Dance Punk Aussie Shredders DZ Deathrays

reppin: brisbane, australia // i oh you records // 2008 - present

dz deathrays | photo cred: themusic.com.au

dz deathrays | photo cred: themusic.com.au

sounds like: a can of beer after you shake it up and are just about to open it

last album drop: bloody lovely (feb 2018)

featuring: shane // simon

Classify these guys as you will, but one thing is certain, they can fucking rock. DZ Deathrays comes by way of Australia, like most of the good stuff these days, and they meet in the middle of rock, punk, metal and dance. Yes, dance. There tunes crawl inside you like an adrenaline rush and the only way to let it take you over is to really dance. The rhythm and pace of their music really does set it up for a dance party. I had the pleasure of catching these dudes at Schubas a few summers ago for one of there very few America stints.

Shane and Simon have been shredding riffs together for the past 10 years and have given us humans a few EPs and LPs in the process. In the land of Brisbane, they started as the band Velociraptor (sweet word), but quickly morphed into DZ Deathrays by playing house parties around town starting in 2008. It wasn’t long after, “Bloodstreams,” their first full length, was received crazy good and even racked in an AIRA. It is so freaking catchy. Your Dad will listen to it and wake up the next day with a mohawk and tight jeans (because we all know we want our dads to do just that). Since then they have been touring legends, hitting over 15 countries on this tiny green and blue marble, playing countless festivals and bringing raging fun times to hundreds of thousands of fans.

I know it was a Monday when they played the tiny Chicago venue and there wasn’t a huge turnout, but the dudes did not disappoint. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the room when they play, they rock out and rock out hard.

Just a short month ago (because February is 28 days, why? Someone tell me), they released their latest full length, Bloody Lovely. The sounds spans a few decades of rock, with easy to move to music and singing ready choruses. I’d start with the opening track banger, “Shred For Summer,” which has shades of Led Zeppelin and you can immediately get a sense for how impactful and easy on the ears the vocals are. The whole album is pretty high octane, but you can also slow it down with “Over It.” Enjoy the little chat I got to have with Shane and Simon!

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

 

interview stuff

How did the journey start for y'all and how did you all learn to work together and land on your sound?

We started as a 3 piece but our drummer shortly left to move overseas so I moved onto drums and Shane and I kept the band as a 2 piece and changed the name. Initially we just wanted to play at our friends house parties but eventually we started getting offers for club shows and it just kinda went from there.

 

When you look at your lives and the story you want to tell, how do you want new fans to approach and interpret your lyrics?

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

Shane doesn't really class himself as an in depth lyricist and that most of the songs come from personal experiences and or stories his read. He just wants people to take away what they want.

 

Talk to me about songwriting...how does an idea birth and in what ways to you run with it to create a track?

We've kinda changed the technique a bit over the years as we live in different cities now. However usually one of us will have a riff or maybe a beat and then we just email it back and forth adding to it from our homes. Once we have a few demo's near completion we'll all try to get a house or rehearsal room somewhere and then try play the songs as a band and see where it takes us.

 

What is your mission when you take the stage. What do you want people to feel?

We want everyone to just lose all inhibitions and just have a fun wild night.  We try to make it feel like one big party where almost anything goes and hope that everyone leaves with smile and fun story to tell their friends.

 

I often love using humorous metaphors to describe artist and band's identity and sound. What is DZ's metaphor?

I guess its more of a moto, but we always say: "Set the bar low and you'll always surpass it."

 

suggested listening experience: rocking out on the weekends // party time central // outdoor summer hangs

listens: shred for summer // total meltdown // dollar chills // pollyanna // like people // blood on my leather // feeling good, feeling great // less out of sync

dzd // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: GANG OF YOUTHS

playing schubas in chicago, june 5th // north american tour dates

reppin: sydney // mosy/sony records // 2012 - present

sounds like: (David’s words) A highly unorganized game of baseball where Bruce Springsteen gets stabbed in the head with a fork by Martin Heidegger.

gang of youths | photo cred: maclay heriot

gang of youths | photo cred: maclay heriot

next album drop: “go farther in lightness” (august 18th 2017)

featuring: max // jung // david // joji // donnie

All music is special in some shape, way or form and part of that beauty is how that differs from person to person, band to band and genre to genre. One thing hold true at the core of that all: it makes you feel something. Happy or sad, good or bad, love or hate, music allows us to expand our emotions; go to a place of reflection or simply put a smile on our face when it is most needed. That moment when music relates to back to life unfolds has a feeling that in my mind is unmatched. Gang Of Youths does all those things for me. Over the span of one of their 6 minute songs I can get those feels, reflect back to certain moments in my life as well as dream of the future.

