Interview Touché Amoré: ‘We’ve Had This Insane Amount Of Luck’

Going by survival instincts, Touché Amoré are changing the face of hardcore.

Touché Amoré have never been a band afraid of putting themselves on the line. Whether that be through their music, touring schedules or simply their mentality, they’re a group intent on pushing the boundaries of heavy music into entirely different territories.

They’re also not afraid to make themselves uncomfortable: the first line of their brand new album ‘Is Survived By’ seems proof enough of that. ‘I was once asked how I’d like to be remembered/ And I simply smiled and said ‘I’d rather stay forever’,’ screams frontman Jeremy Bolm, in a self-conscious cross-examination which sees his tongue placed somewhere in his cheek. Their opening gambit stands as much more than that though: it stands as the first in a long list of questions that the band have been offered in the face of their own mortality.

For most, those sorts of themes may seem a little morbid, but for music fans of a heavier persuasion, death can become a regular subject matter. For Touché Amoré, that’s no exception, and with the latest album from the Californian five-piece, those questions were something that Bolm decided to face head on, from the start.

“I just had to look outside maybe even more ‘normal’ topics that I would sing about, and look deeper,” Bolm offers, at 1am in his Burbank home. His reasoning stems from the fact that – on the band’s previous two albums – he had much more tangible problems to deal with lyrically. Now, with his life looking a little more rosy than it had been once, he had to seek inspiration from new avenues.

“I had to think about other aspects of my life that I could sing about, which was a challenge I was ready to accept, once I realised where I was at. I knew it would be a lot harder and in a way, would end up becoming more honest because it’s things that I wouldn’t have as openly talked about, like I did in the past. Before it was just off the top of my head - I’d be like, ‘Oh, I’ll just write about this,’ but for this record, there were certain topics that I’d never talked about, that I just went for.”

The clue as to what exactly Bolm dealt with, is in the title. A reference to American obituaries, ‘Is Survived By’ quite clearly marks its intentions from the start. There is, however, a little more to it than first meets the eye. “The overall kind of theme is to just figure out a way to live your life, to musically make your mark on the world and to work out how you’re actually going to be remembered. At some point, you might not even have control over that, which is a point I try and get at with the record as well. You might think you’re living your life a certain way, but there might be a stranger - someone who hardly knows you, or doesn’t know you at all - that has already made up their mind on you, based on things you’ve done in your life. It’s the idea of dealing with that and the anxiety that comes with that thought, but also, just wondering if that even matters.”

For any and all bands, the idea of judgement from strangers in the dark is a growingly prevalent concern. Whether it be thanks to social networking, the nature of the industry, or simply divides in genre, it’s now easier than ever to pass comment on art. That’s an element that Jeremy explored fairly easily: “I mean, yeah, you realise at some point, ‘Am I completely self-absorbed or are these things that everyone worries about?’”

Bolm is even already aware that just the title of their new record could spark all sorts of rumours about the lifespan of the band, but – having now faced his demons – he seems more at peace with whispers.

“I think it opens up a lot of doors when someone just reads the title. We knew going into it, with it being named that, that some kids might think, ‘Oh, this is their last record. They’re breaking up now.’ But at the end of the day, that’s kinda cool because it becomes something to talk about no matter what, you know?

“I think we just had a maturity on this record, and a different frame of mind when it came to songwriting.” he explains. “Doing our last record with Ed Rose really did teach us a lot about songwriting, whether we realised it at the time or not. We kept that in the back of our minds and it really did help shape how we’ve written since. It naturally came across in a way that the songs just ended up being a little longer and a little more thought out.

“With this record, we went into with a more open mind, and really paid attention to song structure. We got really excited by it, and weren’t afraid to take the step of repeating parts and writing verses and choruses. I think it really comes across on the record as a serious growth, and we’re all really proud of it.

“The third record is a scary record. It’s the scariest record. There were a lot of nerves behind this record. The second record is hoping you don’t get the sophomore slump, but the third record is where you really show your colours, and show that you can keep people’s attention without boring them, or doing the same thing, or going too far in a different direction that then turns them off. But, so far, it’s been better than we ever could’ve imagined.”

He’s telling the truth: already, the band have garnered wholly different column inches. They’ve seen themselves grace publications that they wouldn’t have dreamed of previously. They’re already succeeding in subverting opinion, and changing the face of hardcore. Doors are being opened for the genre, and they’re definitely in the thick of it.

“Since the beginning of our band, we’ve had this insane amount of luck. It’s still mind-blowing to us that we’re able to cross and sidestep those genres and have it not be weird. Now, they’re opening their doors to bands in our world and I think that says a lot. I dunno whether it’s a changing of times, or… I really don’t know what it is, but I’m excited about it.”

Genre boundaries, arguments of mortality or just the “scary” third album, it looks like Touché Amoré are brave enough to put themselves on the line, and still survive it all.

Touché Amoré release their new album ‘Is Survived By’ on 23rd September through Deathwish Inc.

Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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