The Amity Affliction get nostalgic

The Amity Affliction: “[The New Album] Will Be A Lot Different”

Ahren Stringer lifts the lid on the Aussie heroes’ upcoming new full-length…

Before they disappear for the first part of 2018 to record the follow-up to This Could Be Heartbreak, The Amity Affliction have the small matter of headlining Australia’s UNIFY Gathering with a special 15-year anniversary celebration.

Ahead of taking to the stage for an incredible headline slot closing the festival, K! grabbed a few words with bassist/vocalist Ahren Stringer to chat about Aussie fans, the trials of revisiting old material, and that new record…

You’re celebrating your 15-year anniversary here at UNIFY. Is it important to you as a band to reflect on your career, as well as looking forward?

Ahren Stringer: Yeah, I guess. We honestly haven’t really listened to any old stuff for a long time, and just practicing it the last couple of days was fun. It’s exciting to see how it goes down, and see how well people actually know all the old songs. Online we always get people going, Oh, why aren’t you playing any old stuff?’ But when we did, no-one cared! So we’ll see if it actually goes down well. We’re not going to play any old stuff anymore after this, but it’ll be fun to see what happens.”

Have you had to go back and re-learn a lot?

Oh yeah, of course! Me and Joel [Birch, vocals] have both struggled to remember the words to some of the songs, so it should be a bit of a challenge (laughs). It’ll be fun, but hopefully the crowd will help us out a bit too – we’re going to need it.”

On the Friday night of UNIFY, Parkway Drive celebrated a decade of their 2007 album Horizons. If you were going to do an album-in-full show, which record would you pick?

If I could choose it would probably be the one that hasn’t come out yet (laughs). Most bands prefer to play their new stuff because it’s fresh, and you get tired of playing the same old stuff. But if I had to pick an old album, it would probably be Youngbloods [2010], I guess. It was our sophomore album – the first one no-one likes at all, but that second one was like our breakthrough record.”

You mention that elusive new album – how far into that process are you?

Pretty far! We’ve been chipping away at it for maybe six months, and we plan to record early this year – in a couple of months we’ll be jetting off to start recording in the States. It’s going to be a lot different, so it’s really exciting.”

In what way?

There’s probably going to be a lot less screaming, and Joel’s going to be doing a lot more tonal screaming. And it’ll be a bit slower.”

This Could Be Heartbreak was very intense…

Yeah, it was pretty in-your-face, so we’re kinda stripping it back and simplifying everything, basically.”

Awesome. You’re headlining UNIFY – how important are festivals like this to the Australian scene?

Well, a lot of festivals don’t really exist anymore – Soundwave folded, Big Day Out folded. We grew up in the middle of the scene playing club shows, so we didn’t really need festivals, but later on in our career, when the festivals started coming and we played them, it was fun. I don’t think they’re necessary, but I think it is fun. The rest of the world gets festivals, but sadly Australia doesn’t have many left. I hope UNIFY is a good standing point to keep them going.”

Aussie crowds seem incredibly patriotic and dedicated to bands that come from their country. Why do you think that is?

There are a lot of bands that we kind of went out of our way to try and break through into the international scene. I think after Parkway did it, everyone kinda followed suit and went, Oh, we can actually do this.’ And I think being an Australian band is almost a niche market – people go, Oh, they’re Australian – I’ll probably like them.’ We have so many good bands here now, so it’s definitely done wonders. Everyone is proud to be Australian – it’s like a they’re my band’ kinda thing.”

Photo: Jay Wennington

Posted on January 14th 2018, 8:22a.m.
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