It feels like no more than a month has passed since DZ Deathrays released Bloody Lovely – their chart-destroying fourth album, which left fans gasping for air after it spurred uncontrollable bedroom moshes back in January '18. But alas, the Brisbane-native trio of terror are already gearing up to drop another slick 'n' sour dance-punk bomshell. LP4 is officially in the bag, as the band announced on Twitter last week, recorded in LA with an all-star cast of guest performers and, for the first time – after four storied years of playing with the band as their touring guitarist – Lachlan Ewbank as the official third member of DZ Deathrays.
Even juicier: the band are currently voyaging through regional Australia on their Tour With The Lot – a 23-date journey spanning Tasmania through Townsville and everywhere in-between. With the trek underway, we caught up with frontman Shane Parsons to vibe on the experience of playing to crowds that are too often rock-deprived, and how DZ Deathrays IV: The Re-Deathening (an unofficial title, sadly – the boys are yet to slap a name on the LP) came together.
How are things coming along with the new album?
It’s good! It’s getting there, man. We’ve been in LA for a week and a bit now, and we’ve been coming into the studio every day. There was a lot of work at the start, and now we’re into that bit of the process where we’re just going through and making sure every bit is there, and adding all the fun stuff – y’know, the extra little textures and stuff like that.
So it took four years to follow Black Rat up with Bloody Lovely, but just over a year since that record came out, you’ve already got the follow-up in the bag. What made you want to jump straight into it this time?
After we made Black Rat, we toured that record quite extensively, and it ended up taking us a while to sort of get back into the flow of writing and feel inspired. So this time, we just wanted to make sure that we were ahead. As soon as we finished recording Bloody Lovely, we went straight into writing this next one. But that was almost two years ago, so we've actually been writing this one for quite a while now. We've got a bunch of songs, and we've done quite a fair bit of touring in the last year and a half as well. We're just trying to stay on top of the ball, really. We've realised that these days, a band like us can't afford to sit back and wait around to put a record out. We need to just keep pumping the songs out. Which is good! It's been good for us to move on from a lot of the stuff that we were doing on the first few records, and start trying some new things.
Stylistically, is there much of a leap between Bloody Lovely and LP4?
I think so… It’s hard to tell at the moment because so much has changed in the past few weeks. Y'know, once you actually get into the studio with a song, everything about it sort of changes. I’ll have to have a proper listen once the record is all put together, but I think it’s fair to say there's a bit of a jump… There’s definitely some stuff on this new record that we’ve never ever done before – I think it’s kind of heavier and darker. A bit more more moody.
When do you think we’ll be able to wrap our ears around DZ Deathrays IV: The Re-Deathening?
Again, man, it’s hard to say! We’ve been talking about dropping it somewhere around the middle of the year. It all just depends. We’ve got our regional tour coming up, so we’ll get that done first, and then we’ve got Europe, so we’ll put a single out in time for that. It’s just crazy – the years just end up going past so quickly [laughs].
Do you think you might bust a jam from the record out on this regional tour as a bit of a sneak peek?
We're definitely thinking about it. I don’t see why not! It would be fun to play a song off the record and see if people vibe on it. The new stuff that we’re working on is quite… I don’t know, there’s a lot more going on than there was on the previous records, I think, so it’s going to be interesting for us to try to work out how to actually play it live. We've just totally thrown any idea of being a two-piece band out the window.
Well, you are officially a three-piece now!
We are, yeah! So Lachlan [Ewbank] has been writing on this one with us – he started writing with us a couple of years ago, and he’s in the studio with us now recording parts. It’s been good to have someone else’s input on the songs. We’re going to have a few different voices on the songs as well – a few guests and stuff like that. It feels brand new for us, which is really good. After ten years, Simon and I kind of needed a change-up.
It’s been a little while since you’ve jumped on the regional circuit – how does it feel to be heading back to some of the places less travelled?
It feels great. It’s actually the first proper regional tour we’ve done. We’ve been meaning to get out to some regional spots, and I think it's going to be a good little trip. The last time we did any shows in those places was with the Groovin The Moo tour back in 2015, which was really good – and then we’ve done some random ones here and there. I’m excited to be getting out and seeing some of the more remote parts of the country. Y’know, Simon and I grew up in small towns, so we understand how much music actually goes there. I think we're starting seeing a fair few more Australian bands – especially in the rock scene – getting out to those spots and trying to put on shows. Because there’s definitely people there who want to go see them.
