Reading, much like Glasgow, is rich in its music history. Not only does the medieval city host one of the country’s best festivals each year, but bands like Pete and the Pirates, Sylosis and The Luminaries also once graced the city’s red cobbles. Also like Glasgow, Reading’s buzzing music scene is rife with bands gigging and recording, trying to make their names known.
The Amazons had done just that, with the hugely successful single, ‘Junk Food Forever’ in 2015 (mixed by Catherine Marks who has worked with Wolf Alice and Foals). The track quickly gained a cult following which spurred the four piece to record some more fantastic singles.
In such a short time; Matty (vocals), Joe (drums), Elliot (bass) and Joey (guitar) have worked their arses off to create some brilliant tracks which we cannot recommend enough! Catch the band at some great festivals this summer, they also play The Attic at The Garage this October. We spoke to Matt Thompson before their big summer line up.
You formed back in 2014, how did you guys know each other and come to form the band?
“It was kind of a slow development over a couple of years actually. We were all in different bands in the Reading scene, and we just ended up coming together really. We were a band for a couple of years and then we lost our drummer, yknow we went through this horrible experience of trying out like eight different drummers before we found Joe, who was playing bass in another band. He did not look like a bassist, so we tried him. He came in, bashed the drums and it seemed to work really, it just clicked because he was the first guy to really smash the drums.”
What did you guys do before starting a band?
“Well we’d all been playing in bands for the last decade, I think from when I was about eleven or twelve, yknow, on and off. School bands and stuff. We made the point not to go to university just so we could pursue bands, I suppose, but we had jobs to support ourselves. We were working at least at a couple of supermarkets over the years. We do this full time now, which is the best thing.”
So it’s been a short time since you formed, and already you’ve gained a massive following. Did you expect your careers to launch so quickly?
“It’s always different from the outside, yknow? When you’re in a band, you live in every hour with it. So every day that hasn’t gone well, it’s just a lot of hard work and you’ve just got to battle through – fight for every inch. I mean we’re a four-piece rock and roll band, it’s not like we’re unique or anything like that. There’s a lot of bands out there, a lot of really good bands so you almost have to fight for every gig.”
What has been your favourite place to gig since you started?
“I think festivals; festivals are definitely up there! Reading and Leeds last year were very good, we’ve also got a load of festivals this year which we’re really looking forward to. I think the furthest North we’ve got is Kendall Calling.”
Your EP Do You Wanna launched in late 2015, and it was your ’ big break. What was the experience of working on the record like? Would you do anything differently?
“Catherine Marks is who we recorded Don’t You Wanna? with, we’ll be recording the album with her over the summer. I think it’s important we were in the same studio, everyone knows each other and that’s just how we wanted it to be – we wanted to have the relationships already there.
I think when you work with people regularly you get all the small-chat out of the way and a relationship develops. But in terms of doing things differently, I think we’ll just be in general making things different than we have before. Which is great! Don’t You Wanna? Went so well and we came back to Catherine with the new single and it again went well.”
You supported The Kooks on a tour across Germany. Does it feel odd for you guys to have a following across the world when you’re pure Reading-lads?
“Yeah it’s amazing, we still get messages from that tour which is unbelievable. It was February last year, in fact I’ve still got a couple of addresses which we’ll send letters to and stuff like Christmas cards, lyric sheets, CDs and stuff like that because they give us so much support. I think they really like us, they’ve got an appetite for English bands and Americans bands – being from Germany they might not get it as much as we do over here since we’re spoiled for choice.
We’ve never seen that support replicated anywhere else, but maybe that’s because that’s the only mainland tour we’ve been around Europe – we’ve only been to England, Scotland and Wales since then. But yeah, more of that kind of thing would be amazing.”
Summer is festival season – and you guys are lined up to play some fantastic shows. How excited are you to get started?
“Yeah super excited, festival season is definitely what the whole thing is about for us. I think it’s because festivals aren’t like gigs, you don’t get a sound check you just get a line check so there’s so much scope for things to go wrong but when it goes right, it’s really cool. Like I said, Kendall Calling can be really cool; we just played Great Escape which was sick; we’re doing Festival Number Six in Wales; Why Not Festival so we’re really busy but it’s exactly the kind of thing we wanna do.”
So someone comes up to you, and tells you that you can choose any one festival to headline this summer. Which would you choose and why?
“Being from Reading, I think the first choice would be Reading Festival. It sounds cliché but we grew up there, and it shaped us as all the bands we seen there every year kind of shaped the way we listened to music – so to headline that one may be a long way away but it’s the ultimate goal. I think as well, Coachella looks really hot, and really cool and there’s usually a lot of chicks around so we wanna play Coachella it looks cool man. Glastonbury is another big one, but probably Reading for the sentimental aspect of it. Definitely Reading.”
So, two singles and an EP in 2015. Two more singles in 2016. All of them fantastic. Is there any thought on a full album yet?
“Yes, basically the whole of April was taken up being in the studio working on the record for, I think it will probably be next year. I think it will be since we’re not ones to rush it out, we’ll be doing some extra recording at the end of the summer and we’ll see where we go from there. I think the skeleton is done, which is exciting. We just have to tour the hell out of it, just get out on the road nonstop for 18 months or whatever. So yeah that’s the update on the record!”
Who are your favourite bands on the circuit right now?
“This is why it was great to play Great Escape last weekend, because you get to meet up with loads of people you see on tour. Our label mates, a band called Palace, Big Moon are both awesome! There’s some great bands in Reading too, a band called Palm Honey, Sundara Karma, Haze and I think as well we’re all big fans of a band called Black Honey who are from Brighton – they’re really cool. Yeah there’s so many bands out there, like In Heaven who have been doing well recently and we played a couple of shows with them and they’re fantastic.”
The Amazons are playing at the Garage on Friday 7 October – win two tickets to the gig with our competition below!