 Hailing from Sydney and currently residing in London, they have never stopped melting faces since their debut, The Positions, in 2013. The album opens with the 7+ minute “Vital Signs,” a slow and smooth build up that, like the title of the song, reaches out in search of your life line. As you move through such tracks as “Poison Drum,” “Radioface,” “Magnolia” and “Overpass,” you are told a different story, all of which move you up and down the bandwidth of emotion. Their follow up EP was Let Me Be Clear in 2016, which opens with the beautiful ballad that is “The Good Fight.” To me a song of almost giving up, but doing whatever you can to hang on. That brings us to the present moment as the boys embark on the US and are hitting some cities for the first time, including Chicago: june 5th @ schubas.

 There is a reason these dudes were my first ever post on Faake Hipster. A sound that spans the spectrum of rock n’ roll while carrying emotion on the shoulders. Short off coming back to London from Norway, take a dive into an humbling and enlightening chat. The laughs, the sadness and the good fucking times to come.

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interview stuff

The way you all blend rock n’ roll and sprinkle it with some pop and even some soul...to me it is powerful. Your music allows me to free my mind in a few different ways, especially those longer ballads. What is the process to make that sound your own?

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

It took a long long time of playing in bands and figuring out what works man. Shed through a lot of to get there man, figuring out the construct of songs. The central radio format is now is the one that typifies how songwriters write these days, confined to those structures. It's formula and nothing more. The idea that something can be too long is a fucking subjective, nonsensical idea as if there is a superior standard to how long a song can be. The notion you can limit the amount of enjoyment one individual derives from a piece of music and compartmentalize it into a 3 or 4 minute song, that is a pretentious thought. You can distill an entire array of creative thoughts and you must in order for it to be good, that is an awful paradigm that I just don’t subscribe to it. Rather I write songs that are as long as they need to be and use my gut instincts.I tend to feel it out now as I used to be finicky and meticulous and with The Position, I realized how absurd the idea of not letting songs couldn’t breathe.

me: The longer songs...it is almost lets the imagination run, and it’s something special

That’s exactly right man. I believe in that. I want the listener to subscribe to every moment in our music, every passage of lyricism, every section. I want them to associate that with a moment, a time in their life and have that relationship grow. That’s how my relationship Sonic Youth, Stage Nation. Every song has association to my life. The sounds, the lyrics, the guitars...they shaped me, they  got me thing. I am a real believer in having the audience in having the time and space to do that. Some songs are meant for that, some aren’t.

me: For me, growing up in the punk rock scene, you wanted those short burst of energy to fight that teenage angst.

Yea man, I was in a hardcore punk band growing up, playing bass. I was always part of that world. For me the ambition came when I realized punk rock was a way for me to shed tropes. To become the realization of what I wanted to be. Punk rock, like any other genre, has tropes of it within itself. Why am i limiting the It really doesn’t make a lot of sense. So i think the process is trying to unlock the moments of beauty in songs and let them sit for listeners. Not rush them and give them a nice well constructed melodic context. They aren’t crowded with too much other shit. I’m still figuring it out though, not sure if I am communicating ideas effectively.

me: Isn’t that kind of the beauty of this. Does it have to be communicated effectively, or does it just have to be put out there?

I dunno man, I’m struggling. I’m not sure if what the point of art is in this post-truth society. Everything has this dance-hall, trappy sound underneath it, then I really don’t to do it all the time. That make sense? That’s not the direct point of what I am trying to make, music is supposed to evolve, but sometimes I just think, what is the point.

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

me: Maybe this leads to something good...because of the climate, other bullshit happening in the world. Maybe we are in a time that will bring some positive resistance.

