Due to the huge number of bands playing at Bloodstock this year, and the fact that our two roving reporters will actually want to watch some of them, we’re doing a little round of pre-festival interviews this year. We’re focussing on the bands playing the Jagermeister and Hobgoblin New Blood Stages so they get a chance to convince you to go and watch them. Remember, these guys and gals are the future of our musical world!
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We’re from Manchester.
How did you meet?
I (James, guitar & vocals) started the band and recruited Chris (drums) after things came to an end with his previous band Incidium. We played with a few different musicians for a number of months but it didn’t work out due to musical differences. Eventually we advertised on a musician website for a bassist and Dan responded. Shortly afterwards we advertised on the same website for a second guitarist and that’s when Simon found us. We gelled straight away. We all had similar influences and our playing and writing styles were extremely complimentary to each other. We knew almost straight away that we’d found the winning line-up we were searching for.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
As our current line-up we’ve been playing together for about two years.
Where does the name of the band come from?
The band was originally called Ashes of Validia when it was first conceived, but with numerous line-up shifts and various influences, by the time the current line-up was complete the band was such a far cry from what it started out as that we felt as though we needed a new beginning with a fresh start and a new name. We knew we wanted a one-word name and there were a few suggestions floating around for a week or so. Then one day Dan suggested Amethyst, which we all really liked. We named the band Amethyst for no other reason than the fact we thought it was a cool name for a band! I would like to tell you there was some weird, symbolic or clever meaning behind the name, but there it is!
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
As a band our major influences include bands such as Sylosis, Machine Head, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Metallica, Slayer, Pantera.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We’re a modern-day thrash band with plenty of groove elements. We love to mix the two styles because we feel they complement each other extremely well. To us there’s nothing better than a fast, complex thrash riff followed by a powerful, rhythmic groove riff you can really bang your head to! We’re big fans of harmonies, solos and melodies. Vocally, we mix traditional style thrash vocals with heavier modern growls. We’re more or less a big mixture of everything we love about metal.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Loud, fast and energetic! Be prepared to move and bang your head! We’ve played maybe around 25 to 30 shows.
Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it?
When we entered M2TM in 2014 we said we would be happy if we at least made it through the first heat. We never expected to make it through to the final after only a handful of shows under our belt. After reaching the final in 2014 we thought maybe we were in with a chance of winning this year. We knew the competition was tough and it wasn’t going to be easy, but we were lucky enough to have a huge amount of support behind us.
What sort of set list can we expect?
We’ll be playing a couple of songs from the EP we launched earlier this year and a few songs from our debut album which we’re currently in the process of recording.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Personally it would probably be Trivium, but they’re headlining on Friday night and we’re playing on Saturday, so I know we won’t clash! We’d also like to catch Savage Messiah’s set, but there’s a chance we might clash with them. I guess we’ll see!
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re currently in the process of recording our debut album, but we announced a few weeks ago that Chris (drums) will be leaving us due to family commitments, so the recording process has had to be put on hold for the time being. We announced our new drummer Aaron on the same day and we’ve been working hard to bring Aaron up to speed before Chris officially leaves. We spend any spare time we have working on new riffs and ideas, so we already have material written for album number 2! We’ve had a pretty full schedule recently!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
We actually haven’t been on tour yet, but anything could happen with these guys! I’ll be sure to let you know! Chris did get stuck in a big hole in the wall once, but that was at our rehearsal studio!
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
The best advice I can give is to write the music you love to play. Don’t play what you think others want to hear, or what’s trendy at the time. Enjoying the music is above all the most important thing. Also, establish your connections. Networking is very important and useful. Get to know other bands and promoters. One of the first things we did as a band was to enter M2TM and it was the best thing we could have done. Almost all the connections and friendships we’ve built since then have stemmed from getting involved in the competition. We’ve met some awesome people. Don’t be afraid to take a chance.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
We are the smaller, unsigned act haha. For me personally if I could choose to be part of any 3-band line-up, it would be Amethyst to open, Sylosis as main support and Machine Head as headliners. That would be one hell of a show! I would even take it one step further and add Metallica as the fourth band as headliners! If you’re going to dream, dream big!
Amethyst open the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the Saturday.