Your previous three albums have all been ARIA #1 releases – do you spend any time (consciously or not) thinking about chart debut pressure?
Not at all. The music industry and landscape is forever changing, and a reflection of that is obviously the move from buying records to streaming; thinking about where we will chart just seems to be quite pointless to me. It’s out of our control how people respond to our music, so it’s not something that crosses my mind in regards to our success – or more accurately our perceived success.
The three-part short film (starring the band, and written and co-directed by Joel and Ryan Mackfall) is set back in the 1980s. Why did you decide on this? It certainly gives a distinctly Chopper feel to proceedings.
Two reasons: firstly I wanted to connect to the mythicism of the Australian Criminal, and secondly I wanted to really make a statement about where we are from. For years we have… not pandered, but perhaps leaned towards making a mark on the American music industry, and we’ve felt like we have had to almost Americanise our look and feel. This time around I was hell-bent on making sure people know where we are from, and that we are proud of it. There are larger messages within the clips themselves, but as with most music and film I like to leave that open to interpretation.
There are many electronic touches across the album, but the little wiggly synth in the chorus of Feels Like I’m Dying was totally unexpected. Who decided on that, and did anyone need convincing?
That was an accident. Our producer put it in there as a placeholder while we were trying to figure out what to go in its position, and it ended up being the hook. We set out to take risks on this record, and that’s about as risky as you can [be] in my mind. We actually toned it down from where it was headed; I kinda wish we had kept the wilder version to show people somewhere down the line, but we didn’t.
The title track includes many bold stylistic details, including a chorus vocal that’s warped to an almost indecipherable point. What was the idea behind that particular decision?
I disagree with you on that point, and not in a small way either. I don’t think it’s anywhere near indecipherable, and for you to even be able to hear what is being said negates your point, don’t you think? We’ve just put our electronic elements front and centre this time, instead of leaving them in the background where they’re been since our High Hopes EP. We’ve been using electronic and synthesised elements within our music for a decade now; the decision to expand on that sound shouldn’t shock anyone.
Where did you get the female “I just wanna die” sample from the middle of the track?
It was the engineers partner. The sample was originally from an Anime film I believe, you’d have to ask Dan for the right information on that, but we couldn’t use it, so Eric (Taft) had his partner come in, drink a lot of alcohol, and yell / scream / say “I just want to die” in the studio.”
Which of these tracks are you most looking forward to playing live for your home crowd?
I would honestly be happy to play the album start to finish live, and that’s the first time I can say that about any Amity record. Usually there are a couple of songs that I wouldn’t consider filler, but also wouldn’t really want to play live. I guess we’ll see what everyone thinks of this record once it’s out and make a decision from there.
Misery is out August 24 via Warner.
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