READING FESTIVAL: Local band The Amazons talk playing on home turf

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The Amazons
The Amazons

“You’ve got to remember what your 15-year-old self would say when you get booked for these kinds of festivals.”

These are the wise words of Matt Thomson, frontman of Reading-based rock band The Amazons, who are currently embarking on their first UK headline tour and looking forward to a  summer booked to the brim with festival appearances.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in it when you’re living the lifestyle as we have for the last two or three years, these things kind of come up and you think ‘Ok cool’, you don’t really address it or look at it in the same way you would do when you were, say, 15 and miles away from it.

“We’ve got some pretty big festivals booked in for this year, including Fuji Rocks in Japan, which is definitely up there on the bucket list. The line-up looks amazing and the location is apparently in a really amazing place too, we’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be quite surreal.”

The quartet – completed by Chris Alderton on guitar, Elliot Briggs on bass, and Wokingham’s very own Joe Emmet on drums – are riding the wave of a phenomenal year. Fresh from supporting American emo rock heroes Jimmy Eat World on a sold-out UK tour in November, The Amazons, have now managed to almost completely sell out their own debut headliner tour, something which the guys were not expecting at all.

Matt continues: “It’s insane. It’s always good fun headlining your own tour, the audience have actually come out to see you, and they know the words to your songs which is crazy. You can play with the crowd more, it feels like more of an event rather than jumping on someone else’s night and trying to nick some fans.

“Jimmy Eat World were a massive influence on us when we were growing up, so to hang out with them after the shows and grab a beer was great. You get to talk, you get to watch what they do, you’re learning all the time, it’s a great experience.”

The Amazons have been confirmed to perform at Reading Festival on Friday, August 25, and out of all the festivals they are set to play, performing on home soil will always be special.

“We’re really excited to play Reading, as local lads we used to go every year, and it’s really shaped the way we look at success, for us it’s not all about record sales, it’s about where we can get on the Reading Festival line-up.

“We played the last two years, and in a previous band as well in 2010. Once you’ve done it, once you’ve played you never want to pay for a ticket ever again. I don’t want to go back as a punter, I want to play every time.

“It’s a way different experience because you see behind the closed doors that no-one ever sees, and that’s sort of what we wanted to do, we’d be in the crowd and we’d see people standing by the sides of the stage, or walking backstage, and we’d think ‘I don’t want to be down here, I want to be on stage and I want to go backstage’ and now we can, it’s just incredible.”

And has the mystery lived up to the expectation?

“Totally,” Matt explains. “Festivals are great because you get to hang out with the bands you’ve met along the way and there’s always a fair amount of alcohol involved, it’s just fun.”

The Amazons will release their self-titled debut album in June
The Amazons will release their self-titled debut album in June

The band’s most recent single Black Magic, which was released on Valentine’s Day, is currently getting a lot of love on mainstream radio, earning the band nods by both the BBC and MTV as one of the bands to watch in 2017.

Matt says: “It’s doing really well, it’s being really well-received, it’s a bit more pop for us, but there’s an extended guitar solo, prog thing at the end which is a bit of a homage to our inspirations, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, who are probably not prog persay, but they had that sort of musicianship and craft which I think might be lacking a bit recently.

“ I think releasing our debut record this year is a big thing for us. We’ve been under the radar for the last two years, been going on tour, and releasing ‘In My Mind’ last year was probably a bit of a turning point for us. I feel like since then we’ve been able to display who we really are and paint our own painting and carve our own path, and that seems to be resonating with people.

“We just want our music to be heard by as many people as possible, so to be supported by those institutions [BBC and MTV] is amazing.”

The Amazons are currently on the road but will be returning to play a hometown gig on April 13 at Sub89 in Friar Street, something they are all really looking forward to.

Matt explains: “We always have THE best gigs in Reading, I don’t know if it’s because we’re Reading boys or what, but it always goes down really well and we have such a great time, so it made sense to play there at the end of the tour so we can go out and celebrate afterwards. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Amazons are playing Sub89 in Reading on April 13, and will appear at Reading Festival on Friday, August 25. Their debut self-titled album will be released through Fiction Records on June 2. The album is available to preorder now by visiting http://po.st/TAABPLF or http://theamazons.co.uk.

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