Yea, you know we can be the correction, can be the antithesis. But yea, that is kind of my process. I used to in this 10 step process and I don’t know anymore.

 

David, your past is really the only one out of all your band buds that I found out there. You have gone to hell and back (not a religious reference haha) as I’m sure all of you have had the good and bad happen over the years. How have these past experiences helped with you growing individually and as a band?

Hmmm, individually. Sometimes I honestly feel I’ve regressed. I don’t think I’m any different than I used to be, I just think I’ve greater resilience and greater degree of coping mechanisms that are healthier. I’m better equipped to manage...and mostly not married to a dying girl. She did pass away three months ago. That is something that is something I’m figuring out how to navigate. I didn’t really speak with her really at the end there.

me: Fuck, I’m really sorry to hear that. Was it that you were just trying to survive and stay san

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

Look, it had to be this way. I needed to not be in contact with her. It was important to me because I feel like I possibly deserved a chance to move forward. You know I was this faithful fucking husband for awhile and then your world comes crashing down and I was just in a place that I should not have been in.

me: Shit man, I didn’t mean to bring up such a bad time.

Naw man, it’s all good.

me: You know it makes me think about interviewing James Alex of Beach Slang and his lyric, “I need the struggle to feel alive.” It certainly takes time for all these things to make sense.

It’s actually starting to make sense now.I think if i had to really to sum up how I’ve changed and how I’ve grown, I’m not a fucking idiot when it comes to dealing with my shit anymore. I believe that I have more to say than I’m sad and my wife is dying. These moments though are certainly the catalyst for all the work. It’s not all shit stuff, sometimes there is good stuff out there.

 

Those experiences can translate into really beautiful lyrics, something I treasure when it comes to finding bands I like. How do you hope new fans take those words in an interpret them? What do you want that new kid to get out of it?

I want people to find the realist and most human thing to say because that is all I have to give them. It’s a trite thing to say, you know. I just want them to know that I really do care about my lyrics. For the most part I’m documenting what is going on in my head for future reference. I don’t want to die with my life unexamined, unexplored and unexpressed. I grew up in this environment where people were repressed for saying what they thought and they couldn’t express their true thoughts. It’s cookie-cutter and sub-labeled by culture. Be authentic about the anxiety, be authentic about the good shit too. I just want to say stuff in way that sounds pretty. There is this fucking bullshit attitude, especially in indie rock where it’s frowned upon to use this poetic bend in lyrics, which is not cool. It’s so fucking stupid...flared jeans, white sunglasses, Chuck Taylor bullshit man. It’s a way for the middle class to subordinate the working class who is aspiring for more. I really have a chip on my shoulder when I see all these white kids playing indie rock and taking up every leftist cause they can, without giving you shit about the left and what we working kids gave them. For me, my attitude towards making things sounds and appear beautiful is deeply related to this desire to be who I am, authentic.

me: You know part of why I do this, explore new music, is that I really think a lot of people out there have this place in them to relate to authentic lyrics, go beyond what is spoon-fed to them. It’s just more unexplored or hasn’t been tapped into yet.

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

Yea, there is a sense that we are being manipulated into dummying ourselves down through the lens of culture. We have sayings that...I dunno what I am trying to say, I am just a bit testy and frustrated by the state of it, especially indie rock. People are in this grand delusion that indie rock is going to make a comeback and I don’t believe it. I think that people with guitars have made enough of an ass of themselves to last 6 fucking millennia. I’ve said this in our press release for the new record...this is music that is meaningful and there to connect with people on a different level. We are putting effort into it, not just some apathetic bullshit, something with light. I mean look at Kendrick..Camp Cope, you heard of them, Jared. Aussie three piece band. They are 3 women from Melbourne and they make very enlightened, beautiful, DIY kind of music. Sorry about the rant by the way, I just flew in from Norway and am feeling extra honest.

me: Fuck yea, that’s what I want. Feed me the truth.

Find realist and human thing to think. Don’t want to die without exploring

 

So dude, this is more of a statement. I told you this when we met in Brooklyn around this time last year...I caught your live show at the Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory. It is fun, emotional...I can feel the emotions coming out during songs and the stories in between. The way I felt after, I have never wanted to bang someone so bad...what do you hope new fans can get our of your set?

