Ben Tourkantonis (The Amatory Murder) – interview

Ben Tourkantonis portrait

Ben Tourkantonis recently joined ucoming band, The Amatory Murder.

The Amatory Murder, fronted by Christian Peppas is steadily establishing a name in underground music.

Ben took the time to chat with Lisa Lunney about touring with Aesthetic Perfection & Combichrist, and joining Amatory Murder. Check it out!

LTW: Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to chat for Louder Than War! Last year was quite the big year for you! Can you tell us about touring with Combichrist and Aesthetic Perfection?

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 five “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.

LTW: Obviously, these tours took you to a ton of different places. What are some of the most memorable experiences? Anywhere in particular you look forward to visiting again? 

The places that stick out the most for me are Prague and Barcelona.  In each city we had more than enough time to explore.

Prague is very historic and the type of place that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “European city” and Barcelona is bright, sunny, beautiful and modern.

I definitely want to visit both these places again in the future.

LTW: You’re the newest member of The Amatory Murder. Congrats is in order. For readers not familiar with the band, can you make an introduction?

Thank you!  The band was formed by Xian Amatory and Marios Drakos in Brooklyn.

So far they have put out one album “A Different Frequency” and a remix CD called “Lonely Boy.”

They have been around for a few years and have built up a following in NYC and through social networking have generated fans in The UK and Germany.

If you like your music dark, dancey and heavy at the same time, this is the group for you!

UK fans may not have heard for us but may recognise our frontman Xian’s voice – it featured on the Made of Meaner Stuff advert for the Skoda Fabia vRS.

LTW: What does the name mean, The Amatory Murder?

A murder of passion.

The Amatory Murder band portrait

LTW: What are you most looking forward to with working with The Amatory Murder?

I’m really excited to play our upcoming shows, putting out our EP and hitting the road.  The guys are extremely motivated and talented which is causing me to step up my game.

LTW: The sound of The Amatory Murder is unique. It has many different elements to it, but it flows with perfect cohesion. How do you describe it to people who ask what kind of music you make?

I usually just tell people that we are mixture of rock and electronic that can be dark and heavy while upbeat and catchy at the same time.  We pride ourselves on our hooks.

LTW: How does the new Amatory Murder material differ from previous tracks?

Our two newest tracks deviate a little bit from the “4 on the floor” kick/snare beat and have more syncopated rhythms.

There’s also less lead guitar, and I think Xian has stepped out of his comfort zone with his vocals.

LTW: What is it about the art of music that you love so much? What drove you to pursue a career in such a challenging industry?

A song that speaks to me can really drive me at my core.  It’s fuel to my fire.

I was heavily influenced by Joey Jordison’s drumming on the first two Slipknot records — it made me think “I want to do that too!”

LTW: In addition to working with The Amatory Murder, you will be performing with others bands at upcoming summer festivals? Can you tell us about this?

Panic Lift has just hired me as their new live drummer and will be performing two big shows in Canada; Festival Kinetik in Montreal and Terminus Festival in Calgary.

I am also filling in on drums for Imperative Reaction at this years Infest in Yorkshire UK.

I am very excited because this is my first performance in The UK!

LTW: What is the most exciting thing about larger music festivals?

I will let you know as soon as I play them!

LTW: What can you share with fans of The Amatory Murder about what the band is currently working on?

We are knee deep in recording our next EP “Need” which will feature new songs, reworkings of old songs and a special cover track!

Our goal is to have the EP out by early June and to follow up with a North American tour in late 2013/Early 2014.

LTW: Where do you hope to be in five years?

Living in a van down by the river

LTW: Closing thoughts?

I’m just beyond stoked to finally rock out on stage again!  It has been far too long since I have played a show.  I also look forward to meeting lots of new faces and reconnecting with familiar ones.

You can find more about The Amatory Murder on their website, listen on Bandcamp or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

All words by Lisa Lunney. You can read more from Lisa on LTW here.

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