Melbourne punk rock duo Mannequin Death Squad are set to unleash their incendiary new single San Fran a couple of weeks ago. The product of a highly productive recording stint with legendary Australian producer Mark Opitz, the single is a perfect antidote for our times – it’s a vicious attack on mindless consumerism, self-wealth obsession and denial of social responsibility. Elly from Mannequin Death Squad took time out to answer some questions for Hi Fi Way.
I have start off asking what inspired the name?
Dan wanted to call the band ‘Frog’ but i wouldn’t let him have it, for obvious reasons. Which started off an ongoing addiction to pulling band names out of the air everywhere we went. We were at a pub seeing Melbourne band ‘Kingswood’ play and they had a few mannequin arms lying around on stage, between the two of us we someone how managed to slur the words together ‘Mannequin Death Squad’ we laughed at it but then realised it was badass enough to keep.
How did you all meet to get this band going?
We both met in a bar in Costa Rica, Dan was having a gap year whilst El was recovering after a nasty divorce. After a night of many Colada Frescas and traditional cambia dancing we both decided to head back to Melbourne and start the worlds best punk pop band.
How awesome was that first jam session?
There was definitely energy and I think we broke something, I can’t remember what though.
Did you find you all had very similar influences?
We shared a fair few of the same influences however Dan was more into Metal, and I was more into grunge, 50’s pop and other weird shit. It fused together actually really well because our riffs are so heavy but there is lots of melody in the vocals etc.
What is the story behind the single San Fran?
We wrote San Fran when we were jamming in a little shed by the coast with just a bass and a drum kit. It feels like the gritty undertones of that jam have managed to creep their way into the final version which is pretty cool! When I wrote the lyrics to San Fran I had pictured a selfish, privileged and greedy individual who was blind to the fact that they were sucked into the modern materialistic world we live in.
How was it working with famed producer Mark Opitz?
At first when you meet him, you feel a little nervous and excited and in awe to be working with the man behind INXS, Divinyls, Angels etc. Not long in, you feel so comfortable around him and he is a great person to have with you in the studio. Very cool, calm and collected and drops bits of magic in all the right places.
What did you learn from him?
We learnt a lot about getting the best out of your performances and surprisingly a lot about mixing and the things that can really make a song unique and special in those post production moments. ‘Feel and Melody’ he always said and we believe him!
Are you planning to work with him again?
At this stage nothing is organised, however we would definitely be open to it in the future.
Are there plans for an album or EP?
There is for sure a plan to consolidate all of our songs into one place and thing but we can’t tell you what that will be yet….
Is there an Australian tour locked in?
Nothing yet but doesn’t mean we’re not planning so stay tuned….
What’s next for Mannequin Death Squad?
More songs to punch you in the face…. and hopefully a trip back to Costa Rica.
Interview By Rob Lyon