Knocking the world music press out of their seats with a pummeling barrage of ear-splitting guitar and blasting drums, Brisbane band DZ Deathrays announced themselves in 2012 with debut album Bloodstreams.
Massive tours through Europe and the USA; gigs alongside Foo Fighters and Crystal Castles; festival slots at Reading, Leeds, Splendour In The Grass and Big Day Out; and ARIA award for best hard rock album; all have come together for DZ Deathrays in a whirlwind few years, so for new album Black Rat, they took the next logical step for any aspiring rock stars.
They went out to Yass.
“We wrote the album in three big writing blocks,” explained drummer Simon Ridley. The band is fronted by guitarist/vocalist Shane Parsons, the pair making much more noise and squall than their small number suggests.
“One was out at Yass, two weeks writing and recording in this really isolated spot.”
The quiet country town was the unlikely birthplace for Black Rat, all booming drums and screaming guitar and wild noise.
Lead single ‘Gina Works At Hearts’ has proved an earworm hit on Triple J, finding DZ in a more subdued mode than usual – the loud-quiet-loud verse-chorus structure shows off Parsons’ voice more than ever, not obscured behind the usual furious wall of noise that is the band’s modus operandi.
Considering their house party and DIY show beginnings, the next stage of the album’s development makes more sense.
“We had a few more weeks in our manager’s nightclub in Brisbane,” Simon recounts, “which really brought out the gritty night-time vibe the album has.”
A session working with award-winning Regurgitator producer Magoo was sandwiched between the two polar opposite writing environments, but Simon credits the Brissy club, and album producer Bruce Reid of Aussie rockers Gerling, as the album’s true fertilisation period – that, and shaking off the shackles they felt binded them on the debut LP.
“This album, we just ended up going a bit crazy with whatever we wanted in the studio. On Bloodstreams, we’d make things subtle so we could play them live as a two-piece because we didn’t want to play with backing tracks,” Simon said.
“This time, we did what we wanted and said we would work it out later.”
That attitude has forced DZ, a two-piece since inception, to recruit a third member to tour. They are currently back in Europe supporting Blood Red Shoes, but return to Australia in May to start their own album release headline tour. They come to Wollongong’s Rad Bar on May 30, and will have a new friend to play with.
“We need a third guy to shred guitar over the new songs, basically,” Simon laughed.
“We’ve always been a party band, and always wanted music to play for house parties. This album has all the different parts of the night at a party – loud raucous stuff for the beginning, middle of the night loose dance stuff, then slower and more hazy moments as the night winds down.”
Simon said the album had been finished since January, and is looking forward to being able to play new material once Black Rat is finally unleashed on May 2.
“It’s hard to play songs off an album nobody has heard yet. When I go to a gig, I like to hear songs I know. Nothing worse than seeing a band that only plays new songs,” he laughed.
“The tour starts a few days after the album comes out, so hopefully people get a chance to listen before they come see us.”
DZ Deathrays w/ Palms, Foam at Rad Bar, May 30.