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Touch Of Punk?

30 October 2012 | 6:45 am | Mark Hebblewhite

"In this day and age being categorized in some micro genre just comes with the territory.”

"In this day and age being categorized in some micro genre just comes with the territory,” says Jeremy Bolme, when asked about his band being lumped in the mysterious 'post-hardcore' scene. “We've never paid too much attention to these labels because to one person we're 'this' and to another person we're 'that' – you can't change it. Besides, the term post-hardcore is so broad. It seems to be used for every band that is aggressive without being completely straightforward. For example, I've heard people call bands as diverse as Strife and Snapcase 'post-hardcore' bands. And I get why people want to use that type of label, but as far as we're concerned we just prefer to describe ourselves as a punk band and leave it at that. Otherwise it starts to get confusing,” he laughs.

Talking of being confused, is it true that the band still gets questions from bemused punters and journalists regarding their unique and suspiciously French moniker? “Yeah, we do – but I guess that's to be expected with the name,” chuckles Bolme. “So just in case anyone down there in Australia isn't aware, the name doesn't really mean much. I came up with ages ago after it stuck in my head. Literally it's 'touch love'. If you really want to look for meaning, it could have a bit of a sarcastic jab to it – but I wouldn't recommend that people spend to much time thinking about it.”

Formed in 2007, Touche Amore sprung from the incredibly fertile LA hardcore and punk rock scene. What's most striking about this scene is that it lacks the homogenous 'sound' that characterizes hardcore centers such as New York and Boston. Instead, LA bands run the gamut from the highly experimental to simple three chord wonders. Bolme has some more specific views on the fact.

“I completely agree that LA is much more of melting pot when it comes to influences and the bands that come out of the scene,” he says. “I think it's because a lot of bands come here from other places and bring their own influences to the mix, which in turn influence other people and the scene gets more diverse. I also think the sheer size of the city and the diversity of people who live here plays a part. The hardcore and punk scene does cross a lot of borders in terms of gender, class and ethnicity, so that helps as well.

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“It's also important to remember that in LA, unlike in other cities where there is constant activity, things tend to happen in waves. Right now there's a huge resurgence in punk and hardcore here after a pretty quite period for the scene. There are younger bands like Rotting Out coming up, and then on the other hand you have a band like Terror, who have been doing things on their own terms for so long.”

Unlike some groups who only release an album every couple of years, Touché Amoré don't keep fans waiting. But instead of relying on the traditional full-length album, the band instead drop frequent splits and EPs. Quality over quantity, perhaps?

“Releasing music like this is nothing new for punk rock and we love putting out smaller releases,” offers Bolme. “When we started we had two goals, and we still have them: to tour as much as possible and to put out as much vinyl as possible. And because we're out on tour so much we don't sit down and write huge amounts of songs at once. So when we write a couple of songs we're excited about, we don't want to wait until we have an album's worth. We'd much rather get them out there quickly with a 12” or a split with bands who are friends of ours. That said, once we get off tour in December we're hoping to sit down and write a new full-length, and get it out next year.”

Touche Amore will be playing the following shows:

Wednesday 31 October - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 1 November - Sun Distortion Studios, Brisbane QLD
Friday 2 & Saturday 3 November - Annandale Hotel, Sydney NSW
Sunday 4 November - Tuggeranong Youth Centre, Tuggeranong NSW
Wednesday 7 November - YMCA HQ, Perth WA
Thursday 8 November - Amplifier, Perth WA
Friday 9 November - Reverence Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 10 November - Phoenix Youth Centre, Melbourne VIC