The Amenta recently released their new album V01D as a free download so they’re obviously not in it for the money. They kicked off the Australian leg of their tour on Saturday at The Valve, Tempe, Sydney.
Timothy Pope (Samples & Keyboards) explains what The Amenta are all about.
"We’re not in death metal to make money, and if we were, we certainly got disabused of that notion very, very quickly. Releasing albums as a death metal band; certainly at our level, has to be a labour of love because you’re not really seeing any return at all. For us to release it free, we’re essentially acknowledging that people are downloading our stuff a hundred per cent free anyway . We just cut out the cost of actually pressing a CD, hopefully getting it into more hands. It’s an experiment for us because it makes us focus on the artistic aspect rather than any commercial aspect- then hopefully more people will download it and get it, and then come out to our shows”.
"With V01D we’re experimenting with a whole different side of the band which is the on-line/web aspect, which has never really been a big part of the band “
Due to high levels of demand for the download, the server hosting The Amenta’s site crashed. But it’s all back up and running now. So go grab a copy while you can.
The previous album n0n had quite a few guest musicians including Nergal of Behemoth, Jason Mendonca of Akercocke, Alex Pope of Ruins, and Alice Daquet of Sir Alice, and The Amenta continues to collaborate with musicians that inspire them.
Timothy explains: “We’re much more comfortable working as a collective, bringing in people who we’re inspired by artistically. On n0n we worked with other people whose work we found interesting. We‘ve worked with a lot of people we’ve respected and who could bring something interesting for us to play around with. “
V01D was essentially recorded by The Amenta’s live line up, incorporating violin, circuit bent delay pedals, and oddly enough; scrap metal. Timothy reckons it’s a good idea to continually push the boundaries, and he observes “We like the idea of expanding our horizons musically by playing something that we don’t necessarily know very well”
The experimentation is apparent on V01D; there are some very interesting remixes of Junky, Vermin, Nihil, and Erebus (done by Timothy). They explore a more electronic, industrial side of The Amenta and are well worth a listen.
Regarding the Australian tour with Ruins and Ouroboros, Tim says that it’s going to be awesome and he’s also looking forward to the 3 week European tour with Deicide - “European tours are awesome, you get in a night-liner (tourbus) and everything’s kind of organised – you turn up at a gig and play, you get back in the bus and drive off with some great people, have a few drinks, wake up at the next venue and repeat.”
He thinks a big sleep will be in order after the tour finishes.
Speaking of tours; how did the 2009 European tour with Deicide, Samael and Vader go?
"Generally very well – the gig that stands out in my entire career was playing in Katowice, Poland, at the end of our set, while the next band was setting up, the crowd was just chanting ‘Amenta, Amenta’ for ten minutes. It was pretty awesome. Sitting backstage, having a few beers, listening to that chanting, it was awesome. Probably a highlight of my career”
One of the big differences between Australian & European crowds? Apparently the European fans are less drunk at the gig, preferring to get pissed after seeing the band.
The Amenta have also toured New Zealand with The Bezerker, Ruins and Psycroptic. Tim speaks fondly of Psycroptic. He says “We’re long term friends, we’ve played on Psycroptic’s album, they’ve played on ours. It’s all very incestuous. It’s good to get all the guys together”
But The Amenta are not always so friendly - during the North American tour with Psycroptic, Decrepit Birth, and Warbringer there were times when naughty promoters wouldn’t pay, so The Amenta occasionally went amental (geddit?- Ed) and had to get a bit aggressive to ensure they got their dues. I did hear a rumour that once they were forced to flee from the cops due to their ‘aggressive bargaining’…
The Amenta draw their inspiration from a number of death metal bands including Morbid Angel and Mayhem; they also draw on a lot of early Australian death metal bands such as Armoured Angel, Abramelin, and Cruciform.
Personally Tim is a big fan of Jim Thirwell (Foetus, Steroid Maximus, Manorexia) who he sees as “A fellow experimenter, someone who is in love with the idea of sound. “
"I’d love to tour with Immolation (NY death metal outfit); musically and creatively; Jim Foetus would be pretty awesome, Jason Mendonca and the guys from Akercocke; they were a big influence on us, they’re very forward thinking so they’re definitely a band I’d like to work with”
After the tours are over, there are plans to write and release the third album. The Amenta are still contracted to Listenable Records so it will probably be a hard-copy release with possibly some more downloads available later.
Outside of The Amenta, Timothy is big reader of fiction – he reckons it’s his second biggest passion after music. Right now he’s reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day which he describes as “pretty jaw-dropping”
So what gets Tim out of bed in the morning?
“That feeling you get when you’ve written something that you think is pretty damn good, an amazing bit of music or an amazing piece of writing, whatever it is – it’s that feeling that you get and you think ‘that’s damn good, I’m really proud of that’ – that’s what drives me”