How does the atmosphere at a show somewhere like Geraldton or Townsville compare to a show somewhere like Sydney or Brisbane?
I guess it’s pretty similar, really. I think a lot of the people who live in Brisbane or Sydney now come from smaller towns anyway, so the people aren't too out of the ordinary. I think Australians as a whole are pretty crazy. Some of the craziest crowds we've ever played to were at home in Australia. I guess we’ll see! I know we’ve played up in like Townsville and stuff before, and it’s just awesome. The crowds are great.
I think there’s something about being in the middle of nowhere that just makes it a bit more exciting when the occasional gig does roll around.
Yeah. I had it growing up. I grew up in Bundaberg, and there were *no bands. And no bands go there now – we haven’t even gone there yet – so there’s not really anywhere to play or put on a good show with the right sort of gear and everything. We’ve got Cairns and Airlie Beach and Townsville, and then the next thing is the Sunshine Coast. It’s interesting how there’s a bit of that east coast Queensland gap, until you get down to the Sunshine Coast where there’s a few more people. It’s tough for those towns! The places that we’re playing in around Melbourne, it’s great because there’s so many people living in those areas – those satellite cities around Melbourne. But up there in central Queensland, it’s a long way from Brisbane, so they feel the sting of it.
Of course, you’ve got the phenomenal Moaning Lisa and Good Doogs heading out with you as well. What made those two bands the perfect choices for this run?
We’ve been following Moaning Lisa for ages now, and like we really, really like them. They’re doing all of the shows except WA, and then Good Doogs are doing WA with us. Y’know, when you’re a smaller band, it’s kind of hard to fly across Australia, and Good Doogs, being from over that way, were able to do those shows. I think we share a lot of the same fans – I’ve even noticed in some of the Hottest 100 votes, I saw our name and Moaning Lisa, or ours and Good Doogs on the same votes… We want to get our fans to see bands that we really like, but we also want to keep them happy, and hopefully get bands that maybe some of them already do like, y’know?
What is your live rig looking like for these shows? Are you able to bring as much out with you when you’re doing a tour like this?
Yeah, pretty much. We don’t actually use that much stuff onstage, to be honest. I use a guitar amp and a bass amp, Lachlan uses a guitar amp, and Simon just has a drum kit – it’s a pretty basic setup. A lot of the sound that I get is from DIs and stuff like that as well, so y’know, I can get away with a fair bit. If I can only get my hands on a smaller bass amp or something, it’s totally fine.
Are you guys going to be hunting around for the best local pizza joints throughout these towns?
I think that’s the vibe, yeah! I’ve been eating quite a lot of pizza while I’m in the States, but it’s pretty good, so I think we’ll end up trying to hit a few local spots. We asked a few people on social media and got some responses back, which was great. We're not doing any chains, y'know – we want to go to the local, family-run pizza places. We’ll see how it all adds up, but I feel like we’re going to eat a lot of pizza on this tour!
Catch the full details for DZ Deathrays' tour with the lot below!
Sunday February 10th - St Kilda Festival, St Kilda VIC
Saturday February 16th - Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
Friday March 1st - Wintersun Hotel, Geraldton WA
Saturday March 2nd - City Limits Festival, Perth WA
Sunday March 3rd - Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough WA
Thursday March 7th - Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns QLD
Friday March 8th - Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville QLD
Saturday March 9th - Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach QLD
Thursday March 14th - The Wharf, Mooloolaba QLD
Friday March 15th - The Mills Precinct, Toowoomba QLD
Saturday March 16th - The Northern, Byron Bay NSW
Friday March 22nd - Garden Party Festival, Wollongong NSW
Saturday March 23rd - UC Refectory, Canberra ACT
Friday March 29th - Newcastle Uni, Newcastle NSW
Saturday March 30th - Entrance Leagues Club, Central Coast NSW
Sunday March 31st - Nortnern Beaches PCYC, Dee Why NSW
Thursday April 4th - Beer Deluxe, Albury NSW
Friday April 5th - The Pier, Frankston VIC
Saturday April 6th - Torquay Hotel, Tourquay VIC
Sunday April 7th - The Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool VIC
Wednesday April 10th - Sooki Lounge, Belgrave VIC
Thursday April 11th - The Tap House, Bendigo VIC