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Amyl and the Sniffers Are ALWAYS LIVE, All the Time

Amyl and the Sniffers talk about tour life, Hollywood, label dinners, and more

Amyl and the Sniffers

Jamie Wdziekonski*

For Amyl and the Sniffers, the grind never stops. The Melbourne punk rockers haven’t released an album since 2021, when Comfort to Me earned acclaim and almost topped the ARIA Albums Chart, but they have barely stopped touring the world since.

Following a US tour this month, they’ll return to Australia in November to for a run of regional Victoria shows as part of ALWAYS LIVE (see full dates below).

Their ALWAYS LIVE performances will come two months after the two year anniversary of Comfort to Me, and this upcoming tour will finally bring an end to their second album’s touring cycle. It’s set to be their last shows in their home country for at least six months, but with a band as committed to the live circuit as Amyl, you never really know, do you?

Ahead of return home for their regional tour, Rolling Stone AU/NZ caught up with two members of the band – drummer Bryce Wilson and guitarist Dec Martens – to discuss the highs and lows of tour life, whether label dinners are worth it, finding a good work/life balance, and much more.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ: Are you excited about your regional tour?

Bryce: I’m looking forward to just playing some regional places again. We’ve only played a handful the entire Amyl and the Sniffers career, so it’ll be good to do something different.

Are regional shows usually wilder?

Bryce: Yeah, it’s different. They have a different energy.

Dec: There’s always one person who’s just heaps more turbo than anyone else. You can tell they haven’t been bashed by a bouncer before, or they have been bashed and are just willing to take it again.

What do you enjoy most about being on the road?

Dec: The cliché new places, new people, new cultures. I think we’re very lucky that we have this career. You know, in this industry there’s no boundary of where we can go to really, so that’s always the most exciting part. Just get to brag to your friends about the special places you go.

When you guys are on tour, what’s the work/life balance like? Do you get to see the places you’re travelling to or is it too chaotic?

Dec: I don’t know. It’s hard. We just did Japan and I definitely didn’t feel like an everyday person there at all. Like, I didn’t learn any Japanese phrases, I didn’t do any research into Japan, which is super naive, I know. But it’s just because there was just so many other things before it. Unless it’s like a place that we’ve been to a lot of times before, you just end up being like a tourist.

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Does your hotel become your sanctuary on a tour?

Bryce: It depends on what point of the tour it is or how heavy the weekend was. If it’s a place we’ve been before, I’m kind of like, whatever. Fuck it, I’ve seen it. Uber Eats from the hotel at the front, and that’s as far as I go.

Dec: Like that last tour, not to say that I’m better than anyone in my band, but I tried to get at least a 20 minute to one hour walk in a place just to try and get some sort of movement in my body. I like looking up landmarks around the venue and stuff and then just walking to them and then walking back. Or running back trying to dodge any Amyl fans around!

What’s something that comes with touring that sucks, but you lowkey love it at the same time?

Dec: I think… label dinners.

Bryce: That’s a good answer actually!

Dec: I wasn’t sure if you would agree or not!

Bryce: Nah, I feel that. They’re free, and you can get drunk, but you also have to [chat with] industry people.

Are they really tedious conversations?!

Dec: Yeah. You have the same conversation like 10 times, like “are you seeing anyone Declan?” “No, I’m not seeing anyone. Thanks for reminding me.” It’s just so many questions, but they’re lovely, they are. They are like our family, you know, so it’s kind of like going into a family dinner where you just kind of get sensory overload. I’m just kind of also here for a free meal and drink.

Bryce: They pick nice restaurants and shit, but it’s not a huge spectacle. Sometimes they might book us a big room, which is nice.

What’s the differences between Europe, the States, and then Asia in terms of touring and crowd reception?

Dec: I think generally we’re lucky that the crowd kind of gets nuts everywhere we go. We were told in Japan that the crowd would be really tame, and compared to our usual shows they were, but they still weren’t like what people described them to be. We still had a mosh pit and stuff, but I think there was a lot of Australians there as well.

How can you tell?

Dec: I think Australians really stand out in the crowd. You can see them, like you can spot a backpacker in the crowd.

Bryce: We’re also everywhere, so there’s always a few at every show. We always get asked about what the differences are, but there aren’t many, really.

On a different note, what’s it like being on a late night show like Seth Meyers?

Dec: The thing is, even though you’re doing the same thing that you always do, playing on the radio or playing on TV is completely different to a gig. When you’re performing on stage, it’s like you’re performing to the people who are right there. Whereas, when you’re playing on the radio, you’re performing to people you can’t see. There might be a TV audience but you’re playing to millions of people you can’t see, so it’s really weird to play to a camera or something, you know?

Did you find it enjoyable or was it stressful?

Bryce: It’s a bit of both. It’s pretty hectic seeing that side of media or Hollywood kind of shit. It can be pretty intense, just the way everyone moves. The pace that everyone moves around. You’re like, “Fuck, I don’t want to get in the way, I’m just here to play songs and fuck off.”

Amyl and the Sniffers 2023 Tour Dates

More information available via alwayslive.com.au

Friday, November 24th (All Ages)
Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC

Saturday, November 25th
Pier Hotel, Frankston, VIC

Sunday, November 26th
Volta, Ballarat, VIC

Friday, December 1st
Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC

Sunday, December 3rd
The Dart & Marlin, Warrnambool, VIC

Tuesday, December 5th
The Cube, Wodonga, VIC

Friday, December 8th
Thornbury Theatre, Thornbury, VIC