DZ Deathrays are in for one hell of a year after just releasing their highly anticipated, LONG awaited album 'Bloody Lovely'. To celebrate the band will be heading on a huge national tour announced last week with shows already selling out. In fact they have just announced a third show in Brisbane. Tayla Sudall had a chat to Shane about all the madness.
RR Hey Shane, how’s it going? Thank you so much for taking time out to talk to me today. I was wanting to talk to you about your upcoming tour around Australia and New Zealand, are you guys pumped to hit the road?
SP Oh we’re pumped to hit the road! It’s been, ages since we did a, like, our own headline tour, I think it was like December 2016, so you know, it’s well overdue, ahh, and we kind of left last year with like, sort of not doing a headline tour on purpose just to kind of get people excited about the band again and you know, with the new record and all that. So yeah, we’re really keen on sort of starting to put together our um, ideas and what we’re gonna do with the show and like, the stage show and stuff, ‘cause we’re doing bigger venues that we’ve sort of done to date, so we can kind of go a bit nuts with it
RR Yeah, that’s awesome, one of the questions I was gonna ask you was if you had, um, any plans already that you know of for like, your stage performance, anything that you can give us any hints about?
SP Umm, well there’s a few little things like, sort of up in the air, but I guess we’ll kind of want to.. I dunno, just have a like… another level and a bit more of like a, experience. We’ve always sort of toyed with you know, lighting over the years and stuff like that, but I think we’re gonna try and get a bit crazy with some lasers and stuff but we’ll see *laughs* It really depends on if we can, sort of, work it all out so that it’ll fit on the stages
RR Yeah, hell yeah
SP It’s exciting
RR That is exciting, lasers are sick *laughs* so your album Bloody Lovely was recorded back at the start of 2017, um and you’ve just dropped it on us last Friday, so what’s new in this album for DZ Deathrays?
SP Look, ya know, we just wanted this record to be a development of the last, and um, and we wanted it to be different as well, um, I think on this one we sort of wanted… we had a bunch of different songs and we sort of, when we put together the demo then we were like ‘this is gonna be the record’. What we put together was sort of like, a bit more up-beat, party record, ya know a lot of the melodies are quite ahh, sort of, happy as well, but also we wanted to give it a bit more of a live feel than Black Rat so you know, the things are little more sloppy on there at the same time but you know, in terms of writing, Simon and I just spend a lot of time trying to really um, work on structures and melodies and stuff like that just so that we were kind of delving into the pop world a little bit more, and you know, I think we probably got a little obsessed with trying to make some like big song have these kind of, big stand out hooks, I dunno if they did or not but I think compared to some of the other stuff we’ve done in the past you know, this is… the new stuff has that sort of going on a little more
RR: Yeah, it’s cool! And so you guys went back to The Grove Studios to record Bloody Lovely ah, which is where you recorded Black Rat and you also used Burke Reid, the same producer for your new album, so what is it about The Grove Studios and Burke Reid that keeps you guys goin’ back there?
SP Well, Burke’s been living back in Australia for a few years on and off and um, so it was his best friend Scott and Scott owns The Grove and when we first got together to do Black Rat with Burke, he sort of said, you know, we should use these studios, Scott just got ‘em and yeah it’ll be like, good for us to get out there and use ‘em, and we really enjoyed it, it’s a really beautiful part of the country and its out in the bush a bit, so you’re kind of not really distracted by like, café’s and bars and stuff, there’s none of that around you um, so you’re just there to work which is really great and it makes you sort of like work a bit harder because you fully get engrossed in it, and you know, when we sort of finished Black Rat we would just continually send Burke all these demos and that just kind of like, we just sort of assumed that we’d do the next record with him because we really enjoyed working with him on the first one, or should I say the second one, so yeah, it was kind of just like an unspoken agreement *laughs* that he was gonna do the next one, and um, we kind of thought about doing this record in other places but just timing wise it worked out that it would be better to do it in Australia and we just, The Grove was kind of like, the big… ‘cause Burke really likes to work out there and knows the consoles, or he knows the rooms and stuff really, really well so yeah. It was cool to work out there, you can pull away a lot of different sounds from that studio and um, you know, like I said, it’s sort of a great place to really delve into a record without being um, interfered with *laughs* sort of outside things, vices and stuff *laughs*
RR Yeah totally! That’s cool, it sounds like you guys are comfortable out there, so that’s good! And so you guys have been putting in some serious work from ah, so you went from tearing up house parties all the way back in 2008 to winning ARIA awards and playing massive shows and festivals all around the world, so what’s that like for you guys as a band now compared to back then?
