Amy MacIntosh is one busy person. Besides bass playing duties with The Beautiful Monument and running her photography business Ayemehmac Photography she has also formed a new band with mates Kieran Jackson (SETMEONFIRE) and Deni Hourihan (Cold Era). Vilify released their first single Habit to rave reviews and have an EP ‘Clarity’ dropping on 4th December. Amy was kind enough to give me an in depth run down on the EP last week.

How are you guys surviving Covid?

I’m good. I’ve been working the whole way through. Well apart from the obvious with music being gone, which is quite heartbreaking.

It’s the worst not having live music. So first off I was completely blown away by your vocals. I remember saying to my housemate WTF!!

Thank you. As you can tell if you have listened to the EP I am a person riddled with self-doubt, so it took the guys a bit of convincing.  A lot of “c’mon you’ve got this!” Everyone has been very kind so far so they must have been right, and I should have just trusted them.

I think so! I was the same the first time I pressed publish on my page, I thought I was going to vomit. I remember thinking no one is going to read this and who the hell am I to have an opinion on music, WTF am I doing.

You are perfectly qualified for what you are doing!

Thank you. I can’t sing or play an instrument, so this is my contribution to the scene.

Exactly right. Everybody does their little part.

I’m loving it. To get to talk to all you guys. You see everyone at gigs but it’s always a quick hey how you going. But to be able to one on one and deep dive into everything is amazing.

It’s a different environment when your sitting down chatting on the phone. You’re just being, as opposed to at shows when you are a million miles an hour trying to do everything.  

And everyone wants to say hi!

Vilify’s debut EP Clarity comes out the 4th December. Do you guys write together as a group?

Everything is a group effort. The way we do it is music always comes first. I think it comes from the fact that I myself also started with guitars.  How the song felt was then how we went with what the lyrical content was going to be. There were things, as a group, we wanted to express and write about. We always wanted the lyrical content to be a similar vibe to the music.

So with Habit a good chunk of the song was written before we had Deni in the band. When you think about addiction it’s not just alcohol and drugs, it’s addiction to everything. A big one I find a lot of people can relate to without realising is addiction to both misery and grief. People hold onto those things for longer than should. The song was just my way of being like, I could see people running in circles with those cycles and I couldn’t do anything for them. You try to get people to break out of those cycles of misery and you just can’t. It was my only way of being like hey we can get out of these cycles. For some reason we think we deserve to feel that way. So it was about those addictions. It was a call to remind people that habit does control you,and you don’t have to feel like that. Don’t let it control you.

I know all about that!

People don’t even realise that they are doing it and they don’t think they can do better. That’s like in the verse I talk about weeds blooming and its that idea that people need to be able to process something and feel bad about it. It’s better than doing nothing about something. Working through it even if it’s negative is totally necessary. Finding that strength. Even within myself, it’s easy to tell people ‘Your better than this, you can do this’. It’s easy to say it but doing it is a completely different thing.

It’s not something that you can do overnight either because it brings a up all those emotions again but you kind of need to do that to release them.

It’s about changing your relationship and thought patterns with that thing and changing your mentality with those addictions. All the songs are pretty literal.

Next up is Deadweight.

Deadweight is about friendship, but I guess also about relationships in general. It’s about them not serving you anymore is the best way to say it. I think that goes for a lot of things though too, similar to Habit. It’s those friendships where you develop and grow. It might not be a negative attitude from that person, but they don’t always serve you anymore and you end up letting them go. You get to a point where it feels like a weight, your having to carry this person through situations. Life’s pretty damn hard to do on your own and if someone isn’t coming to the table and pulling their own weight as well then it is just too difficult, and you have to learn to let that go as well.

I had this same conversation this morning with someone. If you’re not going to enhance my life then I can’t have you around anymore.

It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person. It’s just that at that point in time your bad in my life. I know I have been that deadweight to many people too. That’s why I 100% understand the need to sometimes cut people off. If I’m not serving you anymore then cut me off. I’m not beneficial in your life anymore so why waste the energy that we are giving to each other.

It’s like that saying about people coming into your life for a reason and the time frame of that varies.  Some stay and some come to show you what they need to and then leave.

That’s pretty much what Deadweight is about. It is more on the negative side of it because I wrote it in a time when I was quite upset and angry. So it definitely reads like that. It’s an easy one to sing because it reminds me of it and that’s healthy because it reminds me of my own self-worth.

