Touché Amoré: That’s Amoré
Burbank, California’s Touché Amoré have carved themselves a deep niche in Australia, cementing a status as one of the most compelling forces in modern melodic hardcore. For their third visit, they’ll be jetsetting in with Southern rockin’ partyboys Every Time I Die, for a raucous national run. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm fills us in on what the band has been up to since they last dropped in.
It’s been two years since you last came to Australia – how did you feel about that headline tour?
It was a lot of fun. I was happy that we played a lot of different venues when we came out previously with Title Fight; the shows were a lot more intimate and we had a great time. We’re looking forward to coming back and playing to a very different audience with Every Time I Die!
How do you find shows here compare to shows back home?
Truthfully, it doesn’t feel a whole lot different. But one of the major differences is that you guys have different all ages and 18+ shows, which is something we don’t do at home. This time it’s unfortunate that we don’t have any all ages shows; we wanted to do some but it didn’t work out. Last time it felt like the all ages shows were a bit crazier, but we enjoy both.
Do you have any memories of that tour that stand out?
Playing Sydney is a ton of fun, and we always enjoy playing in Perth because we have friends over there from the band Break Even, who always let us stay at their place and take us to the beach. Those are always some very memorable days.
Tell us about your relationship with Every Time I Die – I imagine you guys are fans of each other’s work?
We’ve known Andy [Williams], their guitarist, for a very long time; he’s always been really kind to us and supported us from early on. We met when we toured with Converge in 2010. We’ve only ever played festivals with ETID so I’m really looking forward to doing a real tour together. I’ve always enjoyed their band. I think Last Night In Town is probably still my favourite record of theirs, which I’m sure they would hate to hear because it’s their first record! But I own all their other records and I can’t wait to watch them play; they’re some of the funniest dudes around.
It’s been just over a year now since you guys released Is Survived By. Now that people have had a chance to digest it, how are you feeling about how it’s done?
I’m completely content with it. You always get a little nervous when it’s your third record and you’re doing some things differently to what you’ve done in the past. We wrote longer songs and a lot of them are a lot more melodic, as opposed to abrasive. But the fact that it was reviewed really well, and kids have attached themselves to it, is great. Some songs have translated better live than others, and I really look forward to playing them live every night, songs like “Just Exist” and “Harbor” and “Is Survived By”.
How has it compared to the reception of Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me?
I always understand when a band has a “gateway” record which people attach themselves to, and I feel that Parting The Sea… will always be that record for us for most people. And it seems that when we play the songs off that record, they’re the ones that get the biggest reactions, because a lot of people found out about us through that record, or it came out at a time when it was relevant to them. I think that will always be the one people love the most, and that’s fine, I’m happy that anyone likes any of our records!
A lot has happened in the past year since Is Survived By came out – what were the highlights of 2014?
We’ve been able to play a lot of great festivals, meet and watch lot of very cool bands. We got over to Japan and Korea. It was our second time in Japan but we got to tour with Envy, which is one of our band’s biggest influences. We toured with them in the US in 2010, and that will be forever one of the biggest honours we’ve had. So going to Japan and having them on tour with us was incredible. We also went to Korea for the first time, and we even played on a television program over there which was weird and cool. We went to Brazil too, and that was our first time ever in South America. Having people sing along in a place that is so far away and exotic to us was just mind blowing.
Tell us a little bit more about playing in Korea – was there a big culture shock going into that tour?
Truthfully, not as much as you’d expect. It didn’t feel too different to a lot of places. It was in Seoul, which is the major city there. We weren’t travelling near any of the conflict areas, so it felt just like a normal major city in Asia. But we also played Moscow in Russia for the first time, and we were expecting truthfully crazy shit, but that was pretty tame too. We didn’t have any trouble getting into the country or anything. And the kids at the shows were very thankful we didn’t cancel, because so many bands have cancelled. We were nervous going in but it all worked.
Some heavier bands, like Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth, have reported having riot squads appear to shut down their shows while on tour in Russia – did you have any fears of that kind of stuff?
Luckily I feel we don’t attract that kind of attention. Death metal bands have a reputation that people with religious backgrounds find offensive, but a band like us, with a name like Touché Amoré, we don’t get tend to have that effect!
What’s on the cards for 2015?
Well, aside from these tours early in the year, nothing much has been planned. We purposely have not planned anything for this year, we’re really just going to embrace being home and take our time with deciding what to do next. Eventually we’ll start writing for a new record but we’re not in any hurry to do it, we just want to remember what normal life is like for a while.
When it comes to writing a new record, do you tend to approach it with an idea of what you’ll be talking about throughout the record?
It’s sort of just whatever comes out in the moment. Tyler, our bass player, he’s been playing a lot of guitar in the past few years and he’s mentioned for a while that he has a lot of stuff that he wants to do. I can’t really say what it will sound like, but I assume it will be melodic and whatever else!
Your lyrics have a very strong emotional connection with people because of how honest and personal they are, and I’ve spoken to some bands from the melodic hardcore scene who find it can be quite heavy when fans relate to you on that level and open themselves up to you about their experiences. Have you come into contact with that kind of stuff?
Yeah, I have. You meet a lot of kids at shows who’ve gone through similar things, or have interpreted your lyrics a certain way, even if that’s not how I was framing them. But I think that’s one of the most special things about music, that you can relate it to yourself and make it your own. I would never want to tell someone that they interpreted my song wrongly, because that’s why we write music – for that connection. So you meet some people who are really calm and want to just tell you that the song meant something to them, but you also meet some kids who say some very dark and troubling things at times, or they’ll ask for advice… but all I can really say is that I’m writing the songs to work out my own feelings – I don’t have the answers either. Sometimes you don’t know what to say, but at the end of the day, I’m just very thankful that anyone listens at all, and if it can help them then that’s a huge reward.
How do you view the lifespan of Touché Amoré – I know you said there’s nothing locked in yet for your future albums, but what are the band’s long-term goals?
I mean, when the band started, the only goal we had was tour as much as possible and put out as much vinyl as possible, so that’s been our only plan since day one. When we get back into gear, it’ll be another record and a ton more tours!
There are a lot of young bands starting out now and citing you guys as a major influence, including a bunch of young Aussie bands. Have you been aware of this happening?
Every now and again I’ll hear a band and I can hear the influence in the music, and it’s flattering, to have had that influence. But Touché started out pulling from a ton of influences, so I would feel guilty saying we created this sound. The sound we make has been around forever, but maybe some of the bands that influenced us just didn’t get the recognition that we’ve been fortunate enough to have. So I try to put our influences out there for as many people as possible to see.