DZ Deathrays talk touring, drinking and partying

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DZ Deathrays are Australia’s latest music export currently touring the UK. Highly tipped by radio DJs such as Huw Stephens and Jen Long for their thrash pop music, the band released their debut album Bloodstreams last week. I caught up with Shane from the band to find out about their relentless touring, new album, and plans for the future.

You’re in the middle of a pretty extensive UK tour at the moment, with a gig in The Joiners here in Southampton on May 27th, how are you finding this tour?

Yeah, it’s pretty good. We’ve been here 3 times before, and we did a headline tour here in October and you can see the difference now compared to then; more people are coming out and I think people will still come and check us out and see what we’re about. A few  are getting more into the songs and getting a bit crazy at shows which is really nice to see!

Then you’re heading over to the USA and Canada until mid-July. How do you keep motivated for so long when you’re gigging over a long period of time? 

Yeah we’ve got 32 shows in North America, but thats our first time doing the kind of tour where we’re going around the states because usually we’re doing showcases. Those are always a little bit weird because you never know what to expect. But I guess we stay motivated by, I don’t know, continually having fun on tour, meeting new people and other cool bands. Seeing things move forward is all you need to do a good job. It’s good for us to see a response coming through.

How did DZ Deathrays form and where does the name come from?

We were originally another band – a three-piece called Denzel in Brisbane which is our hometown – and we were doing that for a while and then our drummer left and moved to France so we decided to continue as a two-piece. Because the original band was called Denzel, we decided to take a name from that, so, DZ, which we just ran with because it was cool, and the deathrays bit because uhh, we were going out to the states and there’s already a guy out there with the name, DZ, who’s a dubstep DJ, and we wanted to have our own identity. We had a song called Deathray so we just added that and it had an interesting ring to it so we just went with it. The rest is history.

As a band you’ve got a pretty distinct sound, how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?

We tend to call it thrash-pop, or party-thrash, or something like that. It’s not thrash music as such, but it’s like pop or rock music which is played with a bit of a thrash attitude live. When it comes down to it, we’re really just a rock band and that’s what I tell old people.

Your new album Bloodstreams is out now. As your debut album, was it fun to make?

It was good man, we’d just got back from our last big tour where we went through the UK and Europe, and got back and then we had 2 weeks in the studio. It was a nice feeling to be working all day and all night, just doing all the parts we wanted, trying to see how many songs we could do as possible, and we did 14 or something, so it was pretty good. At the start you feel like you’re going no where with a list of things to do but we’re used to that. Before we’ve had like, afternoons at a mate’s house, or a couple of days in the studio to get things done in 1 day. We’ve always got that ethic where we just chuck it down as it is live, add a few things to it to make it more interesting, and that’s it!

In the video for the single ‘Dollar Chills’, guys in scary masks destroy buildings. Do you like to have those professional videos or would you prefer to still be downing bottles of Jaegermeister like you did for ‘The Mess Up’?

Haha, that new video that we just did is probably the most fun thing that we’ve ever had to do! Our friend – who was the director – was able to take it to the next level and we had a really good camera and we used some good spots around our hometown and just fucked stuff up, it was pretty fun. We made fireworks too and it was really good, a little bit dangerous at times but we were all pretty cool with it.

You’re touring all over Europe and America now, how are you being received in Australia? I heard you on Neighbours a few weeks ago…

Oh really?! That’s really funny, umm, it’s been changing for the last 4 years now and when we first started we did our own shows around town and we did a little tour, and then we got a really big tour with Crystal Castles and from that we slowly worked our way up. We’ve played in Melbourne like 60 times, doing 20-or-something shows a year in that one city, so it’s been a natural progression to putting out the album and doing a hometown show and Melbourne and Sydney which are absolutely crazy shows. People were crowd-surfing and the whole room was buzzing so that was awesome, it’s a really good feeling. We’ve done so many shows where there’s been people just standing at the back of the room, and then to finally get to the point where people are so keen to see you and have a really good time makes it pretty sweet.

What are your plans for the rest of 2012 once you finish your North American tour in July?

As soon as that finishes, we fly straight back home, have one night off and then we’re doing another three shows in Australia, two really massive shows with some of our friends’ bands, and then a festival in Adelaide. The next week we’re doing a festival in Byron Bay called Splendour In The Grass which is going to be incredible, with Smashing Pumpkins and At The Drive-In and other cool bands. It’s going to be a pretty mental couple of weeks when we get back to Australia… As soon as that’s done we’re looking at coming back over here again, so just going back to Australia to do those shows and then we want to get back over to Europe or the UK and try to relocate over here, and spend 2 or 3 months just working on trying to pick up a tour. I don’t really see an end to it at the moment, it just keeps on going!

You can catch DZ Deathrays at The Joiners in Southampton on Sunday May 27th.

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