When I was listening to all the songs I kept thinking this could be me. This is what I love about music, people write stuff and I resonate with it so much

I tried to set out to make it relatable but still be a little bit specific. So you know this is addiction and we’ve all felt that but narrow it down. Same as Deadweight, You’ve felt it. Sometimes it’s family members or relationships. This one was about a friendship, but the idea rings true for any sort of relationship. It’s the things in your life you no longer need.

People ask me how I can listen to the music I do, but it is because I resonate with the lyrics and the messages.

Yeah I think that’s why I struggle with some genres, like rap- I haven’t experienced the things that they sing about in my life. I haven’t experienced having way too much money and buying a Lamborghini! So I find it hard to relate to that music.

Clarity is the title track off the EP. It has a slightly different beginning to the other tracks.

Yeah. It was actually the first song we wrote. That was why we called the EP Clarity because the whole song, although it is a bit broader as you can tell from the lyrics, is about purpose. Trying to know what you are meant to be doing but not having a clue. When we first started writing music we had no idea if we would release it, we didn’t have a band name. We really didn’t know what we were doing we were just having fun. So it felt very easy for the first lyrics to be about ‘What are we doing?’ When our first band started to fall apart we were like we put so much effort into it, what are we going to do? I’m just living every day and not doing anything with it. It’s totally just about feeling purposeless. I think a lot of people in the metalcore community can relate to that because we have found our niche in that heavy theme but before finding that it’s kind of like what is my purpose.

With Covid hitting Clarity has rung really true for us because I felt like my purpose was performing. That’s where I feel the most me, the most confident version of myself is when I perform and meet people. Doing those sorts of things. Music allows you to do that quite regularly. When that was all stripped with Covid it also took away that purpose. I hadn’t felt purposefulness in quite some time.

Being involved in the metalcore community is really the first time in my life that I have really felt like I belong somewhere. Everyone is so accepting, there’s no judgement. It’s like one big family.

100%. I do photography as well for bands. When I started going to shows I couldn’t go unless I had a group of people to go with. I will literally drive to Sydney on my own now, walk into a gig and go and find someone to have a beer with. Someone will say hi or come and give me a hug. They don’t know how I’m feeling, like I may have had a bad day at my job, but you just walk in and even if you don’t know anyone someone’s always going to make eye contact with you and raise their glass to say hi. It’s that interaction. I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking in and doing that at say a karaoke bar, but you get it from those gigs. It’s a very different community that allows that to happen.

I went to gigs by myself for quite a while before I moved to Adelaide and didn’t know a soul. I became obsessed with the scene.

It’s not obsessed it’s passionate!

Ha yes! By the time I moved here I could always go to a gig and find someone that I had met along the way. The friendships I have made through that are amazing and I hold everyone dear to me.

Nearly all my friendships are through music. Like my housemate Ryan, he needed a lift to Unify one year and we had a mutual friend, and I was just like get in the car man!! Never met the guy and I was just jump in the car with me for 10 hours, We had the time of our lives and it was that passion and connection to the music.

Which brings us to Decay

Oh this song is real awful. My partner hates listening to this song. This song I wrote in one sitting, I was very low. I had this issue where I guess the closest thing I can relate it to is imposter syndrome where I feel like I’m not good enough for the people around me. Where I feel like I always hurt people and misunderstand things. It’s just part of life I know but sometimes you just feel like you’re a rot on the earth. I hate talking about this side of stuff, I’m generally optimistic and have my sense and my values. I had this low where I know I had done some bad stuff and I just hated myself.  I couldn’t get out of it for quite some time. It’s definitely about self-worth. It’s a bit of a dirty one but it is what it is. Just not being happy with yourself and your behaviours. In retrospect I know that it is just part of life and you learn from your mistakes but at the time when the song was written it was definitely a big internal struggle. Having that feeling of not being worthy of all these amazing opportunities that I am being given. A lot of the time I struggle with how did I get into the position that I am with The Beautiful Monument and my photography.  Having that big internal ‘I’m not good enough’ kind of thing.

I have that with the page too. You know who would be reading what I write…

Yeah I’ve had that with the EP as well.

Pretty sure after listening that the EP is going to be just fine!! But yeah it’s a horrible thing to feel. I actually now take mental health days off so that I can regroup.  Just taking that step back and time to realise that you are worthy of what is happening to you.