SP Ahh, look, it’s one of those things that when we first started we knew, we just like, we’ll just play house parties ‘cause we couldn’t get a gig um, with our other band beforehand it was really hard but yeah, just sort of like, really small little shows or whatever and it kind of just felt like, you know, when we became a two-piece we were just like lets just do house parties *laughs* and then not worry about it and we didn’t really wanna play club shows and then it started sort of coming up, and then we got offered a tour and then it was like, okay, maybe we should actually make something of this, and once you sort of get that in your mind, then you see opportunities come out that beforehand you never thought were gonna happen, well then you say yes, and then you keep sort of pushing further and further to as far as you can take it, so yeah, now we’re just sort of like, we’re at that point where we kind of, we just wanna you know, play great shows and we wanna sort of be able to make this into something that we, you know, one day, that we can live off and *laughs* and be like a, you know, take it to other parts of the world and yeah, and I guess we just, like we’ve always said, we’ll just see where it takes us. Um, you know, sometimes you cant force these things, and there’s other things that come into life, um but, at the moment, we’ll just go full steam ahead, trying our best to sort of, make it work, it’s a lot of hard work but we really enjoy it, it’s the best, you know, it’s the best job I’ve ever had that’s for sure
RR That’s good! And so um, like you said you wanted to take it around the world and stuff, I saw that you guys are gonna be playing a few shows in March in South Africa, what are you guys expecting from those shows?
SP Well, the only thing we know about playing in South Africa is stuff the Dune Rats have done, and they’ve been over there a couple of times and they said to us that we’ll just have an absolute blast over there, and that everyone’s nice and they love music, so yeah, we can’t wait to go over, it’s somewhere I’ve never been to before, it’s a quick trip, but you know it sounds like it’s gonna be fun, we’re playing a festival and a couple club shows, and we’re doing a DJ set and ya know, we get a couple of days off so we’ll see what kind of awesome activities we can do while we’re over there
RR Yeah, go and explore a little bit, that’ll be awesome. And there’s been plenty of talk that Bloody Lovely is a clear progression from your first two albums, so what do you think it is that’s um, that’s pushed you guys further with this record?
SP I guess it’s just like that, that thing, like I said before, we just really kind of got obsessed with trying to, you know, find pop melodies and hooks and sort of cover ‘em in distortion and sort of big beats and stuff, and I think that sort of, that’s probably the biggest distinction from the last stuff, but I guess every time that I go into a studio, I work with another writer or I work with a producer you know you learn a bit it’s like going to school, and over the years I’ve learned so much about song writing um that beforehand I was just writing, you know I’d just write songs and I’ve been writing songs since I was 13 years old and never really thought about the way that things could be put together to make them interesting like, um, you know, sort of relevant to the pop world and yeah, you just sort of learn every single time you do something like that and so the next time we’ll see where we can take it. It’s always in the front of our minds like what are we gonna do next you know? How are we gonna change it up and we should try and do something different, we should try you know, develop on this sound and yeah. The records are always there so your allowed to change stuff because if people want the same record again, they can just listen to that record you know, but you’ve gotta then also keep in mind that if you go too far away from why people love the band, then they’re sort of gonna, maybe, you know, turn off the band a little bit
RR Yeah yeah, you get that
SP It’s a fine line
RR Definitely! And so you guys actually released a film clip today for one of the brand new songs off your album Like People, ah, can you tell us a bit about the film clip for that song?
SP Um, well it’s actually, we’ve got Murray who used to be in The Wiggles back in the day, I’ve got younger sisters who were like little kids when he was in The Wiggles so I knew him very well from all the TV shows and stuff, and we’ve just got him sort of dancing around this hall kind of getting into a little bit of a stage show and then we sort of join in, it’s a very random video, we put it together really, really, quickly and essentially we had a bunch of ideas and we asked Murray, we were like, ‘cause I knew that he lives sort of near by me in Sydney and yeah I knew he plays in bands and stuff around town and I was kinda like, we should ask him, just if he says yes, that’s awesome, if he says no, that’s totally fine, totally understand it but he said yes and seemed into it and um, Darcy was the director of the video, he really worked Murray that day and we were really like, thankful that he *laughs* you know, that Murray was able to get through it all and the thing is, like, on the day it was like, aw, crazy and super hot and he’s [Murray] working really hard and um, but then you see the end result and it looks really great and so I was like, aw yeah, super happy and when I watch the video I couldn’t stop smiling just because Murray’s such a great character and it makes you smile
RR: yeah, yeah, I’m the same when I watched it I was just like, it was just… I dunno, funny, it’s just fun *laughs*
RR: You guys have played shows all over the world so where abouts in the world would you say your favourite show has gone down?
