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A punk chat with Amyl and the Sniffers

A punk chat with Amyl and the Sniffers

| Francesca Garattoni

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Amyl and the Sniffers is a punk rock/pub rock band, based in Melbourne. It is composed by Amy Taylor (voice), Bryce Wilson (drum), Dec Martens (guitar) and Fergus Romer (bass). The band is known thanks to their ability on live performing and their particularly frenetic and  dynamic style, exactly like their songs. They won several awards, such as 2020 Music Victoria Awards as best band, best musician (personally to Amy Taylor) and best live act, won again in 2021 Music Victoria Awards. The band also won the ARIA Music Award for the best rock album in 2019. They actually count two EPs, such as Giddy Up (2016) and Big Attraction (2017) and two albums, Amyl and the Sniffers (2019) and Comfort Me (2021). In occasion of their concert at acieloaperto in Cesena, we had the pleasure to interview Amy.


You are well known for explosive and extremely dynamic live experiences. Do you feel more comfortable on a stage performing live or recording in studio? What’s your relationship with your fanbase?

“Probably perfoming live makes me feel more comfortable rather than recording. On a stage it is free and you have no inhibitions. 

I like my listeners. It’s cool to see young girls or women or, you know, sixty years old girls take a picture of me, or small businesses that share their product with me or give me a little outfit, just to be kind. It’s pretty amazing to know that my music reaches people and makes people feel something.”


What effect had on you the ARIA Music Award victory and the consequent uprising of your success? Have you any regret about your beginnings?

“I don’t know, it was such a big surprise when we won it, so we were like “What the fuck, that is fucking awesome!” and then going forward from winning that. It definitely felt pretty special to be recognized. It didn’t corrupt the humbleness too much.

I’ve never thought about regrets before, I don’t think so. I’m sure I’d do it if I had to think about it, but I don’t want to think about it until late up, ‘cause otherwise I’ll feel bad. I think that if I could go back I would tell to the younger me to start reading more books and news more, and start being more aware ‘cause I live under a pretty big rock, which makes part of who I am, so I wouldn’t change that, but I think that when I started reading the books I liked what they did to my brain.”


From your debut to your last record, your signature songs are powerful and energetic. What is your recipe for the perfect song?

“I don’t know if there is such a thing as a perfect song, because sometimes even with my favorite songs, if I’m in a different mood I wouldn’t listen to it and I’m not liking it at that time. I don’t really have the answer. I think that if we’re talking about recipes and I’m like a chef, then I’m probably making toasted sandwiches and I don’t know why they are yummy, but they are yummy sometimes.” 


Your lyrics are often coarse and sharp, without boundaries or censorship. What do you think about the extreme moralism borderline with cancel culture that today is challenging both speech and artistic freedom?

“I think cancel culture is complicated. I think that call-out culture can be a good thing. When online it can be too dangerous because it’s all behind keyboards, but in general call-out culture is marginalize people, like have their voices heard by people with a bit more power and so it is complicated because if you have more power it feels quite challenging to be challenged and it seems you’re under attack but sometimes it is just someone without any voice turning up a voice.” 


Do you think punk (both as an attitudine and musical genre) is dead? 

“I think that as a genre it is definitely alive. The 1970s punk is probably dead. It’s a different landscape and there’s a different culture now. But it’s reformed, it still exists. I might not know which better punk version is, but it’s still punk. So they might have died but there’s different versions of it. It’s like some people have a really narrow line of what punk is, so for those people if their version of punk is dead then everyone else is wrong, but often it is just different and they can’t see, because they don’t want to. All around the world there are big punk fans. It might look different, and it might look like everyone does different versions of it, people are making crazy about music and I’m sure a lot of punks don’t like that but I think there’s nothing more punk than not having a fucking day job!”


Riccardo Rinaldini