It’s that not loving yourself, which I am a big believer in you should do. We were going to make it a single because we all love it so much, but it wasn’t the message that we sort of wanted to share. I know all the songs talk about negatives but that one didn’t really have a positive at the end of it. I don’t regret writing it like that because at the time that was how I was feeling and there are enough positives on the EP to pick it up. It is fine as it is bit its definitely not what we want people to think of.

So then we come to Forgiveness which has a bit of a groovy beat to it!

Yeah I love this song. We also thought about making this a single, but we weren’t sure if it was too slow. This is probably my favourite song on Clarity to be honest. Again this is about making mistakes but its about he positive of it. In so many situations when you do bad things, like hurt people due to break ups or treated people poorly Sometimes depending on who you are, like if you’re an empathetic person, you struggle with what you have done more that the person you have hurt. I have hurt people I love and adore, and I still sit with the guilt of that, the way I treated them or the way I reacted to certain situations. They are like don’t think about it, I don’t think about it. Its learning to forgive yourself. People are beautiful and they tend to be open to forgive you but forgiving yourself is so fucking hard. If you feel genuine remorse for something you have done I can almost guarantee that you will feel worse than the person that you did it to.  How do you beg yourself to forgive yourself?  You feel regret. Everyone has good in them, forgiving yourself and letting that good show as opposed to dwelling on it.

That’s human nature, that you are always harder on yourself

Especially when you actually care about something. Everyone makes mistakes and when you want to do right by something you seem to make bigger mistakes trying to do the right thing don’t you.

You do. And that is that whole learning process because you are trying to work out how the fuck can I make it right. Ands like you said sometimes you just can’t. You have to just accept it.

And forgive yourself. The other person usually has. It’s probably the saddest song but it still feels the most true because I still feel that imposter syndrome every day, like I don’t deserve what is happening. Even now with everyone being so lovely around the single so far. I’m just like I don’t deserve this. We are just three dickheads who drink ciders and write some stuff. People are just being so beautiful about it. At the end of the day I like to think that the three of us are really positive and it’s giving us an outlet for that negativity. So we can go on with the positive parts of our life. If you meet any of us we are all smiley guys just having a good time all the time. We have this really nurturing environment where we can have this outlet. That’s what I want it to be for other people too. They can come, they can feel connected and be like yes I have felt like that. Its not odd that I am feeling like that. Its not weird. I’m going to go on with my day now and I am going to forgive myself and see my self-worth.

So whilst they are all negative, we are not. It’s us expressing it and then letting it go.

That’s another reason I love the scene. No one is afraid to tackle these issues. Everyone can resonate with the lyrical content of someone’s song. People aren’t afraid to talk about mental health or all the different aspects of your life that mental health effects. There’s no subject that is taboo

Exactly right. Not anymore.

It’s so good to see. Especially for the younger kids in the scene, to hear the bands that they love say hey it’s okay.

I 100% agree with that.

A lot of the bands are so amazing at reaching out to their fans if they see someone struggling too. It’s not just lip service, they genuinely care.

I feel like we are all doing that. Not from selfish motives but because we have a genuine desire to be there for people. Our natural affinity with music is such a good way to do it. I struggle a bit to talk to people around emotional stuff. I’m a bit matter of facty about stuff. I feel more confident doing it through music. I feel like I am so much more open and emotive that way.

How did Deni end up joining you

Deni is a beautiful babe. She’s from the local music scene. I took photos of her band a couple of times. I then filled in for her band Cold Era once. The vibe together was just sick, she’s amazing. Then I did some pre pros with her band and the idea bouncing off each other just went so well that when Kieran and I were thinking about adding another person I was like dude Deni! She’s the best guitarist I know, and I already know I can play with her.  We understand each other when writing music. I’m so glad she agrees poor sucker, she’s stuck with us now. I feel like I’ve talked about me a lot, but I do promise you it is 100% an entire group effort. Actually they probably do more than me honestly. The music, the vibe, the tone. We discuss all of it. All the lyrical concepts. Some of the lines in Deadweight Kieran wrote. It’s the most group effort of a band that I have ever been in. Which I think is why it felt so effortless.

Having had an early listen to ‘Clarity‘ this EP is going to become the soundtrack to many people’s lives. Lyrically the songs are deep and thought provoking, sonically they are going to make you want to be amongst it in the pit!!

Pre save it here:

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