Who’d have thought one of the most hyped acts post-Great Escape 2018 would be an Australian punk band with mullets named after a recreational drug? Not Amyl and the Sniffers, that’s for sure. Catching up with them before their sold-out show at the Lexington, they seem as bewildered as they are excited by all of the attention.
“We’re pretty young as a band, we’ve only been touring for a couple of years,” starts Amy, lead singer and frontwoman, explaining how it feels to be selling out shows thousands of miles from home. “It’s been pretty hectic, there’s a lot going on, and it’s pretty full on. We’ve also done about six shows in five days, so that’s been pretty wild too.”
There’s a sense from Amy and Gus, the bassist, that they probably don’t sleep all that much. This is all but confirmed when they’re asked if they’ve had any time between shows to explore England on their first ever visit. “Oh, Gus has done heaps of culture vulture stuff,” laughs Amy, urging: “Tell them about the skulls!”
“Oh yeah, I went to this fucking bizarre museum under a pub, it had loads of taxidermy and skulls… I saw all kinds of stuff,” Gus explains, before reeling off a list: “A jar of Russell Crowe’s piss, A box filled with Russell Brand’s pubes, oh, and a jar of Kylie Minogue’s shit, that was like a home away from home for me.”
Not exactly your average tourist experience, but then it’s doubtful whether the loud-mouthed Australians who joke about each other’s buttholes on stage would fit in at the National Gallery, so it’s probably for the best.
So how is London measuring up against their hometowns? “Well, we’re all from different places,” Amy says. “I’m from a small town called Mullumbimby, a little hippy town that my parents moved to when they were younger. Iggy Azalea’s from there though, I went to her high school, and her mum was my soccer coach,” she laughs, clearly aware that Azalea and the Sniffers don’t have all that much in common.
“I met Bryce, the drummer, on MSN, how funny is that?” She continues, explaining how the band formed. “We met when we were 13, and he had a shirt that said ‘That’s how I roll’ with a toilet roll on it. I remember I told him he had to wear skinny jeans if he wanted to be cool.”
“What next?” she wonders, before remembering: “Oh, then I Bryce and I met Declan at a pub in Melbourne one night…”
“And I supported Dec’s old band in Hobart, which is where I’m from,” Gus chips in. “It’s on Tasmania, south of the mainland, we’re from all corners of Australia.”
“I only met Gus because Declan brought him home really drunk one night,” Amy jokes. “He came into my room drunk talking shit and shouting ‘I’m Gus from Bus Money!’ and I had no fucking idea who he was.”
A long way round to starting a band, but now they’re together The Sniffers are psyching themselves up for their biggest tour yet: supporting King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in the States.
“We’re on Flightless Records, which is run by King Gizzard, so they’re basically our godfathers now,” Amy explains. “Joey Walker, the guitarist, is recording our album and Eric is sitting in on it as well, but touring America with them will be wild.
“I have been to America once before. When I was 16, I went over as a nanny for three weeks, which was fucking weird. My auntie and uncle were pretty wealthy at the time, they ran a fake tan business in Sydney,” she laughs again. “I know this all sounds so strange! So I was the palest girl in the tiny country town, my dad’s a crane driver, and my mum works in the post office. Then one day my aunt just called up like, “Does Amy wanna come to America? We went all over the place; it was pretty wild.”
“It’s our first time playing out there though,” says Gus. “We’re doing 22 shows in 24 days with Gizzard, and we’re just finishing six shows across five nights in the UK. I think we’re gonna die, but it’ll be worth it.”
As it’s their first time in the UK and America, there are some home comforts the band wish they’d brought along: “Vegemite, I’m missing that shit already,” sighs Gus. “I gotta track some down soon. Mullets haven’t caught on here either. Obviously, they were global in the 1980s, but there is something quintessentially Australian about a mullet.”
“There are some good pubs in Australia too, if anyone’s ever over there,” Amy adds. “Balaclava Hotel in Balaclava, that’s a good ‘un. Melbourne’s cheap as piss! You’ll meet some real characters there; they have this thing they call the snakepit, which is just a smokers’ area out on the street. All the old men sit out there smoking and rattling at girls.”
“Oh man if you’re in Melbourne you gotta go to the Tote,” Gus enthuses. “It’s a ripper pub, home of rock’n’roll in Australia, a really great place to just go and drink and hang out at. Great gigs there too. Going to the pub is pretty much my main hobby!” He grins and takes a swig from his can of Kronenbourg. “Going to the pub, watching some bands, hanging out and talking shit.”
Taken from the August issue of Dork. Order a copy below.
Words: Jake Hawkes