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DZ DEATHRAYS The X-Press Interview


Queensland dance-punk trio DZ Deathrays have risen again and presented us with new album Positive Rising: Part 1. Having just come off the back of an anniversary tour celebrating the band’s decade of house parties, gigs and great music, the trio have been busy working on a new project. EMMA PEET spoke to lead singer and guitarist Shane Parson about the new album, the tour and a certain red wiggle.

So your next album Positive Rising: Part 1 comes out next Friday – that’s pretty exciting. What does that title mean to you guys, has there been some sort of ascension with this album?

There’s a song that is actually on part 2 of the album that has that lyric in it, it’s a song about an uprising, but in a good way. A sort of human uprising – the album blends with a science fiction feel. We really liked that as a title, so we went with that, so there’s bits and pieces that kind of tie between the first and second parts of the albums.

So, there is going to be a Positive Rising: Part 2? When can we expect that?

Yeah we’re actually in the studio at the moment recording it. Ah not sure, we’ll be finished recording this one the day that Part One is released so we’re really trying to keep things moving here.

I read somewhere that starting off your last album Bloody Lovely was quite troublesome, did you have the same issue with this album?

Well because of how Bloody Lovely was we decided that with this one we needed to jump straight in. Bloody Lovely was finished early 2017 and we started demoing and writing songs straightaway. We had a whole year of writing songs after Bloody Lovely was recorded until that came out and then we toured Bloody Lovely and kept writing and writing. And here we are now with two albums and it’s like a whole new project for us. Everybody writes at home in their separate cities and now that we’re writing as a three piece we end up just sending ideas and demos to each other and putting them together. With the technology available now it’s so good and easy to make songs at home and makes it super easy to put those songs together.

Last year you initiated Lachlan into the band as a fully-fledged member. Has this changed the writing or recording process?

Yeah I think it has, I think we’re a lot more collaborative. You have to remember that Simon before he was a drummer, he was a guitarist and Lachie before he was a guitarist, he played drums, so now we’re all writing parts for each other. Like Lachie’s just written songs that I’ve done the vocals for, and Simon has come up with guitar ideas. So I think now it’s feeling a lot more collaborative, it’s kind of like cool you want to do the guitar parts of that song you send me your ideas for this song and we’ll go from there. For instance, we were in the studio yesterday and one of the songs that Lachie wrote, I was like “yeah you can do all the guitars for this” and I think that’s given it more of an interesting feel. It’s going to make it feel like there’s more brains at work than just Simon and I. After the first two records, I got a little bit bored with the way I was putting guitars together, so now we’ve got the three of us we can start fresh again.

How do you feel it sits in comparison to say Bloody Lovely or Black Rat?

In some ways it’s different, I think it’s just a progression but then I hear stuff that we’ve recorded on these records that take me back to Black Rat, that sort of lean on that. And songs that remind me of Bloody Lovely or even the first record. I think we’re one of those bands that we just keep putting building blocks on top. I don’t really know what the final thing’s going to look like, I just know that we always sort of have this idea in mind and we go in that direction. It’s funny to think back to when we first mixed our first record, we had some more dance beats and now it’s more rock and we’ve tried to do some softer stuff. So it’s just trying to stretch the band as much as possible without alienating yours fans.

Did you work with Burke Reid on this album like the last two?

No, not with Burke on this one, we were working with our friend Miro Mackie. We’ve been friends for years with Miro and he is a really good producer. He actually lives in Los Angeles now, which is why we went to Los Angeles to record the first part earlier this year.

What was it like recording in Los Angeles?

Ah it was awesome, yeah. It was cool to just be there, we kind of had this idea that everyone has to do a record in LA so why don’t we do it as well and it made sense because he had a studio there so we went over and it was an awesome time.

On your last album Bloody Lovely, the video for Like People featured a famous face. What’s with the Murray the Red Wiggle thing? How did that come about and why?

Well I live in Sydney and Murray actually lives quite close to me, and I see him around all the time. So when we were tossing up ideas about who to get feature in our video, and who was as famous as we could get, we just sort of asked him and he said “yeah I’ll come and do that” and that was really as far as it went. Now we’re just friends with Murray the Red Wiggle and go and get beers together which is cool.

So you’re set to tour Positive Rising: Part 1 later this year. Where are you most excited to visit?

Europe is always really fun, we actually went there earlier this year but we’re going to some new spots. I’m pretty excited to start off in Copenhagen and yeah it’s always really good to do Australian shows and I’m really glad that we made it so we’re doing Under 18 shows in every capital city in Australia on this tour. Especially because I know that it’s pretty hard to do under 18 shows, the government makes it pretty hard with the venue licensing so it’s cool being able to make it an all-ages show or just do an under 18 show as well. I’m excited to finally put this show together. Going to try and put on something a bit different to what we did on the 10-year tour as well so should be interesting.

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