Shortly after the release of their newest album, Positive Rising: Part 1, DZ Deathrays kicked off their Australian tour and were set out to remind Australia and the rest of the world why they have been one of the most successful bands over the last decade. Among many of their accomplishments, one of their most notable ones being their single, Like People, managing to climb to #47 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2019. After catching their second show in Sydney at Manning Bar, I was lucky enough to be allowed to conduct an interview with them at the Forum, one of Melbourne’s most famous live music venues. This opportunity was especially significant for me, as this was my first proper interview I had ever conducted with a band as widely known as DZ Deathrays. First and foremost, there were a few questions about their most recent album that I wanted to ask about.
Do you each have a favourite track on the new album?
Simon: Definitely Year Of The Dog for me.
Lachie: I think Silver Lining is a really fun one to play live, just because it’s heavier.
Shane: Oh yeah that one is super fun to do live, I reckon either Silver Lining or Snakes.
Lachie: Yeah Snakes is another good one.
Shane: Yeah, purely because Snakes took a really long time to get right… It went through many different choruses until it got right.
What track was the easiest to write?
Shane: Year Of The Dog, we just wrote it in one afternoon.
Lachlan: Nightmare Wrecker was pretty straightforward and quick
Simon: What about A Lot To Lose? We didn’t really do much on that.
Shane: Uhhh... I mean I did, that one took a fair while to get right.
Simon: What happened with A Lot To Lose? That wasn’t hard.
Lachie: Well, maybe for Shane but for us it was kinda just like ‘Ah yeah, cool’.
What’s your favourite thing about the album as a whole?
Shane: With this one, we just tried a few different things, in terms of adding beds of synthesisers as kind of a platform to put all the rock music on top of so it’s not just all bare bones… We’ve kind of done three really stripped back rock albums so this one we wanted to make a bit more spacey and create a different atmosphere.
How did you come up with the name Positive Rising?
Shane: There’s a track on Part 2 that has that lyric in it.
Simon: Yeah, kind of just a cool phrase that you came up with.
What venue are you most excited to play on the tour?
Simon: The Forum is probably my favourite venue to play.
Shane: And the Tivoli (Brisbane), that one’s amazing.
Lachie: Yeah I’m really excited for the Tivoli, but yeah the Forum is great.
This might be a weird question but I got told by so many people that I had to ask this one- Has Simon got his P’s yet? (If you’re not familiar with this, check out the interview that Simon did with Dune Rats in 2013 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tB5s2OvT8E )
[Shane and Lachie laugh]
Simon: Nah I still haven’t, my learners has gone out and I haven’t redone it.
Lachie: It’s okay, you don’t need it!
Simon: Good to know people are still concerned about that though.
What’s your favourite album that you’ve done over the years?
Shane: I think Black Rat was a pretty big one for us because it felt like the first album we had was just a collection of songs we had over four years, but Black Rat was the first one where we actually sat down and wrote… It was a huge stepping stone for us, learning how to properly do it well.
Lachie: Mine’s probably Positive Rising: Part 2 because well, I’ve only been here for two records [laughs]... For Part 2 I kind of knew ‘Alright, I don’t have to know all my parts because I know its gonna change’, but Part 1 I was more attached to so when we’d take pieces out I’d be like ‘Oh what do you meannn you’re taking that out?!’ but with Part 2 I figure it's all gonna change anyway because everything changes in the studio, so it’s a bit more relaxed.
Simon: I honestly think I like Bloody Lovely, just because we spent a lot of time on that one.
How did you guys pick the support bands for this tour?
Lachie: Very long process of sifting through people… who couldn’t do it
Shane: [Laughs] Nah, we actually have known the Polish Club guys for a fair few years now, did some writing with Novak a few years ago… On Bloody Lovely, there’s a track that him and I sort of did a demo session together…
Simon: We toured with The Buoys earlier this year.
Lachie: And we’ve played a bunch of shows with Voiid in the past and we have the same booking agent as them so it worked out cool for them to join on the tour, they’re both really great bands…
Simon: Both are great bands?
Lachie: Well yeah, obviously those two and then Polish Club as well. Don’t try and put me in that spot Simon, you know what I meant!
Simon: [laughs] We were saying earlier how we should start beef with Polish Club just so we could get press for this tour.
Lachie: What do you mean start?
Backstage with the boys being the odd one out.
When can we expect Positive Rising: Part 2?
Shane: It’s already done!
Lachie: Well, we’ve recorded it but we’ve gotta let it sit there and age a bit.
Simon: Like a fine wine.
Shane: Still mixing it at the moment and then we’ll put it out next year.
Has it got a similar vibe to Part 1?
Shane: It’s a little bit different, it’s more rock.... I think Part 1 is more punk and atmospheric and Part 2 is a bit more rock and has dancey stuff.
Lachie: It’s got a lot of guitar. And also some weird stuff too…
Shane: Yeah, it’s all kind of supposed to sound the same, like really fluid from start to finish. They’re meant to be listened to together because it’s all the songs we wrote in one period of time. These days if you put all twenty songs out on streaming, you only really get three months of media about it… This way it’s more staggered and one you hear them together you’ll see there’s a bit of a trend.
Simon: We didn’t want to waste it all at once so this way it’s more of a constant flow.
Do you have a preference between Part 1 and Part 2?
Simon: I like 2.
Lachie: Yeah 2 is stronger I think.
Shane: Yeah Part 1 feels more like us doing an experimental thing, like an EP, and then Part 2 feels a bit more like an album. But it's not final yet, it's still not mixed so once it's mixed I’ll know… I really want people to listen to them as two things together… In the end, everyone will pick their favourite song anyway.
Are there any other final things you wanted to add?
Shane: Have a nice Christmas.
Lachie: [laughs] Yeah nice Christmas, see you all next year…
Simon: Look after each other and be nice, come to a show if you wanna, if not, whatevs, you do you.
Lachie: Oh and stay hydrated!
A huge thank you to DZ Deathrays and David Herington for taking the time to do this interview. If you get the opportunity to catch a show on this tour, you’ll be super stoked that you did as the DZ boys, Polish Club, The Buoys and Voiid have worked extremely hard to make each performance the best it can possibly be. If you’re unable to get to a show, be sure to check out Positive Rising: Part 1 here https://open.spotify.com/album/43nTe7AFg19waJxNOCUTPa?si=7ObvUDC5QxG-NhI0LJGLvw and keep an eye out for the big things that DZ Deathrays will be doing really soon.
Interviewed by Zoë Sounness.
You know we're putting on a fundraising show for Beyond Blue in December?
We've got a pretty cool line up so why don't you join us. Details here.