We spoke with one of the most genuine and down-to-earth people in the music industry. Shane Parsons reveals all about DZ Deathrays over a fifteen-minute phone call.
MF: How far have DZ Deathrays come from starting out at house parties?
SP: The whole idea behind the beginning was that we had been a band before, and we had had no luck trying to get gigs for a couple of years. Our drummer left and we thought, “let’s just go back to what we knew when we were in high school”. House parties were literally what we did. My band played at Simon’s house and that’s what we did every weekend. We started like that as a way of doing something without having to try really hard, and there wasn’t as much pressure. After a while we were getting offered to do shows.
MF: Where did the idea for Bloodstreams come from?
SP: We have been a band for almost five years now. It has been three-and-a-half years worth of writing. We have been overseas a bunch of times for a couple of EPs, and that is all that we wanted to do. We wanted people to take us seriously and not just releasing EPs. We are trying to make records and touring our number one thing in life. We had all the songs and we wanted to see how it would go. Once we got all the songs together, we chose Richard Pike (as producer) because of all the stuff he has done with PVT. We wanted someone who had an electronic and more disciplined background. This was what we needed for our first record.
MF: How did Arj Barker appear in the video of No Sleep?
SP: Our label guy wanted us to redo the clip and we were tossing up between people who we could ask. He asked Arj when we were both in Sydney. Arj is a really nice guy … we just hung out for the day and filmed the clip. We still get text messages from him, like when we got the ARIA to congratulate us. It was pretty awesome for us and it was a cool experience.
MF: How did you get kicked off stage at SXSW?
SP: When you get asked to play you just play anything you can. We were asked to play a little showcase … whereas most bands are doing acoustic versions of their songs, this band cannot because it would sound terrible. It was in a convention centre, and it was like a scene out of Flight of the Conchords, where they are doing the New Zealand stand at a tourism conference. We turned the amp right up and we got about two-and-a-half songs in, then we were told to stop, otherwise they were going to call the police. It is a pretty funny story. It got us more exposure at home because of the fact that we were kicked off stage. SXSW is chaos because there are so many venues with live music that you wouldn’t expect. It is a fun stepping stone to venture into America.
MF: What can everyone expect on your upcoming tours?
SP: We are really looking forward to Pushover because it is an all-ages show. Our headline tour is going to be fun, because it is our last run of shows that we are going to be doing for this album. We are actually writing new material right now and they should be out later this year. We are going to try and add new songs and stage props for this tour, so it will be fun. I can’t wait for The Bronx! We email them every time they come to Australia, and finally it is happening. The Bronx are one of the reasons why we started this band. I know Australia goes pretty nuts for The Bronx.
MF: What is next for DZ Deathrays?
SP: We are going over to the UK with our other band Velociraptor to do The Great Escape. Simon and I are also going to Iceland to play a show. We are going to try and get some more shows in Europe and think about recording our next album over there, looking at producer and studio options. We will hopefully have some songs to release when we get back. We don’t really need to have a break, a week or two after touring is enough for us.
Bloodstreams is out now.
For an extensive list of tour dates visit DZ Deathrays on Facebook.