Anyone who’s sick of their minimum wage job and approximately one meltdown away from giving themselves a bad haircut, Melbourne punks Amyl and the Sniffers are about to become the angst fuelled soundtrack to your life, that is if they haven’t already. Having just released their first self-titled album followed by an insanely packed tour schedule, Polyester fortunately got the chance to squeeze in a chat with the band’s iconic frontwoman Amy Taylor on her recent antics, doing it yourself and making it big.
Hey Amy! How did Amyl and the Sniffers become a band? We had a different bass player but we just started the band because we wanted to make music, I was really keen to get on the mic and get rowdy. We all already loved music and would go to gigs all the time, the fellas were all in bands already. It was all pretty spontaneous, we wrote a 4 song (6 minutes) E.P called Giddy Up, recorded them, put them on bandcamp the next day. I’m proud of them but looking back really they are just demos. I don’t think you have to be a good musician to make music, and that EP is proof haha.
What’s the most punk thing you saw on tour? This 100% ain’t punk but once a cop recognised me from the band and wanted a photo.
What do you get up to whilst travelling from venue to venue? Usually just sit in the car from wake up till we get to the venue! I spend a lot of time looking out the window at some grass or something, or napping, listening to music, thinking about shit, eating some filthy truck stop food and then I’ll do my makeup. It’s so good when ya get phone data and can go stare at the internet or watch YouTube.
Have any of you ever been involved in zine culture? If so, what’re your favourite zines? My good mate Lydia has made a bunch of great zines. I’ve got a candy bag filled with them, hers are my favourite I like the way she sees the world
What was it like starring in the Gucci campaign alongside Dani?
So insane! It was so special they asked us. Dani and me been like magnets to each other since we met, we’ve always taken photos together with friends and it kind of just felt like that with Gucci too except they really spoilt us! And it was fucking Gucci, hell yeah.
We didn’t know there was going to be a HUGE mural painted in Manhattan of it. It’s so so cool. It’s really far from my world but the people were sincere and warm and kind and weirdos like us. I really loved everyone I met and I’m so grateful, it’s a real privilege. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t out of my comfort zone but I love doing things that are are fucking hard or make me uncomfortable, if I didn’t my world would shrink, and I want to experience everything and to live a big life.
Since Dani and me met through our bands early last year we’ve loved each other and have had some good fun. I’d always get to get up and sing a song with Surfbort and Dani would come sing with Sniffers. We even have done SniffBort tours. I love everything they do, so to be able to do something with Dani and Gucci together was fucking great and fucking insane and I’m so proud and that we got to share it together was special. We got to be 100% ourselves and we’re kinda just celebrated for being the imperfect beauties that we are. We copped so many negative comments online and that really excited me because I knew we were doing something right. It’s great that we can be some kind of celebrated alternative to the mainstream cookie cutter view of beauty. There’s beauty everywhere!
If you could tour with any band in the world since the existence of music, who would you choose? Fuck! So many good bands. Death Grips!! Or a Surfbort/Amyl world tour.
Any advice to girls who also want to be venue bookers? You can literally do anything you want in this world. I think you (whoever is reading this) will be good at it because it’s easy enough like any job once you get the hang of it, you’re smart and like music and you are YOU, bitch. Power thru the challenges!
I got my start from going to gigs all the time and looking at Bandcamp and listening to local bands. I booked the front bar of a sick venue in Melbourne called the Curtin so it was small. A couple of tricks to find new bands is to look at other venues and see what kind of line up they’ve had in the past, see who was opening for a band you already know and then just Google them.
I’m always learning and by no means an expert but work hard at it and do it with love and it will go well. Treat people kindly, because everyone’s fucked up and needs love, it will go a long way and could mean a lot to someone. Be stern as well, setting boundaries is important, because people respect people who know their own worth. You’re smart and you know what you’re doing. Doesn’t really matter if you fuck it up, nothing terrible will be happen and you can try as many times as you need to. Do it your own way, there’s no rules or guidelines on how to do things, your way is a good way.
Wear whatever you want if you can and are able. I think it’s cool to have in mind who you’re booking at the venue and whose being represented on stage. It’s sick for all kinds of people to be welcome at the gig, and to be playing at gigs. Even if they’re not the best musicians, everyone deserves a go! Exclusivity, or being mean to be cool, can go get fucked and should be expired by now.
But mainly and most importantly, there’s a million shitty male bookers and a million good male bookers, so surely there can be room for some shitty female bookers too. Protect your energy bitch.
What’s in the cup of destiny for Amyl and the Sniffers? What’re you up to next? Well we’re on tour at the moment, I’m writing this in the backstage of a venue in the Netherlands! (So cool. Lasagne for dinner.) We’re just playing gigs, gigs, gigs. We just put our first album so this tour is celebrating that. I wanna make music and jam and write, keep yelling new shit and lyrics and all that. We are barely in Australia anymore but when we’re back in August, I’m gonna get it going.
And finally, but most importantly, what’s your favourite meme?
Fuck, I love memes so much. I love that one of the cotton field that looks like a festival.
Photos by Jessica Gwyneth
Words by Hatti Rex