SP Ohh look, I’d have to say like, at home the crowd is just so wild and its always nice to play to a really big crowd so we’ve played some massive shows over the years like, you know, some of the festivals, Splendour in the Grass, we did Falls Festival, the Groovin’ the Moo tour was really great, and then also some of the shows we did with Violent Soho were amazing, so you know, I’d have to say the bands were some of my favourites but, it’s always great to go everywhere, we just went to South America last year we played like, tiny little dive bars but it was awesome that people were there they knew some of the songs and they were gettin’ into it and um, yeah, it’s just like, you never when a shows gonna be amazing. We played this festival in Italy years ago ah and it’s always stuck out in our minds as like, this was great ‘cause of the location, was just beautiful, inside this run down castle, walls that were sort of crumbling and the middle was where the stage was, there was probably like, 5000 people there to see it, we’ve never played, really, Italy before but we were on this great festival bill so yeah, well, we got to perform infront of 5000 people and so we were just completely overwhelmed at how cool it was, yeah, when you get to do that stuff it’s really great
RR: Yep, you get to see really nice places! And um, so like you said, you played at Falls ah, I got to see you guys at Falls Festival you guys were sick, um, how did you guys deal with that heat under the tent?
SP Ohh *laughs* yeah it was um, it was pretty wet afterwards, that Byron Bay one was crazy, just the humidity was really insane
RR It was hey!
SP It was funny, like, doing, ‘cause we were going back to back with those first three days we went Lorne, then to Marion Bay, then to Byron Bay so we were doing these quick turn arounds, we’d go and play then we’d leave, go to the hotel and fly the next morning really early and all of the shows like, the weather was so different at each one you know, we were wearing a jacket, it was kind of cold in Lorne and then it was a little bit rainy but hot in Marion Bay and when we got to Byron Bay it was like tropical
RR Yep, *laughs*
SP Yeah *laughs* it was all over the place but it was cool, like all the shows were great we had fun at all of them, I think you know, by the time we got to the Byron one we were really sort of locking in together and firing a little bit better, it usually takes us a couple of shows and then we start to get into the rhythm of the live show, and so yeah, the Byron was really special
RR Yeah, that’s the one that I was at and it was, it was really good and there was just people everywhere dancing, it was a really fun time, ah what are you looking forward to most with the upcoming tour?
SP Umm, getting out on these stages and trying out the new songs, it’s always fun when you’ve got new material and especially when, like, this album seems to be getting received fairly well and people are into it so, I guess it’ll be like kind doing the call out and seeing what songs people are vibing on the most off the record and what, you know it sort of dictates what we’ll play live and I think we’ll have to play quite a lot of the new stuff but we still wanna play the old stuff as well and give everyone a kind of, you know, a good all round show, so um yeah, it’ll just be awesome to sort of get a couple of new ones out there and see how people react
RR Yeah, and you guys hosted a bunch of pop up bars in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, ah could you tell me a bit about the pop up idea and how it all went?
SP Um, well I guess it’s sort of an ongoing thing, when we were doing the record in the studio, Burke was talking to us a lot about like oh I could hear this song played.. because I think he was thinking like we’ll put it together so that it’s like, super, rock, or we could take it to this other world where it could be put on in the background and not be too offensive, you know, and it sort of, like those bands like The Strokes and The Walkman and that sort of music can just be played at a bar and people can be talking and drinking and having a bit more of a chilled out time rather than having to be right up the front and centre of a live show and so we kind of from that we took away this idea of the dive bar and um, that Bloody Lovely would be the name of the dive bar so when that all sort of came together we did the artwork, and thought yeah, lets do some pop up bars sort of like, rented out our own little bar for the night, have our own beer on tap, and just you know, we’ll have the lights from the front cover on the walls and stuff and it was fun, you know, we did a DJ set, people came down and we had the vinyls for sale and T-shirts and stuff, people came down and drank beers and we signed some stuff, I dunno it was just a nice thing to do, everyone who came down was super lovely
RR Yeah, I reckon that’s a sick idea, that would’ve been fun, and I was doing a little bit of digging through your Facebook and I saw someone was upset ah that your tour didn’t extend to Darwin but also saw that you guys replied saying you had some plans are you able to tell us what those plans are? *laughs*
SP Well *laughs* the plan is that we keep talking about going there it’s just finding the right um, show to do, and you know we’ve always planned on this tour to do like, something like a regional run, um we don’t really know when we’re gonna do it yet, but um, it’s in the works and I wanna make sure that we get up to Darwin. I’ve never been up there, I’ve got dear friends who live up there, you know I’d love to play a show up in Darwin. I know there’s a lot of people who always ask us about that so you know, either Darwin Fest comes up we could probably get on something like that, that would be amazing otherwise just doing our own show and I’m sure that there’s, you know, stuff like, you know, venues up there that would be great for us to play.
