Meet Amongst Liars, the British rock band who are shaking up the scene with their second album, Design.
Among the revelations of British rock in recent years is Amongst Liars, a band that doesn’t mince its words or riffs. Formed in 2019, the band released their self-titled debut album in 2022, to rave reviews from fans and critics alike. With a powerful, modern sound that borrows from alternative rock, grunge and punk, the band delivers unifying, committed anthems that reflect the concerns and questionings of their generation.
As they prepare to release their second opus, Design, on July 4, 2024, I had the pleasure of interviewing the five members of Amongst Liars for Eklecty-City, who spoke to me about their background and creative process. The band is currently on tour in France, opening for Ayron Jones. In this interview, you’ll find out how the band came together, what their musical influences are, and how they experienced the success of their debut album.
Below, find my interview with Ian George, Leo Burdett, Adam Oarton, Ross Towner and James Brummeo, the five liars who are making noise across the Channel.
Interview also available in French, follow the link.
Hi Ian, Leo, Adam, Ross and James. It’s a pleasure to interview you for Eklecty-City. You’re currently on tour in France, supporting Ayron Jones. How do you feel about the experience?
Ian : Salut! It’s such an experience and we are loving every second of it. We toured with Ayron and his incredible band a couple of years ago across the UK, so is amazing to be out with them again for starters. Plus I love France and actually used to live here for a while a few years ago, so it’s amazing to travel the whole of the country and see as much of it as possible and experience the delights of it.
Leo : Absolutely buzzing to be out here with the main man himself Ayron Jones letting the good times roll and bringing some serious noise your way. Exciting times!
Adam : I’ve heard great things about the music scene and the music fans around France and can’t wait to live it with you guys!! Its amazing being in France. No words can really describe this as it was a massive goal of mine to play here and I intend to enjoy every second of it and meet as many great people too!
Ross : It’s pretty surreal to be honest. Getting to travel round such an interesting country, playing music we love, supporting someone like Ayron Jones. Personally I feel pretty blessed.
James : Absolutely pumped – can’t wait. Looking forward to showcasing some of our new songs and playing to a brand new audience. Also can’t wait to explore France!
How did you meet and form as a band? What is the origin of your name Amongst Liars?
Leo : Few of us were in a band before which broke up and found Ian through advertising for a new singer! We renamed the band and started from scratch. The name was built thru a group chat which took about 5 days and 300 different names and words thrown around until we settled on Amongst Liars.
Ian : (Quick hint : Leo, Ian, Adam, Ross!) James joined the band later but brings the S!
What are your main musical influences and how are they reflected in your sound?
Ian : I love all kinds of music and have been influenced by bands and artists ranging from Soundgarden and Audioslave to Linkin Park, Bowie, Queen, Nirvana and Stevie Wonder. I’m really into BMTH at the moment. As a band we’ve always tried to be as creative as possible and write songs that aim to be a bit different sonically.
Leo : Main musical influences for me personally guitarist wise in my early days of playing would be Guns N Roses and the more classic stuff but since gaining more experience and broadening my tastes I am into a lot heavier modern rock like Bring Me, Shinedown, Bad Omens, Every Time I Die. I actually love a lot of country aswell but not sure if that reflects into Amongst Liars (laugh).
Adam : My personal music taste has always been hard to pin point and is forever expanding . I’m a massive music lover of so many genres from Blues to Soul, Reggae to Hip-Hop but my roots are rock. I think they all play a part in my drumming and bring a certain flare and mix to our songs.
Ross : I have always mainly been into garage rock and the Seattle grunge scene if I had to choose one genre, these bands are a massive influence on me. Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, so many great bands from that time. They’ve helped me hone my sound and influence what sort of band I wanted to be part of. Also, Part of my life I grew up in Belgium and the dance scene there has had a large impact on me to this day.
James : I love most music genres, so a lot has influenced/inspired me. I love the top hits and rock from the 60’s-80’s, such as Pink Floyd, ELO and Fleetwood. I also love bands like Bring Me and Linkin Park. Video game soundtracks have also influenced my song writing/playing style quite strongly. Also love me some DNB and Dubstep!
How would you describe your musical style and message to those who don’t yet know you? What themes do you address in your lyrics, and why are they important to you?
Ian : Our style is modern rock, merging elements of electro, punk, indie and even -dare I say it – a bit pop. I like to write lyrics about things that have importance not just in my life, but also everyone’s lives, as we all experience similar things no matter who we are. So topics such as mental health and self empowerment are big topics, as well as writing about climate change, war – and a bit of politics.
We’re not really a political band per se, but in the UK especially over the last 10 years there has been a real disconnect between the government and the people, so that’s easy song fodder in itself!
What is the creative process behind your songs? Who writes the lyrics and the music? How do you work together?
