"Try dealing with casual sexism all the time without getting a bit fucking aggro"
Amy Taylor may have a reputation for being a firebrand, but she’s actually looking fairly sheepish this afternoon. Gulping down the last of a bottle of water, she shoots me what can only be described as a regretful grin. “Sorry – too many bloody espresso martinis last night.”
Grabbing the attention of UK audiences with a string of shows and festival appearances last year, on-stage Taylor is almost the exact opposite of the friendly, polite women who’s sitting across from me at Rough Trade’s west London HQ. Watch Amyl and the Sniffers live, and you’re confronted by Taylor in full-on singer mode – a tirade of explosive energy, wild anger and profanity-laden outbursts. “Being the singer is so great for me, as I love power and I love control,” she tells me. “It’s like I get to do anything I want when I’m up there. I mean, I could fucking choke a guy out and people would love it!”
Based in Melbourne, her band have emerged from Australia’s east coast fertile punk scene with a love of hot pants, mullets, faded metal t-shirts and a sound that sits somewhere between AC/DC, The Runaways and Dolly Parton. However, while the band’s fashion sense and musical influences might recall the low-rent thrills of the 1970s pub rock scene, Amyl and The Sniffers mostly blow through any misplaced nostalgia with a Ramones-like commitment to playing punk rock that is loud, fast and razor sharp.
Due to release Monsoon Rock, their debut album, on Rough Trade in May, Taylor is the first to admit that the band is currently in the middle of a transitional period. Writing, self-recording and releasing 2016’s Giddy Up EP in the space of 12 hours, they’re trying to take a little bit more time in the studio these days. Then again, if the recently released title track is anything to go by all the added tea breaks have done nothing to dull the band’s relentless, breakneck energy.
“It’s kind of funny to listen to that first EP now,” laughs Taylor when we talk about how the band has developed from their first few releases. “I mean, I know it’s only been a couple of years but we couldn’t even play our instruments properly when we started. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come.
“Then again, we’re all pretty hard workers, I suppose,” she continues, before opening a new bottle of water and taking a thoughtful sip. “I think we would have pushed it naturally. I mean, if I were working at a supermarket, I’d want to be the manager; and this is basically the same thing, right?”