With a cacophony of guitars, crashing drums and screamed, visceral vocals that sound like they are on the constant verge of colliding with chaos, Touché Amoré brings a much welcomed post-hardcore edge to this year’s festival. Comprised of vocalist/chief songwriter, Jeremy Bolm, guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt, along with bassist Tyler Kirby and drummer Elliot Babin, Touché has become highly regarded for their frenzied live shows and enduring musical compositions. Their debut LP, …To The Beat of a Dead Horse, was released in 2009 amongst what many people called “The Wave” of newfound post-hardcore bands such as Pianos Become The Teeth, La Dispute and Defeater, who regularly tour and release split EPs together. Since their debut, Touché has continuously expanded their musical horizon while still holding on to their roots and perfecting upon the qualities that have won over a large dedicated fan base. Last year saw the release of their most recent album entitled, Is Survived By, which received high praise from critics and set off a familiar onslaught of touring. Bolm took time out of a busy European tour to answer some questions.
BeatRoute: When playing a unique festival like Sled Island, how does it affect you personally knowing that you may be playing to people who’ve never heard you before?
Jeremy Bolm: Different kinds of shows/festivals bring out a different sort of approach for me, personally. If it’s a small venue where you know kids are there specifically to see us, I go into it very excited and ready to feed off the crowd the way they feed off us. But, when it’s a festival where only a select few may know us, you work extra hard to leave an impression. It brings me to an almost primal place where I focus much deeper on the words I’m saying.
BR: With each new album, you stepped it up quite a bit in terms of depth. Your last LP featured a piano ballad and this new one has a lot of post-rock elements with longer, more fleshed out songs. Was this a conscious decision or something that happened organically?
JB: It’s just something that comes with time and growth. You can’t keep writing the same songs. The amount of touring we’ve done and days/nights we’ve spent together have taught us how one another works, so when it comes to writing, everyone knows how to feed off the other. We write the music that we want to write and we’ll continue doing so till we eventually alienate our audience. Half joking.
BR: On your second album,Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me, the lyrics reflect the increased touring after your debut album and how it affected you personally, Is Survived By‘s lyrics feel existential and deal a lot with morality. What was behind this shift in tone?
JB: I turned 30 and started paying closer attention to how I was living my life. I’m now 31 and still doing my best to get better.
BR: You’re noted for your emotional and honest lyrics, which resonate long after the song is over. Do you write often even when you’re on your off time?
JB: Thank you for that. I only recently tried my hand at other kinds of writing. I released a zine through my label, Secret Voice, called Down Time, which featured all different kinds of writing, from poetry, advice, tour diaries and even an interview I found that I did with Jake Bannon from Converge back when I used to do freelance journalism in the early 2000s.
BR: I really admire your commitment to your local music scene: you still go to shows in your town, you work in a record store and even bring bands to play in-store shows. Touché Amoré, in general, has a reputation of being really down to earth dudes. How important do you think it is for a band such as yourselves who have achieved so much to stay humble?
JB: The way I look at it is that this world has given me so much to be thankful for that the least I could do is give back as much as I can. I’d like to think a lot of our peers have the same attitude. This isn’t exactly the type of music that gets you a big house in the hills, so to abandon your roots would only make you look like an asshole.
BR: What’s one band you’re really excited to check out at this year’s Sled Island? Any major goals or plans coming up the itinerary?
JB: I’m looking forward to seeing Rhye if I can. We finish this tour, then go home for a couple weeks before heading to Sled Island followed by a full US tour with Tigers Jaw and Dads. That’s what the focus is at this point.
See Touché Amoré on Saturday, June 21, at the #1 Legion.
By Alonso Melgar