the amity affliction hysteria

THE AMITY AFFLICTION // Ahren Stringer Chats Pushing Boundaries & Making An Album “As Heavy As Possible”

Following an entirely sold out run in 2022, finally touring their 2020 album Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them beyond the pandemic, few knew at the time the extent of the colossal new material idling under the belts of iconic heavies The Amity Affliction

MORE: AVATAR: The Eagle Has Landed, Avatar Are Finally Heading To Australia This August REVIEWS: REDHOOK: Postcard From A Living Hell  // THE AMITY AFFLICTION: Not Without My Ghosts // SLEEP TOKEN: Take Me Back To Eden // THE USED: Toxic Positivity // THE DIRTY NIL: Free Rein to Passions

But not long after, the juggernaut 2022 single Show Me Your God and a string of releases to follow, ultimately building to a brand new album Not Without Your Ghosts due out on May 12, cemented a resounding declaration: Amity are BACK – and they’re heavier than ever. 

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Self-produced and searingly vulnerable, Not Without My Ghosts finds Amity reaching simultaneously into their own past alongside a new, sharpened future. And, as co-lead vocalist and bassist Ahren Stringer recently revealed to ahead of the release of Not Without My Ghosts, album #8 has certainly been a long time coming. 

“I’m just glad at least some of the songs are already out,” muses Stringer ahead of the impending release of Not Without My Ghosts. “We finished recording this album almost an entire year ago, so we’ve been sitting on it for a very long time.”

“It’s always painful to finish a product and have to wait so long,” Stringer continues, “and the state of the vinyl these days is the main issue of why we had to wait so long. But it’s nice to see the reception so far, it’s going well!”.

With early press material touching on Not Without My Ghosts dealing with the paradox of life and death and using music as catharsis, a fact that will come as no surprise to long-time fans of the band, Amity’s eighth full length album can trace its inception to just after the band’s previous full-length Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave was released in late February of 2020; and also just as the COVID-19 pandemic began its full-blown chokehold on Australia.

“During the pandemic, nothing was really happening,” Stringer says of the time surrounding the release of Everyone Loves You… in 2020. “For Everyone Loves You…we couldn’t really tour it, and I guess it kind of fell a bit by the wayside. When we did start playing shows again, we were like: we need to get into writing new stuff.”

“We initially wanted to do a three track EP just to knock the cobwebs off. And we just kept writing from then on, and we were ready to go to the studio pretty soon after that. It’s like riding a bike, really, but we pursued a bit more of a heavy route this time round to basically show that we can still do it. And we wanted to push those boundaries and make it as heavy as possible.”

“It was a pretty natural writing process, as usual. But we’re happy with the result, and we can’t wait for the whole thing to be heard.”

In Brisbane I think it was the biggest crowd we ever had, and I guess it was kind of a hometown show … even though no one lives there anymore
[ Ahren Stringer ]

With Amity able to return to touring as the world has slowly attempted to return to “normality”, the band also ticked off a huge 2022, including a sold out national headline tour and an appearance at all three Good Things Festivals in December, alongside headliners Bring Me The Horizon, Deftones and many more. And, as Stringer revealed, returning to stages wasn’t without its own unique challenges – but playing new material live remains an ongoing personal highlight, especially with the newer material marking the first album Amity have ever self-produced.

“We usually will have a couple of extra songs up our sleeve to put on the album,” says Stringer of the final track list for Not Without My Ghosts. “But for this album, we just wrote 10 songs – and that was it! They were all gonna make it onto the album because this was the first album we’ve ever recorded all by ourselves. We didn’t have a producer at all, it was completely self-made.”

“Because of that, we weren’t really worried about someone else’s opinion. We just stopped writing once we finished the final track.”

With the band completely behind the wheel while making the new album, Not Without My Ghosts not only provided The Amity Affliction a chance to flex their expansive creative wings galvanised for close to two decades as a band without external influence; it also saw the quartet branch out to include four memorable features, including a band-first moment on the closing title track.

“We thought it’d be a bit of fun, and we haven’t had this many features … or any that I can really think of since our first album,” says Stringer of the sweltering addition of Comeback Kid’s Andrew Nuefeld, the late and great New Zealand artist Louie Knuxx, The Plot In You’s Landon Tewers and LA-based alt-pop artist phem to Not Without My Ghosts. “It’s always good to get some outside players on the tracks just to mix things up a bit.”

“There’s some vocal tracks on there from Andrew and Lands and stuff like that that we just can’t physically do ourselves,” adds Stringer. “For example, if we play Death And The Setting Sun – it’ll have to be on tour with Comeback Kid to be able to do that!”

“With phem, we’d never had a female vocalist before. And the track [the album title track Not Without My Ghosts] was so pretty that we decided we needed a pretty voice to go with it. And it’s fun to have friends on the record. We’ve toured the world together with Landon, and Andrew too.”

“And it was the same with Todd [Williams aka rapper Louie Knuxx] as well. Having him on I See Dead People was a post-thought because I had an idea for that bridge part, but it wasn’t really working. Dan [Brown, Amity guitarist] just kinda went into the studio after we’d finished recording and he did all that by himself, he just went: leave it with me, check this out!. And it was just awesome!”. 

With an eye-watering amount of performances lined up for the remainder of 2023, including a North American run with Parkway Drive, Make Them Suffer and Northlane and an Australian headline tour with Silverstein in October amongst appearances at Louder Than Life Festival, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Hellfest and multiple Download Festivals around the globe, The Amity Affliction will have abundant opportunities to christen their brand new full-length in fittingly large fashion as they journey the globe with some of the biggest names in the heavy realms once more. And for Stringer, there’s equal appeal for a giant festival stage as much as there is for a sweaty, intimate club show. 

“I prefer the big ones, but I also get super nervous before walking onto the stage and seeing that crowd. In Brisbane I think it was the biggest crowd we ever had, and I guess it was kind of a hometown show … even though no one lives there anymore,” Stringer pauses, laughing.

“Brisbane still definitely claim us, you know? But that was really special. Then again at the same time, intimate club shows where you can see everyone’s expression and everyone’s singing the words … it’s a different kind of feeling as well.”

“I guess as a performer, I’d say I prefer to play to big crowds,” Stringer concludes. “But as a fan, I’d definitely love to see American Nighmare in a dingy 200 cap dive bar.”

Not Without My Ghosts is out Friday now via Warner Music Australia. 

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