The Dollar Bill Murrays are no ordinary band, going far and wide to achieve their sound. Their latest single 'Dancing With Death' features lead singer Felix singing through a rolled up drumhead to achieve the unique vocals and the guitarists swap roles throughout based on their tone and playing style. NICE! The band will be wrapping up their 'Dancing With Death' single tour this Friday, February 2nd at Miami Shark Bar on the Gold Coast so Sophie Letcher sat down to ask them a few questions about life on the road, their latest film clip and what we can expect from a live show.
First of all congratulations on your newest release “Dancing with Death” song and music video. I believe you have had a very busy last couple of months including first interstate tour, signed with Brisbane boutique label Valley heat Records and supported acts including The Delta Riggs. What would be your biggest highlight from the last 6 months?
In terms of outstanding moments of the last half a year or so, having the opportunity to play with The Delta Riggs was an absolutely amazing experience. The energy we got from The Zoo being packed out was insane, but it’s hard not to also mention having the opportunity to work with All Inn Brewing on their Bill F. Murray beer, and the intimate launch show we played at The End in Brisbane. The challenge of re-contextualising our songs for a venue not geared for such a loud band as we usually are was awesome - of course all caution went out the window when we unleashed for our closer “Medicine”. On top of all this, it’s also a pleasure to have the chance to collaborate with others on our creative endeavours and being able to bring our new single to life through video has been an absolutely fantastic experience!
Your music video “Dancing with Death” is filmed in the style of a street fighter arcade game, I find it very fun to watch. Is Marge one of your friends? Can you tell us who ended up winning the bowling at the end of the film clip?
The star of the clip, the villainous Marge, was played by the amazingly talented Franciska Schmoll. This was our first chance to work with her, and not someone we’re about to forget! Thankfully when the cameras were off, she was one of the nicest people we ever met, because when “Action” was called, she was outright terrifying to face off against. As for the results of the final round, you’ll have to watch the video and come up with your thoughts about the ambiguous ending. That’s the nature of throwing yourself into the night, you’re never really sure how it ends up.
You have been described as a fuzzy garage rock band who are already reminding fans of some of the biggest names in rock at the moment, How would you describe your sound/ genre in the newest single release?
We like to avoid being pigeonholed into a strict niche within the arena that we’re playing, and with Dancing With Death we’ve brought together grimy guitars and pounding drum hits, and balanced them out with shaky percussion and backing vocal ‘oohs’. We think overall theres a definite rock edge to what we’re doing with some borrowed pop sensibilities to sweeten things up! To be compared to some of the biggest names in rock is an absolute honour, and hopefully we can live up to that!
When recording the single, vocalist Felix Lindgren sang through a rolled-up drumhead to achieve a unique tone, can you tell us more about this technique and who’s idea it was?
We had a little more time to experiment in studio on “Dancing With Death”, so we were able to use a few more practical techniques on our sound. We were building vocal layers in the song, and our producer, Brock Weston, suggested using a cone to give some extra space to the voice. Famously, a similar technique was featured by Michael Jackson - using a cardboard tube for the reverberated “Don’t think twice!” in “Billie Jean”. In the heat of the moment, we needed to improvise with what we did have, and when we realised Rachit wouldn’t be rolling up any of his drum heads without a fight, we sourced an old, beat substitute from the studio’s garage to give the backing vocals the flavour we were chasing.
The track doesn’t feature distinctive lead or rhythm guitar parts, the guitarists swap roles throughout based on their tone and playing style. Did you have this idea from the start or was it something you discovered worked better once practicing the song all together?
Since we started as a band, we found that Felix’s and Antii’s guitar tones and styles were distinct from each other, while fitting beside each other super tightly, so we’ve always had access to an amazing range. Whoever has the sound and feel for the part ends up playing it - rhythm, lead, melody or just the right texture - We always prioritised what the song needed over roles guitarists “should” take. In Dancing With Death, the trading places are clearer and possibly more conscious than anything we’ve done before. Antii’s frantic guitar keeps the pace up in the verses with Felix chiming in with the occasional melody, but when you hit the chorus, Antii’s guitar takes a back seat and Felix’s splashy rhythm sound sets the pace.
The Bill F. Murray Malt Liquor! The ale won the Gold Medal at the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Awards. Will you guys be drinking pints of it on your up coming east coast tour? Will the fans be able to try it?
The team at All Inn have been amazing in doing everything they can to have their Bill F. Murray beer at our shows, including at our single launch at The Foundry in Brisbane, and it’s definitely our first choice wherever it’s on tap. Unfortunately we didn’t have the luggage allowance to get a keg down to Sydney, but for our nationwide fans, let your local know to get in touch with All Inn! It’s definitely worthwhile, and a percentage of the sales go to Support Act, so you can definitely feel good drinking it.
Fuelled by love for wild nights out, and hard hitting rock, what can we expect at your upcoming shows!?
Yoga and green tea. Well, maybe not, but definitely a good time! We'll be partying hard and we’d love for you to party with us too.
Catch The Dollar Bill Murrays finishing off their tour this Friday, February 2nd at Miami Shark Bar.