Youngbloods chasing global success

The Amity Affliction are poised for global success.
The Amity Affliction are poised for global success.

They say every dog has its day and in the case of Queensland post-hardcore road-dogs The Amity Affliction, that day has come.

After nearly ten years of sweating it out on stages around the country, the band is starting to gain some heavy duty recognition, thanks to their stellar third full length release, Chasing Ghosts.

The band's maiden voyage on global label Roadrunner/Warner, upon it's September 7 release, it debuted at number one in the ARIA charts.

''It's pretty much the wildest thing that's ever happened to me in my life,'' said bass player and clean vocalist Ahren Stringer. ''I think it made history. I think it's the only hardcore album to make number one in Australia.''

The Amity Affliction was formed in Gympie in 2003. At the time their blend of heavy music - a mix of hardcore, punk and metal with melodic overtones - was far from as accessible as it is today.

''I feel like this kind of music has gone full circle,'' said Ahren. ''It just keeps getting bigger and I'd like to think that we've got something to do with that.

''Obviously with bands like Parkway Drive - they're being worldwide acclaimed - and I think everyone is looking at Australia at the moment in the heavy music industry and it's just a freak thing.''

Chasing Ghosts is somewhat of a concept album, exploring different themes related to death.

While taking care of a fair share of the vocal duties, it is extreme vocalist Joel Birch who tends to the lyrics.

''He wanted to let kids know that there's light at the end of the tunnel and make a really positive record,'' said Ahren.

The Amity Affliction made serious blips on the global radar with the release of 2010's Youngbloods album.

It reached number six on the ARIA chart.

Ahren said that considering the acclaim it received, preparing the follow-up was never going to be an easy task.

''That was kind of our record that broke us and made us do this as our job so it was definitely a hard one to top but it also made us more driven to succeed,'' he said.

''We knew we had to step it up so we definitely went hard and wrote as hard as we could for a few months before we got into the studio. I think we bettered it [Youngbloods] to be honest and I don't think many people expected us to. The hardest thing is trying to put out a good album and then better it.''

Chasing Ghosts was recorded in America with Michael Baskette [Story of the Year, Falling In Reverse] serving as producer.

Baskette's job was made a little easier considering the band had the album written before landing at the studio.

''He definitely brought a few things to the table,'' said Ahren. ''It's definitely good to have a set of fresh ears - sometimes it will just be like, 'why did you put that bit here, why don't you put that bit instead', and it's kind of like, 'why didn't I think of that', but for the majority of it I think we owe a lot of it to ourselves because we worked really hard and had the whole record written before we went to the studio.

''I think he was a bit blown away by that as well. He's used to bands showing up with a few riffs.''

Ahren said the Roadrunner/Warner signing was crucial to the band moving forward, specially in an international sense.

''We always work well under pressure and we've always worked hard,'' he said. ''We've been doing this for almost 10 years now - it's been a long struggle for the most part. I think we've finally caught a break.

''After Youngbloods we thought we've finally got a product to get a deal and we shopped around and Roadrunner were really the only one that got back to us surprisingly and they're a huge label and we went, 'yep, that's done', and the rest is history.

''I just hope it spreads like wildfire. We want to branch out to as many countries as possible and see the world. What every band wants I guess. It's pretty much undoable without a worldwide record deal.

''We've done the hard yards, we know the ins and outs of touring and how to get along on tour and it's definitely prepared us for things to come.''

On Monday the band will play the first of a string of Australian dates in support of the new album, which will take them around the country until October 8.

It will be their biggest headlining tour of Australia to date.

They will play two shows at Sydney's Big Top [at Luna Park] on September 29 and 30 - the first is already sold out.

Ahren said there was nothing like getting on stage and playing live.

''It's such an incredible feeling, specially seeing all of the kids singing along and moving around,'' he said. ''It's really overwhelming at times. I try not to look kids in the eye sometimes in case I just freak out and go, 'what's going on here'.''

Following the Australian tour the band will make its fourth trek to America to be a part of the AP Tour.

Also on the radar is a series of shows as part of the 2013 Soundwave touring extravaganza.

The Amity Affliction will be one of the only Australian acts on the bill which includes international heavyweights Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Linkin Park and StoneSour to name a few.

''It's the biggest festival I think Australia has ever seen,'' Ahren said. ''It's mindblowing how many big bands are on there as well and to be able to play alongside them is an honour.

''It's always good to be put in front of an audience that wouldn't normally buy tickets to your shows. You're always going to win over fans at festivals as well so everybody wins.''

For a full list of tour dates visit the band's Facebook page here.