– Hello, thanks for taking your time. Firstof all, what are AMEBIX currently up to? How does it feel having just released your first full-length album in 23 years?

It feels like a great acheivement,lots of work but worth it,personally i did not expect to see this day.At the moment we are discussing the idea of Touring the Lp.

– First of all, for all those who have been living down a rock for decades; could you make some history of the band? Specially for the youngest ones.

Amebix was formed in 1978 in Tavistock , Devon, at the end of the first wave of Punk Rock. The band consisted of Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller and his Brother Stig, and school mates Billy and Clive.

Initially they were called ‘the band with no name’ and played a few local village halls and parties, until Rob and Stig submitted a demo tape to Crass, who included one track on their compilation album ‘Bullshit Detector’. Shortly after this they met Martin Baker, who invited the two Brothers to come and live in his parents Tudor Manor house on the edge of Dartmoor, without their consent or knowledge, whilst the parents themselves were living in London. The band describe this as the pivotal moment in their story, as they began to live a nocturnal existence of playing music and a gradual descent into drug taking and occult studies. The name was changed to amebix, Martin was also changed irrevocably and was commited to Psychiatric care on his parents return. The brothers moved on and travelled to Bristol immediately after the St Pauls Riots, living in the squalor of ruins and squats, eating from skips and living on the streets for over four years.

They met with Bristol band Disorder and invited their drummer to join Amebix, and along with fellow Devonian Norman the four clubbed together what money they had to pay for a day in the studio, which resulted in the first EP “Whos the Enemy’, this was released by Crass subsidiary Spiderleg Records, as was the following single ‘Winter’. Amebix played mostly around the UK, but also toured Italy and Holland in 1982, before meeting with Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra during the recording of their No Sanctuary 12”. Biafra offered the band a deal, and they returned to him in 1985 with the groundbreaking LP ‘Arise!’. Even Alternative tentacles records were reluctant to release the album, as it was clearly heavily influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath and Motorhead, at a time when punk and metal music did not mix well. Amebix had established their unique style, to a tiny audience and almost no critical acclaim, but like many innovators the band has gone on to achieve cult status amongst the Punk and Metal communities and is equally loved and respected by all.

The years of fruitless labour and the damage accruing from their lifestyle eventually put paid to the band, soon after the release of their final Album ‘Monolith’ on FM revolver records Stig and The Baron decided to call it a day, to bow out with dignity and leave the World to catch up one day.

Stig went on to form Zygote with Amebix drummer Spider, and after a series of mishaps Rob disappeared alone to the West Coast of Scotland, and the Isle of Skye, turning his back on everything from the past he taught himself the ancient art of Sword smithing, going on to become amongst the worlds most renowned Smiths. The advent of the Internet brought attention to the influence that Amebix had had on succeeding generations, Sepultura, Neurosis, Faith No More and many others cited the band as a major inspiration, Amebix had begun to take on the status of a ‘cult’ band, and were recognised as having been ahead of their time.

Although they had vowed never to return to the fray Stig and The Baron were tempted out of their musical retirement by the arrival of drummer Roy Mayorga, who offered to re-visit some old songs for a retrospective DVD looking at the bands intriguing history. According to all of them Roy changed the whole dynamic and breathed new life into the songs. They went on to Tour the US and Canada, selling out all the venues in an unexpected triumph, gaining massive critical acclaim along the way, which in turn led to the release of the Mayorga sessions as the ‘REDUX’ EP in 2009. This is apparently a taster of how Amebix will sound today, given better equipment and the talents of an accomplished Producer/Engineer and fellow band mate.

September 2011 will see the release of their first studio album in 24 years, entitled Sonic Mass. As the song goes ‘what does the future hold?, well only time will tell’


– And can you recall why did you pick the name of «Amebix» for the band? Both its origin and meaning.

Stig brought up the idea,an Ameoba is the most basic form of life,it spilts and multiplies,we saw ourselves as the most basic form of music when we began,it has evolved like an Ameoba over time.


– After such a long hiatus; when and why did you decide you should be back on track?

after putting together the DVD Risen it was decided to try and record old songs,this turned out to be better than we had anticipated,which raised the question,what if?


– We know Roy has been involved in different musial projects; but have both you and Stig been involved with the music industry during all these years? What have you been up to?

I have been on a Scottish island for over 20 years now,i walked away from everything in my life after the band split up and ended up here,where i taught myself to become a Swordsmith,my work is well known now ( www.castlekeep.co.uk)

Stig continued to play over the years,but i had not picked up a bass guitar for all those years,until we met to record Redux.


– I guess, as just everything in life, AMEBIX has also evolved as a band. What positive and negative changes have you experienced since you were formed and until this «reunion»?

That is not really a question i can answer,as i hve not been involved with music on any real level in this time.


– And outside the band itself; how do you now see the scene? Maybe too many bands and lack of innovation?

perhaps,for me i am just getting an education into newer bands,i would not like to make any judgement on that as i dont have the authority,but all ‘scenes’ develop,evolve or stagnate,the common factor being that people usually seek some kind of security within their group,even within supposedly alternative scenes there is an overwhelming urge to conform to the norm,hence the stagnation over time when people are just too afraid to try new ideas,this is when art dies and conformity rules.


