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Sounds of The Amazons

By Kieran Graves

The Amazons, an up-and-coming four-piece from Reading, are a promising new band all but set to hit it big at some point during the next few years, and a group that you should definitely know about now, if you don’t already.

Their music is unquestionably deserving of you sparing as little as half hour from your busy day to take a listen, even if this is just to have that knowing, proud, almost possessive feeling that you get from finding a band before they become a household name.

Taking this one step further, students here at Bournemouth University will be able to see them live next month at the Bournemouth Summer Ball.

Though, this won’t be their first appearance this year as they already have a packed May, playing at House of Vans in London and The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, which in itself is no small thing.

Acting as a key scouting ground for the industry, The Great Escape has already turned out many big names of the last decade, including The Kooks, Kasabian, Mumford and Sons, Foals, Skepta and Stormzy, not to mention MNEK, another of the acts appearing at this year’s Summer Ball.

Matt Tomson, front man and lead vocals of The Amazons, took time last week out of his crammed schedule to catch up with us here at The Rock ahead of the band’s latest release, ‘Nightdriving’, to talk origins, the magic of live performances, rock and roll, and expectations for the future.

As four lads growing up in Reading, surrounded by the music scene and with the festival on their doorstep Tomson remarks that “I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but we go every year, it [the festival] is a part of our music upbringing”.

He then continues to convey this feeling of his inevitable journey into The Amazons, “it was people like us, the boys in the band, that always walked away from the festival thinking ‘oh my god, I really want to play it, I don’t just want to be in the crowd anymore. I want to walk in the footsteps of the greats”.

When asked about the story behind The Amazons Tomson tells of the “slow development” into the band that we see today and how, though he “met some of the boys at school, it wasn’t a school band carried on”, but rather a “coming together of different people in the scene”.

“We kind of slowly came together over a couple of years. It was mainly the front three at the beginning, so me, the bassist and the guitarist, Chris and Elliot. We were in bands for a long time, maybe seven or eight years on and off, playing in and around Reading but not really doing a huge amount”.

Then during a spell playing shows without a drummer, Matt, Chris and Elliot met Joe, at the time playing bass for another band, who then offered to play drums for them, and from there “it just kind of clicked and The Amazons came about”.

According to Matt, the distinctive and clearly recognisable sound of The Amazons takes inspiration from “big rock acts, the Nirvanas, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, just really big songs and big names. Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles”.

Though, he doesn’t limit the band’s influences to the popular names of the past, claiming that it’s actually “quite a fluid thing” that is dependent on the “particular time and particular mood that we [the band] are in”, continuing to mention more modern names such as Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stoneage and the new album from The Last Shadow Puppets.

“We always just sit down and play whatever we feel like playing… It just sounds like The Amazons”

Though clearly on an upward trajectory, Matt and the band remain grounded, “We all really want to do well as a band and want to connect with a lot of people, but not purely for fame and fortune because that’s always temporary, it doesn’t fucking matter after a while”.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘I’ve just got to make music”

Turing his attention to live performances and next month’s Summer Ball, Tomson considers the signature that makes The Amazons who they are, “We’re not really reinventing the wheel, we’ve got a kind of old school vibe, you know, what you see is what you get…You’ve always got that it might be a disaster, but it also might be the best thing ever, and the people at the time, they’ll get that moment and no one else will”.

“[On stage] there’s lots of energy and there’s no backing tracks, we don’t have any pre-recorded material. It’s crazy that we have to say, but that’s our quirk. We’re kind of real, we’re a real band”.

Matt then went on to share his, and the band’s passion for rock music as “alternatives to pre-recorded DJ sets”.

“Rock and roll might not be that cool at the moment, but we don’t give a damn, we just love playing rock music”.

After being championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and BBC Introducing, and then signing to Fiction Records at the tail end of 2015, also home to major artists including Crystal Castles and The Maccabees, the lads from Reading have continued to hone their grass roots rock and roll sound ahead of their upcoming first album soon to be released.

“Hopefully everyone will turn back to guitar bands eventually. Fuck it they might even listen to us”.