The world needs good, old-fashioned rock’n’roll more than ever, and The Amazons could be the band to provide it in 2017.
The Reading four-piece have emerged as one of the most exciting young bands in years, and they’ve established themselves as one of the breakthrough acts of 2017 thanks to a string of killer hits and stirring live performances.
In a time when gutsy rock is at a premium in the charts, The Amazons could be about to mix-things up with their self-titled debut album, which is released on Friday (March 26).
Full of anthemic rock choruses and punchy riffs, it’s one of the most accomplished British debut albums in years.
loaded spoke to lead-singer and guitarist Matt Thompson about debut album nerves and delivering on the hype.
loaded: Congratulations on the album, how are you feeling about it so far?
Matt: We’re feeling good. I mean we started recording it in April last year, to put it in perspective. We finished the main part of the recording in the first week of May. Then we went back to it and worked on the mixing over the summer. Really, we finished the art work and stuff with the guy that we work with in February… so it’s been a long time coming that’s for sure. So yeah, we’re really excited.
loaded: Has it been a struggle to live up to the hype and deal with that added pressure?
Matt: It’s really just the pressure that we put on ourselves. I mean, we’ve been doing this for two or three years, really under the radar. We could work out who we are and wanted to be without anyone getting involved. We cut our teeth on the live circuit and we recorded without anyone really knowing about it. So we kind of had a chance to work out who we are and where we want to go. We’re not really going to change anything that we do because someone likes it or doesn’t like it. It’s really all about the pressure that we put on ourselves.
loaded: Going back to the very beginning, how did things start for you as a band?
Matt: Basically, The Amazons in this current line-up, that’s what we’ve been in for three years and that when it’s really started to happen for us. Me and the guitarist and bassist – Chris and Elliot – we’ve been in bands for a decade at least. We started out playing covers and stuff in Reading and we were all in bands of various successes. It was only when we met Joe our drummer about three years ago in a pub, when we were playing an acoustic set and he was playing bass in another band, he came over and said ‘do you need a drummer?’ We played with him and that was it really, he seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle.
loaded: Something I noticed from you show in Camden a few months ago was a real mix of ages in the crowd. Is that something you’ve noticed on tour?
Matt: It was that last tour that we did that we really noticed it. I think that is down to the support from Radio 6 Music and Radio X. We’ve even had some plays on Radio 2 – it’s just a broad church. That’s what happens when you play rock and roll I guess. It’s not a new genre by any means, it’s been around since the late 50s, so you kind of get a way broader church than you would if you were like a grime artist, which is pretty much exclusively young people. It’s good, we’re happy to play to anyone who comes to the shows really.
loaded: Did all the hype surrounding you ever affect the recording process on the new record, or change the way you thought about writing the album?
Matt: That’s a good point… I mean we did the lion’s share in April last year, and it really didn’t start kicking off for us until about September/October last year. We were still relatively under the radar. I do think that if we’d had all these tips and stuff, and the increased attention, before we did the album, I’m afraid it would have had an influence on it. Whether good or bad, it probably would have had an influence. But we did most of the work when we were under the radar. We know that we made the album that we wanted to make at the time. We’re happy with that.
loaded: Do you feel like the music industry needs rock now more than ever?
Matt: I think there needs to be a bit more variety in the charts more than anything. I think the top 40… there’s nothing new and exciting in my eyes. There’s a lot of songs that sound very similar and there’s a similar sound going on at the moment. I’m not saying there should be ten bands in the top ten, but it would be nice to get a bit of variety in there. It’d be great to see more alternative music hitting the top 40 that’s for sure.
The Amazons’ self-titled debut album is out now.