Amyl and the Sniffers: it’s still passion
Amyl and the Sniffers are an enigma.
The very first time we got the pleasure of seeing these guys play was when they were opening for cult favourites Cosmic Psychos in Sydney.
We stood watching the stage for the space of what felt like a millisecond before being electrocuted into the world the Sniffers projected.
It was unreal.
After showcasing our over excited, mountain-goat-style jumping up and down and ridiculous dance moves for the duration of their set, we chatted with Dec Martens, guitarist and overall great bloke in The Sniffers.
Just like that, over a can of warm VB, Dec became our first proper interview. We were so psyched someone in a band as cool as Amyl and the Sniffers would be willing to speak in an interview with two silly buggers like us.
A year has now passed and we wanted to re-look at a band who we still love and of course re-check in with Dec.
This year has been absolutely huge for Amyl and the Sniffers, touring with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in both Europe and the States, selling out handfuls of their own headline shows overseas, releasing new singles and gaining more traction. Not to mention here at home they have played large festivals and sold out headline shows.
The band have shown our Yankee and European cousins what Aussies are made of, and they have really done us all proud.
Because we’re nostalgic and think Dec and Amyl and the Sniffers are great, we asked if Dec would be keen to do another interview with us this year which he was keen on — only this time it was online, unfortunately not in person with a VB (next time).
Something we love so much about Amyl’s success is the purity to it. The band are so talented, but they had never thought they would tour Australia, let alone out of the country.
“When we initially started I never even saw us playing a gig,” Dec told us. “We didn’t intend on being a band that played gigs.
“After the first twelve months and we’d done the east coast of Aus, we started getting hit up by people like ‘come to Germany’ and ‘can’t wait to see you in Colorado’. At that point it seemed impossible we weren’t doing our own headline shows and rarely getting more than 150 bucks for a gig.”
Dec seemed to be as stoked as we were to have the band touring out of the country. He said it’s “cool seeing all these cities we’ve grown up hearing about and being there to play gigs is super cool. This is our first headline tour of America, so we get to meet people who are fans of our music for the first time and it’s cool seeing what else they’re into and how they’re different from our Aussie fans.”
We were curious, as we’ve never experienced a music scope other than that of Australia’s. So we wanted to hear what it is like away from home. Dec obligingly gave us a rundown.
“There isn’t a big difference, just small differences,” he said. “When we played in New York it was really similar to the Lansdowne gigs we play — people all over the place on the stage and stuff. Same as Utrecht — that gig was awesome. We played a festival in Russia. That’s probably the biggest difference in crowd. There was a lot of confusion with us and with them.”
As well as selling out their own headlining shows in cities like Amsterdam and Toronto, the band managed to release their newest single, Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled).
A track that we really can get behind, with its raw energy and punkified vocals. It made us feel as though we were travelling back to the early days of Aussie garage rock.
The song was released when we were in Sydney waiting for a band to play. Bumbling out onto the street away from the venue we sat in the gutter listening to it — class and us aren’t always hand in hand.
Just when we thought the band couldn’t get any better in our eyes they release this single. A part that really stood out to us was the belting guitar solo — we were obsessed. We needed Dec to tell us the story behind its creation, so he told us.
He said: “Well the riff I came up with the night before a practice. I was trying to make my own exercise for my fingers. I wanted the riff to have that intensity that ‘GOD’ by Coloured Balls has — that was the main inspiration but I didn’t have that song in mind when I wrote it.
“The crazy tremolo bit in the middle of the solo, I came up with that the morning after doing mushrooms. I had this idea for a sound that was like a helicopter, I knew that flanger pedals sounded like jets flying over so I thought if you put it with a tremolo it will sound like a helicopter.”
Lastly, like last time (we said we were nostalgic, give us a break) we asked Dec to this time plug us some bands he liked. This time instead of some Aussie bands we asked for some from Europe and the States.
“Surfbort are amazing they’re our US buddies,” he said. “Dani has great lyrics delivers them in this juxtaposed Californian accent; these intense lyrical themes balanced with easy going delivery. The music is straight forward punk too, two guitars, no bass, all chords no solos. Sean [the drummer] does the best punk beats I’ve ever heard too.
“Shame and IDLES from the UK are sick. I got to party in LA with Shame — they’re sweet boys and IDLES are touring Aus soon. Everyone should see them!”
Surfbort — these killers from America are coming on tour with Amyl and the Sniffers here in Aus. Don’t miss it! Be sure to search for tickets as Sniffbort will be unbelievable.
So there you have it. A year on and these guys are still kicking some serious goals and we are so stoked to see it. Give the old article a read here, if you want in on the nostalgia. We said it before and now we will say it again, we can’t wait to see what’s ahead for these guys.