(David laughs super deep) I remember that! What I want to be on stage is an amplified version of how I feel in the inside. I just want to magnify my desire to connect with people in the audience and I really didn’t know how to until recently. I really don’t pick up on social cues to well, I go on long self-indulgent rants to keep people interested. Being on stage is my way of expressing a kind of camaraderie with the audience and deconstructing that bullshit fake relationship between artist and consumer. I want to try and reestablish some kind of intimacy with another human being through the music. That shit is fucking fun dude. That thought of me saying the lyric and seeing them all smile and feel signifiant on this simple, deplorable, horrible rock is the most beautiful thing to me. It’s such a simple gesture. To look at someone with a desire to make the humanity known to me. To me, in that moment, everyone has a place in my world.

me: Dude, this is why I go to 3-4 concerts a week

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

Fuck yea. Remember in the hardcore scene back in the day. You didn’t have this feeling of being accepted until you were in this moshpit. That was first experience I felt accepted.

 

Shameless advertising time! What’s ahead this summer upon the release of “Go Farther In Lightness” - due out August 18th in Australia, probably soon after in the US. You have 16 songs, interludes, what else do you want to tell the folks?

(Laughs). I think I’m just going to try and compartmentalize 2 years of dread, honesty, healing into 16 tracks. There is a lot philosophy in trying to convey the helpful messages I learned from my heroes. Also, I feel like the questions I am asking won’t be answered in this lifetime, but I convey my desire to attempt to get them answered. Furthermore my excitement and willingness to embrace such a short life is kind of what I want to do. I want to speak to the forgotten people. You know we have a great following in Australia, but not really elsewhere in the world yet. It kind of makes us the underdog and I love the story of the underdog. You know, living in this slighted morality, but haven’t realized their full potential yet.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

A highly unorganized game of baseball where Bruce Springsteen gets stabbed in the head with a fork by Martin Heidegger. Then they descend into a bench clearing brawl and nobody wins. Blood, sweat, dicks and vaginas, tears and all of this stuff just thrown in there.

me: David, it has been a pleasure. I love your music, it channels my emotion and thank you for making it.

Dude, this is fucking great man, we can’t wait to come to Chicago and I’m so glad I got to do your interview.

 

suggested listening experience: going anywhere to somewhere // alone, in your apartment screaming the lyrics out // outdoor bbq on a sunny ass day

listens: atlas drowned // let me down easy // what can i do if the fire goes out // native tongue // the good fight // magnolia // radioface // poison drum // vital signs // restraint & release

goy // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: METHYL ETHEL

reppin: perth, australia // 4AD/Dot Dash/Remote Control Records // 2013 - present

sounds like: taking the "Magic School Bus" with Ms. Frizzle out into the vast depths of Earth's atmosphere

lastest album drop: everything is forgotten (march, 2017)

featuring: jake // thom // chris

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

WARNING: Before your eyes and ears are on this, put your shades on, maybe twist one up, take your mind to 1963 and get ready for a magical journey that can only be compared to the one “The Dude” takes. What they are saying is true, normal is the new weird. Weird opens the mind, makes us more flexible and accepting of different weird. Weird is beautiful and this music that Methyl Ethel creates is nothing short of beauty. A balance of pop and psychedelic rock that can catch the ear of a human that despises psychedelic shenanigans. How does that make sense?!

These kids truly are blessed musicians filled with individualism and uniqueness that shines through each track they produce...and there are a lot of them. Having put their stamp in their hometown of Perth, they are just the latest example of awesome “band x” killing it in music. Like for cereal, Australia’s scene is amazing right now whether it is punk rock, indie or something a bit more experimental.

Last month I caught singer and guitarist, Jake Webb, on the cellular as they were in the vast grasslands of Iowa en route to Minneapolis before rocking out the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. Just from the sheer bliss of their sound, I knew there was a deeper meaning behind how they create these songs. Well, I sure as heck found out what it was all about. Feel free to read to yourself in an Australian accent.

Interview Stuff

Love the little drips of pop and psychedelic in your sound. Where does the sound originate from and what did you combine from that 50s/60s era to make it your own?

