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  THE AMORETTES TALK 'BORN TO BREAK', INFLUENCES, PLAYING LIVE, AND BALLADS


ian sutherland
Words: Ian Sutherland, Live Pictures: Mark Holloway
16th April 2018

amorettes



Powerhouse Scottish trio The Amorettes are making waves in the world of music with their patented high energy, all attitude rock. Their new album 'Born To Break' was released on 6th April and landed them their highest ever chart position, hitting number four in the UK Rock Chart.

MetalTalk caught up with Gill Montgomery(guitar/vocals), Heather McKay (bass/backing vocals) and Hannah McKay (drums/backing vocals) a few hours before their warm up show in Edinburgh for their just completed UK tour with The Dead Daisies.

You've been working hard for years but have now been signed to major German label SPV. What difference has that made to you?

Gill: Well we were signed to Off Yer Rocka for four years but now we're signed to a label that's recognised around the world. It feels really exciting actually. There's more press, there's more interview requests from around the world.

Hannah: It feels like a new phase for the band. We're starting to open up to the world.

amorettes

How did the new album 'Born To Break' come together? How did the songwriting work for that?

Gill: We've had a bit more time to write this one. We wanted to take a bit more time, a bit more care over it. We didn't do a lot of gigs last year so we had more time to concentrate, more time to write. It's been a different experience, especially for me, I do most of the writing.

We've taken a different approach to writing this compared to previous albums. We wrote the bass and drum parts first then doing the guitars and vocal harmonies over the top rather than doing the guitar first. It gives us more scope song wise plus there's not a lot of places to hide.

Heather: It means we have to be more inventive.

Hannah: We recorded it at Rockfield Studios in Wales as well which was amazing. There was just a really good vibe in that studio. I usually feel really stressed in a studio but I was nice and relaxed this time. I wanted to make a really good album and I got a really good drum sound so it was great!

Heather: There was a lot of scope to bring different techniques to these songs.

'Born To Break' is a cracker of an album and full of that high energy rock and roll that you do, but in 'Hello And Goodbye' you actually slow down a little and even get bluesy. Is this an area you want to explore musically?

Gill: I think so! When I was doing a lot of the writing I would write a couple of warm up tracks in the morning, get the coffee on and get into it. I wouldn't spend any more than an hour on each.

This is one of the warm up tracks that I did so I showed it to the other guys and they loved it and I showed it to Luke [Morley, producer] and he said yeah let's do it. It was just something that was totally different that just kind of stuck with me.

Will there ever be an Amorettes ballad? [in response to this Heather made a rude noise and everyone laughed]

Gill: Well 'Want It Bad', the last song on 'Born To Break' is a slower tune. I think it's the first one we've done that's less than 140 beats per minute.

Hannah: I would say that's not really a ballad, it's more of a battle song. You know what I mean, if you're a medieval knight on a horse riding into battle...

So I'm getting the idea that the answer is no? [more laughter]

Gill: Well we wouldn't rule it out!

amorettes

You have an old school vibe and seem to be influenced by bands much older than yourselves. How did you end up looking to years gone by for inspiration?

Gill: I remember in high school hearing rock and roll like Hendrix and Zeppelin and thinking 'What the fuck is that?' and feeling really drawn to it. There was a phase when I was obsessed with the sixties, getting hold of every record I could.

I wasn't really interested in what was going on at the time. I kind of missed the whole Nirvana phase. It just passed me by, grunge, the nineties, it was all fine but it never really inspired me very much. The old stuff was the best for me and I didn't feel isolated because there were other people in my high school were into the same thing.

It was cool. There's also that we used to play lots of covers at bike rallies and stuff and it was those kind of songs that we enjoyed playing.

Heather: Whenever we got into a room together to play it was those songs we wanted to do.

Gill: We're massive AC/DC fans and Motörhead fans...

Hannah: The Donnas were a big influence

Gill: They had that kind of old school vibe as well, bringing something back from the seventies. There's The Datsuns, The Darkness, Queen. Old school stuff just spoke to me.

Hannah: I was always just drawn to quite flamboyant performers, I don't know why! Maybe there's some sort of deep seated psychological thing there but that's what drew me in.

amorettes

Gill, the guitar work on the album is really great and your vocals are really strong too. Do you work as hard on your vocals as your guitar playing?

Gill: No! [laughs] I think I'm still sort of finding my voice if that makes sense. I've never had it in my head that I was going to be a singer. When we were starting the band we were going to be a four piece.

We couldn't find a girl who we got on with or who would stick with it so I'd become the singer by default. I've been learning as I go, my mum is a director of amateur musical theatre so I've grown up singing in a voice that's delicate yet powerful in a way. I've been trying to make it gruffer, more rock'n'roll, trying to get more of a balance where I'm happy with it.

I think I'm a bit like Roger Daltrey in that I don't really like my own voice. Sometimes it depends what day it is.

Hannah: It wouldn't work now with anyone else though.

Gill: It's kind of a stand out voice because it's not a clichéd rock voice, I seem to be pushing it like hell but it's still delicate. I can really belt it out to be heard over what's behind me but I like to balance it. I only have two volume settings, AAAAAHHH and quiet.

It is quite challenging standing and doing the whole thing, playing rhythm, lead, singing, breathing, all that. That's the kind of thing I maybe neglect but I'm getting there.

amorettes

Are you looking forward to your tour with The Dead Daisies?

All: YEAH!

Hannah: I love touring.

Gill: I think it's our favourite thing about doing this.

Heather: It's where we come alive really, where we can just be ourselves and do what we want to do, do what we love doing.

Gill: We've played with them before and they're lovely guys. We can't wait to hang out.

Any more touring plans? Are you playing any festivals this year?

Hannah: We're doing the Silja Rocks Cruise from Sweden with Rock Goddess and Bonafide and others. It'll be good to get back to Europe.

Heather: Camden Rocks has been announced! We've got a few in the pipeline but we can't tell you about all of them yet.

Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.






 

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