The Festival experience with... The Amazons

Henry Lewis caught up with one of the fastest growing rock'n'roll outfits in the country to talk favourite riffs, Glastonbury headliners and, of course, junk food.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 7th Jul 2017.
Originally published: 6th Jul 2017

Image: Shot By Phox / The Amazons 

Reading four piece The Amazons are flying through 2017. Along with Jorja Smith, AJ Tracey, Rag 'n' Bone Man and more the riff loving, chorus hollering outfit slotted firmly into BBC's sound of 2017 list and have taken every inch of adulation in their stride.

Their eponymous debut album dropped in May, with the likes of 'Black Magic' and 'Junk Food Forever' tailor made for festival circuits and huge arenas alike, all that's required now is time.

It's no surprise that whichever festival tent the band have graced this summer, it has been packed out with fans craning their necks to get a glimpse of one of the most exciting rock'n'roll outfits in the country right now. Glastonbury this year was a prime example of that, with thousands swarming the John Peel tent to celebrate the latest in a long line of guitar touting, long haired collectives, and were more than happy to sit firmly in the palm of the band's hands. 

Fast forward to this time in 2018 and it's almost guaranteed that the group will be lodged firmly within the mainstage line ups of almost each and every festival they touch upon, however before all that we spoke to the band ahead of slots at Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, and more closer to home, Reading Festival and Leeds Festival.

Alright boys, what a 2017 it’s been for you so far...describe the feeling in The Amazons camp right now 

We're feeling good. We're deep into festival season now which has been super fun so far. Our debut record has been out for over a month now too, and the reaction to it has been amazing. 

The crowd at your Glasto slot was ridiculous - did you even stop to notice or was it all a bit of a blur?

Total blur. As soon as we came off stage we jumped in a van to go perform an acoustic Live Lounge session for the BBC, so it was difficult to process it. Watching back online was a trip, there were so many things I didn't notice at the time, weird shit like the flags in the crowd or dry ice on stage.

Looking at bands like yourself, Catfish, Royal Blood etc - are you the new breed of Glastonbury headliners? It can't be Coldplay, Radiohead etc forever can it?

It's not something we really think about. We write and record music that we think is exciting and then see where it takes us. That's the top of the priority list, then everything else takes care of itself. 

I saw you at Liverpool Sound City and you absolutely rocked it, what’s the secret to getting a festival crowd in the palm of your hand?

I think you've got to earn the attention of the audience at festivals like that. Start fast and hard, let the music do the talking for a little bit. 

There are some monster riffs in your back catalogue, what are your some of your favorite riffs from throughout the years? 

'Cochise' by Audioslave springs to mind. I used to crank that up in my car going home after a shift when I used to work at a supermarket. Led Zeppelin, one of my first loves, always had great riffs. 'Black Dog', 'Whole Lotta Love'. More recently I like what Royal Blood have done in the last two records.

What was the first festival you went to as punters? What went down/ who did you see?

Reading & Leeds for most if not all of us I think. My first was Reading 2007 and I've been every year since. I think Razorlight headlined. My eyes were like planets. I knew this was the kind of world I wanted to be involved in. 

Is this your first, full on festival season? Is there a temptation to just party massively at every major one you play or are you quite good at keeping it sensible?

We had a pretty busy one last year, focusing on more regional UK based festivals, which are great. This year there's been fewer but bigger UK festivals and way more across the continent. We try to be sensible, mostly... but 9 times out of 10 we fail miserably. We love seeing all the other bands at festivals, so it's hard to not crack.

I’m curious as to where the whole ‘fuck the Amazons’ phrase came from? Seen a few people with jackets sporting that phrase

I think I saw a Police tshirt which was very similar, that's where we got the idea from. It's basically us not taking ourselves very seriously, there's not big meaning behind it. There doesn't need to be either, it's rock and roll. 

What is the Amazons go to junk food? 

We tend to have a lot of pizza on tour. Probably a little too much for our own good.

Being from Reading, your slot there this August bank holiday weekend must be an exciting prospect? You must have some good memories of the festival…?

So many. Being from Reading, the festival has always had a big part in our musical education. It's always going to be special for a Reading band to play the festival, so we're excited.

The Amazons will play Reading Festival and Leeds Festival, find tickets for both events below.

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