The Amity Affliction
The Amity Affliction
Since emerging in 2008 on the debut Severed Ties, The Amity Affliction have served up three ARIA gold-certified albums, Youngbloods , Chasing Ghosts  and This Could Be Heartbreak  as well as a platinum certification in Australia for the seminal Let The Ocean Take Me . This Could Be Heartbreak  marked the band’s third consecutive#1 ARIA chart debut second consecutive Top 30 debut on the Billboard Top 200, while Misery  also debuted at #1 on the ARIA chart making it four #1 albums in a row in Australia and elevated them to new critical heights internationally with praise from Medium, Alternative Press, The Noise, and more. Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them, recorded with Misery producer Matt Squire continued the band’s ARIA chart success, debuting at #2 and supported by a sold out national tour.
EVERYTHING IS A-OK
After having wrestled with a decade and a half worth of demons across four albums; each crammed full of wry suspicion, ageing angst, flippant cheek, existential despair, plaintive hope, pie-eyed wonder and worry — along with metric tonnes of neck-snapping riffs — in 2020 Everything Is A-OK for Violent Soho.
Well, in reality, that’s never exactly true, is it? The story now goes that after several years of playing the part of “those kids who don’t seem to fit in anywhere” with their first two records (2008’s We Don’t Belong Here & 2010’s self-titled) Violent Soho finally announced themselves into the public’s consciousness with 2013’s Hungry Ghost. It came in a hail of riffs and ‘HELL F*CK YEAH’s scrawled on arms, desks, and bathroom walls the world over. 2016’s WACO, meanwhile — despite earning a No.1 chart debut, ARIA awards, festival headlining spots and sold-out tours to the biggest crowds of their careers — came amid personal upheaval for drummer Michael Richards, bassist Luke Henery and guitarist James Tidswell.
But now with Everything Is A-OK, Mansfield’s favourite sons have drawn a metaphorical line in the sand: five albums into their career, equipped with a renewed self-confidence, they know not to follow a rule book written by other people. That’s what Everything Is A-OK is: a declaration that THIS is who Violent Soho are as a band. As musicians. As mates.
“It’s honest,” explains guitarist/vocalist Luke Boerdam. “It’s doesn’t claim to be anything it’s not: it’s apolitical, slacker, cynical, and trying to connect with people over a shared experience in pointing out society’s failures and the personal shit that follows.”
Everything Is A-OK seethes with harsh reflection on the way the world has become obsessed with creating social media simulacra where everyone is repping their own ‘brand’, and how connection is fleeting and shallow. It ponders the ideas of agency, emotion and how they’re being sold to advertise who we want people to think we are, not who we actually are.
That’s why they worked with Australian producer Greg Wales (You Am I, Sandpit, triple J’s Like A Version): to capture the essence of who they are. “His approach was exactly what we needed,” explains Mikey. “To make something that’s an honest piece of art that you as a collective group are stoked on — and we are — you have to do the hard work and be truthful to yourselves, but also – there has to be no bullsh*t.”
“He really knows how to get to the essence of a band,” adds Tidswell. “Also, he produced a band from our high school called Dumpster in, like, 1998. So he gets where we come from. I mean, if you told 14-year-old me “we’re working with the guy who did the Dumpster record”, I’d be stoked. And with so many other rock bands out there now, we wanted to make sure we captured who we are, where we come from, and what we want this band to be.”
With the studio where they’d crafted Hungry Ghost and WACO (Brisbane’s The Shed) no more, the band decamped to The Grove Studios in New South Wales — “a great decision,” reflects Henery. “All of us just getting away, hanging out together, focusing specifically on making something we could be super-proud of” — with Wales joining them for four weeks of recording, surrounded by bushland, each other and little else.
“We spent an entire day getting the guitar sounds right, so it’s probably the first time I’ve ever been completely happy with the guitar sounds,” grins Boerdam. “But also, Greg comes from a world of Australian music that we really revere, and sonically look up to: he got us.”
Of those four weeks, Wales reflects that “There’s a reason Violent Soho are so popular and so loved by their fans: they love being a band and making music together. They have an incredible understanding about who they are and are quite unique in the way they operate. They all have amazing musical instincts,” he adds, “and care a lot about the expression and tone of their work. There is a hell of a lot of musical intelligence running under the hood of this beast.”
