2014 has been a huge year for Australian metalcore pioneers The Amity Affliction, a number one album, a massive world tour and a nomination for Oz artist of the year. I had the opportunity to catch up with Ahren Stringer, founding member of the band and bassist/clean vocalist.
We began by discussing the recent line-up changes and how it has affected the band, Ahren commented on the departure of longtime guitarist Troy Brady ‘’Me and Dan get along really well writing wise, so it’s not going to affect any of the new stuff, Troy wanted to focus on recording other bands, and he couldn’t get a visa for our tour in the U.S. We came to a mutual understanding, but we remain friends.’’ Commenting on the replacement guitarist, Ahren said that he is ‘’doing great.’’
All the way back to Severed Ties, Amity have maintained an emotional and cathartic theme, utilising the analogy of the ocean as a medium for troubled frontman Joel Birch’s personal hardships. I asked Ahren what the ocean means to the band ‘’Joel writes the lyrics, he loves the ocean and it calms him and he lets out his problems through pen.’’ I went on to ask Ahren if there would be room to delve into other subject matter in future releases – ‘’More of a question for Joel, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’’
The Amity Affliction have been dominating the Australian metal scene for a while, but Ahren did have some reservations about the future of Amity in their formative years ‘’We did break up for sixth months but we thought that we shouldn’t give up if we’ve got something good going on. We’re getting to the point now that we always wished we would. Keep trying and you will succeed.’’
In September of 2013, I saw Amity play Manchester Academy 3 where they barely sold 100 tickets, this time around they sold out Gorilla, along with all their shows in Britain’s major cities. Granted, this is miniscule in comparison to their monstrous arena shows down under, but Ahren said that the same energy has been seen in the British shows. ‘’No matter how big the room is, it’s still great to come to the other side of the world, it’s a blessing really.’’
Let The Ocean Take Me only came out in the spring of this year, but when I grilled Ahren on the prospect of new music in the pipeline, his response was very promising indeed ‘’We’re always writing new music, but we’re gonna take three months off after a tour next year. We’re always thinking four steps ahead. Keep an eye out for new music in the future.”
We wrapped up the interview with a few less run of the mill questions, I told Ahren about the extensive metal scene present in the U.K. in recent years. I asked him if there were any British bands he is currently enjoying or would recommend to listeners of heavy music ‘’I was a fan of Heart in Hand before we brought them out on the tour with us, I really like their music. I’m also a fan of Landscapes, obviously Bring Me The Horizon, and While She Sleeps are great dudes as well. Architects are by far my favourite at the moment.’’
Last night, only a few hours after the interview, The Amity Affliction played an incredible live set at a sold out Gorilla Support from The Plot In You, Heart In Hand and Napoleon. Don’t underestimate these guys as they continue to garner a strong reputation outside of Australia through incredible records and even better live shows.