I’m so happy we’ve got The Amistad playing our next gig; they’ve been a mainstay of the UK DIY punk scene for quite some time and are lovely folk too. Here’s a few words from them before they rock up to our PAFRAS benefit on November 23rd. There’s more information on the gig on our Facebook page here
YA: Could you give us a potted history of The Amistad? I’m aware you’re seen as a Leeds band but I know you’re spread a bit further now?
A: We formed in 2007, originally a four piece but we’ve been a three piece since late 2009. The plan was to make rough-around-the-edges DIY pop music that was hopeful in a sort of bitter and cynical way. Well that’s the heavily revisionist/post-hoc rationalised version of the story anyway. We’ve done three split 7″s and an album since then, but it’s a good three years since we’ve recorded anything, and we probably don’t play as many gigs as we’d like. We’ve always been a band with no fixed abode really: when we started two of us lived in Sheffield and two in Leamington Spa. Now we’re split between Liverpool, London and Sheffield.
YA: How did your relationship with Bombed Out Records form and have you been involved with any other labels?
A: Me (Mike) and Rob used to be in a band called Four Dumb Kids. Terrible name. Anyway, we were big fans of a lot of Bombed Out bands and we used to send Steve a lot of our (embarrassingly bad) recordings in the early days. Hopefully they were on sufficiently low quality CD-Rs to have not survived the aging process. By the time The Amistad got going we’d worn him down, he very kindly offered to put out our album and has been dead encouraging throughout. ROIDH and Disillusioned Records co-released the vinyl version of the album – Wayne is a lovely bloke and a fellow Wednesdayite so always a pleasure to work with – and we’ve had splits out on ROIDH, Document, Disillusioned and All In Vinyl, all of which are basically our friends’ labels and very nice people.
YA: Am I right in thinking your last release was the (rather incredible) “Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts”? It feels like that might have been a little whilst ago, so what’s next?
A: That’s very kind. We actually did a split 7″ with New Bruises in 2011, a year or so after the album came out, but that’s all. We’ve just booked some studio time to record album number two, which has felt like a long time coming from our point of view, so hopefully it’ll be worth the wait!
YA: What have you been up to since that album came out? Inside the band and outside!
A: Well we did the split with New Bruises, and we’ve done a few tours, but other than that not a great deal to report band-wise. That sounds much more negative than it’s supposed to. We’ve really enjoyed playing gigs in various different places, got to play with some amazing bands and made friends with some really great people. The spending time with people bit is always the best bit, even though we might seem a socially awkward bunch at first. We played some gigs around Europe in 2012, including all the way up to Finland, which was definitely a high point. We’d love to do something like that again. Outside the band: I’ve been trying to do a PhD (was meant to take three years, just started my fifth), Rob’s moved to Liverpool, done a master’s, is now starting his PhD and expecting his first child, Frank’s moved to London, done some travelling, played in a couple of different bands and has just started a new job.
YA: What bands have been floating your boat recently?
A: We’ve really enjoyed playing with Austeros from Cheltenham and Guerrilla Monsoon from Birmingham. I know they’re not that new but I really like Good Grief from Liverpool. There’s usually some Weakerthans and Lemuria on the go in my house. And some 90s guitar pop.
YA: Youth Anthems are strident supporters of cake at gigs so what’s The Amistad’s top three cakes?
Mike: the lemony one, the carroty one and the walnutty one
Frank: coffee, lemon drizzle, (vegan) cheesecake
Rob: cheesecake, carrot cake and, assuming it qualifies as a cake, croquembouche. I suppose that makes cheesecake, lemon drizzle and carrot cake the Amistad’s top 3!