When they are ensconced in a mundane round of album interviews, some musicians can tend to hit back at questions with formulaic answers. Not Edmondo Ammendola. The bassist has a quirky, realistic response to questions that stem from a timeline that has seen Augie March slowly but surely produce their fourth triumphant record, ‘Watch Me Disappear’.
By Nikita Lee
A band could be forgiven for rehashing the tried and tested formula that saw them reach the height of success reserved for albums in the realm of Augie March’s third record, ‘Moo, You Bloody Choir’. But why regurgitate an old technique when a new sound will open you up to wider audiences, and another well-received release? This is Ammendola’s approach to the style of the new album, and frontman Glenn Richards’ diverse songwriting methods. “There’s been an evolution there and you can only hope for that to happen, because it would be really boring to make the same record and not have any growth… Glenn’s a great songwriter and everybody knows that. Music being the universal language it is, people get hooked on it, and it depends how far into the woods they’re prepared to trek,” Ammendola explains.
There were certain events that consumed the band’s time and slowed their work to an extent that it took 18 months to write, record and release ‘Watch Me Disappear’. On the end of substantial national success, Augie March headed overseas to recreate the level of enthusiasm for the band on an international level. “We went to the US and gave it another good old shot. Everybody now would surely know, and if they don’t they’ve got rocks in their head, that at some point you need to leave the mother country and grow the tree,” he says. At this point, Ammendola reveals a strangely inhibited perception of the media. He starts to discuss a musician’s prerogative, followed by a popular culture reference he forbids me to take out of context. “Whenever I use that word, prerogative, I think of Bobby Brown and that tune pops in. But I don’t want you to go printing that somehow I’m influenced by Bobby Brown,” he says in a tone equal in seriousness and humour.
Suffice to say, those familiar with the mature Augie March sound may find it hard to conjure the image of an ‘80s rap star as a past inspiration. Halfway through the interview, the focus shifts unexpectedly from the musician to the interviewee. “What do you think of the album? You can be brutally honest,” he quizzes. “Are you familiar with the earlier stuff?”. I find myself admitting that while I have only praise for the new album, I am among the fans who grew a liking for the band on their third effort. And like many, it was largely due to the overwhelming success that generated from Triple J’s 2006 Hottest 100 winner ‘One Crowded Hour’. “That would be an interesting perspective to come in on, because we were a pretty different band for the first bunch of releases. All I can say is ‘Watch this Space’.”
‘Watch Me Disappear’ is out October 11 through Sony BMG.
Friday November 28 at The Tivoli, Brisbane. Augie March are also appearing at the Victorian and Tasmanian Falls Festivals on December 30-31.