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Joel Birch, vocalist and lyricist for Australia’s The Amity Affliction shines some insight about the band’s last release as well as the band’s future release in addition to some other sweet (and funny) info!
Though you guys are from Australia, would you say you have a larger fan base in another country? Does Australia have a large metalcore scene?
Definitely not. We’ve been touring here for five years, going on six, so all that work has paid off for us and we’re super fortunate to have gained a really strong fan base here at home. Hopefully by doing what we’re doing at the moment and applying that same work ethic to touring overseas we’ll be able to build a solid fan base up in other countries; already the UK is great for us, nowhere near the same numbers, but the fans there are awesome.
Youngbloods seems to be an album with a concept, where did the inspiration for the lyrics come from?The album artwork?
I actually went through a really horrid time for a couple of years that culminated in a suicide attempt, followed by a short stay in hospital and subsequent diagnosis of depression. After that I struggled to shake it for the next year or so, and in the period following it we began writing a record. It was a really cathartic experience for me, and one that obviously helped me to emerge on the other side in a much better frame of mind. There’s a song on there that’s about moving home to the Sunshine Coast, back to where I feel grounded and peaceful, a song about the relationship with my ex-wife deteriorating due to my depression, and then several songs where I attempted to create lyrics that would give kids an opportunity to connect with our music on a deeper level and realise they’re not alone in what they’re going through sometimes. It’s a horrid sickness to deal with because there are no immediate, outward symptoms, and often times it gets downplayed by even the closest of friends.
In 2012, how many songs will you be going into the studio with? How many will end up on the record?
Hopefully we’ll be heading in with fifteen or so, but that’s not really my forté as I am only in charge of writing lyrics. I’ve already written eight, but that usually expands to about twenty by the time the recording process actually comes around and Ahren and I sit down to pick the strongest ones. There are times when he picks lyrics that I’m not that into, but that’s a compromise that has worked well and will continue to do so I feel.
Which countries would you like to tour that you haven’t yet? Can your fans in these countries expect you to go there soon?
I’d like to tour South America just to see the stark difference in lifestyle and culture that is down there. It’s hard to answer a question like this because I don’t think there’s anywhere that I don’t want to tour to be honest. I don’t know how soon we’ll be getting to anywhere like South America, but if we ever do it will be amazing. There’s so many countries there, we’re not really used to that down here in Australia.
While you were growing up, who was the one band (or artist) you always looked up to?
Hard to pinpoint one band, but I grew up listening to Metallica, Megadeth and Guns n Roses from about seven or eight years old until I was eleven when Nirvana came into play, and then all the 90s SoCal punk bands came into play which eventually led me to loving hardcore, and now here I am.
Is there any correlation between RIP Steggy and RIP Foghorn?
The only connection between those two songs is that the titles are absolutely ridiculous. One is about a plastic toy that for some reason used to make it to parties and be f*cked with, and the other is about a dead chicken that we passed every day on the way from our apartment in Union City, Jersey down to the recording studio in Hoboken. Ridiculous, but I guess that’s our way of letting people know that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We love our music, we love what we do, but we love to have fun as well, so injecting a little inside humour for ourselves on each record is a normal thing for us. HMAS Lookback probably has the funniest back story, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to really be telling the public hahaha