Interview: The Amazons

Prior to the release of The Amazons’ third studio album How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me? on 2nd September, Adam Goriparthi spoke to frontman Matt Thomson on album expectations and the prospect of live shows.


When asked about his feelings ahead of the album release, Thomson mentioned that Bloodrush (the first single from the upcoming album) allows listeners to be eased into a new era of The Amazons; the single provides a “slightly different kind of aspect of what we do for our audience” and as such, it’s exciting for the band to see people’s reactions and see how relationships develop with it. “Of course, someone hearing it for the first time will have a different relationship with it than if they heard it 20 times” - either voluntarily or involuntarily, he joked. Thomson mainly seemed thrilled to set the scene a little bit as “Bloodrush takes a different path to the last record – Future Dust – so it’s giving people slight whiplash”. By giving themselves some time to release this new music, The Amazons hope to create a context for this new era, which is both necessary and exciting.


“It’s an interesting one because [the pandemic] is such a massive, worldwide event that it becomes boring and hard-to-tackle once you see it on your newsfeed constantly. I just don’t want to talk about that”

It is interesting to note that Future Dust’s campaign was completed just before the first lockdown in 2020 and consequently, I enquired about the pandemic’s influence on HWIKIHWFM. Thomson pointed out that “it’s an interesting one because [the pandemic] is such a massive, worldwide event that it becomes boring and hard-to-tackle once you see it on your newsfeed constantly. I just don’t want to talk about that”. Indeed, the band chose to celebrate moving on from the lockdowns and reclaiming those we love instead of going down an introspective route; he gave the example of Bloodrush, which was written to express the ways lockdown has influenced relationships (like his girlfriend who lives abroad). Ultimately, the album is about “navigating and trying to bridge that gap between two people” but also expressing it in a somewhat cathartic way – the frontman admitted to using these songs as some alternative form of communication to WhatsApp.


"HWIKIHWFM ponders the aftermath of the pandemic to encourage us to consider what is truly important"

Thomson also felt that the pandemic has led to a spectrum of experiences and, therefore, emotions: “Every artist, every band has been affected. Unfortunately, for many people, it’s been a tragic time and for a lot of people it’s been kind of mundane and boring… as well as everything in-between”. Fortunately, The Amazons had almost concluded Future Dust’s campaign before lockdown, providing them with an opportunity to “spend more time than ever in writing and recording the new record… and working out what we wanted." They added that "a lot of material that we started in 2020 got thrown in the bin – it just didn’t work.” The band always reassess themselves and challenge issues that surround them, like social media, technology, and isolation. Future Dust saw the band reconnecting with one another after an isolating trip away to Wales, whereas HWIKIHWFM ponders the aftermath of the pandemic to encourage us to consider what is truly important.





The four-piece then discussed how truly important their experience supporting Royal Blood on tour was. Thomson mentioned that “Bloodrush was a really good one to play live because we released it at the beginning of the tour and you could see, as the tour progressed, more and more people started singing it even if it was a support slot.” Similarly, “There’s a Light represented a real change in pace for us and added some dynamics to the set. Chris (lead guitarist) plays bass guitar as well, which means there are 2 bass guitars on that track live”. Thomson pointed out that they played a few new songs on the tour (including Bloodrush, Ready for Something, There’s a Light and How Will I Know) and admitted that “It was a challenge to play them live to see if they fit with the old songs.. and I think they did”.


Thomson expanded on the process of easing back into touring and travelling again, “We knew that it had been a long time so it was best not to get absolutely wasted on the first three nights or anything like that”. Fortunately, the band loves exploring the cities that they’re in and “looking at the history of places - just getting the sense that you’re travelling; if we’ve got a few hours before soundcheck, let’s get the fuck into the city. Let’s go to this gallery, this museum. Let’s do some research and hit up cool spots. Or hit up our fans” (indeed, Thomson praised Nottingham’s own caves, as an example). Thomson appreciated that the UK is such an incredibly interesting and strange island and there is so much to see; it’ll take 10 lifetimes just to explore everything.





Without diminishing the anticipation of the upcoming HWIKIHWFM campaign, I felt inclined to question whether the band already had any future plans – to which Thomson simply answered that “new music didn’t stop being made”. He explained that even with the conclusion of HWIKIHWFM, there were still songs that either “weren’t quite finished in time” or “had lots of potential but needed bits and bobs” to finalise them. As such, fans shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of new music being that far off - “maybe something next year would be awesome”. Thomson addresses how new stuff that the band has been working on within the last 4 months has served as his “own refuge from the craziness of.. getting mixes done, music videos, sorting out album artwork. These kind of.. quite hectic obligations that you have”. For Thomson, his “safe space was working on this song in [his] house that no one’s fucking heard. And not sending them to anyone. Fuck ‘em. Well except for the band. That’s the story of new music, just to be able to do something so incredibly... for yourself, for the sake of it, has been really cool”. Thomson teased that new music could manifest as “new wave-y punk” but also jokes to ask him again in two years time because it could be completely different.


“With three albums and that much material, you have more chances to tell the story that you’ve set”

With an anticipated, upcoming tour this Autumn (including a Rock City show on 9th October 2022), the band seems eager to play this new album. Thomson pointed out that “with three albums and that much material, you have more chances to tell the story that you’ve set” and “look into production and do something really interesting”. Thomson also promised to play some new songs over the festival period, citing that “it feels so weird to work really hard on a record for two years and then not play any songs... that was our main argument with management, [they said] 'maybe just play two songs', but we were like 'No! We're playing three'", he joked.


Ultimately, the release of How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me on 2nd September will see The Amazons continue to provide gritty anthems and attack the challenges of modern life, whilst also moving into another era of unapologetic indie rock... potentially with some hopefulness and anticipation for the future.



Adam Goriparthi

 

Edited by: Roxann Yus


Featured image courtesy of The Amazons via Facebook.