from the show:

Listen to “Big Attraction” and “Giddy Up” below:

Amyl and the Sniffers are due to release their full-length debut sometime within the next year and are currently playing a few new tunes on their current Australian tour and have quite the festival circuit ahead of them as they will be playing this year’s edition of Øyafestival in Norway and Germany’s Burger Invasion as well as a few other European festivals. The band will also embark on their first headlining North-American tour this fall. Click here to view all of the band’s upcoming tour dates.

Watch the video for “Cup of Destiny” below:

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