Comfort To Me

Comfort To Me

As Amyl and the Sniffers came off the road in late 2019, they moved into a house together in Melbourne. “It had lime green walls and mice,” frontwoman Amy Taylor tells Apple Music. “Three bedrooms and a shed out back that we took turns sleeping in. We knew we were going to come back for a long period of time to write. We just didn’t know how long.” Months later, as the bushfires gave way to a global pandemic, the Aussie punk outfit found themselves well-prepared for lockdown. “We’ve always kind of just been in each other’s pocket, forever and always,” Taylor says. “We’ve toured everywhere, been housemates, been in a van and shared hotel rooms. We’re one person.” With all rehearsal studios closed, they rented a nearby storage unit where they could workshop the follow-up to their ARIA-winning, self-titled debut. The acoustics were so harsh and the PA so loud that guitarist Dec Martens says, “I never really heard any of Amy’s lyrics until they were recorded later on. She could’ve been singing about whatever, and I would have gone along with it, really.” And though Comfort to Me shows a more serious and personal side—as well as a range of influences that spans hardcore, power pop and ’70s folk—that’s not necessarily a byproduct of living through a series of catastrophes. “I was pretty depressed,” Taylor says. “It’s hard to know what was the pandemic and what was just my brain. Even though you can’t travel and you can’t see people, life still just happens. I could look through last year and, really, it’s like the same amount of good and bad stuff happened, but in a different way. You’re just always feeling stuff.” Here, Taylor and Martens take us inside some of the album’s key tracks. “Guided by Angels” Amy Taylor: “I feel like, as a band, everyone thinks we’re just funny all the time. And we are funny and I love to laugh, but we also are full-spectrum humans who think about serious stuff as well, and I like that one because it’s kind of cryptic and poetic and a bit more dense. It’s not just, like, ‘Yee-haw, let’s punch a wall’, which there’s plenty of and I also really love. We’re showing our range a little bit.” “Freaks to the Front” AT: “We must’ve written that before COVID. That’s absolutely a live-experience song and we’re such a live band—that’s our whole setup. We probably have more skills playing live than we do making music. It’s the energy that is contagious, and that one’s just kind of encouraging all kind of freaks, all kind of people: If you’re rich or poor or smart or fat or ugly or nice or mean, everyone just represent yourself and have a good time.” “Choices” Dec Martens: “[Bassist] Gus [Romer] is really into hardcore at the moment, and he wanted a really animalistic, straight-up hardcore song.” AT: “Growing up, I went to a fair handful of hardcore shows, and I personally liked the aggression of a hardcore show. In the audience, people kind of grabbing each other and chucking each other down, but then also pulling each other up and helping each other. I also just really like music that makes me feel angry. I constantly am getting unsolicited advice—or women, in general, are constantly getting told how to live and what to do. Everybody around the world is, and sometimes it’s really helpful—and I don’t discount that—but other times it’s just like, ‘Let me just fucking figure it out myself, and don’t tell me what kind of choices I can and can’t make, because it’s my flesh sack and I’ll do what I want with it.’” “Hertz” AT: “I think I started writing it at the start of 2020, pre-lockdown. But it’s funny now, because currently, being in lockdown again, I’m literally dying. I just want to get to the country and fucking not be in the city. So, the lyrics have really just come to fruition. I was thinking about somebody that I wasn’t really with at the time. It’s that feeling of feeling suffocated—you just want to look at the sky, just be in nature and just be alive.” “No More Tears” DM: “I was really inspired by this ’70s album called No Other by Gene Clark, which isn’t very punk or rock. But I just played this at a faster tempo.” AT: “And also inspired heaps by the Sunnyboys, an Australian power pop band. Last year was really tough for me, and that song’s about how much I was struggling with heaps of different shit and trying to, I guess, try and make relationships work. I was just feeling not very lovable, because I’m all fucked in the head, but I’m also trying to make it work. It’s a pretty personal song.” “Knifey” AT: “It’s about my experience—and I’m sure lots of other people’s experience—of feeling safe to walk home at night. The world’s different for people like me and chicks and stuff: You can carry a weapon and if somebody does something awful and you react, it comes back to you. I remember when I was a kid, being like, ‘Dad, I want to get a knife’, and he was like, ‘You can’t get a knife because you’ll kill someone and go to jail.’ But so be it. If somebody wants to have a go, I’m very happy to react negatively. At the start, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do these lyrics. I don’t know if I’d want to play that song live.’ It’s probably the only song that I’ve ever really felt like that about. It hit up the boys in the band in an emotional way. They were like, ‘Fuck, this is powerful. Makes me cry and shit’, and I was like, ‘That’s pretty dope’.” “Don’t Need a C**t (Like You to Love Me)” AT: “It’s a fuck-you song. When I’m saying, ‘Don’t need a c**t like you to love me’, it’s pretty much just any c**t that I don’t like in general. There could be some fucking piss-weak review of us or if I worked at a job and there was a crap fucking customer—it’s all of that. I wasn’t thinking about a particular bloke, although there’s many that I feel like that about.” “Snakes” “A bit of autobiography, an ode to my childhood. I grew up in a small town near the coast—kind of bogan, kind of hippy. I grew up on three acres, and I grew up in a shed with my sister, mom and dad until I was about nine or 10, and we all shared a bedroom and would use the bath water to wash our clothes and then that same water to water the plants. Dad used to bring us toys home from the tip and we’d go swimming in the storms and there was snakes everywhere. There was snakes, literally, in the bedroom and the chick pens, and there’d be snakes killing the cats and snakes at school—and this song’s about that.”

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