LONGHAIRS DITCH EDM FOR ANTHEMIC CHORUSES AND PSYCH WIG-OUTS.
Good times, bad times. It’s been a topsy-turvy week for The Amazons. Tonight, the Q Awards Best Breakthrough Act nominees/Reading fourpiece – frontman Matt Thomson, drummer Joe Emmett, bassist Elliot Briggs and guitarist Chris Alderton – will cram their stampeding rock anthems into Hackney’s Oslo club, their biggest headline show to date. The pre-gig chat regards a recent downer, however. Days earlier, Thomson noticed a portrait of his model ex-girlfriend peering down from a building-sized billboard in London, an irksome spotting which arrived with just the slightest whiff of serendipity: The Amazons’ forthcoming, as-yet-untitled debut album owes more than a nod to their permanent uncoupling. “Seeing that was a real kick in the teeth,” recalls Thomson with a laugh. “I’d lost her to the arty-farty crowd a few years ago when she went to college in London. Our album’s not a break-up record, but there are a few songs about her. Infuriatingly, I don’t think she cares that much…” That might very well change should The Amazons’ rousing choruses and psych wigouts launch them into the festival airspace recently patrolled by the likes of Catfish And The Bottlemen and the Courteeners. Former rock school alumni – “a Saturday morning class where we learned Arctic Monkeys covers,” explains Briggs – Thomson and Briggs first began writing twee acoustic demos together. With the addition of Alderton and Emmett, they distributed their demos and CDs after local shows. Thankfully, a risky descent into an EDM rabbit hole was aborted following a Foals gig in Oxford. “All the girls went to raves, but there was so much charisma on that stage, it blew the sense back into me,” says Thomson. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to be a guitar band!’ Our songs became heavy and loud; darker and rawer. We were headbanging, and we didn’t cut our hair for a year.” The Amazons know they won’t have any reason to trouble their stylists any time soon. Debut single Junk Food Forever was championed by Radio 1 last year which led to an unexpected German arena tour in support of Brighton indie veterans, The Kooks. “We got invited on and it was like a lads’ holiday,” says Emmett. “It was our first ever tour and at that point we were playing gigs to 40 people at home. Suddenly we’re in front of 7000. We were really shitting it before that first show.” Meanwhile, their debut album is fast looming into view. With it there should be plenty of chances to flex those neck muscles. Thomson has grander plans, though. “Think of the records that affected you,” he says. “The ones that touched you, and made you emotional… We want to connect with people, grab them. We just want people to jump in with us, lose it and rock out.” Make space. At this rate, The Amazons might soon be looking down from a billboard poster of their own, rather than peering up at one enviously.
“So whose round is it?” The Amazons (from left, Chris Alderton, Joe Emmett, Matt Thomson, Elliot Briggs).