In the cosy dressing room above Southampton hotspot The Joiners, The Amazons are tucking into their pre-show meal. In just under three hours, the band are due on stage for the opening night of a 20-date UK tour, which will occupy most of their March and April and it’s safe to say that they are excited. “This is the most excited I’ve been for a tour, by a country mile, because we’ve actually got people coming to see us” beams lead singer Matt Thomson enthusiastically. A band who have been ‘the support band’ on five separate occasions in Southampton finally have their headline slot. Tonight’s show sold out eight weeks ago and the demand for spare tickets has over 100 people waiting on the profusely unsuccessful Dice waiting list – an equivalent of a third of the people capacitating the venue tonight. A statistic that no-one can quite believe.
Hailing from Reading, some forty-seven miles up the road, The Amazons formed in 2014. Drummer Joe Emmett joined later that year and he was, to use Joe’s words exactly, “the missing link in the band”. Thomson recalls his first encounter with Emmett. “We met Joe at the dark side of town, at this really horrible pub where all the pint glasses were plastic, it was one of those places”. How Emmett became a part of the band is a debatable topic (they may or may not have been some form of begging on hands and knees involved). The Amazons formally became a band six months later. “We were all in bands on the Reading scene, of varying success. We came together and it kind of clicked, after about 6 months of trying”
Despite the likes of “Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana” moulding their rock persona, childhood nostalgia also plays its part in terms of inspiration. “We’ve recently come back to the bands that inspired us to pick up instruments in the first place. Those bands that when you’re 12 and you get your parents to buy you a guitar or get you on the drums”. However, to Thomson, most of their sonic inspirations come by surprise. “It’s best to be done subconsciously. If you’re consciously going ‘I want to write a song like The Kills’ it might not work out”.
Their growing success over the last 12 months has given them the ability to play not only in the UK but across Europe. The gigs and festivals closer to home, however, are their favourite destinations. “We were there [Reading Festival] playing the Introducing Stage in 2015 and even then, everyone we knew came and watched us. We probably had the best experience of our whole summer at Reading and now we’re on a bigger stage, I just can’t wait to see the reaction” bassist Elliot Briggs reminisces from the far end of the sofa, still tucking into his dinner. Thomson continues “Over the years, it has shaped the way we look at success in rock and roll. It’s not about record sales, it’s about how high we can get on the Reading Festival bill”. Even when dreaming about where they’d most like to play live, their beloved hometown is a key competitor. “Madejski Stadium in our hometown of Reading. I saw Red Hot Chili Peppers there once and it was one of my first gigs”. Other competitors include Alexandra Palace, Madison Square Garden and even Mars. “I want to be the first band to play a gig in space. That would be wicked” Briggs confesses. “Maybe on Mars. When they build that spaceship that can take you, we can do it then”.
The plans for the remainder of The Amazons’ 2017, as well as the numerous festivals and their desire to expand their horizons even further, is quite simple. “I suppose we’ve got to put out an album at some point. We’ve been sitting on one for a little while. A little egg waiting to be hatched”.
Word by Hayley Millross