Tuesday 22 May 2012

DZ Deathrays // Interview & Live Review, Leeds Cockpit

Brisbane thrash-pop duo DZ Deathrays have just released their debut album "Bloodstreams" and are currently on a mammoth tour. They have hit UK shores to tear things up so we headed down to Leeds Cockpit to chat to Shane and Simon about all things touring, the album and Jägermeister!

Hi guys. This is the beginning of a long summer of touring for you guys; how’s it been going so far?
SIMON- It’s been good; it’s probably the best overseas tour that we’ve done. We were last over here in October.
SHANE- Yeah, there’s definitely been a bit of progress in the crowd numbers coming down, so it’s been good. I looked at the dates today and realised we’re only about a quarter of the way through our UK and Europe stuff and then we have lots of shows over in the States.

You guys are from Australia, Brisbane; how does the music scene and touring over there differ from the UK?
SIMON- Brisbane’s a lot more eclectic I think; people from different genres hang out together and are all supportive. At the moment Brisbane is killing it; lots of bands are breaking through internationally like Last Dinosaurs.
SHANE- But touring over in Australia is so different. You can really only do shows usually on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday; it’s hard to get people out any other night. We do like a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and then drive to the next place and do Thursday, Friday, Saturday again and drive. Here it’s like Monday night; people come out and then have a house party show afterwards.
SIMON- You can really only get away with a house party on a Saturday night at home.

DZ Deathrays debut album
Your debut album “Bloodstreams” came out a couple of weeks ago; how did you go about the writing/recording process of it and working with Richard Pike from PVT?
SHANE- We’d been writing those songs over a couple of years, so there’s bits and pieces that were written really close to the record and other bits that we’ve been playing live for a while. We just grouped together what we had and went through the process of breaking each song down. Most the songs have stayed pretty similar to what they were. Richard gave us direction on putting the songs gether so it was tight; when we play together it’s pretty loose.  On record everything had to be pulled together. It was pretty relentless; we did two weeks and did a song each day.

You’ve released a video for “Dollar Chills”; you have skull masks on and are destroying buildings. This is very bit different from “The Mess Up” video where you sat and were drinking Jagermeister; did you enjoy making it?
SIMON- Yeah, it was a lot of fun to do because it was just us and a couple of friends.
SHANE- The funnist thing you can do is breaking things. We had these vague ideas and we wanted to do stuff with flares and home-ade fireworks and Tristan who directed it is our friend and ound that steel wool burns really easily. So we put it in an egg whisker on a rope, and spun it; little hot bits of burning steel go flying everywhere so he shot it with this crazy,expensive camera and it looks like homemade fireworks!   

And, I have to ask you; after “The Mess Up” video are you sick of Jager yet?
SIMON- We still drink it all the time! People bring it and pour us shots.
SHANE- It’s still the easiest drink to shot. That’s why we chose it in the first place; if we did that with Tequila there’s no way we would’ve gotten through the three minutes of the video.

You guys started at a house party and everything has kinda of blown up from there; did you ever think this would happen?
SHANE- [Laughing] No, never. We had another band before and were trying to book shows for ages and nothing would ever come through. So, with this band we just wanted something that we could go to our mate’s house party and up and play. Then leave all our stuff there and stay there and not have to worry about getting home and packing up the gear. That was the idea behind the band in the first place; It was about simple songs that were fun to play live and then opportunities opened up from there.

And there’s a houseparty after tonight’s show right?
SHANE- Yeah, the support band asked us and I was like “are you guys allowed to have a house party on a Monday?” Well we’re going to do it anyway; if the cops show up then the cops show up!

DZ Deathrays on stage in Leeds
Your music has thrash party vibes and I guess your ethos is kinda “party” hard, like Andrew W.K; does he influence you guys?
SIMON- Yeah we love that guy, we’re big fans.
SHANE- We played a show with him at SXSW and really wanted to meet him but didn’t. This sound guys set up everything on stage and the band started playing with no Andrew. Then from the back gate he just runs and jumps on stage and jumps on the mic and is just like “time to party”. Everyone goes crazy and at the end he just runs back off the stage into a car and he’s gone; man of mystery.

Talking of partying hard; Ie read that you were on a French motorway hungover trying to change a tyre?
SHANE- That was scary as s**t.
SIMON- There was no where to pull over, no guard rail or anything; the van could hardly fit off the road.
SHANE- I had to climb out of the window to get out and all of these trucks are going past at like 130km/h and we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do and the van’s s shaking every time a truck goes past. We got it done though; Simon had a fluorescent vest on trying to direct traffic on the French motorway for like forty five minutes.
SIMON- We had to unload the entire van because the spare tyre was right at the back!
SHANE- Then today we went and replaced the tyre that blew and they were like “alright lads, in you go” and we pulled it in there; five minutes they had it up, tyres changed and there you go, done! We are amateurs.     
Thanks guys!

And here’s what happened when DZ Deathrays took to the stage…

DZ Deathrays' lead singer Shane
DZ Deathrays debut album has only just been released and the duo, who admittedly began as a house party band, have gone from strength to strength. Embarking on a huge European and American tour the Brisbane two-piece are only set to gain more fans, oh and cause chaos along the way. The room is pitch black as the floor starts to rumble and Shane and Simon modestly take to the stage. Lit from behind by strip lights flashing in multi-colours, the staging is minimal and the band’s music and unarguable charisma definitely do the talking. Hammering through tracks, from not only their debut album but their earlier work; Simon on drums is on the stage, whilst guitarist and lead vocalist Shane’s on floor level with the audience creating an informal atmosphere for the evening. “The Mess Up” [with its infamous Jager drinking video] is played back to back with album tracks such as “Gebbie Streets” with its infectious bongo rhythms and impressive instrumental breakdown. 

DZ Deathrays in Leeds Cockpit
“Thanks for coming out on a Monday” laughs Simon as DZ Deathrays break into “Cops Capacity” which focuses on intricate riffs and heavy drumming; it is raw, passionate and enthused. As the set progresses the audience gradually warm up and as the band flit between up-beat party anthems, more sombre doldrums and huge thrash breakdowns the crowd are riotous. Audience members throw themselves around The Cockpit; one filming the activities via a head camera, a mic stand pushed into Shane’s face. 
Shane carries on regardless; this is probably one of the milder things to happen at a DZ Deathrays gig. On a level with Andrew W.K in terms of the band’s party ethos they’re not quite as theatrical as his stage show, keeping things intimate and less over the top [no pizza guitar here!]. DZ Deathrays redefine the thrash party pop genre and are a band not afraid to push the boundaries and naturally have the ability to captivate an entire venue. Melodious but at the same time harsh, gritty and loud; how can two people make that much noise? But more than noise DZ Deathraus encourages a frenzy from within the audience and strike a connection with the crowd here tonight. On to the house party it is…

Catch DZ Deathrays on tour this May-
22              EDINBURGH @ Sneaky Pete’s
23              WREXHAM @ Central Station
24              BELFAST @ McHughs
25              DUBLIN @ Academy 2
27             SOUTHAMPTON @ The Joiners
29             BRISTOL @ Lousiana