Now in its seventh volume, the Punk Goes Pop compilation is a gloriously simple idea: punk, rock and metal musicians choose their favourite gleaming top 40 hits and duly scuff them up by applying the full heavy treatment to them. Because how do you make a good song even better? You put some distorted guitars and screaming on it, obviously.
While some of the artist combinations may seem a little strange at first, scratch beneath the surface and the pairings begin to make perfect sense. We have Andy Biersack tackling fellow diva Adele, with his piano-led rendition of When We Were Young, and New Years Day’s chugging take on Kehlani’s R&B classic Gangster, which matches all the swagger and sass of their own material.
To celebrate the involvement of Australian metalcore group The Amity Affliction, and their joyous rendition of The Weeknd’s slick alt-R&B number Can’t Feel My Face, we catch up with frontman Ahren Stringer to hear more about how their track came together – plus you can check out the song’s video below.
What attracted you to get involved in the Punk Goes Pop project?
“I’ve always been a fan of covers in general – I like hearing different takes on songs I already know. It just brings a song back to life for me.
I also grew up listening to punk music – that’s what got me really interested in music in the first place. I think the first cover I ever recognised was Brown Eyed Girl by Lagwagon and I thought that was lit. And Stand By Me by Pennywise – the list goes on, and to be part of the Punk Goes Pop comp now is super cool!”
How did you choose The Weeknd as the act you wanted to cover?
“I love The Weeknd, he’s an incredible artist and it’s like sad kind of pop, which is kind of what we are in a way, so it just seemed to fit.”
What drew you to Can’t Feel My Face in particular?
“Well, the chord progression in the song is really similar to something we would write, so in my head it kind of already sounded like an Amity song [laughs]. That just makes it super easy to cover, if it seems like a song you just haven’t written yet.”
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How did you tackle unpicking the song for it to work in your style?
“Dan really took the reins on this one musically. We just said this song would be perfect to cover, and he just “Amity-fied” it and emailed it to me a week later. I was like, “This is perfect!” A week later I went to his house and just sang it like The Weeknd, but obviously in my style, and then Joel ripped the tonal screams over the top and the rest is history!”
Pop sometimes gets a bad rap. Do you think it’s time that changed?
“Absolutely – I wouldn’t have the ear I do for writing songs and melodies without being exposed to and listening to pop music my whole life. There’s a reason it’s popular – because it fucking rules. Not all of it, of course, but a big, big chunk of it.”
Which pop artist would you want to cover one of your songs if the tables were turned, and why?
“I’d love to hear Lana Del Rey cover an Amity song, just because I’m in love with her and want her to notice me!”
Punk Goes Pop Volume 7 will be released on 14th July via Fearless Records. You can grab a pre-order here.