Coming into conception only months prior, Brisbane’s dynamic party thrash duo DZ released their debut EP, Ruined My Life, last year to much acclaim. Consisting of Simon Ridely and Shane Parsons, they have since signed with indie label Useless Art Records, toured nationally and mastered the art of the homemade video clip. Kicking off what is expected to be a big year for DZ, Simon took time out of his day at work to answer some questions.
It’s hard to grasp that DZ’s self-defined ‘wall of sound’ consists of a mere two members. Do the sounds produced in the recording process ever become a challenge to perform live?
We started this band to focus on creating songs we could play at our friends’ house parties, so all of our songs are written intentionally for a live setting. When we recorded, we played all our songs live and only spent two or three takes on each song before adding very little dubbing over the tracks specifically so they’d sound the way we play them live.
When touring with Crystal Castles, did you ever look at their flashy light set up and think, maybe the strobe light won’t cut it?
It totally inspired us to up our game. I’ve always been passionate about lighting and have a background working with stage lighting companies so I always end up making friends with the lighting techs. Unfortunately non smoking laws have resulted in clubs using more smoke detectors, rendering many of the clubs we play impossible to use smoke machines, halving the amount of effects we can use.
It must be bizarre playing in festivals to thousands (like Parklife and Field Day) when the bulk of your shows are much smaller. Does your show change?
We’re still pretty small time so we either get the early time slots when people are still at home getting drunk, or we play later at the smaller stages, competing against international acts. One time we did mix it up and got my housemate to play extra percussion at a Parklife show because he wanted a ticket. We figured it would be funny if we made him work for it. It didn’t go down too well… we got drunk and fucked it up.
We’ve been only been performing as this band for a couple of months, and in that time we might have written 20 songs as DZ. Our first single The Mess Up was the third or fourth song we ever wrote.
When you finally settle back home in Brisbane are you looking to go straight into another release or will you be adopting day-jobs again?
We’re almost ready to start pre-production on the next release, so hopefully we’ll have something that we can tour by the time we get back from overseas. I wouldn’t mind a bit of ‘rock n’ roll on the dole’ next year and have a break from work to focus on music. We’d played almost 100 shows last year and maintained full time jobs the entire time, which has proven to be one of the most exhausting things I think we’ve ever done. It gets tiring flying out after a full week of work to play two or three cities on the weekend repeatedly.
I was always curious about the band’s title and have thought of it more in terms of how the letters sounded, not necessarily as a reference to anything. It translates into your sound.
There is a meaning behind it, however it’s a lot more entertaining letting people come up with their own meanings/acronyms. There is also a bit to do with how the letters sound; we pronounce it the American way but it’s just to try and mess up any preconceptions people may have about the band. Pronouncing it ‘Dee Zee’ just sounds like a cool rappers name or like it could come from any genre, but we don’t really mind how people pronounce it.
When you first began to get a lot of press, I read references to DZ as experimental rock. Did you find that there were a lot of misconceptions about where you were coming from and what you were doing?
I think there still is. Even now we get labeled as anything but what we are, which is punk rock I guess. We’ve been called everything from psychedelic to electro to metal. We just describe it as ‘thrash party’ now, which seems to sum it up best.
Coming from Brisbane, do you think of yourselves as being a regional band, or is geography irrelevant?
I think with the Internet making the world’s music so accessible, geography doesn’t influence music as much as it once did. Brisbane seems to have a very eclectic music scene yet with similar interests. We listen to the same stuff and go to the same shows but we all produce varied styles of music.
The clip for The Mess Up, and most recently Blue Blood has really utilised the effectiveness of homemade clips. It’s really allowed you to present yourself to a wider audience.
Thanks, try telling that to our label! We created those film clips from our love of watching Rage at 3am back in school. We would always think how much fun those clips would be to make regardless if they get played on TV or not. Unfortunately, for the band to grow we need give up the reins and get someone on board to put something together that will enable us to get aired outside of YouTube, and give our label a chance to push us and help us reach new audiences (i.e. sell out).
Alongside high school punks Howl, DZ are hitting the road along the east coast for their I Hear It’s Blood tour. You can catch both acts play their double headline show in Sydney tomorrow, Thursday, January 14th at Kit and Kaboodle.
words: Jacinda Fermanis