Off the back of a sold-out European tour earlier this year, Amistat, otherwise known as brothers Jan and Josef Prasil, have announced their new single The Coward – an anthem for those who are having difficulty living as their authentic selves, set for release on November 10. This effecting yet understated tune has been perfectly reflected in the song’s stunning video, directed by Kathleen Mary Lee (Lanks, Batts, Canary).
Born and raised in Germany, the Prasil twins made the move to the set up home on the other side of the world in 2012. “We decided to come to Australia as our father is Australian and we had heard amazing things about this beautiful country,” says Josef. “When we arrived we were struggling to find work so we picked up some musical instruments and started busking to survive! Jan really took to the guitar while I sung along. We realised pretty quickly that we had a unique sound and people wanted to listen to us back home and that is how Amistat was formed.”
Amistat will be hitting the road again in December to celebrate the release of The Coward, kicking off in their adopted hometown of Melbourne before swinging on through Newcastle, Canberra, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane and fittingly finishing up at Woodford Folk Festival to see the year out.
Amistat is Jan (guitar) and Josef Prasil (vocals), joined on the road by Julian Swinnerton (cello) and Ryan Oliver (piano and percussion)
I got the chance to do a quick interview with the twins about twins and how they took the step between busking and becoming artists.
Top 3 SETS OF TWINS
We are both not really into cricket to be honest, too many rules for our taste! We surely have heard a lot about Steve and Mark Waugh though! They are phenomenal cricket players and seem like absolute legends too. Definitely up there with our top 3 twins!
Our next pick are The Pierce Brothers!! We started out busking with them a few years back and have been friends since! The way they perform their music live is extraordinary!!!So much energy and positivity, GO AND CHECK THEM OUT!!:)
Last but not least are Eric and Sven Bender. They are absolute soccer legends for Germany and are playing in the National Team of Germany. Amazingly talented but also very good people. If you’re into soccer you will fall in love with them!
The Coward might first evoke thoughts of Ben Howard or The Tallest Man On Earth, but there’s a sensual quality here that cannot be compared to anyone. Patient, authentic and stirring, The Coward lays it all on the line with careful exhilaration. Soaring harmonies prevail, delivered with a synchronization only twins like the Amistat brothers can achieve, and the chorus propels itself forward with tenacious acoustic guitar and driving percussion. Speaking of the inspiration and depth behind the track, Josef says, “The Coward is about knowing who you are deep inside but not being able to let it out. People are very fast with making assumptions and judging you based on what you look like but little they know about what’s inside of the person.”
And the clip encompasses so much in such a simple yet effective format. The viewer watches one man struggle with his sense of identity and purpose, as a pivotal moment in his life plays itself out backwards. The grey, stormy palette, the storyline that is left to the audience to interpret – it all lends itself to a melancholy, important reflection of the theme of this track. Josef enthuses, “Jan and I love the concept of ‘one-shot’ videos, where the whole film clip you see is done in a single take…It’s impossible really, trying to get it in one take but we always like a challenge! We started with that concept about two years ago and decided to keep it as sort of a trademark of the band. For this clip, we came up with a vision of a soldier who is being denied going to battle, even though he wanted to defend his loved ones, and show his courage and commitment.”
Did you guys put on performances for your families when you were little? I did but had no talent at all! I am interested to know if that is a German Custom like an Australian one.
Yes we used to play for our families when we were little and they loved it:) We were horrible but they thought it was cute. Mum always cried. So we are never sure if she does cause its really good or just cute. I’m not sure if that’s a real German custom, as it seems like Australia kids are exposed to soo much more music whilst growing up than any other country I’ve been to.
Can you tell me some advantages and disadvantages of working with family? I work with all of mine in a local business and I love it but I have heard some horror stories!
Working with your twin means there is always a lot of honesty involved in the work you do. Especially as twins we seem to be exactly on the same page when it comes to music and how we’d like to sound. A disadvantage is that whenever you spend time outside of work together is seems like you still in work mode all the time.
Who is older and wiser?
Josef is the older twin but it seems like I am the more mature one. It feels like Josef is the one who jumps off a cliff first and then checks how deep the water is, where I would check first and then consider whether to jump at all ;p
OK! that is a good measure of being wiser for sure! How did you make the step from busking to becoming artists?
I guess the more we went out and busked and played music the more confident we became with what we do. The transition from busking to becoming a full time artist went unnoticeably for us really. The more serious you are about what you do the better you will become.
Any advice you would give to aspiring artists who want to make that next step?
Keep writing new stuff and work hard on your skills. Perform your own music live as much you can and always stay true to your own sound!! Write and play what comes out of you and not what other people want to hear from you!
AMISTAT – UPCOMING SHOWS
SAT 2 DEC | CHAPEL OF CHAPEL MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
WED 6 DEC | LASS O’GOWRIE NEWCASTLE NSW | 18+
THU 7 DEC | FROMT GALLERY CANBERRA ACT | 18+
SAT 9 DEC | RECORD CRATE SYDNEY NSW | 18+
THU 14 DEC | BEACH HOTEL BYRON BAY NSW | 18+
FRI 15 DEC | MILK FACTORY BRISBANE QLD | 18+
WED 27 DEC – MON 1 JAN | WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL QLD | AA