DZ Deathrays started out playing house parties, and are now among the most recognisable and loved punk-rock acts in modern Australian music. Sneaking in the program at the eleventh hour, Adelaide Festival have announced their gig at The Summerhouse to celebrate the release of their fifth album, Positive Rising: Part 2. With two ARIA Awards and countless world tours under their belt, Shane Parsons and Simon Ridley’s band is a music festival-favourite. Their triple j Hottest 100-worthy tracks gained them a world of opportunities including supporting The Foo Fighters on stadium tours, and even collaborating with a Wiggle! A DZ Deathrays live show is something you can never forget; with axeman Lachlan Ewbank ruling the guitar drones, heavy riffs and an eye-melting light show that washes over your senses, they’re sure to rock the (Summer)house. Hi Fi Way speaks to Simon Ridley about the show.
How has DZ Deathrays managed to navigate its way through the chaos and look to having a big year in 2021?
Pretty poorly so far, we have had our plans change again, I don’t know how many times we have done it now. It is good to see shows starting to creep back though.
Are you looking forward to getting to Adelaide for the Adelaide Festival?
Yeah, it has been to nice to have something on the horizon to aim for. We haven’t been over there for ages and it will be fun to see it. We’ve had so many good party nights in Adelaide where we have ended up DJ’ing in dodgy little clubs and stuff.
Are things still on track for the mid year release of Positive Rising: Part 2?
That’s the plan, hopefully we can do a big tour around it once the vaccine comes out and hopefully they figure out some better quarantine methods. We were ready to have this record out last year, we just need it out and move on. Going back and learning the songs again has been fun because it feels like we have completely forgotten them.
Have you kept writing new songs? Is that likely to be Positive Rising: Part 3?
We’re about half way through recording a new record in COVID times, about twenty or so. I think it will be its own thing.
What do see as being the differences between Part 1 and Part 2?
Part 1 is a lot more high energy and Part 2 is a bit more broader rock with all different styles. There’s some slower stuff on there and more experimentation on Part 2.
For those who don’t know was this all part of a concept or story you’re trying to tell?
We had tonnes of material and we wanted to do a double album but when you put out a record these days you pretty much have three months from it. I think we needed to pace it out so we didn’t blow such a big chunk of songs so quickly. Part 1 marks a good period in the band really, it was the first time we had Lach writing through that big section of songs he has been a part of.
How would you compare now where DZ Deathrays is at sonically compared to the beginning?
I feel like we can play our instruments a lot better and we put a lot more thought in trying to make the songs a bit more dynamic. With Lach on board, that guy can just shred, so whenever we had a cool bridge or some extra hot licks on there he does not disappoint.
Will you be road testing some of the new songs in Adelaide?
I think we’ll wait for a proper album tour before we play a bunch of new stuff. We like to play the hits at festivals and we’ll play the two new singles and the rest will be stuff that people know.
Was it hard working on an album during COVID?
It definitely has been weird but at the same time we always start records apart where we are all separated just emailing in ideas. Eventually we get to a point where we bunch a group of songs together and then we find somewhere we can go to start playing them together and we all go in to record together. To do it where you just do your parts, send them off and they all get put together in Sydney feels weird.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch DZ Deathrays at the Adelaide Festival Summerhouse on Saturday 6 March 9.30pm. Tickets from the Adelaide Festival.