Leo : I usually wack a load of riffs down at home and record them on my phone – very basic technology I know (laugh) – or in some cases like the new single Alibi I wrote the whole song not just a riff on my own then brought that to the boys!. Adam and I like to jam out the riffs I’ve made up and create the music and since James has been in he’s started joining us at this stage which has been refreshing.
Ross then comes in with the bass lines and again pushes the song to greater heights. Ian gets the melodies and lyrics done in the mean time aswell. It’s working for us to create the sound we want to do.
How did you experience the release of your self-titled debut album in 2022, and what were the reactions of the public and the media? How do you explain the success of this album, which was voted Album of the Year 2022 by Great Music Stories?
Ian : It was all a surreal experience to finally get this album out, as we actually started as a band in early 2020, right before the global pandemic hit, so we had to write songs remotely and then when things opened up again we hit the rehearsal room and then the studio over the periods of no lockdowns.
So when it was released we had no idea of how well it would be received, but the reception was incredible and we got so much great press and coverage, as well as approval from loads of people, which made the whole thing even more worthwhile – and then for Great Music Stories to pick up on it and give us that accolade was mind-blowing!
What are the differences and similarities between your first and second albums, Design?
Ian : We had started to experiment more with our sound on our first album, so kind of got more modern influences in there for Design. The addition of James has really helped hone that too, so there are more synths and some loops and samples that we can now play live too. But we’re still writing melodic but heavy songs, so nothing has changed there really.
James : Well I wasn’t in the band for the release of the first album! So other than having synth and pads in the new album – we have experimented with new, lower keys and chords structures.
Can you explain the choice of the title « Design »?
Adam : As the first Album was self titled and our introduction into the music scene we wanted to pick a strong song that we loved off our new album that really captures our evolving sound with our new synth player. ‘By Design‘ was a firm favourite of ours but we scrapped ‘By‘ from the title just in case new comers to our music could get confused and think ‘Design‘ was our band name e.g ‘Amongst Liars, ‘By Design‘.
The cover of « Design » is very original and intriguing. What’s the story and meaning behind this illustration?
Ross : The artist is a very good friend of mine called Pierre Engelbrecht from South Africa. I was lucky enough to work with him while I lived in London and we became good friends. He has gone back to Cape Town now and I left London a while ago but we stayed in touch and I became a big fan of his work. Pierre’s creations always reminded me of Two of my favourite artists/designers Salvador Dali and Storm Thorgerson so I suggested his work to the band.
Ian : We love working with Pierre and the concept behind Design is ‘rebirth and reinvention’, so we sent him some songs and this concept and he came up with some amazing cover designs – the one we picked we felt was the most interesting and out there one.
What challenges and opportunities have you encountered as a rock band in the current climate? What are your plans and goals for the future, both musically and personally?
Ross : The challenge for us has always been to try and improve our sound and keep writing songs that we believe in. Try and push ourselves as much as we can. We don’t want to sit still, just try and improve. Outside of that we have no control over a lot of the challenges we encounter, we just have to make sure we overcome them, things like touring abroad etc. We want to try and get our music as far out there as we can so we hope in the future to continue to tour as much as possible and improve our live show as well.
What artistic influence do you hope to have on your audience and the rock scene?
Ross : Personally I don’t think about influencing people or the scene. I just hope people like what we do and want to come and watch us, and when they do, they have a great time.
Ian : Yeah we just do what we do and as Ross says hope that people get what we do and enjoy themselves, as that’s what music is all about at the end of the day for us. Also when writing about subjects like mental health I do get emailed by people saying things like ‘your song has given me strength and hope / got me through a rough time’, so if we can help anyone find strength in themselves though what we do, that’s a big plus too.
Finally, can you tell us about your pop culture preferences and inspirations? What works or artists have impressed you recently and would you recommend to our readers?
Ian : I love watching films and Series when I get the chance – am enjoying the latest True Detective series at the moment – but no TV for us on tour as we have so much driving and playing to do!
James : So many to choose! Rik Shaffer‘s music in Vampire the Masquerade is a great soundtrack, along with Theodore Bastard‘s music in Pathologic. But love music from games like Undertale, the old school Pokémon games, the Sonic franchise etc. As for musicians, been loving Cassyette, Don Broco and Northlane lately!
We’ve come to the end of the interview. Ian, Leo, Adam, Ross and James, thank you for your time.
Ian : Merci beaucoup!
Leo : Thank YOU!
Adam : Thank you for having us!
Ross : Merci!
James : Thank you very much.
Interview by Thomas O. for Eklecty-City.fr, with thanks to Ian George, Leo Burdett, Adam Oarton, Ross Towner and James Brummeo of Amongst Liars.