It’s amazing what you can learn these days, the fact you can’t get mushy peas from chip shops in Australia, is my newly acquired fact of the day. As Amyl And The Sniffers guitarist, Dec Martens, waits for his chippy order in Melbourne, by the magic of zoom we’re all together on screen to discuss Amyl And The Sniffers amazing new album ‘Comfort To Me’. After establishing that Dec is getting “blue grenadier, minimum chips and a coke” from Melbourne’s Cons Chippery which gets a resounding “fuck yeah” from Amy, with Bryce Wilson (drums), Gus Romer (bass) and Amy Taylor (vocals) all on screen from their homes, whilst the chips sizzle in the fryer, we begin our chat about the astounding new album.

Amyl and The Sniffers are one of the most down to earth bands you could ever hope to meet. Yes, I was nervous given their ferocious live reputation and gloriously punked-up angst, but within a few minutes of getting them all them together via the wonders of a zoom call, I knew I shouldn’t have worried.

Although in the middle of a lockdown in Melbourne, with all four band members living separately for now, their closeness and band banter is both amusing and loveable. Sometimes it takes a band living in each other’s pockets and enduring life’s ups and down to develop a bond that then translates effortlessly into the music. With their new album ‘Comfort To Me’, written mostly during various Australian lockdowns, they’ve managed to produce an album that combines fast paced guitar tunes with hugely anthemic melodies to create one of the best albums you’ll hear all year.

We start by asking just how they managed to record the album under such unique circumstances:

Bryce: “It’s been up and down, we had moments where we were out of lockdown, it was all pretty much written around various lockdowns, going in and out of lockdown, so that was probably the biggest speedbump, the biggest hurdle to get over. Just like practicing as well. We just like chipped away at it over nine months.”

When you all write together how does that work, does someone bring in an idea and then you all work around it?

Gus: “Did you say best weather?”

Ha ha, no the best way for you to write?

Gus: “Oh the best way! I though you said the best weather, I was just thinking, what’s the best weather to write to music. I dunno what the best temperature is optimal for writing fucking hits! Either Declan, Bryce and myself will have kind of like a fully formed song or like a part of a song and kind of bring it to the group and we’ll jam and work on that. Occasionally from jamming in the room with each other something will come from that, and Amy is always writing bits and bobs down, and then we kind of flesh it out.”

Not only does the music take you on a thrilling ride from start from finish, there’s a sense of celebration and defiance in the lyrics. A call for  greater acceptance and the ability to just be yourself is clear on many of the songs, especially on tracks like the lightning sharp ‘Freaks To The Front’ .

Amy: “Yeah, it’s just letting your freak flag fly and just getting amongst it, no matter what you look like, what you do, what you think like, how you look, what you do for a job. Any of that stuff doesn’t matter, cos music’s so fun, and it’s just meant for everyone to have fun together, just move their body and get sweaty and yeah, just be. That song is just kinda like a reminder to everyone that you don’t have to be trendy, you don’t have to be anything, you can be ugly, you can be sick, you can be rich, you can be poor, just get amongst it, and fuck everyone else!”

‘Security’ is one of the best punk anthems ever, it’s catchy as he’ll with an attitude that snarls its way through the huge melodies. It’s another celebration of being who you are and is really just a simple love song as Amy elaborates:

“Yeah, It’s about the exclusion that can happen in certain groups, but if I’m honest at the same time, it’s really just a simple song, a made-up love story about someone who just wants to get into a pub, and they’re in love with the pub’s security, and they’re looking for love and they’re not looking for trouble.”

Yeah, that’s what I get from it as well. All the songs on the album a big celebratory songs, they might have a message underneath but at the same time, it’s just about getting on and having a good time

Amy: “Yeah, cos that’s the best message in the end most of the time. Just try and figure out the best way to have a good time and celebrate life and shit.”

Although I can hear the likes of Mudhoney, Motorhead, Hole and Buzzcocks as possible influences, the band have their perennial faves which they can always rely on to inspire or just to enjoy as Amy explains:

“We all really love The Cosmic Psychos, who are an Australian punk band, I think we all like a bunch of different stuff, like we draw influences from everyone. We do like Motorhead, we all like Coffin, that’s a Sydney band. We are also like Ceremony, Pissed Jeans, Wendy O’ Williams, we do love AC/DC.”

As much as they are a punk band, they’re also a band who don’t necessarily want to be lumped in with one particular sound or genre, as the song ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ testifies, however to the band it’s also much more than that. It’s about opening up your possibilities and enjoying life to the maximum:

Amy: “I think that in general, it’s just not wanting to be limited to someone else’s perception of yourself. Maybe somebody thinks I’m one way, but I want to explore everything, I wanna live life in the biggest way possible, I want to try everything. Just because I like hamburgers doesn’t mean I wanna say no to pizza! Just because I like Coca-Cola doesn’t mean I can’t try lemonade!”

From the actress Juliette Lewis to Sleaford Mods, there’s no shortage of famous types willing to express their love for the band. Coming from the underground music scene, it must be strange to suddenly be recognisable, yet the band all seem to be taking it in their stride:

Gus: “I don’t think anyone in the world knows who I am!”

Bryce: “I’m the drummer”

Amy: “Ha ha, nice to meet you Bryce. I was wondering who that guy was!”

