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The Amorettes

In the beginning of April the great fourth album ‘Born To Break’ of the Scottish trio The Amorettes was released on which they clearly showed lots of progression in comparison to their previous releases. The record was as a result of that very well received by both the press as well as the fans and that was certainly deserved in my opinion. Lords Of Metal had a chat with female guitarist/singer Gill Montgomery about her background, the early years of the band and of course the fantastic new album.

By: Sjak | Archive under hardrock / aor

Hi Gill, how did you get interested in music in the first place and what were some of the artists that triggered that interest?
It was in my highschool period that I started listening to music. There’s wasn’t too much rock and roll in my house going on, so I heard a lot of it through my friends at school. Since there was a group that was very much into Metallica, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin I got in touch with the heavier side of rock as well, which triggered the idea to start up a band ourselves back then. At that time when I was about fifteen years old I was very much into bands like Led Zeppelin and Cheap Trick and it just kind of grew from there.

When did you start singing and playing guitar? Which singers and guitar players influenced you during the years?
I started playing in a band that my friends and I formed during those highschool years. Back then I didn’t know how to play the guitar yet and since I was too shy to take any lessons because I didn’t want anyone to hear me play, I just taught myself. At first I was only singing in the band and I was really into Joan Jett and other women with powerful voices. As I became a bit bored with just the singer role, I decided to learn how to play the guitar as well. I started with some simple stuff like Poison, Kiss and The Ramones and developed from there until I had enough courage to start up my own band.

Did you play in other bands before founding The Amorettes? If so, in which one(s) and did you record any material with them?
Not really as I already met Hannah when going to college and we both had the idea to start up an all-female band. We couldn’t find enough girls however that liked the old-school type of rock that we did, so therefore the first line-up of the band also had male members. We wrote some songs and practiced quite a lot, but we never played these tunes live.

You met Hannah already in college, but how did Heather get in?
It took us a couple of years to find the right girls to join the band and we started giggin’ as the Amorettes back then. We couldn’t find a singer, so that’s why I took on the vocal duties in the band. The bass player we had at that time was no longer interested and decided to leave, so we had to find a proper replacement for her as we had a lot of shows booked already. At that time Hannah mentioned that her sister just had bought a bass guitar, so maybe we could ask her to join. So we did and Heather had to learn the whole set in about a week time, but she managed to do so and became part of the band.

Why did you decide to call the band The Amorettes?
We just got the band name from a book of names. We were just flicking through it one day as we were really struggling to find something that we would all agree on for our band name. We found the name Amorette in the book and we all agreed that The Amorettes had the right feel and would fit perfectly for an all-girl group.

The first album ‘Haulin’ Ass’ was already released in 2010 as an independent release. Was this a deliberate move or were there no record companies interested at that time? What did this album do for the band? Was it able to put you on the map?
We were still very naïve back then and we really didn’t think about record labels at that point, so we didn’t really approach them. We just pulled all our money together and we booked a studio and just recorded the songs. We sold the album from the back of our cars so to speak and it was really good to have a product on the market. We didn’t know what we were doing back then and we had no manager to guide us, but we’ve learned very quickly from then onwards. We did sell about a thousand copies of the first album, so it was able to get our name out there and get recognized.

Then it took you about five years to come up with the successor ‘Game On’. Why this long hiatus between these two albums?
‘Haulin’ Ass’ was kind of a slow builder and we didn’t really have a plan at that point. It wasn’t until a few years later in 2014 that we just decided to try to do this for real. We got ourselves a manager and a record deal and started to work on our second album. The reason why it took so long was just that we didn’t have a plan and that we were still very naïve at that time.

The second album was released via Off Yer Rocka Recordings. How did you get connected to them and what do you think about the work they did for this second album?
We were kind of recognized by Off Yer Rocka as we applied for some sort of “battle of the bands” competition. The winner of that competition got to play on Hard Rock Hell, which is a big festival in Wales. We didn’t win the competition but we were asked to play there anyway because they really liked us. Johnny, the owner of the label, has always been a good friend of ours who helped us find our manager as well, but the competition got us really on their radar and that resulted in releasing two albums on the label.

The successor for ‘Game On’ was already released one year later and ‘White Hot Heat’ featured Luke Morley and Ricky Warwick as co-song writers. How did you get them involved and how do you look at the progression that you made as a band on that album?
We met Ricky on tour with his band Black Star Riders and on that tour he approached our manager stating that he liked my riffs and liked to write with me and so we did. We met Luke when we supported his band The Union and when chatting to him he was very interested in working with us. We kept in touch and when we needed a producer he was the obvious choice to fill in that spot, but I also did write a couple of songs with him. I definitely think that the song writing has opened up a lot and has become more natural and substantial. There’s more to the songs on this third album than on our previous two, which were a bit more one-dimensional.

For your new and fourth album ‘Born To Break’ you switched record companies and this one will be released by SPV, so how did you get the record deal with them and is it a one or multiple album contract?
The record deal is just for this one at the moment. SPV became aware that we were released of our contract with Off Your Rocka and they got in touch with us and made an offer for releasing this fourth album of The Amorettes. We had some good talks with them, everything went really smooth and we’re looking forward to working with them, hopefully in the more long-term future as well.

