After their second album Youngbloods debuted at #6 on the ARIA charts, The Amity Affliction had a lot to live up to with the release of their third full length, latest addition Chasing Ghosts.
Luckily, they smashed their previous effort scoring themselves a # 1 debut spot, making them the second ever heavy band (and first Australian heavy band) to debut at the top spot in Australian chart history.
Drummer of the post-hardcore four-piece (yes four-piece), Ryan Burt was suitably chuffed at the band’s chart-smashing success, discussing Amity’s growing fan base, their contentious cover art, and the downsizing of their member line-up.
The ecstatic Queenslander couldn’t contain his excitement of the bands recently found fame saying, “It’s too much to take in really. You always hope you’ll make it, but you never really know. We pushed on because we thought there was a chance we’d get bigger, but we’re very thankful for where we are now. It’s incredible.”
Though the drummer admits he wasn’t any more excited for Chasing Ghosts than any previous Amity album, “I was just excited to bring out new stuff that people didn’t know.”
“To be honest,” he continues, “playing the same songs over and over for a couple of years gets a bit repetitive. I’m just stoked something new is out, it keeps it fresh.”
With the entire writing process for Chasing Ghosts spanning only three or four months due to touring commitments, Burt says most of it had to be done on the road. “We didn’t have as much time as we wanted because we’re always on tour; we only had a month or so off before going over to record. It was pretty tough but it came together in the end,” he says.
Despite Chasing Ghosts’ success, initially, fans were concerned it would be very similar – too similar – to Youngbloods, and the drummer says they were not wrong in thinking so. “They’re definitely similar, for sure. But I think we’ve all grown up a bit in the last 2 or 3 years, so even though it might have the same kind of elements, Chasing Ghosts definitely has a more mature sound than Youngbloods.”
The September release saw the band getting embroiled in some controversy, their cover art gaining much attention for the way in which it addressed the serious issue of suicide. “I had a feeling it might cause a bit of an issue,” Burt comments, “it was confronting. But if people know what we’re talking about, what we’re trying to get across, it wouldn’t have been an issue. We’re not promoting suicide, we’re trying to prevent it.”
Amity became talk of the town again with the release of the video for leading track ‘Chasing Ghosts’, fans only just realising that the five-piece band hand decreased to four. The hush-hush departure of guitarist Imran Siddiq was a recent occurrence the drummer says, “we didn’t really let people know.”
“The thing is,” he continues, “Imran wasn’t really in the band, it was only a few photos. But I guess we didn’t put it out there to the public that we’re only four now, so people were shocked.”
“We’re going to stay as four. We’ll just have a guitarist to play live [with us],” Burt adds.
Speaking of playing live, headed back home this October, The Amity Affliction will headline a nationwide tour, bringing with them a little something different to their thriving stage performance.
“We’re going to try something different this time, make it a bit more of a show. We’re still coming up with ideas to make it a bit more of a visual thing, we’ve starting rehearsing and everything,” says the drummer.
They’ve also nabbed a spot on the Soundwave Festival lineup for February/March 2013, which Burt says the band are totally stoked for. “I get more excited for shows and festivals at home because that’s where our massive fan base is,” he says, “but Soundwave especially, because it’s such a good festival.”
After performing at Big Day Out earlier in the year, alongside fellow hardcore heavyweights Parkway Drive, Burt enthuses over how more mainstream festivals are starting to take notice of heavier acts.
“Festivals like Big Day Out are starting to realise this kind of music does have a huge following. I guess they’ve learnt from festivals like Soundwave, so they’re trying to compete,” he adds, “it’s about time really.”
The Amity Affliction have made one hell of a name for themselves in Australia, they’ve toured the world over, and since signing with Roadrunner worldwide earlier in the year, The Amity Affliction’s dreams are well and truly coming true.
Between recording #1 albums, listening to “gay Asian pop” (the drummer admitting his fascination for the latest YouTube craze, PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’), and being on the road, Burt reflects on how far his outfit have come.
“Sometimes now I forget what my life entails; I have to stop and think about it every couple of hours and let it sink in.” And if Amity didn’t exist? “I’d probably be working at McDonalds,” he laughs.
Chasing Ghosts is out now through Warner Music Australia. The Amity Affliction begin their national headline tour on Monday 24th September. Full dates and details here. Amity also play as part of Soundwave 2013 next February and March around the country.