Studio Life: The Amity Affliction
Write hits, fuck school, eat pizza and watch Dateline. BLUNT goes inside the recording of The Amity Affliction’s fourth and highly anticipated LP with bassist/vocalist Ahren Stringer.
You guys have just wrapped up your fourth full-length. Do you find it’s become easier to write an Amity banger, or is avoiding slipping into a comfy routine a bigger challenge this far into the band’s lifespan?
It’s a bit of both I guess. Dan’s [Brown, guitar] in the band now and he’s a seasoned veteran as well so he’s brought more to the table this time, which will obviously have an impact on the record. I think we’re definitely getting better at songwriting and I’m confident this is our best record yet. I mean, it was daunting at first, trying to follow up Chasing Ghosts which did so well, but having that fire under our arse really helped us to get motivated.
Did adding a new writer to the fold force yourself and Troy Brady to step it up?
There definitely wasn’t an element of being upstaged or being outshone by the new guy [laughs], but we did feel like we needed to write more because Dan had already started working on songs long before we sat down for the record. He definitely helped push us a bit more, so we were all driving one another.
With three key songwriters in the band now, did any one person take the reins musically, or was everyone given equal share to present ideas?
On previous records we’d just have one of us write a whole song, bring it to the band and that would be that. This time we all had basic shells and ideas and shared them around. I think all up we wrote around 20 tracks actually. Dan and I did a bit of pre-production at Troy’s house where we really nutted out the songs we wanted to focus on and we nailed all the choruses and melodies within a few days, most of which stuck. It actually all came together really quickly towards the end.
What were your personal goals?
Honestly, I wanted to write a song that was better than “Open Letter”, you know? To write that one hit that breaks through on a larger scale. Lyrically Joel is still doing his thing, writing about suicide and that kind of thing, which is great [laughs].
You flew Will Putney out from the US and recorded at Troy’s home studio. Are we right in assuming he’s Amity’s go-to guy from now on, especially considering the recording hiccups on Chasing Ghosts?
Definitely. He saved our arse on the last record when he mixed the whole thing in four days or something when we weren’t happy with the original mixes from Elvis [Michael “Elvis” Baskette]. He’s just a likeminded dude and he knows this genre inside out, as well as being a great friend and someone we trust. Honestly, he’s the perfect man for the job and I don’t think we had a single argument the whole time.
So you effectively recorded at home, with a close friend. How did that affect the vibe in the Amity camp? Were you able to maintain that same sense of hustle that you have when you’re working overseas?
A little bit, but really, it became more of a Groundhog Day kind of vibe. With the last record we would do stuff that we weren’t used to, you know, being in America you could hit the batting cages or go to a new bar or whatever. But this time we’d just go home and watch My Kitchen Rules or go for a swim at the beach. It’s [the Sunshine Coast] a lovely place, it’s extremely relaxed, so I didn’t really feel like we were making a record to be honest.