Tour Diaries: Amistat ditch the streets and hit the road
Recently, Side Stare caught up with Amistat who are currently mid-way through an Australian tour launching their debut LP, Parley. With supporting acts Ben Whiting and Oliver’s Army the tour spans six shows and covers five states. Already playing shows in Brisbane and Sydney, the Amistat boys, prepare for their only hometown show at the Northcote Social Club. Vass sat down with Jan, Joseph and Ben to discuss albums, touring and the top of Ben Whiting’s head.
Alright, what’s been the best thing about touring so far? Ben: Aside from the music? I’d say probably swimming in the waterholes and the river. Not having air-con in the van was definitely detrimental, but it made the swimming holes even better.
All acts have been sharing a van along the East Coast, have you been sharing the driving duties?
Jan: Look there were a few lazy ones in the van who never did anything: Ryan Oliver from Oliver’s Army. He’s not here, never gonna take him again. [laughter] But yeah, we all kinda shared. And which act has the most annoying habit in the van?
Jan: Umm… Probably Joseph [laughter] every 20 minutes, he’d “stop for a pee”, say “I’m hungry”, what else? Oh “I’m feeling peckish” whatever that means.
So it wasn’t just one habit? It’s pretty much just Joseph?
Ben: Yeah he probably complained about the heat more than anyone else.
Joseph: I’ve got to look after these angelic vocal chords.
What were you guys mostly listening to in the van?
Jan: Probably Angus and Julia Stone. We were listening to a lot of their older stuff. We actually listened to [our] new album, all of us, the first time together which was good. That’s Parley by Amistat, available on ITunes right now [laughs]
So from here you’re going west?
Jan: Yeah, Adelaide next weekend and then Perth the following weekend. But we’ll be flying and the boys won’t be joining us, because it’s too far. But we have a few friends that are going to open up a few shows for us in Perth and Fremantle.
When you’re touring and you have that time between gigs, is your focus on the travelling between gigs or show itself?
Jan: I guess both. You have enough time to promote the next show, like a week. We have been pushing this gig a lot social-media-wise, and now we have a week after this to be like hey guys now let’s focus on Adelaide. A week in-between shows gives us that space for social media, but also to get there and do some promotion busking-wise if we’re really keen. So we always have that week in-between.
I’ve seen you two busking [Jan and Joseph] do you find that there’s a difference between your busking set and live set? Do play differently or appeal to the crowd differently?
Jan: Yeah, you squeeze in a few covers, but maybe nothing too mainstream. But still a few covers and you just know what people like. So it’s always a bit more upbeat…ish,
Joseph: A bit more show.
Jan: Yeah, because you kinda grab the people out from no where, you know? And here [at a gig] everyone’s here to listen to you, so you don’t have that pressure… you can just, pretty much, do whatever you want to.
Busking vs. gig?
Jan: Obviously the gig crowd is so much better, they’ve paid to be there, they’re quiet and they’re not leaving after songs.
Busking, if they don't like you they just leave, so it’s very honest feedback: “If you’re shit, I’ll just go.” [laughs] That’s how it is.
So what’s a Parley? Are we talking Pirates of the Caribbean?
Jan: Yeah yeah, they use it as well, so it’s pretty much discussing something with your enemy or with someone else, like negotiating, I guess.
And are these themes present throughout the album?
Jan: Umm, it popped up many times within the last 2 years. We just heard this word parley and we were just like, this is interesting. But the meaning, the real meaning behind it is that communication is not really good anymore, between people nowadays, and I think it would help a lot if we could learn how to communicate again, you know, instead of just getting on Facebook… [whispers] like us on Facebook.
Alright, this question I’ve actually been dying to ask. Have you guys actually ever seen the top of Ben Whiting’s head? Or is he always wearing a hat?
Jan: Actually! We did! [laughs] In the sea. Because we became quite close with Benjamin on tour, obviously, we went and had a swim, skinny dipping in the sea.
Ben: Wait ‘til the last tour photos come out.
Jo: Oh yeah! You’re gonna love the latest tour photos.
Ben: Do I really wear a hat that often, ey?
Jan: Yeah you do. Actually before the tour, I had actually never seen the top of your head. [laughter] And you gotta know, Ben has a technique, he puts his long hair up and then puts the hat on top. Trust me its tough; I tried it and it doesn't work. I don't know how he does it, but I like it, it’s good, well done Ben.
And where can we get the album?
Jan: It’s on iTunes and most online stores, or you can come to a show or come see us busking. There’s also CD’s in JB HIFI or we send them out.