Looking into the hardcore punk landscape today, if you're an outsider, things tend to get a little confusing. Touche Amore is a post-hardcore band that is changing what it means and sounds like to be a punk band, combing elements of '90s screamo and post-hardcore with an intense work ethic and never-ending tour schedule.
Hearing the words screamo or post-hardcore usually conjures images of tattoo-covered Warped Tour scene bands such as Of Mice and Men. But that's not at all Touche Amore.
“No way, not at all,” front man Jeremy Bolm says when asked if he would ever play Warped Tour. “Nothing against our friends who have done it. Last year, Title Fight; this year, Defeater is doing it, which is fine. I appreciate that there are honest bands that are on it.”
Bolm continues, “There are kids who have no idea about this world, who if they see a band like Title Fight or a band like Defeater that maybe it will open their eyes a little bit to our world as opposed to a world with misogyny and ignorance and nothing to offer any-body which is what 95 percent of what Warped Tour is.”
The band get their own brand of post-hardcore from such bands as Pg. 99 and Orchid. “When the band started, we loved a lot of that '90s screamo stuff,” Bolm says, “but the hardcore kids in us sort of took a step out–or further, where we didn't just sound like a straightforward, '90s screamo band. There were hardcore elements.”
Initially, Touche Amore showed a lot more of their hardcore side, but on their most recent album, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, they exhibited more of their throat-shredding screamo side–a sound fashioned by some of their brutal landmark influences, including Converge, American Nightmare and Hope Conspiracy.
Besides being sonically different from what most bands are doing, Touche Amore are also touring at a rate that few bands dare compete with. “The time when we were between Australia and Europe, we were going from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to Europe. We had 17 flights in 10 days,” Bolm says. “A lot of the flights had issues with baggage and fees; we almost got deported at one point. Everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong. That two weeks probably took about three years off of all of our lives with the amount of stress.”
Touche Amore found themselves playing a total of 167 shows on four continents last year. "It was a lot of work,” Bolm says with a laugh. "I don't regret it at all. If I could go back I would space things out a little more. It got to a point where all of us had tunnel vision.”
Onstage, the band blast through their set in chunk, playing four or five of their under-two-minute tracks together with no breaks. There is no pause for clapping or for anyone to catch a breath; it's as abrasive as it is breathtaking.
They are now working on their third album, to be released by Deathwish Records in the fall. "It's exciting; it's going to be nice to not have to stress about it anymore. It's been a long process . . . but we've been working on it since we got home from tour,” Bolm says. "I don't know what to do with myself now that it's being mastered.”
Touche Amore perform at FYF Fest, the Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. Aug. 25. Weekend passes, $99. Contact email@example.com for more info on the fest. For more information on Touche Amore, visit www.facebook.com/ToucheAmore.