So the jumping off there. I just draw from whatever I sort of listen to as well as my musical knowledge. There is never a really a choice to reference anything. I mean what goes are kinda like what I’m feeling in the moment and what is around me and what I enjoy.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: I like to try and at least put the reader in this bucket of the type of music it is going to be, but I understand that is not the basis for how you are writing and trying to sound. If anything, your sound is super original.

Hey, thanks. You know I find it very fun to record and write music. It’s kinda this back and forth of subconsciously referencing things that are around me and that I’m going through. Okay I could that, that sounds nice.

Me: You seem like you have a great grasp of organized chaos of how to write a song. Is this a slow build or does it come out all at once?

It is just feel. The songwriting and recording go hand in hand a lot more lately. I’m more inspired these days by trying to pull melodies and incorporate progressions from other vast types of sounds rather than just sort of sitting down and just writing. So when I sit down I am not writing with this harmonic structure in mind. I think that is where the chaos is being organized. It is more inspiring to me to create music like that rather than just writing and sitting down.

How do you channel your sound into the live show? What is going through your mind as you are looking into the audience..what do you want them to experience? (Note: They were in the middle and still are of a pretty large scale worldwide tour)

I think at the moment our show, we kinda toured all of last year as well. Then the album came out and we had a bit of time off in the winter period. With this new record, we’ve added another member and flushed it out. As it stands, it is kinda of taster for what is to come in the future. When we leave the states I think we’ll flush the show out a bit more. We got a bit of everything from all the areas of each member. There is a lot more that we’d like to do. We are constantly tweaking the show, I could get into the nuts and bolts and technically aspect of it, but that would get boring. We definitely have this idea of delivering the record in a 3D way. I think we have been quite successful in bringing the sums of this new record to life, I’m really happy with it.

Me: I haven’t seen you all live yet, but just kinda trying to envision your record coming to life, I can see how maybe you can perk the ears of the common individual who may not know what you are all about.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

The parameters that we work with as well are always changing. We play bigger venues in Australia, smaller ones in the states and mixed ones in Europe. I don’t want to have three different shows and have to dial back when we play smaller ones. The same show in Chicago should be the same show that we play in Sydney. It is about not getting too ahead of ourselves and being patient. We don’t want to move too quickly

It seems like there has been just year after year of pushing out some solid records? How do you all grow as a band as you are constantly writing music? Are there moment that stand out where you thought, yes, this is the next step?

Well for me it is the only the constant, is making more music. It makes me feel better about having an album out there and knowing I have a follow up on the way. So, at the same time, whenever I am, whether in the back of a van or at home, being able to work on music constantly keeps me sane. Who knows how many records I’ll make either so strike while the iron is hot. I’m still loving it so why not.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

I think a lot of people work real hard to get to where they are. I think the work justifies the opportunity you have and it just balances out.

Lets talk about your lyrics. Who writes, where do they drive from and how do you want your fans to take it in?

They definitely supposed to be interpreted. I suppose they are just based off of personal things and relationship based as those are great sources for inspiration. But then at the same time I am trying to spend more time constructing in writing and with the lyrics. I think my first record was more stream of conscious writing. I’m working on more of a cerebral approach and I think there are definitely things that I have put in there, but at the same time they are very open and are supposed to read in multiple ways.

Me: I love when lyrics are interpreted openly. It makes me think about songs I loved in high school and how those tracks have a totally different meaning now than they did in the past.

Yea, I mean we kind of live in world that is so clearly defined. We can find out everything and so much detail. So, to be able to leave some mystery in things, it’s kind of nice given the context.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

That’s a tough question (laughs). Well...I don’t know, I’m going to have a think about it. There are definitely some physical places I can see it taking people to, but I think I should have another listen to the record and get back to you. I haven’t actually listened to it in quite some time.

Side note: So - I was not able to connect with Jake at the show, but as you can see I did some deep thinking. Jake, there is still time to think of one!

suggested listening experience: getting through the day at work // sunny saturday afternoon around the house // twist one up and relax

listens: ubu // no. 28 // twilight driving // idee fixe // rouges // l'heure des sorcieres // drink wine

me // spotfiy // fb // twitter // sc // ig