– As I said, you have recently released «Sonic Mass», your first album after 23 years. How has been the feedback for the album?

Has it fulfilled your expectations? I guess after such a long time without releasing a new full-length album you may have felt quite exicted about it.

the feedback has been quite extraordinary,we knew that we had acheived something very special,but i didnt think that so many other people would be able to understand that,i think Sonic Mass has filled a gap people have in music at times,something that is ‘real’,that engages the willing listener fully and tkase them on an inner journey.there are a few people who do not lie it,and i respect that too,but for many of them it will be because they dont have the attention span to listen fully,in a World where people presume that all music is free and shallow graze like docile cattle,like or dislike ‘meh’ or yeah,being so little involved means that you have made no real investment so cannot expect a return.


– This album is as dark as always, but it also sounds more clean and modern, even with some keyboards, anyway is a mature and superb effort. Time passes and so it does for AMEBIX, so I guess you don’t want to stick in what you did over two decades ago…

we had no intention of trying to make a people pleasing record,Amebix is not AC DC or Motorhead or The Ramones,we dont do formula music,we manifest what is present,in the here and now for us at this particular time,if people want to buy ready made comfort food off the shelf they should choose another band,this is a journey for us,it must always go into new places and not return to the Tribe.


– I think this «Sonic Mass» features de best from both «Arise!» and «Monolith», mixing in it modern elements and certain new elements that remind us the age we are living. Did this just turn out like this or was something you aimed for?

yes,it did just turn out like this.I recognised immediately that it had a definitive Amebix sound to it,this is something that is hard to qualify,but it is uniquely ours,but it has a lot of fresh ideas and sound introduced too,it is truly the first Amebix work i have ever been happy with,there are good moments in Arise and Monolith,some great,but others which are more pedestrian and unsatisfactory.I am not an Amebix fan personally,until this album,which is something i can return to again an again and still hear things that i didnt the first time.Roy was responsible for the mix and engineering,so he really brought a lot to the table too,the keyboard ideas and the flow of the tracks into one another,i leant a lot from him over these few years.


– The album was recorded at Rock Cottage and The Lodge Studios but mixed and produced by Roy Mayorga. How positive is having a band member taking production duties?

ah,as the las question,it is a real pleasure to have someone with so much talent working with us ,he has an innate understanding of what we have always tried to manifest,and the ability to do that,which we did not have back in the 80s


– And regarding the studios, how did the recordig sessions go? Are you guys satisfied with the final output?

we recorded in three different places,in small windows of opportunity,Rock Cottage was a friends uncles house in the Country,we set up the kit and mics in his living room and spent a week there.we had to improvise a lot with places,i am surprise it all sounds cohesive considering the totally different acoustics we had in each place.


– There will also be a deluxe edition, a 12» vinyl; is it a nod to your old days?

we have the album on picture disc and coloured vinyl also, w may put out a 7″ very limited single from the album soon too.


– If I’m not mistaken you parted ways with Alternative Tentacles Records after 26 years being with them; what prompted that? Do you think the move has been for the better?

we had a good relationship with AT, but i think it became apparent with all our previous labels that we are the only people who strongly believe in what we do,so this prompted me to take things back into our own hands now,and i am very happy that we did so,Sonic Mass has had our full backing and hard work,we have approached this the right way.


– After so many years, have your influences changed? Or maybe have you opened to new ones?

I think that the music we listen to at an early age will always have the greatest impact,so it is difficult to attain the kind of feelings that you first got as a kid for bands like Joy Division,Killing Joke,Sabbath,accept etc,so my own initial inspirations are pretty much the same.


– And what about the songwriting process? Has anything changed? And did you decide going for a more modern sound or was just a spontaneous effort?

the songwriting has been different this time,i wrote a few of the songs and would bring them to the table,often the song was deconstructed and then put back together again,often with additional pieces,whereas we use to just turn up in the studio with the idea and tape it,this time it has been more about interpretation of the original idea.


– Have the goals you had for the band changed since the 80’s? Specially after seeing the band success and that AMEBIX is now considered to be a cult band.

I like the fact that the band is finally beginning to get some recognition for the ground we broke 30 yeas ago,this is satisfactory,as for goals in the future,i think we need to be true to ourselves and keep on playing what we are given.


– Now something I guess everyone would like to know; what can we expect from AMEBIX from now on? Will this be a productivo comeback?

personally i do intend writing new material,hopefully it will not take another 24 years to emerge though.


– I almost started this interview asking you how did you come up with the band’s name and the meaning it had to you back then but now, after so many experiences with the band: what does AMEBIX mean to you personally?

Amebix for me is a vehicle to articulate some more obscure ideas and emotional states,it is a type of vision quest really,to follow a poetic thread into the labyrinth and see where it leads.


– That has been all from our side, has been a pleasure to share some questions with you. If you now want to add some final words; last lines are all yours.

Thank you to all who have supported the band and welcome to those who are new to amebix!

Sergio Fernández



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