We catch up with The Amazons frontman Matt Thomson ahead of their self-titled debut album being released. Read on to see what he had to say about Jools Holland, Pink Floyd and being named as one of BBC's hottest artists.
Firstly, how did you guys meet?
I met Chris at school. How I have no idea! It was one of those school meetings where you just drift into each other's lives. We would escape the sunlight and people at lunchtimes and play guitar in the music rooms. Elliot and I met at this weekly 'Rock School' every Saturday where we'd play covers in bands the teachers put us in. A couple of bands and many years later, we met Joe in a dark little pub on the edge of Reading. We were playing an acoustic set and he was on next playing bass in another band. He said hello, we jammed a couple weeks later and that was that.
What were your musical influences when you were growing up?
Growing up in my house, my dad was into Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and then my mum was into Simply Red and Pop stuff. She was well into Elvis Costello and Paul Weller, but more The Style Council. But in terms of my musical awakening, I think you only really get excited about music when you discover it yourself. It was 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' or The Undertones 'Teenage Kicks' that really clicked with me when I heard them on the radio for the first time.
My parents didn't introduce me to it... they didn't even have any of that at home, so that's what made my hunger and my thirst for music even bigger. We're actually playing on the same stage as The Undertones at the Isle of Wight Festival. My parents didn't introduce me to it... they didn't even have any of that at home, so that's what made my hunger and my thirst for music even bigger. We're actually playing on the same stage as The Undertones at the Isle of Wight Festival.
You’re tipped by BBC as one of the hottest new artists, how does that feel?
It feels good. We're at the point where we want to share our music to as many ears as possible, so we're appreciative of the exposure that platforms like the BBC can give us.
Do you ever feel any sense of pressure as you’re getting bigger as a band?
Only the pressure we put on ourselves to make the most of everything coming our way. We don't feel pressure from anything external. We've spent the last 2 years writing, recording and touring pretty much under the radar and cutting our teeth. I think because of that we've had time to make mistakes and carve out our own path, knowing who we are and where we want to go.
How was recording your debut self-titled album?
It was pretty surreal. Lots of ups and downs. I think we expected it to be like some kind of holiday, all smiles and fun. But the mix of bad and good days made it way better than that. It was a real combined effort from us and Catherine, she really got herself immersed in the music. It was like having a 5th member.
What was the creative process behind getting you to this stage?
There isn't a lot of pre-meditation with The Amazons. It really is all about trial and error, following your nose to where the songs eventually end up. I guess right at the beginning we were more on the indie side of the spectrum and have moved towards the heavier side with songs like Black Magic and In My Mind. Where we go next, who knows. That's the exciting part.
Are you excited for the fans to hear it?
Very. Some of these songs were written first when we were 18, so it has been a while in the making. We're also excited to show other sides to the band, more intimate moments, different instrumentation.
Have you got any big plans for 2017 like festivals and tours?
Our debut record lands May 26th which is getting closer and closer. We've got a big festival season coming up too, we'll be playing Reading & Leeds, Boardmasters and loads more in the UK. We're looking forward to going abroad for some festivals too. We're playing some festivals across Europe then some in Asia like Fuji Rocks in Japan which feels crazy to think about. End of the year we're finishing on our biggest UK and European Headline Tour which will include a show at Kentish Town Forum in London.
Any new music in the pipeline?
Always. Writing new music never stops.
Finally, how would you describe your style as a band?
We tend to identify as Rock and Roll and leave it at that. We love bands that make exciting, anthemic but also intimate and honest music at the same time. If you described our music in that way I think we'd be happy.
How was it playing on Jools Holland?
Dream-like. It's a show we've been watching and dreaming about since before we picked up instruments. It was as nerve-wracking as you can imagine but that's all part of the thrill. We're just grateful to be added to such a long list of amazing acts to perform on it over the years.
Thank you for having me!