Amyl and The Sniffers recount the wild ride that was 2019

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Amyl and The Sniffers recount the wild ride that was 2019

Amyl and the Sniffers
Photo: Jamie Wdziekonski
Words by Tammy Walters

2019 saw Australia fall in love with punk outfit, Amyl and The Sniffers.

Their outrageous, sold-out live shows and infectious self-titled debut album under King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard’s Flightless Records label reached #22 in the Australian charts, sparking a plethora of nominations in the Music Victoria Awards. They also took home an ARIA for Best Rock Album after a viral acceptance speech moment with Agro the puppet.

They’ve sat upon the red couch at Rage and have been a favourite on the red drum radio station. It’s not just Australia who has fallen in love, our commonwealth counterparts in the UK also jumped on the bandwagon, taking the album to No. 91 and instantly selling out their UK tour. But the band remains humble about their new-found success.

“We don’t know how long we’re going to be around for, but it’s really nice that we’ve received the recognition from some people. It’s really flattering,” says guitarist Dec Martens.

“We haven’t always been able to get the same opportunities as other bands because we’ve never stood out as the best songwriters or the best performers…or the best looking band or whatever,” he laughs. “We had to make do with what we are doing.

“When we started writing this album, we didn’t have any ideas about going overseas. It was an album that was written, when we pictured it, on a very small scale because all we were doing was touring the east coast of Australia. So, being recognised overseas and getting the ARIA is totally off our scale – it was never imagined! I even forgot about the Rage couch, I guess we’ve ticked a lot of boxes.”

There are a few factors at play behind the success of the record. Firstly, the foursome flew to Sheffield to work with the man behind Arctic Monkeys’ 2013 smash hit AM, Ross Orton, who allowed the process to be organic and maintained their history of quick studio runs.

Secondly, they had the guidance of the King Gizz whizzes behind them and, thirdly, they translated their live shows directly to tape.

“That was something that was mainly on our mind when we wanted the album. We knew our main strength was the live show, so we thought if we could get that live show energy onto the album then that would be a successful album for us. A lot of those songs we had been playing live for about three months before going into recording,” Martens says.

Continuing this trend of debuting new songs at shows, The Sniffers are keen to get some new tunes onto setlist rotation for 2020, having already started writing album two.

“We have to back it up with some more good music, or try to find success in other ways than what we’ve been achieving or look at some other goals. But we definitely [have hit] something now that I feel like we have to keep in mind – not just writing good music but achieving big goals all of the time,” he laughs.

“We have been writing a little bit and we have a bit of time off over January and February where we can write some more, but we’ve definitely started it. We’ll be touring a bit next year and will start throwing some new songs out there. Hopefully soon rather than later we’ll have a new album out.”

Before they kick into 2020 mode, the Sniffers will be signing off for 2019 in their favourite fashion with an appearance at Falls Festival, and they plan on bringing raucous pub feel to the big stage.

“We still try to get the crowd involved as much as possible; we get them to throw things on stage, like drinks, or Amy will bring the champagne over to them and, even though there is a barrier, we get rid of that ‘us and them’ separation. I think some of our best shows have been outdoor festivals, but we will try to bring that intimacy to the show.”

Don’t miss Amyl and The Sniffers at Falls Festival Lorne from Saturday December 28 – Tuesday December 31. Grab your tickets through the festival website.