“That amount of touring along with playing the songs so much really gave the rest of the band an idea of what kind of music we actually wanted to create.”
When Aussie punks Amyl and the Sniffers released their self-titled debut album back in 2019, it got a lot of music fans excited. The vocal energy from Amy Taylor, the riffs from Dec Martens’ guitar, and the fast-paced rhythms from Bryce Wilson on drums plus bassist Gus Romer combine to create a sonic arsenal few bands can rival. And their sophomore release, last year’s Comfort To Me, took their brand of energy to new levels while maintaining their signature angst and vitality.
This Melbourne band are also no strangers to playing in Boston and will return on Sept. 25 at Big Night Live. London alternative hip-hop duo Bob Vylan and Somerville punks Leopard Print Taser will kick off the evening at 8pm.
Martens and I spoke about making Comfort To Me with COVID and other things to worry about, thoughts on the band’s latest album a year later, being part of a crazy big tour, and growing out his mullet.
During the making of Comfort To Me, you, Amy, Bryce and Gus kind of experienced a double whammy because at the time it was the middle of Australia’s brushfire season along with the COVID-19 pandemic being rampant. What was the experience like navigating these two things at once while writing the music for the album?
Yeah, I guess it got very existential there for a while. We were all living together in a house in Melbourne and we were feeling all the emotions of what the news was telling us at the time so it was a bit stressful. The only reason we were able to write the album together and be in a room together was because we all lived together. I feel like we’ve had that as an advantage to be able to work creatively with each other.
Did you feel any pressure during the songwriting and recording sessions for the album due to the success of the self-titled debut?
I definitely felt a little pressure but I think the others didn’t, they really stepped up after our self-titled album came out and we were able to tour it so much because of the success. That amount of touring along with playing the songs so much really gave the rest of the band an idea of what kind of music we actually wanted to create. There was a bit of pressure but I think a lot of it was good pressure that we were able to translate into productiveness because of how much success we had.
Looking back a year later after Comfort To Me was released, what are your thoughts on it in a reflective sense? Either with the making of it or what the album means to you and the band in its entirety?
I was surprised when it was our one-year anniversary because it kind of felt longer to me. We’ve been able to tour a lot more this year than what we did in the last two years so it’s been a weird feeling but it’s cool. I don’t really listen to the album anymore because I’m kind of sick of it but playing the songs is still lots of fun and that’s what we’ll be doing for the rest of the year until we start to write again.
Speaking of touring, this past summer, you guys got to tour with Weezer, Fall Out Boy and Green Day on the European leg of the Hella Mega Tour. What was that experience like and do you have any favorite memories from it?
Yeah, it was really cool. It was a bit scary at first, it was quite intimidating playing stadiums every night. They had such big crews and we only have a three-person crew compared to Weezer and what the other bands had. There were six, seven, or eight people in their crews and our crew was tiny so we definitely felt like a small band on that tour. One night out in Glasgow we got to go have a drink with Tré Cool which was cool and on the last night of the tour we got to properly hang out with Billie Joe [Armstrong] and Mike [Dirnt] as well at an end-of-tour party which was fun. I got along well with Brian [Bell] from Weezer too, that was cool.
Do you still have a mullet? I’ve seen photos of you with a pretty gnarly one.
Mine’s kind of like a shag.
The reason why I ask is because I’ve read about a Mulletfest that takes place in Australia, so have you ever participated in it? Have you ever heard of it before?
No, but I am aware of one in Australia and I’m pretty sure there’s one in the Netherlands as well. I’ve never been to one though.
What made you want to grow it out to have more of a shaggy style? Is it easier to take care of than a mullet or you haven’t had time to get a haircut?
I had a mullet and then when we went on tour overseas for four months in 2018. I didn’t trust anyone overseas to make a good mullet, I didn’t think anyone would understand it because we have a great Australian mullet tradition so I just grew it out for four months and it kind of got long and shaggy. It looked really good and it turned out I had really good, wavy hair so I kept it that way.
You mentioned how you’re going to be on the road for the rest of the year. You’re in the United States now and you’re going to be heading back to Europe soon, so how do you plan on handling this run of shows when it comes to the material?
I think for the rest of this tour since we’re not necessarily touring our latest album we’re going to include a lot of the older songs into our set. I’ve noticed Amy has included a lot more material from the self-titled album into our setlist so we’re just trying to mix it up for the rest of the shows we have going on in the United States and Europe.
Amyl and the Sniffers at Big Night Live
Rob Duguay is an arts & entertainment journalist based in Providence, RI who is originally from Shelton, CT. Outside of DigBoston, he also writes for The Providence Journal, The Connecticut Examiner, The Newport Daily News, Worcester Magazine, New Noise Magazine, Northern Transmissions and numerous other publications. While covering mostly music, he has also written about film, TV, comedy, theatre, visual art, food, drink, sports and cannabis.