Kicking off the New Year, Touché Amore are joining forces with Every Time I Die and will be doing a leg of Australian shows in January of next year. Fans can expect a whirlwind of crazy shows that by the end of the night, speaking for as little as possible is the only option they can take really. Following the success of their 2013 release, Is Survived By, Touché Amore have been non-stop touring in the last year or so while traveling to parts of Europe, the US and Asia. It’s safe to say that the band are ready to turn things down a notch and in this interview, Jeremy explains it all.
So your 2013 album, Is Survived By was incredibly well-received by both music critics and fans. How did the process of making that album come along?
It was a pretty standard situation. We had done a lot of touring off the record before and you know, we just started writing songs. So, we had some time at home and practised a few times a week. Booked recording time with Brad Wood and did that in about two weeks, and then we just had to sit around and wait for the record to come out [Chuckles].
How does the band approach songwriting? Is it a collaborative effort?
Yeah, it’s very collaborative, like everybody in the band can play guitar for example, and you know, some of us can play drums for a little bit and so when it comes to songwriting somebody will just you know, bring a rare form of idea to practice and then play for everybody. Most of the times, it comes out sounding completely different than the original idea. It’s very, very, very collaborative, it’s a rare thing to have a song be written without all five of us present.
I also see you’re a Death Cab For Cutie fan. Do you aspire to create lyrics as good as theirs?
[Chuckles] I mean, I try not to live up to an expectation of another artist. But you know, if someone put me in that frame category, it would be pretty flattering.
Awesome, what’s your favourite album by Death Cab For Cutie?
Probably not your normal fan’s favourite, but I’ve always loved We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes. That was the first record I ever heard by them. So that was like my introduction to them initially. I mean, We Have The Facts and all the way through Plans are all perfect records.
Music critics have often referred to Touché Amore as part of the “wave” of bands in the post-hardcore genre. Naming a few, Defeater and La Dispute. Do you often feel like post-hardcore/screamo music is finally getting the recognition it deserves?
I mean, sure. In the grand scheme of things, your normal person walking down the street wouldn’t have any idea by what we’re doing. I mean, we’re all just happy that people have listened to our music and that we’ve been given the opportunity that we have. We’re just thankful that anyone has listened to us at all, whereas I don’t think any of us seek out any sort of recognition or fame. So the fact that anyone at all has latched on to anything that our band has ever done is a reward in itself.
Do you often feel like some people say that you’re similar to La Dispute when really you feel a little bit frustrated saying “No, we’re different”, because I find it a bit confusing sometimes. I’m sort of like, “They don’t really sound like La Dispute, they sound like their own type of music.” Do you get what I mean?
Sure. I mean it comes with affiliation. I mean, both our bands have been close friends since about 2008, when both of our bands were starting to get any sort of fan base I suppose. We put out a 7″ together where we sang on each others songs and all of that. So we don’t chronically sound similar, I just think it’s just the connection that we have just pulled us into the same boat. I mean, that happens with a tonne of different people. We’re a little more, you know, fast-paced and aggressive, where as they [La Dispute] are actually really good songwriters [Laughs].
Dude, your music is awesome, man. It’s as good as La Dispute. Like I’ve listened to, Is Survived By, a couple of times and it’s pretty good. You guys should be proud and it’s gotten good ratings as well.
I mean, yeah, we’re definitely not disappointed by anything we’ve done but you know, it still feels a little weird to try to compare or specifically compete with any of our peers ’cause you know, we’re all just sort of doing it for the same reasons [Chuckles].
What initially inspired you to become a post-hardcore/screamo vocalist?
You know, bands that I’ve loved listening to, sort of just inspired me to wanna start a band. Like at the time, what I was trying to go for was a lot of the late 90s screamo stuff like Saetia, Orchid, Pg. 99 and Majority Rule. A lot of those bands were a huge influence for what I wanted to do and we did our best, but I think the hardcore kid in a lot of us sort of took a bigger step on what we were writing, so that formulated the sound that we have, where it’s melodic and aggressive and the songs are short, but I think it appealed more to bands like Modern Life is War and Hope Conspiracy and stuff like that. That’s where the initial 7″ sort of went.
How do you take care of your voice? Because there’s so much strain going on and like I don’t know how vocalists do it.
I actually don’t at all. Once someone asks me for any sort of advice on how to do this or how to do that, I never know what to say because I actually have no idea what I’m doing. I just raise my voice and what happens, happens. In the first couple of years of touring, I was using my voice pretty often and usually by about Day 4, I was unable to speak. As long as I was able to scream every night, I felt like I was able to do my job but I just won’t be able to have much conversation afterwards [Laughs]. But yeah, I try to you know, do the very basic things like drink a lot of water and not really have long conversations after the show. Try to get amount of rest every night, you know, just things like that.
So the last time the band was in Australia was in 2012, how was the tour in that year and what made it a memorable one?
