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The Amity Affliction: Ghosts on the prowl

Despite the pandemic quashing tour plans for Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them, the past year has nevertheless been a whirlwind for The Amity Affliction.

The oceancore icons have been shredding up a storm behind closed doors, stepping into the enigmatic realm of self-production with their recent single ‘Like Love’. A heartrending tribute to the late Sean Kennedy (who fans would know as the longstanding bassist for Deez Nuts and formerly I Killed The Prom Queen), the tune leaned on the melodic side of Amity’s unique style, and despite it being their first entirely in-house endeavour, sounded crisp as could be. They followed it up earlier this month with ‘Give Up The Ghost’, a rousing throwback to the heavier, more bruised and brutal style we heard on records like 2012’s Chasing Ghosts.

Amity are also gearing up to make their hotly anticipated return to the stage, headlining the 2022 UNIFY Gathering in January. Although next year marks the tenth anniversary of Chasing Ghosts, those among us hoping for a celebration at the festival will be disappointed; as co-frontman Ahren Stringer tells BLUNT, the focus for Amity’s next year is to give ELYOYLT the onstage attention it always deserved, and charge defiantly into the band’s next era.

Who are you personally most keen to see at UNIFY 2022, and what song do you really hope they play?
I honestly just want to see any band play any song!! Everyone has missed live music so much I think it’s unfair to pin point anyone.

What would be your top three tips for getting the most out of the UNIFY weekend?
Mates, beers, and protection from the natural elements.

Looking at this (absolutely sick) lineup, who do you reckon would pull the best prank in the campsite, and who would their victim be?
Probably us and Ocean Grove.

What is, in your expert opinion, the ultimate festival food? And if you could choose a food truck to serve any cuisine in the world at UNIFY 2022, what would you pick?
Please get me a KFC food truck open 24/7. 

Having played the festival twice before, what’s been some of your favourite memories from the UNIFY Gathering (on and/or off the stage)?
The first one we played was right off the back of Let The Ocean Take Me. There was a real sense of excitement as it was the first year of the festival, it was sold out and It was just really fun… That was a long time ago now! 

What can fans expect to see from your set at the fezzie? Next year marks the tenth anniversary of Chasing Ghosts – could we see a few deep cuts from that absolute monolith of an album tucked in there?
Last time we played, the setlist was a little dictated to us, so this time we are going to play what we want to play. We haven’t been able to tour our last record live, and we can’t wait to play some of those songs. Of course there will be old songs in there as well. It’ll be a best-of, heavy-leaning set.

On that note, do you have any other plans to celebrate Chasing Ghosts turning ten next year?
Not at all.We have missed and entire album cycle, and we were really proud of [Everyone Love You… Once You Leave Them]. Now we are really proud of ‘Like Love’, so we want to give everything a fair go. 

“We are always writing, and we hope to get [a new album] out as soon as we can.”

What are your thoughts on that record, looking back on it today? Do you feel like those tracks are still a good reflection of the band in the present day, or have you outgrown them?
I still love a lot of those songs. I wrote most of the music for that album myself, but we have been through so much as a band since then – it’s just Joel and I left from that album now. We are proud of it, it did great things for us and was our first major label release. But we have always been a band to look forward, and that’s what we will do. At least until the anniversary for Let The Ocean Take Me [laughs]. 

So you guys have dropped a new album every two years, without fail, since ’08. Will that flawless track record continue in 2022?
COVID will dictate that a little. It’s no secret that we recorded a little, as we just dropped a new song. We are always writing, and we hope to get [a new album] out as soon as we can. But we have missed playing live so much that touring will be our main priority next year.

Where do you see The Amity Affliction going from here? Misery saw you guys step in a more pop-centric direction, but then ELYOYLT felt a bit more like classic Amity. Are there any particular avenues you’re keen to head down on album #8?
We will keep doing what we want! We always have done it like that, and one thing we have learned is to not listen to the vocal minority. After being in a band for this long, I think we have learned the ‘happy place’ of what our audience responds to, and what we love to play. We have never been a band that panders to the industry – we just want to connect with and be honest to our fans – and ourselves. We realise that we are extremely lucky to have been doing this for this long, and we just want to deliver the best Amity record we have ever made. We can say that we will be producing it ourselves. [We produced] ’Like Love’ ourselves, and we really enjoyed that process. 

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen Amity collaborate with another band. If you were to link up with one of the newer acts in the scene, who would you want to lay a track down with?
You never know! There’s been a few things thrown at us, but we will keep that pretty close to our chests.

>> KEEP READING: Turnstile: Glow with the flow <<

UNIFY Gathering 2022

The Amity Affliction
Violent Soho
Alpha Wolf
Banks Arcade
Dream On Dreamer
The Last Martyr
Ocean Grove
Short Stack
Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers
Teenage Joans
To Octavia
Yours Truly
+ More to be announced

Thursday January 20th – Sunday January 23rd
Tarwin Lower, South Gippsland VIC
Tickets: Ticketmaster