Is a pizza with the lot still considered ‘with the lot’ minus the vile abomination that we call anchovies? DZ Deathrays have taken the pizza legend and used With the Lot as their upcoming tour name. You may have heard that the band recently shot a music video in Melbourne. Hell, you may even appear in the clip. We chat to drummer Simon Ridley ahead of the tour.
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to chat to Forte! First up, with three albums, two ARIA Awards and 10 years behind you, you guys are veterans on the circuit and you seem to be at the peak of your game. What’s the secret to longevity for DZ Deathrays? A decade-long career is quite the feat in this ever-evolving industry!
Thanks! I guess the main thing is we surround ourselves with people who are fun and that we like to work with. Sounds pretty simple but there’s a lot of bands out there who don’t follow that rule. Also we really only go out and tour for about three weeks at a time. Any longer than that and it starts to lose the fun and the shows start to suffer.
You celebrated 10 years with a massive anniversary tour last year. We know it’s a tough one but looking back, what’s been the absolute highlight so far?
We’ve been really lucky in that we’ve had the opportunity to play some pretty crazy shows we never expected we’d get to. We’ve played in castles through Europe, an absolute shit tonne of cool dive bars around the world from South Africa to South America and even some stadiums in Australia. One of my favourite memories was headlining the Tivoli in Brisbane. It’s such a rite of passage for Brisbane bands to do so to be able to cross that off the bucket list meant a lot to me.
And joining forces with original red Wiggle Murray Cook – brilliant. How did that even come about? Was there a bit of convincing involved?
We just thought it would be funny and the director had an in. Then Murray was keen from the get go which was a little surprising, but after meeting him we discovered he’s just the nicest guy to hang with drinking beers and talking tour stories.
You guys have officially welcomed a new member to the band – Lachlan Ewbank. Being a long-time live band mate, what’s the story here? What made you guys decide to make DZ Deathrays a trio?
After the second record, we realised we needed a third member to play guitar with us. Once Lach joined we only had one album left on our label/publishing contracts so after we released Bloody Lovely and completed the contracts, we were free to get him on writing duties as a full member.
We hear you’ve currently over in LA recording a new album. Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect from the new album? How long has this been on the front burner for?
Once Shane [Parsons] and I finished Bloody Lovely it was shelved for a few months so we just started writing these new songs immediately. That was like nearly two years ago now. So we’ve been working on this new material for a while now.
Your third LP Bloody Lovely earned you guys a spot in the ARIA Top 5 at #4 and you had a number of well-loved tracks; was there anything in particular you learnt or had to overcome with this album that you will apply to the next one, or do you take a completely different approach with each album?
We learnt a lot working with Burke Reid over the last two records but we want to keep the band evolving. So that’s why we decided to start this next phase with a new producer (Miro Mackie) in a different environment and to have Lachlan involved in the writing process. I guess a good thing we learnt in the past is to never underestimate the amount of pre production you need to do for a record.
You’ve recently announced a massive regional tour that kicks off this February. How do you find the regional tours compare to when you’re hitting capital cities in terms of vibe, audience, travel, mindset etc.
They are usually a lot looser. The crowds are smaller but more enthusiastic so you get a lot more stage invasions, people throwing shit at you and just more all round chaos. So you gotta go out there ready to roll with the punches and keep your head on a swivel.
For you guys, are you more at home in the studio/creating music, or up on stage playing live?
I think we’re beginning to balance the two aspects a lot better. Personally I used to prefer the touring a lot more but now it’s pretty even. We still love touring and playing shows in countries we’ve never been to before, however we don’t want the gap in between record releases to suffer because we’re on tour for too long.
To finish off, the tour name, ‘With The Lot’, an ode to your favourite pizza topping? If so… does that include pineapples?
No it does not include pineapple for me. Just a well made pepperoni pizza on a thin base with a can of Mountain Dew and some ranch dipping sauce is my favourite combo. Shane and Lach like pineapple on pizza but I guess some people just wanna watch the world burn…
When & Where: Torquay Hotel, Torquay – April 6; Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool – April 7; and Tap House, Bendigo – April 11.