Australian tours are a lot different then any other tour, just because there’s so much travel involved and there’s only so many places you can play. I mean, there’s a lot of a smaller suburb sort of cities [in the US] that a lot of bands can come over and you know, do a two and a half week tour and someone’s played the same city twice, whereas this tour is just five shows I believe, and we fly everyday – that’s something we are not used to. So it’s just a lot of moving and also. the flight out there and back is horrible. It’s like 30 hours or something. It’s just a lot of hard stress on your body, but at the end of the day, the shows are super fun and Australia’s beautiful. It’s like a gigantic California, so I can’t really complain.
So your upcoming tour with Every Time I Die is next month. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to in these shows?
I meanm nothing specifically. We’ve never toured with Every Time I Die before and we’ve known some of those guys for quite a long timem so we’re finally getting to do something with them. We’ve only been to Australia twice and it’s been a while since we’ve been there. I’m excited to play some new tunes as well as people that have maybe seen us before and just enjoy it for what it is. It’s a beautiful place, although you guys really need to work on your WiFi. It’s a little slow and expensive but other than that, I have no complaints. [Laughs]
Yeah I know. It can be pretty shitty sometimes, hey.
I know that sounds like such a terrible thing to complain about because we’re obviously in another country, like we should just be focused on that but you know, there’s something at home we need to deal with and the internet is the only medium to keep in touch. [Chuckles]
At this stage, how are things looking for in the band?
I mean, right now, we’re sort of just taking a break from anything just because we’ve done four US tours and three trips to Europe and then Brazil, Japan and Korea all within the last 13 months. So we’re all taking some much needed downtime right now, but we’re looking forward to these Australian shows and then when we get back from that, we’ll probably continue to sort of take a break eventually. When the feelings seem right, we’ll start getting together to write the new record but we’re in no rush to do it either. We’re all sort of just trying to adjust a normal life, ’cause we haven’t really had that in six years.
How would you describe the energy of your live shows as well?
It depends on the place. You know, like in the US, if you’re playing a major city, it’s usually pretty hectic, depending on if there’s no barrier and all that. You get the kids jumping off and singing along which is fun and you kind of just hope for a safe environment. In Europe, it’s about the same, but you go to place like Japan and it’s a lot more tame and polite and calm, so it’s all very regional. I know with Australia, this time it’s not all ages, which is what we’re a little bit bummed about, but when we played the all ages shows, those kids were very, very, very crazy, whereas the 18+ shows, were also pretty energetic crowds. It’s the younger kids that always put their life on the line. [Laughs]
Do you prefer festival shows or intimate gigs?
Always, always the intimate shows. I mean festivals, they have their purpose and they have their point and there’s perks to them. Usually there’s nice catering and you’re taken care of really well and all of that but you know, there’s always a downside to it where the sound is usually pretty terrible, which is usually a huge barrier and the distance between the crowd. 99.9% of the time, I’m gonna choose the small intimate shows.
It’s cool how bands are finally pressing vinyl releases of albums they’ve created. What makes physical copies of albums different to digital releases?
Well, I mean it’s night and day. I mean with a digital release or just having an mp3, you get nothing from it other than just the ability to hit play and then the song plays. If you have a physical record in your hand, it’s a whole presentation you have, the art that comes with it; you can see the dedication and time it went into the band’s presentation of the record. You can read along to the lyrics or if there’s no lyrics, you can just enjoy the artwork. I mean, records are the most important thing to our band. We’ve put out a tonne of records now, whereas each of all the albums have different kind of pressings and all these different colours and all of that but we put out you know about 10 7″s. It’s a huge deal to us and it means a lot to us as a band, so if it was up to us, we wouldn’t make digital CDs but you know, it’s something pretty mandatory unfortunately. [Laughs]
I have a record player myself and I find that the sound quality is better than digital releases. I’ve started collecting records and even though they’re quite expensive, it’s so worth the money because you just see the pressing of it and the hard work put into the pressing.
When you’re listening to something on vinyl compared to what you’re listening to on an mp3, it’s night and day. The way MP3’s are compressed it cuts of the highs and it cuts off the lows and you’re just really getting the middle portion of the file. Where as on vinyl, you’ll hear things that you’ll never hear through your laptop. The sound on vinyl is as clean and as crisp as you can get.
Every Time I Die / Touche Amore Australian Tour January 2015
Wed Jan 14 Amplifier, Perth
Tickets from Oztix outlets and www.oztix.com.au
Thur Jan 15 Enigma Bar, Adelaide
w/ A Ghost Orchestra
Tickets from Clarity Records and www.moshtix.com.au
Fri Jan 16 Corner Hotel, Melbourne
w/ Brittle Bones
Tickets from the venue 1300 724 867 and cornerhotel.com
Sun Jan 18 The Zoo, Brisbane
Tickets from Oztix outlets and www.oztix.com.au