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Interview: Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré

I recently had the chance to catch up with Jeremy Bolm, frontman of post-hardcore band, Touché Amoré, ahead of their Brisbane show. They’re currently embarking on an Australian headline tour in support of their latest album, Stage Four. Jeremy and I spoke about the pros and cons of festivals, coffee, musical inspirations, touring Australia and much more. Check it out below.

Firstly, welcome to Australia! You guys just wrapped up a string of shows in Europe. How was that?

Thanks! Yeah, it was shorter than usual, just a little over two weeks. It was very tiring – a lot of metal festivals! We always joke that we’re either the softest band at the metal festival or the most aggressive band at the hipster festival. We can never really find the perfect line, you know? This time it was all metal festivals, so it was a little interesting! We did the best we could.

What’s it like playing festivals as opposed to intimate headline shows?

You basically just said it there…if it was up to me there would be no barrier, where you can actually connect with somebody. With a lot of festivals, ones that are outdoors especially, the crowd is always far away, the stage is too high. You just have to rely on playing the songs really well, as opposed to having crowd interaction. There are upsides and downsides. With festivals, a lot of times you are playing with bands that you like or you’re friends with, and catering is usually cool! But I’ll definitely take a club show over a festival any day of the week.

Your Australian tour kicks off this week in Brisbane. Have you had any chance to explore the city, or have you just been relaxing, given your hectic schedule?

Yeah, we had the brutal flight yesterday and had a layover in Melbourne, where we landed at around 6 in the morning. Then we didn’t arrive in Brisbane until noon, so yesterday was more of a fight to stay awake until 10 pm. But I did get to do all the things I wanted to do in Australia like, you know, eat Nandos and have coffee! I’m feeling pretty okay right now, and I’m sure after the show tonight I’ll feel levelled completely. But still flying okay!

You mentioned having coffee in Australia. Is it true that the coffee here is significantly different to that in the US? I feel like people talk about it a lot!

I will say…I’m probably the lesser of the coffee snobs in the band…I like Starbucks, to be completely honest [laughs]. Every other building near our hotel seems to be a coffee shop. There are subtle differences – we usually get a ‘cold brew’ in the US, but here its called a ‘cold drip’, and they give it to us in a paper cup instead of a plastic cup. Which is kinda interesting…but again, respect [laughs].

The last time you played in Australia was in 2015 with Every Time I Die. Is there anything new that you are looking forward to this time around?

I’m just happy to be back here. I’ve never seen Australia in winter, as we’re usually here in the summer, which is funny because I’ve always called Australia a giant California. It’s winter in LA, but you can still wear a t-shirt, and it’s the same here. Right now, it’s perfect for me. It makes walking around a little bit easier, as you’re not sweating to death and feeling like you’re getting sunburned. It’s cool getting to see new venues too, which is nice! When it comes to touring, I like the simple things. I like meeting new people at shows! I’m pretty easy to please. As long as I have food I can eat and a bed to sleep in, I’m pretty happy.

You’re also bringing Turnover on this tour, which I think is really cool, as genre-wise, you guys are quite different. How did this come about?

Personally, I’d take an eclectic show over anything. Our shows with Every Time I Die were really cool, and I think we’re much softer than them in general. They’re a band I’ve always liked and respected since I was 16 or 17, so getting to play with them was really cool.

I really like Turnover’s last record, and I’ve actually only met one member of that band, so today I’ll be meeting them all for the first time. I like what they do, and like I said, I like an eclectic show. Playing shows with just aggressive bands serves a purpose, but I feel like, at the same time, it becomes a little jarring. I like to give your ears a little break; you know, a difference in tone throughout the show. I’m looking forward to this tour and playing shows with bands you like is always a plus too!

Speaking of live shows, do you have a favourite track to perform live?

I think if I had to choose, it would be the song ‘Rapture’. I think that for someone who isn’t as familiar with our band, it has has a catchiness to it where it’s pretty easy to bob your head. It’s a good crowd reaction song. For some reason, it just translates really well.

When you write a record, you’re not thinking as much in that moment how it’s going to work live. You just go and do it, if it sounds nice, or if it’s energetic, etc. But you don’t really know if it’s going to work until you start doing it. ‘Rapture’ is just one of those songs that really came through, both on the record and in the live environment, which is the best thing you can hope for. [Sometimes you] think you have a song that everyone feels 100% on, but when you play it live, it just doesn’t work. It’s really unpredictable, and sometimes you can never tell. The title track of our record, ‘Is Survived By’ is kinda collectively one of our favourite songs that we’ve written, but we’ve tried it so many times on tours, and it just doesn’t work. It’s so strange to us! So yeah, I would choose ‘Rapture’. I think it’s something that just feels right.

You guys have been making music since 2007. How have your influences changed over the years?

[Change of] influences comes with age, I think. You know, a young hardcore kid who is reading this interview, they might have the mindset that all they like is hardcore, but I feel like that is going to change at some point. I’ll always be a hardcore kid, but I think if that’s all you listen to, it’s probably not good for your psyche [laughs]. As you get older, it’s nice to have some change. So yeah, I think everyone listens to different things. There’s only a handful of bands that the five of us can actually agree on. I think it’s like, five, or less than that. We’re all coming from different places when it comes to writing.

Who are the artists that are currently inspiring you?

The past couple of years I’ve become a pretty big fan of Mark Kozelek, who does Sun Kil Moon, and was in the Red House Painters. He just continues to pump out records. He puts out two or three a year, at this point, whether it’s under Sun Kil Moon, a collaborative record, or a Mark Kozelek record which is more just guitar and vocals. I’ve become pretty obsessed with him, following what he does and his storytelling ability. I’ve always had the same handful of lyrical inspirations, but he is someone new. Whenever he’s doing something or announcing something new, I’m usually pretty excited.

Do you have any final words for all of your Aussie fans who are looking forward to seeing you guys live this week?

If you’re planning on coming already, we appreciate it! Thanks for continuing to support the band. If this is your first time coming, we hope we don’t disappoint you! [laughs].

Good luck for the show tonight, and I hope you get some time to relax too!

Me too, I appreciate that! Thank you.

You can catch Touché Amoré alongside Turnover and Endless Hights live in Sydney tonight at The Factory Theatre. Tickets available here.

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About Alessandra Femenias

Alessandra Femenias
Alessandra dabbles in lots of things (sometimes too many). She likes music, art, and watching obscure documentaries. She also plays guitar in a band and likes to colour her hair various shades of red. In her spare time, you can probably find her at a gig or in a record store, trying to find vintage records to add to her collection.

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