The Amatory Murder are an electronically-tinged rock band hailing from Brooklyn, New York. The band's latest album, A Different Frequency is an eclectic blend of industrial synth-rock combined with upbeat pop-rock sensibilities.
Ben Tourkantonis of The Amatory Murder chatted with the ezine about his crazy schedule, love for music and more! Check it out:
Grave Concerns: Hi Ben! Thanks for taking time to chat with Grave Concerns. What made you fall in love with music?
Ben: Probably being exposed to it from an early age. The radio was always playing in every car ride, my mom used to let me play her cd's and tapes and I went to a Catholic Elementary school where we sang 3 times a week and had winter/spring concerts.
Grave Concerns: You are a real go-getter. A definite inspiration to anyone trying to make a name for himself or herself in the music business. Do you have any words of advice for those striving to get their big break?
Ben: I don't know if I have had my BIG break yet, but I have certainly had a lot of breakthroughs and hit goals in the past year. The turning point for me was not being afraid to admit to myself that I want to play music professionally. I always doubted myself in the past. I never thought I could support myself with music so I focused a lot of energy on having a “back up plan” which in hindsight was a waste of time. The moment I changed my mentality was the moment things turned around for me. Advice? I probably shouldn't give anyone career advice lol.
Grave Concerns: You recently joined The Amatory Murder, what can you tell readers about this awesome gig.
Ben: So far so good! I just had my first performance with them a few weeks back at Club Revolution in Amittyville NY. What attracted me to the band was their unique style and catchy songs and just about everyone I've sent TAM tracks to has enjoyed them. We just finished up drum and bass tracks for our upcoming EP. Now we just need to finish guitars, vocals and final mixing/mastering. I'm extremely excited to release this because it is hands down the best recording I have ever participated in.
Grave Concerns: What song made you instantly connect with the sounds of The Amatory Murder?
Ben: “Souvenir of Pain.” Such a killer track, I love the way the song is arranged, it has “hit” potential.
Grave Concerns: How would you describe the sound of Amatory Murder?
Ben: Dancy, dark and sometimes heavy.
Grave Concerns: Your first live show with the band was on 4/20; can you tell us about it?
Ben: Yes. We were performing at a monthly goth night called Leather & Lace which is run by DJ Dreamtrancer. The venue used to be called Ollie's Tavern but is now known as Club Revolution and is located in the infamous Amittyville NY. (I don't think the venue was haunted though). What can I say? I had a blast on stage, the sound guys did a great job mixing us and the video footage is excellent. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out here:
Grave Concerns: What is TAM currently up to?
Ben: As I mentioned before we are knee deep in recording our new EP “Need.” And as soon as the EP is released we will be planning a North American Tour.
Grave Concerns: Your next show is slated for June 8th! How excited are you?
Ben: Super excited because this is our first time playing the Irving Plaza. Playing at the Irving Plaza has been a goal of mine since I was about 15. Even growing up in MA I still heard a lot about the venue through word of mouth.
Grave Concerns: Aside from TAM, you are one busy boy! You are in the roster for a few summer music festivals. Can you dish the details?
Ben: Yes I just joined the NJ based EBM group Panic Lift (Metropolis Records) as their new live drummer. My first show with them is at The Chameleon Club in Lancaster PA w/ The Causticles and in the coming months we are playing Festival Kinetik in Montreal and Terminus Festival in Calgary. I have also been asked to fill in on drums for Imperative Reaction at this summer's Infest in Yorkshire UK. And on a side note, I am currently in negotiations with a few other NY based bands regarding fill in gigs, so stay tuned!
Grave Concerns: You recently were on tour with Combichrist and Aesthetic Perfection, can you tell us what that was like?
Ben: Yes! Really exciting times. It all started with Joe Letz. I met him while I was a promoter for Club Hell in Providence. We really hit it off and I booked him as a DJ for several events over the course of a year and a half. Finally I emailed him asking what I could do to be in his shoes as a drummer and his response was “Hey! Wanna drum tech for me this summer?” to which I said “Hell Yeah!”
A few months later I quit my job and hopped on a plane to Germany for the Combichrist Evolution Tour. This tour involved many “firsts”; First time leaving the continent, first time on a REAL tour, first time staying on a tour bus, first time attending an industrial music festival, first time with an all access pass and so on. I would describe my experience as a drum tech as extremely difficult and extremely fun and rewarding at the same time. The daily grind went something like this; Wake up, get ready, eat some breakfast, load in gear, set up the stage, sound check, down time for 4-5 hours (which by the way is plenty of time to go see the Eiffel Tower :D!) and then show time! My job was mainly rebuilding Joe's kit every time he knocked it down (which happened quite often!). I was also teased a bit on stage, I think I had 5 “birthdays” and I also recall a moment where a microphone was stuffed down the back of my pants while a verse was screamed into my ass.
The Aesthetic Perfection tour I was on merch/driving duty. This time it was a North American tour and they were on the bill with The Birthday Massacre, William Control and Creature Feature. I got a long with Tim and Dan just great. They taught me a very valuable lesson; Vodka goes bad, so drink it as fast as possible! The Birthday Massacre guys were also some of the nicest people I have met, but I'm pretty sure they think I'm a serial killer since they nick named me Dexter for uncontrollably laughing about a dead raccoon I saw on the highway. (Seriously, whats not to laugh???)
Grave Concerns: Your musical endeavors have brought you all around the world. What have been some of the raddest sites you have seen?
Ben: My favorite places thus far include Prague, Barcelona, Manchester, Budapest and Cologne. Cologne has one of the most impressive buildings I have ever seen; The Dom. The Dom is a massive cathedral and it's size is only out done by the amount of artistry put into every square inch of the structure.
Grave Concerns: What has been among the best live shows you have ever attended?
Ben: When I saw Nine Inch Nails for the first time at 2006 at the Comcast Center in Mansfiled MA. I was a fan of theirs for sure, but that concert made them my favorite band ever. It also made Josh Freese my favorite drummer.
Grave Concerns: What is a dream venue for TAM to play?
Ben: I would love to play Red Rocks some day!
Grave Concerns: Where can readers find out news and updates for The Amatory Murder?
Grave Concerns: Thank you for your time! Any closing thoughts you desperately want to share with readers?
Ben: I'm just beyond stoked to finally rock out on stage again! It has been far too long since I have had a steady stream of live performances coming up. I also look forward to meeting lots of new faces and reconnecting with familiar ones.
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