Touché Amoré has been one of the shining stars of the emo/post-hardcore revival that has taken place over the last few years. Their style sits comfortably alongside the genre's mainstream forerunners from the past decade like Thursday, but just as easily places them among heavier, more aggressive counterparts like Converge.
Sitting on that middle ground has led the the L.A. band to underground acclaim as well as crossover success. Their most recent record, Is Survived By, hit No. 85 on the Billboard 200, which is a pretty damn impressive showing for a band that credits little-known screamo acts like Ampere as inspirations.
"It's all kind of overwhelming," screamer, front man, and primary lyricist Jeremy Bolm says about the band's success. "When the band started, I never thought it would be anything outside of playing house shows, so to have a record come out to have such impact for people, it's pretty crazy."
That is where Touche Amore started, but the band has quickly evolved into something much bigger. They've upgraded from house shows to playing venues like House of Blues. Perhaps some of their success can be attributed to their lyrics, which Bolm writes with a stunning emotional honesty that truly resonates with fans.
When asked if the success would dull that, though, Bolm says that the band basically does what they want to do and hope people will like it, so he doesn't worry about any of that. It's certainly working because on top of the chart success, they're co-headlining a tour with mewithoutYou as we speak, one that hits Fitzgerald's tomorrow evening.
On paper alone, it's an exciting tour. For Bolm, it's especially exciting to be touring with one of his favorite bands and influences.
"They're actually the reason that we recorded Is Survived By with [producer] Brad Wood, because he's responsible for [mewithoutYou's records] Catch for us the Foxes and Brother, Sister, and he mixed the two following that record," he says. "Those two records sound unbelievably perfect, and I think looking back that's what we were trying to go for with our sound."
In that way, musically Is Survived By had an easily charted path. However, lyrically, it had a painful birth.
"When I went in to write for the record, I had a very difficult time getting words down on paper that I was happy with, because I didn't want to write the same words as I had been writing before," Bolm admits. "I was in a much happier place in my life to where I didn't want to lie and fake tragedy for making a record that would feel like our other records. So, instead I wrote a song about that."
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That became album stand-out "To Write Content."
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Still, all the success of the band hasn't come without criticism. By straddling the line between hardcore aggression and melodic flourish, Touché Amoré may have staked their claims with many music fans, but, as the old adage goes, you can't please everyone all the time. The band's faced backlash from the underground community of emo and screamo revivalists it helped start over where their music fits in with the scene, and their choices of touring partners.
Just last year, Touché Amoré chose to open for AFI on a U.S. tour, and have opened for Rise Against and Thursday in the past. Touring with those bands may have cast them into the spotlight with a more mainstream audience they otherwise would have never encountered, but it certainly hasn't helped their underground street cred. Bolm, however, describes these as "dream scenarios," regardless of the kind of audiences they play to.
"We sort of judge it on character, and what feels right," he says. "You can't keep doing the same thing. You have to challenge yourself. Why pass on that? That's an incredible experience."
"We feel very fortunate we can sort of ride that line between opening a tour for bands that are way more aggressive, to more melodic rock bands or punk bands that have had success in that," he continues. "I think we're fortunate to do both, and I don't see that changing. If it's an opportunity, and it feels right, we're going to go for it."
As for what to expect in the future though, Bolm says he has no idea and no plans. "I could say our next record will sound like the National, but it probably won't," he laughs.
One thing you can count on, though, is that Touché Amoré will put on a hell of a show at Fitzgerald's. Bolm promises a 23-song set list, and a good mix of older material with songs from Is Survived By.
And by the way? If it it needed any further confirmation, it's pronounced "Toush-eh Amor-eh." Now you know what to scream at the show when your faces are being rocked off.
Touché Amoré plays Tuesday night with mewithoutYou, Seahaven, and Drug Church at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
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