‘No Reading, no Amazon’s!’

Round & About

Reading festival

Liz Nicholls asks Matt Thomson, frontman of homegrown heroes The Amazons about local life and music ahead of their hotly anticipated performance at Reading Festival…

Q. We’re loving the new album, Future Dust! Is this your best work so far? “I certainly think so. I think this record is a big step forward in us realising who we are as a band.”

Q. And what’s your favourite track to play live? “We’re having a lot of fun playing our new single Doubt It. We’ve started to jam a song called In My Time of Dying at the end. I heard it first through Led Zeppelin’s version on Physical Graffiti. Then I traced it back to Bob Dylan’s first record and then from there back to Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed, a traditional gospel tune first recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in the 1920s. It’s fun to reflect what we’ve been listening to directly into the live show.”

Q. Well done on continuing to fly the flag for Reading! Is Reading Festival still the iconic live gig for you, as when we last chatted? “I’ve said many times before: No Reading, No Amazons! It’s the biggest event for us this summer that’s for sure. Reading is a very quiet place.. but for three days a year the carnival comes to town and injects the place with colour and excitement. I cannot overstate how influential the festival has been, especially during our formative years.”

Q. How much have you been in Berkshire over the last year & any great nights out? Purple Turtle etc?! “We DJed at the Turtle after our Reading show last month, that was a lot of fun. We truthfully don’t get to come back a lot. You realise through touring the world is big and it’s there for taking. We’ve had our time at home and that’s OK.”

Q. Are there any other local bands you’d love to show some love to/ recommend our readers follow? “I’ve seen Valeras are doing great things at the moment, especially in Europe. I see the Keep Cats pop up all the time too. Plenty of bands coming through, it’ll be interesting to see how it looks in the next couple years…”

Q. Can you tell us more about your love for Howlin’ Wolf & other influences on this new album? “We were really introduced to Wolf and a lot of other blues artists through the bands we first loved, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin etc… We love rock ‘n’ roll and I think when you love something, you want to work out where it came from, what makes it tick, why we’re doing what we’re doing in 2019. We fell down a bit of a rabbit hole and discovered a lot of raw, rich, complex characters. The likes of Little Richard, Muddy Waters, Jerry Lee Lewis. You don’t really get those kind of characters any more and I’ve been interested in why that is.”

Q. August serves our food & drink special so… What are your fave snacks & tipples when on tour? I know everyone asks this but what’s on your rider?! Has it changed? “Our rider is in a state of constant flux. Our drummer Joe is big into his wine so top of the list is good local wine. We like a bit of bourbon and tequila to back that up. Nuts and fruit for snacks. We try to get the promoter to provide some local delicacies, especially in Europe and beyond so you usually get fun cheeses or strange sweets.”

Q. Where are your favourite pubs & restaurants in the county? “I used to work at The Pot Kiln in Yattendon, lovely pub. We’ve always enjoyed Milk in Reading town centre too. We’ve been regulars at the Oakford Social Club for the best part of seven-plus years.”

Q. Go on, tell us what dreams you have & future ambitions on the horizon? Any dream will do! “In terms of Reading, we’re always trying to dream up bigger and bigger shows. Events that can bring the town together. Our show at the Hexagon was a lot of fun and of course the place has a lot of memories attached for everyone. We’re definitely looking at something bigger for possibly next year. Beyond that we’ve just released Future Dust so it’s now about taking it around the world and seeing where we end up.”


The Amazons will play the Radio One stage at Reading on the Sunday; www.readingfestival.com. For Amazons news, see their website and follow @theamazons