Amy Meredith. Does she exist? Is she the babysitter Christian had when he was younger? Was it a high school crush? Or was it the name of the “smoking hot” girl who worked at the local corner store? There are a number of theories flying around about the origins of the name of one Australia’s hottest up and coming bands.
On the eve of release of their debut album, we caught up with Christian, Cam and Joel for a natter – and they gave us the tried and tested ‘corner store’ story.
“She used to work at a corner shop. Me, Joel and Wade, we all live around two minutes away from each other and it was just up the road on our bus route on the way home from school. It was a really nice shop and she worked there and she was really really hot. She took a shining to me, Joel and Wade and she’d always serve us before anyone else – a little lolly here or whatever. She was so hot and everyone knew it,” says Cam.
“Everyone knew she was smoking hot, but we kinda joked about it one day about just calling our band ‘Amy Meredith’. We finished up school, she left the shop and we never really went there anymore,” he says.
But it’s when we suggest perhaps trying to track her down that the story starts to unravel.
“I don’t know – I think we’re better off not finding her because we could run into some sort of battle that we don’t want to run into,” says Christian, “We named it after her and she might want some sort of compensation – who knows! Maybe I could just end up marrying her – that could be an incredible story.”
“It was a bit of a joke that stuck, but it’s a battle that we’re trying to move forward from.. You know, we’re a band,” reveals Joel.
The ride to the top ten has been a slow and steady one for the band from Sydney’s southern suburbs. After a battle between major record labels to sign them in the early days, Sony Music inked the deal that would see them release their debut single ‘Pornstar’ earlier this year.
“We had a lot of label interest at the very beginning of our career,” says Christian, “It was almost too much too quickly and the first show played out of Sydney was in Los Angeles to a major label over there and we kind of came back to Sydney, went to Japan, did all these shows. We signed a deal and that fell through. We weren’t going to sign to a major and we didn’t. We came back and we realised that we needed to write some great songs.
“When we first started it was kind of like a snowball effect. We had one label at our show and then it was every single label, major, indie. Every manager turned out to this one show in Sydney, all in the same room eyeing each other off going ‘are these guys taking the piss?’. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have put them all in a room together – we should have done private showcases. But at the time we didn’t know better,” he says.
“The show we played was packed. We had a line out in the street 200m long, so it was pretty exciting,” adds Joel.
Connecting with their ever-growing legion of fans via Myspace, Facebook and Twitter has proven to be of great benefit to the five piece, who are now being recognised and celebrated all over the country.
“We’d never been to Perth before – even up until the start of this year, so it was cool to go over there for the first time and sell heaps of merch and have heaps of people come down to see us just because of online stuff. And even now we have people asking when we’re coming back. We can just stay in touch – it’s definitely got the pros and cons, the technology,” says Joel.
“I guess it’s just so easy to find new bands in this day and age on Myspace. But if you interact with this band and you like that they grasp your personality, you’re going to come back because you’re invested,” adds Christian.
The band’s latest single ‘Lying’ recently hit the top ten on the ARIA singles chart. It was written about Christian’s failed relationship with a young woman who quite possibly is unaware that there’s a song written about her.
“I don’t speak to her anymore. It did end quite badly,” says Christian, “The truth is that the whole song is about that anxiety about not actually knowing but being so convinced in your heart and mind. And I guess that the whole relationship was that constant anxiety of not friggin’ knowing if she is. And she never ever has admitted to it, but I’m 100% sure she was up to something.”
“I think it’s good because everyone can relate to something like that. There’s always going to be a part of your life where you come across someone you’ve know where you don’t know if someone’s cheating or lying, so that’s why it’s worked so well,” says Cam.
“Don’t go near Christian or he’ll write a song about you,” warns Joel.
“She’s definitely inspired at least two songs on the album. It’s really funny, because I don’t every think about her but when I think of that emotion, she’s the first idiot that comes into my head, so to speak,” adds Christian.
