Ahead of its Friday, February 21 release, fans have sunk their teeth into just three singles from The Amity Affliction’s forthcoming album Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them. Despite that, those three songs are all they needed to say with complete certainty that Amity have done it again; they’ve caught lightening in a bottle. As the industry recognises, that’s becoming quite a habit for the band.
In the space of these three singles – ‘All My Friends Are Dead’, ‘Soak Me In Bleach’ and ‘Catatonia’ – The Amity Affliction have demonstrated that they’re still not done exploring their sonic universe, stretching the borders further and further into the unknown.
Moments ahead of the album’s release, we spoke with the man himself, bassist and clean vocalist, Ahren Stringer.
“We did it pretty secretively”, Ahren says of the initial Everyone Loves You… sessions. “We went straight on our European tour. When was it, May, or something? I think we’d started recording totally in August, I think, last year. And had it finished within like a month.”
According to Ahren, it was a similar situation with the band’s erstwhile record, Misery, which was completed months in advance also culminating in a maddening wait. Ahren explains it wasn’t always like this for the band; instead, The Amity Affliction we see before us today operates with a level of clarity and decisiveness hitherto unknown until this point.
“We’ve got a real good team these days”, Ahren says of the 2020 Amity Affliction camp, “everyone’s got their own job. Dan writes all the music. Joel writes all the lyrics and I just get to pick my favourite lyrics and put them to my favourite songs.”
“It really is just us writing music that we want to hear and also within reason, listening to the fans…”
“Dan wrote about 26 or 27 songs for each of the last two records. So there’s this graveyard of musical Amity songs that will probably never get used. I think I got the best job in the world where I just get to pick from the best songs of the bunch. And Joel just puts his fucking taste and flavour on everything and it’s a wrap. We’re just pumping out songs these days. It’s really natural; trying to strike while the iron is hot.”
Time and routine can often spell the death knell for bands in the heavy music world, but not in the case of The Amity Affliction. With each album and tour, the band seems to only level up, indicating that they’re yet to reach cruising altitude. “I think it’s become much, much easier”, Ahren says of life in Amity in the current era.
“Back in the day, like for Youngbloods for example, I wrote maybe three songs on that album and Clint our guitarist wrote the rest. When he left to rejoin The Getaway Plan, I was stuck by myself and I had to write Chasing Ghosts basically alone. So that was me writing all of the music and composing the lyrics and everything else. So ever since Dan joined the band, it’s just been a breeze. It’s gotten easier and easier. Now it’s just like clockwork.”
“You listen to this new album, it’s just the best parts of Misery but just done a little bit heavier. So it really is just us writing music that we want to hear and also within reason, listening to the fans and making sure we can please as many people as possible.”
“I’m not going to read every comment, but I’ll have a scroll though and see if it’s gone good.”
So, while the corporate and creative structures around and within Amity may have changed over the years, the band’s litmus test – their internal quality control – for all output remains the same.
“We live in 2020, we all need constant pats on the back and immediate gratification”, Ahren says, but above all, the key to staying the course creatively for Amity: “You’ve always got to trust your instincts.”
Though quietly confident in his, and his band mates’, ability to piece together a decent record, Ahren, a self-described “stats man”, will be cautiously navigating immediate feedback from fans upon release day.
“I’ll definitely have a scroll through [comments] on release day and see what people are saying. I’m not going to read every comment, but I’ll have a scroll and see if it’s gone good. And I’ll leave it at that.”
“We’ve learned that the hard way. There’s nothing good come to that. But yeah, it is exciting and I do like to see that people are enjoying it on the day.”
Once he’s had a roll and scroll on the morning of Release Friday, Ahren confirms he’ll celebrate the unveiling of Everybody Loves You… in true artistic fashion: “Chug a few back and soak it all in.”