RR Yeah, it would be good to see you guys get up there. Um, I saw that your Brisbane show sold out already and you’ve had to put on a second show the following day, how did it feel to sell out a show in Brisbane?
SP Oh, awesome, ‘cause last time when we did Brissy, it sold out, I think it sold out on the night at the door, or maybe just like a week before, so to sell it out in a day is just amazing and it shows that people are excited about it and we might do another one, we may even do three I don’t know yet, we’ll see *laughs* that one’s selling pretty well as well and it’s still a couple of months until the tour happens so it’s all pretty exciting times at the moment and um, yeah, it should be a great tour, the bands we’ve got on support like Clowns, These New South Whales and Boat Show, all really great bands and um yeah, we really sort of wanted to get bands from each sort of, corner of Australia if possible so, Clowns from Melbourne, These New South Whales from Sydney and Boat Show from Perth and I guess, you know, we’re from Brisbane, we all kind of live in different places but Brisbane is like our, it’s our home
RR That’s awesome, you’ve covered all the parts of Australia pretty much *laughs* and um, you guys grew up in Bundaberg, so what was it like growing up out there with a passion for punky, rock and roll kind of music and tryn’a do that kind of stuff?
SP You know, I loved growing up there I thought it was really great but there was no real music scene there, there was a few bands came through every so often but most the time, we’d make our way down to Brisbane and the Gold Coast and go to Livid and Big Day Out, that was like our live music fix, you know, most of the time we’d just sit around dreaming of seeing like *laughs* you know, live bands, and we were pretty starved of it so as soon as I moved to Brisbane for university I joined an indie band and I played shows around town and just you know, wanted to get involved and that sort of morphed into getting into a rock band with Simon which ended up becoming DZ so yeah, it’s a great place to grow up, you know I wish there was a bit more of a scene there but it’s a little bit hard because of the location you know, it’s four hours from Brisbane, I mean, you know, you can play a show on the Sunny Coast like, getting bands to make that extra step to go another couple hours to Bundie and then it’s, from Bundie there’s not much until sort of, Townsville you know so it sort of, it’s one of those things that it’s a little bit of a… a little bit too far. But I think there’s a bit of a thing going on now with, especially with a lot of the rock bands that seem to be able to do quite well and regional tours are starting to sort of happen a lot more, you know bands are more willing to take the plunge and do spots like Bundie and Townsville and Cairns and stuff like that, so we’ll see how it goes, we’ve been talking about doing a show there as well
RR That’ll be cool!
SP Get one together, yeah!
RR And I mean, everyone knows it’s not the easiest job to break into the music world, become a well known band so who would you guys say were your biggest influences to keep going and to keep persevering in this industry?
SP Well, in all honesty when I first moved to Brisbane um, I was watching Violent Soho play tiny little bars in Brissy, um and I was a super fan, I’d got to every one of their shows, I just loved ‘em, um and it was just kind of like my music that I was really into and then they had an opportunity to go to the states and they did and I kind of didn’t see ‘em for a couple of years but then they made a come back and like, seeing them go from what I knew they played to them all of a sudden being at the forefront of Australian rock music, that was kind of like, it’s inspiring to see that, and to see so many bands now coming out in the wake of what they’ve done, and I think they really helped change people’s minds about guitar music, in Australia anyway, and you know even overseas so many people come up to us and be like, they’ll rattle off so many Australian bands like, Soho, Dunies, us, Skeggs, Waax you know, these bands are all, they’ll be like, aw there’s this rock scene in Australia that we like, love and you know, it’s cool, it’s cool that there’s people that know about it
RR Yeah, that is sick! Alrighty, well ah, the tours kicking off on the 26th April in Auckland and I just wanted to wish you guys the very best with that and thank you again for taking the time out to chat with me today
SP My pleasure