The video clip for the single looks like a heck of a lot of fun. Cam gets showered in thumb tacks, Joel’s stripped naked and Christian…? Well he just gets to be tickled with a feather by gorgeous girls.
“I think Cam got the short straw, definitely,” says Joel, who has his penis pixellated in the video, “Pixelated penis. PP!” he jokes.
“At least it’s better than what’s usually down there!,” pipes Cam.
“It feels good, it feels right,” says Christian.
“What, my manhood feels good?” enquires Joel.
“I love your manhood,” retorts Christian, “The whole thing about the clip feels right, the vibe on the song with the connection to the lyric. I was loving my role, I was like ‘far out, I’ve got to get tickled and held down by awesome babes’. Oh it was so good.”
“It’s set up to be kinda like a Japanese game show,” says Cam, “Although we don’t know what the writing at the start says. Well we’ve been asked. Maybe we do.”
“Bit of trivia. If you can find that out, please tell us,” adds Christian.
Amy Meredith’s forthcoming debut album ‘Restless’ was produced by pop aficionado Rob Conley, who’s previously worked with Darren Hayes and more recently with Brian McFadden. He brings to the LP an electronic pop sensibility that seamlessly blends with Amy Meredith’s rockier persona and Christian’s nu-romantic vocals.
“We got along really really well with Rob,” says Christian.
“We actually ended up becoming really good friends and we then spent a year writing with him and we were supposed to just go in for just one day. We got him on board for the album when we had the opportunity to get a producer, not just before when we were doing pre-production. He’s been around since the beginning,” says Joel.
“I think when you say about the electronic thing, I think a lot of us are into electronic music,” says Christian, “We love any sort of synth in a song and I think one thing that I loved about Robert was that he was into Depeche Mode. One of the first things he said to me was ‘I have the whole catalogue – they’re one of my favourite bands’, so you know that the way that he does the synths is going to be a bit Depeche Mode, but also it’s very pop sensible as well. He has a bit of an acute sense of where he wants to go and it kind of pushes everything into a different direction, which is perfect for us.”
There’s a number of top-notch pop songs on the album, more of which are expected to dominate the singles chart in the months ahead. But the boys agree that there’s one song on the album that they’ll always hold as their favourite.
“I was gong to say the first song, and it’s what we always end up saying, but the first track on the album, which is the track that sets everything up, is actually the first song that we ever wrote as a band pretty much. And I remember writing it,” says Joel, “It’s just stuck with us the whole time and even on this tour, we played it last, sometimes as an encore. That’s my favourite song, personally.”
“I don’t know whether it’s the notion of… ‘it’s the first song, I love this song’. Or it’s legitimately got every single element in that song that I believe this band is about. It’s got an honest vocal, a really heart-felt emotion, the really heavy synth hooklines, a really catchy melody,” adds Christian.
Cam also pipes up, “The way it sounds now, it didn’t sound like that four years ago – nothing like it. But there was always something about that song where we thought we couldn’t scrap it.”
The band is also looking to hit the road later in the year for a series of live performances – and Christian hints that they may be coming to a shopping centre or a school near you.
“I think headlining tour will be around late September. We’re definitely going to be doing two more supports in between that and then one little tour on the back of a truck potentially, but you heard that here first. That’s not confirmed. But there’s an idea floating about that we’d sit out the front of Westfields or schools and just play,” he says.
Whether Amy Meredith (female object of youthful lust and desire) exists or not, there’s a band out there bearing her name.
And armed with a great sense of humour, an endearing down to earth attitude and a swag of killer pop songs, that band is fast becoming as hot and infinitely more popular than any girl in a corner store.
Amy Meredith’s debut album ‘Restless’ is in-stores on Friday July 02.
Their top ten single ‘Lying’ is out now.
The band kicks off a tour of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia on August 04.
Full tour dates available on the Amy Meredith OFFICIAL MYSPACE.