SXSW Sound Style: Amyl and the Sniffers on duct-taped boots and Gucci
“Somebody gave me this T-shirt ... it’s not racist or anything, right?” Amy Taylor of Amyl and the Sniffers says before our shoot on Wednesday afternoon. It’s an innocuous yellow tee with the motivational message “No Guts, No Glory, Go for it," but she just wanted to be sure she wasn’t missing some kind of cultural clue.
The lead singer of the Australian punk band doesn’t consider herself a fashionista, but she and bassist Gus Romer were tapped by Gucci for a fall campaign. They flew out to Milan to represent the brand at Fashion Week earlier this year.
The Australian punk band has been making waves around the world with their raucous live shows and with a new album on the way this year, their star is ready to rise. We caught up with Taylor and the band to talk about her distinctive look, her stage style and the band's first foray into high fashion.
Deborah Sengupta Stith: How would you describe your personal style?
Amy Taylor: It’s pretty cheap. Like it kind of depends on the day whatever I’m checking on. It’s kind of just a lot of denim. ... I like things that are tight, shows off my ass or whatever. I like the '70s look as well. I like playing around with makeup. I like Dolly Parton, like you know, sexy.
When you play around with makeup what do you like to do?
I like blue eyeshadow and shimmery (expletive).
You have that line in your song `I’m Not a Loser' that says people say you look like a hooker. Is that something people really say to you?
Not to my face, but a lot of people are like, "Oh, people only like you guys because you wear short shorts." I used to work as a venue booker and people would be like “Hey, babe …” ... it would be like different because I was a female.
Did it bother you?
Yeah, to an extent. It never really stopped me in my tracks, ‘cause I’ve always just done what I want to do, but it does bother me because I’m like, well they’re (expletive) wrong.
You go on stage pretty scantily clad sometimes. Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction?
Nothing crazy. I’ve never slipped a nipple or anything. I always have broken shoes. I always wear boots usually and they’re always really cheap and fall apart. So there’s a lot of duct-taped boots. But I got some sneakers yesterday or the day before. So I’m like, I’m a sneaker girl now.
How did the Gucci thing happen?
They just asked us to do it. I don’t really know. They just called up our manager and were like "Hey, you want to do this thing?"
What was that like being in a high fashion situation?
Everyone was really nice. It was pretty intimidating because it’s so far from anything I know. I don’t know anything about fashion or the fashion world. I’ve never even watched a runway on YouTube or anything. It was pretty different but it was cool.
Was it super glamorous?
It was really glamorous at all really. They looked after us. They drove us around and everyone was kind. I wouldn’t say it was crazy glamorous.
You said your shirt is second hand. Do you do a lot of thrift shopping?
I don’t do a lot of shopping because I live out of a suitcase. I don’t live anywhere. I just keep it pretty small. I just have things I love and if I don’t love it I won’t buy it. Yeah a lot of like second-hand shopping or being in a band you get a lot of free clothes as well.
Your live shows get pretty rowdy and crazy. Do you think about that when you’re getting ready for a show?
I have this really nice top. It’s like glow mesh. It ties up at the top and the back and it’s pretty much nothing but a square with two straps holding it together and I always want to wear it, but I know if I wear it, it will fall off.
That will be your wardrobe malfunction.
That will be the one, yeah.