And the result is an album that floats like a smoke ring and stings like a spark in the eye. Everything is A-OK roars and yowls, full of lessons learned and emotions scalded. Lead single ‘Vacation Forever’ sets a tone for an album that’s a headlong cannonball-ride into the darkness of suburban abandonment and decay. It also contains some of Boerdam’s finest lines (‘There’s a baby boomer across the street / And it won’t stop staring at me’) while the air-punching crunch of ‘Pick It Up Again’ is like as if the word ‘grouse’ came to life and rocked up at your backyard barbie in a singlet & thongs toting a full esky.
Like Pinkerton-era Weezer, it drops memorable lines as if it were a tree shedding leaves in autumn. There’s the neglect of responsibility in ‘Lying On the Floor’ (‘I don’t want to be a photograph / They’re like handing out brochures that a rapture is close’), the escape of ‘Canada” and sedate, plaintive meditation on ‘Slow Down Sonic’. The album sparkles with the life of a late afternoon sun filtered through a fresh-poured cold one.
Because regardless of this wholesale rejection of pretence, there is still plenty of heart, and perhaps a bit of closure. As Boerdam explains, “A lot of the songs on this record were triggered from personal experience that I’ve gone through over the past few years. Writing and recording these songs has been a means of catharsis for me. I’ve never really felt that way with music on previous records. This time it’s a renewing for me, both a rejection and acceptance of the world how it is and moving forward from personal tragedy.”
But that’s what happens when you have a band comfortable in their own skin, who challenge themselves to be true to who they are, no matter what. You get an album that reflects over 18 years of being in a band together and that emulates how four mates — and their producer — clearly understand and know what Violent Soho is meant to be: them.
“The title of the album really explains where the band is,” says Henery. “Even after all this time, all we’ve been through, we’re still here. We’re still who we are as a band.”
As Tidswell says, “All we ever wanted to do was play shows at Ric’s (bar in Brisbane) and play music we love. 18 years of being in a band with the exact same members — if it wasn’t the goal to press into who we naturally are… then we wouldn’t be a band.”
That’s what’s always been at the heart of Violent Soho: a steadfast refusal to be anything other than who they are. If it means taking time off to be with their families, to write an album only when they’ve got an album worth writing… then so be it: that’s who they are. Violent Soho are still four blokes from Queensland who just want to shred some riffs, play some shows and make the music they love. Their music. And this is them at their best.
Just over five years since Trophy Eyes’ universally acclaimed sophomore album Chemical Miracle, the band are celebrating by playing the record in full at UNIFY 2022!
Released in October 2016, Chemical Miracle was welcomed with rave reviews as it peaked at #8 on ARIA Australian Albums Chart. Chemical Miracle paved the way in getting the punk rock band from Newcastle to where they are now – conquering the globe with headline tours across North America, the UK and Aus, playing festival dates at Reading and Leeds (UK) and Disrupt Festival (US) as well as filling huge support spots on tour with Bring Me The Horizon.
Trophy Eyes recently released new singles ’27 Club’ and ‘Bittersweet’, following up on their 2018 album The American Dream which enjoyed huge success at triple j, achieving Feature Album and lead single ‘You Can Count On Me’ breaking into the Hottest 100. No doubt about it, UNIFY is going to be electric when Trophy Eyes perform on the mainstage ahead of The Amity Affliction on Friday night!
There’s an unshakable sense of comfort and resonance that comes with listening to Slowly Slowly. Frontman Ben Stewart’s vivid lyricism and emotionally-charged vocals douse swirling guitars and soaring percussion and prove the band as nothing short of striking storytellers. At any moment fragile and raw to boisterous and belting the next, the four-piece – completed by Alex Quayle (bass), Albert Doan (guitar) and Patrick Murphy (drums) – effortlessly capture real life and turn it into a rock song.
In early 2020 and 2021 respectively Slowly Slowly released the two adjoining parts of their double-album effort ‘Race Car Blues’ & ‘Race Car Blues — Chapter 2’ to a tidal wave of success. Beyond gracing magazine covers and claiming Feature Album slots from triple j, Tone Deaf and The Music, the band enjoyed a rinsing on national radio and kicked off a string of sold out Australian shows.
On the back of their most successful single to date, ‘Blueprint’ released in May and mounting critical and fan rapture ensuing, Slowly Slowly continue to stake their claim as one of Australia’s most vital rock outputs of late.
Stories are a Sydney based post-hardcore band, rising from the Northern Beaches in 2011. Characterised by their punchy analog textures, dynamic vocals and punk rooted energy, the outfit went on to reinvent their sound and record their debut album The Youth To Become in 2014.