When did you start with the actual preparations for ‘Born To Break’ and what was the intention that you had when starting the song writing process for this new one?
It was probably about this time last year that I really started the work for this new one. In the beginning you just don’t know where to start and I have this bad habit of discarding a lot of ideas, which forced me to start with a clean sheet. I really wanted the structures to be more focused and working with Luke on the last album really helped me in doing that. Overall I think that the new material is a bit more structured and balanced.

Are you the only song writer in the band or do Hannah and Heather also contribute?
It’s mostly me. They come up with some ideas and things, but they have a lot of faith in me I think. They like the stuff that I write so they don’t bother too much with the song writing process.

What are typical elements that need to be present in a great Amorettes song before you decide to release it on an album?
I think I’m getting a lot better in structuring a song, but in the first place it has to be memorable. If you can remember it straight away, then you’re probably on to something good. Thick choruses and great melodies make a song memorable, so those are elements that need to be there in a good Amorettes song for sure.

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The first single and video from the album is ‘Everything I Learned I Learned From Rock And Roll’. Why did you choose for this particular song and will you release more singles and videos from the album?
I chose this song as the first single as I was so excited to get this tune out there. I was really pleased how this song came out and it’s really catchy. We had been away for quite a long time and we wanted to come back with a bit of a bang and to me ‘Everything I Learned I Learned From Rock And Roll’ was a song that was real punchy, but still quite melodic. I just thought that this one might make the boldest statement first and foremost. We would love to release more videos from the record, but there are no concrete plans on this yet.

How important are singles and video nowadays for a band like The Amorettes as there are not too many broadcasting possibilities anymore besides YouTube?
There are very few radio stations that play rock music besides the smaller ones and it’s mostly YouTube where people tend to search for new music nowadays. Because of that it’s still very important to have a video out, because you need to have presence on YouTube to be found by people.

I know it’s always a difficult question, but if you had to pick one song from the new album that would represent The Amorettes best at this moment, which one would that be and why?
Oh…I really love ‘Born To Break’ as I think it’s still one of the fast songs and we’ve always had the reputation of being a high-energy band, especially in a live situation. Next to this one there’s also ‘Comin’ Up The Middle’, which is also a high-energy song which shows what The Amorettes are all about.

Did you record more material than the twelve songs that are to be found on this new album? If so, which ones and what is going to happen with them?
We actually came down to fifteen songs and we pre-recorded all of them at first. In the end we recorded thirteen songs, but I still had to do the vocal parts for that last one. We knew however that the twelve that were fully recorded were the ones that were going to be featured on the album anyway, so we left out the thirteenth track for the moment. It has a great riff however, so I’d love to finish it someday and maybe use it for an EP-type release.

One of the songs that stands out is the closing track ‘Want It Bad’, because it’s so different from the rest. Why the urge to write a song that’s so different from the rest and was it intentional that you used it as the closing track?
This was one of those songs that I originally wanted to discard, as it wasn’t a typical Amorettes song and I didn’t really know what to do with it. I played it to Luke and he said that this was one of his favorites from the entire album, so let’s just record it the way it is. I’m a big Dio fan and the atmosphere of the song represents that a bit. Originally we wanted to speed things up a bit, but Luke didn’t let us get away with that. Because it was so different from the rest it had to be placed first or last on the album, so we made the conscious decision to make it the album closer.

Who was responsible for the artwork and what was the assignment that you gave to him for the creation of the cover?
I did all the artwork myself. We were running out of time and we couldn’t really decide on what to do for the cover artwork, so I decided to give it a shot. This design was one of the first things that I came up with and everybody really like it. We didn’t want to have a picture of us on the cover again and everybody like this design with the skulls and the heart. It’s a bit cliché, but that’s just the kind of thing that we love.

What are you own personal expectation from this album? When will it be a success for you?
I’m quite nervous about it actually. I really hope it will do well as I’m very proud of this one. I think it has become a better record than our previous ones because of the more mature song material, but you never know if the music fans will appreciate it as much as I do.

You’ve played some gigs in Great-Britain as support for The Dead Daisies in April, what more can we expect in 2018 concerning your touring plans?
We’ve not got a lot confirmed at this moment, but we do have quite a number of offers coming in. It’s still too early to announce these yet, as we still need to work out some of the details. We like to play as much as possible and do as many tours and festivals as possible, but it’s too early to announce anything yet.

Have you never felt the need for a second guitarist in a live situation to make the sound fuller when you’re doing your guitar solos?
We have always been on the look-out for a singer as I was never really interested in singing. We’ve been looking for a guitarist as well, but things just never really fell into place. Maybe it’s also quite hard to bring somebody new in at this late stage. We’re still a three-piece now and we’re happy with that.

You’re still very young, so what do you want to accomplish with The Amorettes on a more long-term perspective? What are some of the dreams that you want become reality?
The aim is just to play more places as we absolutely love touring. Expanding geographically further into Europe, touring new places and venues and meeting new people is what we would love to do.

Okay Gill, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
I hope that your readers will check out our new album and visit our shows when we play in your territory!

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