Amy: “I went for a run the other day, and someone recognised me. If I go to the pub when that’s open people usually say ‘Hey Amy’, and also I’m paranoid in case anyone comes to my house and kills me, but other than that I’m good! “

Gus: “Yeah sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you just get cornered at a pub by some fucking dickhead who’s chewing your ear off, sometimes somebody buys you beer! There’s good and bad sides.”

Often musicians have had a turning point in their lives, the one where something clicks, music becomes everything and there’s no going back, sometimes events just happen and before you know it, you’re a musician,  as they explain how they ended up in music:

Bryce: “I think it was probably Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees. I was listening to them exclusively from the ages of like 16-20 pretty much, that was what I was pumping all the time. That was a go-to, I definitely drew a  lot of influence in energy from that.”

Gus: “Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I dunno, kind of just fell into it y’know. I fell into it, now I’m fucking stuck!” (laughs)

Amy: “Yeah what would you do if you couldn’t do this Gus?”

Gus: “Pretty much anything!”

Amy: “Yeah, I think all of us would be working in a supermarket or something”

Gus: “Definitely. I’d be bar-tendering at The Croxton” (A music venue in Melbourne, fact fans). 

Bryce: “You would have been fired years ago”

Gus (laughs)” I’m actually… no I’m not a good employee! Punctual but not good!”

Dec: “I was really lonely in my first year of Uni so music was a bit of an escape for that I guess. I just became obsessed with music, although I never really wanted to be a musician, I really sort of wanted a career in the music industry, so I thought I’d join a band, so I could be like a band manager. I thought that if I joined a band then I’d meet more musicians, and I’d sort of get my name out there, but it backfired and I became a musician!”

Well, it backfired quite well!

Dec: !I guess so, I always wanted to be a manager!!

Amy: “Well, I always was like ‘it’d be fun to be a musician’ but I thought everyone felt like that, I mean I think pretty much everyone does feel like that, but I just went to a lot of live shows, and just really fell in love with live music, and thought it was really fun and sick. Just really liked being around people and not really knowing anything about them but all sharing the same taste in music and stuff. I’ve got heaps and heaps and heaps of energy and stuff, so it just kinda happened. As well, when I get drunk I freestyle rap, and I just thought, I wanna perform and I want to be on stage, I want to be part of this. But there was never really a turning point. Even probably up until a few years into the band, it was only then I thought ‘oh I guess I’m a musician’. I mean I’m enjoying it. I’m a fucking whinger and a complainer but at the same time I’m enjoying it! You don’t really notice what’s going on too much.”

The band are now gearing up for a livestream gig which is going out on October 5th 2021, and with more tour dates possibly on the horizon for next year too, the whole band are excited to be getting back out there again even though touring has its ups and downs as they explain:

Amy: “The best thing for me is feeling busy and being around people, tasting chicken shops! My least favourite thing is that I lose my voice. I always lose my voice and then I can’t talk to anyone, and that is depressing.”

Gus: “Being homesick is not good. Not being able to hang out and see your friends, but I guess you’re making new friends which is positive. Feeling hungover almost every fucking day, is also a positive or a negative depending on which way you look at it! Free piss is nice! Being out for a drink every night is nice! “

Dec:” I like planes, so any opportunity to jump on a plane I love.”

Following Amy’s collaboration with Sleaford Mods on their tune ‘Nudge It’ from the ‘Spare Ribs’ album, it’s obvious to see that the two bands are kindred spirits when it comes to attitude and vocal delivery. Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods is still someone Amy turns to for his views on music as she reveals:

“I talk to Jason a fair bit. I’ll always ask his advice if I’m stuck on anything music wise or whatever, like what do you think of this mix or whatever. I really value his opinion cos I like what he makes. I’m a big fan.”

With the album due out imminently, and plans being made for live gigs, although they’re still in lockdown there’s still plenty to look forward to:

Amy: “I’m still excited about the album coming out. I’m nervous, well no, I’m not nervous I’ve just got energy and stuff.”

Dec: “I’m planning on getting my learners in the next few weeks. My learners licence.”

Obviously being in lockdown there’s not a lot you can do, but have you started doing anything new that you’re going to carry on doing?

Amy:” I started reading books and I really enjoy that and I can run almost ten kilometres now.”

Gus: “Second dinner. I eat a second dinner now! I Don’t know if I’m planning to carry that on or not post lockdown, but second dinner has become a fixture in my daily routine.”

Dec: “Elevenses and second elevenses. I started exercising last year. I don’t want to keep that up, it’s terrible!” 

As I’m off to the pub later that evening, Amy tells me to have an extra drink for them, which me, my husband, and our mates are more than happy to do. Raising a toast in our local in Urmston, Manchester, to a band more than ten thousand miles away, but a band whose music and band members convey a closeness and down to earth, no-nonsense appeal that’s hard to resist.

Amyl And The Sniffers have made one of the best albums of the year. It’s not trying to be too clever, it’s simply a rock n roll celebration with a call to everyone’s ears to just be yourself, have fun, be in love, dance around, don’t take any crap from the haters and enjoy life. Right now, that’s all most of us need. An astounding second album from one of the best bands around.

Amyl And The Sniffers: Comfort To Me – Out Now (Rough Trade Records)

The band play a pre-recorded, one-off, livestream gig on October 5th 2021, playing the album in full, with screenings available in different time zones. For tickets click here:  Livestream Tickets


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.