After going on an indefinite hiatus following their national tour supporting Enter Shikari in 2016, Unify Forever marks the band’s first show in over five years. Following their Australian tour with Architects, the band embarked on sold out national headline tour in support of their debut album, making a statement of their highly anticipated yet sonically unexpected record.
Performing actively since their inception, the band have toured alongside international heavyweights Architects, Misery Signals, Stick To Your Guns, Counterparts, Stray From The Path, and domestic acts Make Them Suffer, In Hearts Wake and Polaris.
Formed in late 2016 by Gippsland natives Patty Goodman (vocals) and Tyson Taifer (guitar), metalcore outfit Mirrors quickly turned the eyes and ears of Australian listeners towards Regional Victoria with the release of their debut EP “Fool’s Paradise” in 2017. The five track release revealed the sound and delivery of a unit that had been functioning for many years, but after a mere 12 months since their formation, they were invited to play alongside Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction and many more at the hallowed Unify festival.
Backed by fellow long time friend Jake Mackin (bass) and Melbourne based drummer Rob Brens, the four piece followed up their EP with the release of the single Circus, which showed a staggering step up in sound, maturity and production.
2019 saw the band’s ceaseless efforts coalesce with the release of their 2nd EP “Cold Sanctuary”. With their first EP establishing a commentary on the world around them, “Cold Sanctuary” ventured inwards. With maturity comes introspection, and this new effort delved into the psyche, trying to navigate and make sense of the chaotic chatter of our innermost thoughts, begging for reprieve. To compliment this unrelenting theme is a backdrop of earth shattering production, rivalling any band on the world stage, bringing their deepest, strongest and most dynamic compositions to date, alive.
“Cold Sanctuary” took the band beyond the borders of Victoria and around the country, showcasing their craft to audiences on tour with the likes of Wage War, Alpha Wolf, Thornhill, Crystal Lake and many more.
Throughout this touring, work commenced on the long awaited first full length album. Upon completing enough material for a new EP, the work was cast aside as the need to evolve and grow was paramount. With a shift towards more dense, atmospheric landscapes, backed by thunderous yet intricate groove work and seeking to explore the dynamic ranges of the band members’ instruments as far as possible, the die was cast for “the Ego’s Weight”.
Ceaseless work by the band alongside the production team of Scott Simpson and Lance Prenc (Polaris, Alpha Wolf) continued from 2019 and throughout 2020, culminating with a ten track, genre busting tour de force, leaving behind their metalcore roots. Lyrical themes centred around the fall of morality and values while seeking to take decisive action against hate delivered by the soaring vocals of Patty Goodman, set against a backdrop of subtle and sparse of grooves, to heart wrenching ballads, gigantic grooves and frenetic heavy compositions, “the Ego’s Weight” truly is a journey for any lover of music and finally displays Mirrors as a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
The first lyrics put to paper for Banks Arcade were “I always wanted to make history” and through every step of the way we have tried to live by that motto. The band was formed on the sentiment of “wanting more” and from the get go BA tried to push any boundaries as far as they could go. Theres always been an intensity to the way we work. Every project is worked on with this fire and we always manage to thrive in chaos. We aren’t afraid to risk everything we have to create something extraordinary and no matter how much success we have we will always find a way to come back and connect with that element of risk and excitement in our process. Combining our shared love of music with a modern aesthetic, the boys established their sound and, in 2020 independently released their sophomore EP “Fever Dreams” which amassed over a million streams. Banks arcade is made up of characters with vastly different personalities and we are all crazy in our own right, but we have such a tight connection. Most of the time spent together is exciting and we love every second of it. “We make modern music that is meant for big stages, we want to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves, and we want to have a good f***** time while we’re at it. That’s about all we live for.”
Having recently signed to Greyscale Records, Sydney’s Bloom have powered through the mess of2020 and COVID to unveil their sophomore EP ‘In Passing’. Having spent the better part of 2019shaping their live performance, the band has gone on to take the stage alongside artists such asEndless Heights, Terror, Void of Vision and Knocked Loose.For fans of Touche Amore, Counterparts, Casey and Title Fight, the emotive melodic hardcore act has gone strength to strength from the release one their debut EP ‘PastTense’, and single ‘Cold’ the band have grown into their own and have poured their heart into their sound, tackling uncomfortable emotions and loss in waves lyrically while instrumentally delivering a dynamic performance
Taking place from 10 – 13th March 2022, in beautiful South Gippsland. UNIFY Gathering is a celebration of good friends, great times and heavy music.
Follow these links for hot tips to prepare you for the best weekend of the year.