Since their early origins in 2008, DZ Deathrays have become a household name in the Aussie punk scene. Currently, they are in the middle of a massive national tour in celebration their third studio album ‘Bloody Lovely’, with pals These New South Whales, Clowns & Boat Show.
During the week leading up to three sold out shows in their hometown of Brisbane, we thought we’d give drummer Simon a quick buzz to have a quick yarn about their start in the music industry, quickly learning other instruments and the thrill of people enjoying their music.
*Don’t feel like reading? Don’t worry, you can stream the entire interview at the bottom of the page, just scroll down, click play and enjoy the ride.
Simon, g’day how’s it going?
Yeah not too bad man, a bit under the weather but nothing too heavy.
Hopefully you’re better for the weekend with all these shows coming!
You’re in a little old band called DZ Deathrays, how’s that going?
Yeah so far so good. We’re currently touring the capital cities of Australia, which has been crazy so far, it’s been really fun.
That’s awesome, you toured South Africa for the first time recently, how was that?
It was really awesome, we had no anticipation as to what to expect, and then we got there and there was just, tonnes of kids at the shows singing along. It was rad.
What made you want to get into drumming in the first place?
I guess drumming was just because it’s very hard to find drummers these days, or at least it was when we were looking. When we started this band, I was actually playing guitar, and we had another guy playing drums but then he left, so we thought it was kind of easier to just learn drums rather than find someone else to.
How did you link up with Shane (Parsons) and form DZ Deathrays?
We grew up in the same small town (Bundy), and his band used to play and my house parties and stuff throughout high school. And we both moved down to Brisbane to do the whole ‘uni’ thing, and then yeah, we just started a band and that’s where it happened.
Last week we had a chat with Johann from I OH YOU, tell us how you met him and got onto I OH YOU?
We were touring with Ratatat, and we did a show down in Melbourne. Then after the show ,we went out to a nightclub and I think I just met Johann there through a friend, and we just ended up sitting at the bar drinking for a long time, talking about bands and stuff. He was managing a band called Howl, who I think had just been picked up by triple j unearthed at the time, and then yeah. A few weeks later we organised a tour with DZ & Howl. But yeah the I OH YOU thing wasn’t really established yet, it was just house parties back then. So yeah, it was a pretty good coincidence running into that guy when we did.
Not only that, but your managerMaggie Collins is also crazy-involved in the music scene as well. She’s the director of BIGSOUND (Biggest music industry festival in the southern-hemisphere), how’d that relationship start?
Well Maggie actually contacted us. I think it was our very first headline show at The Zoo, and she was just managing The John Steel Singers at the time. And then yeah we just got along really well! Actually, I’d been talking to a friend from Select Music who was helping us out here and there, and then we found out we’d just got on as supports for the Crystal Castles tour, like that Monday. I remember going back to work that day and getting that email from my friend and we were like “okay, yeah we probably need a manager then”. So we hit up Maggie and we were like “alright, let’s do it!”. It was really weird, within the space of a week we had a booking agent and a manager.
The new album ‘Bloody Lovely’ came out recently, has the reception to that been what you were hoping for?
Yeah man, everything’s been going crazy good, which is awesome. I always get a little paranoid that something’s gonna happen when everything’s going too well. But yeah, for now I’m just riding it out and hoping we don’t fuck it up somehow *laughs*.
When did work start on Bloody Lovely?
Well we started a few years back, when we first put out Black Rat we toured that pretty hard for quite a long time, so it took us a while to get back into writing songs again. But yeah I suppose it took about 2-3 years writing it back and forth over email. But yeah then we recorded it March last year.
You’re based in Brisbane & Shane’s based in Sydney. How do you go about that, is it a struggle being in two different states?
Not really, we’ve kinda figured out how to do it pretty well. We both have some pretty good setups at home where we can just plug-in and add to demos really quickly. And now we’ve started writing with Lachlan, who’s our extra guitarist ’cause we wanna bring him in so he’s a proper third member now. So now we’re writing over Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It’s pretty dumb, but yeah it works for us.
You guys decided to do a pop-p bar in Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne to launch Bloody Lovely, whose idea was that?
I can’t remember actually, we were working with Young Henry’s on doing the beer, and the idea of Bloody Lovely is that it’s basically a bar. But yeah, maybe it was Johann that came up with the idea, I’m not sure. But yeah it was just something that as soon as we mentioned it to others everyone was just like “Yeah, let’s definitely do that”.
The Bloody Lovely tour is well under way, how’s it been so far?
Yeah it’s been great, even cities that we usually struggle with like Canberra & Perth, they’ve been awesome, people are coming out to the shows which is just crazy cool.
You’ve got three sold out shows in a row at The Triffid this weekend, how does that feel?
Yeah it’s great. Like, we’d just managed to sell out one of them last tour, so to come back and do three is just crazy. But the best bit is that, when you do three days in a row it’s just so nice because you don’t have to set up and pack down after every show every night like usual, you just get to play the show, walk off stage and hang out with your friends and yeah, it’s a really good time.
You can listen to the full chat here: