Without a doubt, Australian two-piece, DZ Deathrays are one of the most hotly talked about bands of the past year. After signing to Melbourne based record label I OH YOU in early 2011, they’ve been releasing and touring relentlessly, introducing themselves to […]
Without a doubt, Australian two-piece, DZ Deathrays are one of the most hotly talked about bands of the past year. After signing to Melbourne based record label I OH YOU in early 2011, they’ve been releasing and touring relentlessly, introducing themselves to the world as one of the most brutal new bands on the scene.
After such an exciting year, one is left wondering – what is this band’s story? Where did they come from?
Formed in 2008 by Shane Parsons (vocals/guitars) and Simon Ridley (drums), the band which was then called simply ‘DZ’, was originally intended for house parties – a unique rule that was quickly broken due to their sheer popularity and demand. Not to mention the epic live shows which if continued to this day at house parties alone, would result in mass police raids. Their live show is one of their strongest assets, with most people leaving the venue dragging their dropped jaws behind them.
Consisting of only two parts, it may be hard for some to comprehend a mere two-piece with the ability to create such a massive wall of sound. But this is a feat which DZ Deathrays has been able to conquer with results fashioned from a statically charged mix of influences like Death From Above 1979, The Bronx, Justice, Sunn 0)) and Lightning Bolt. With this combination of musical mentors as ammunition, they create a blend of driving monster beats firing over an avalanche of guitar similar to the sound of a squadron of attacking Panzer tanks.
It was clear from the onset that DZ was going to be big. By mid 2010 they had released their first EP in Australia, Ruined My Life (Inertia / Uselesss Art) and toured the country over. They’d toured with Crystal Castles (who personally invited them), Dananananaykroyd, Ratatat and The View; played live with Biffy Clyro and The Temper Trap; and joined festival lineups such as Big Day Out, Parklife, Field Day, Sunset Sounds, Playground Weekender and more. They had been Unearthed by triple j and received personal kudos from Mark Ronson, saying he ‘loved’ the band.
It was obvious, at this juncture, to step it up a notch and introduce the band to the world stage. A move which would prove to be momentous, and a move that required a new band name. ‘DZ’ already existed in the form of a US based dubstep DJ. To avoid being confused for a dubstep band, they quickly changed their name to DZ Deathrays, thus a new phase was born.
DZ Deathrays’ first venture out of the southern hemisphere was to CMJ festival in New York in 2010. They quickly returned for SXSW in March 2011 and already, the buzz was brewing. They were blogged about by Jen Long from the BBC, and included in Blunt Magazine’s Top 40 bands to see at SXSW in 2011. That buzz fed through to the UK, where in May, they picked up a spot to play at The Great Escape and toured the UK with New York punk outfit Cerebral Ballzy.
Meanwhile back home, they partnered up with Melbourne based label, I OH YOU to release their 2nd EP, Brutal Tapes, a mix of studio and house party recordings as well as some remixes from Yacht Club DJs and Surecut Kids. With all the excitement in the UK, it was time to officially bring the recordings to the motherland, and that they did in style.
Their last visit to the UK in October 2011, saw them put out not one, not two, but THREE releases.
1. Their EP Ruined My Life, out on Big Scary Monsters and Humming Records
2. A limited edition cassette version of the EP through the BBC’s Jen Long’s new label Kissability, through Transgressive.
3. A 7” of popular single “Gebbie Street” out on Too Pure through Beggars.
They backed it up with a UK/EU tour, playing with Male Bonding, Band of Skulls and joining the NME Radar Tour with Wolfgang.
The media reaction was off the chart. NME Magazine and Q Magazine had both placed them in their “Top 10 bands of The Great Escape,” before NME went a step further and gave them #8 in the “50 best new bands of 2011.” The accolades kept growing as BBC took the band under its wing, giving their song “Gebbie Street” a play on daytime radio with Fearne Cotton and Zane Lowe giving the band ‘Next Hype.’ They continued to receive radio play on BBC1, XFM, Artrocker Radio and even did live sessions for all three of those stations.
By this time in Australia, the band had signed a full record deal with I OH YOU and publishing with Mushroom. They’d been personally picked by Foo Fighters to play three of their stadium shows on their Australian tour, which they happily joined between playing sideshows with F*cked up and touring with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Only one thing was next. The debut album.
They came back from the UK and went straight into the studio at The White Room in Mt Nebo (just outside of Brisbane). Produced by Richard Pike from PVT, the record is due for release mid-2012 and the media is absolutely busting for it. First single “No Sleep” got a world premiere on BBC1 by Huw Stephens, followed by an exclusive stream on the NME website. All of this follows the latest NME tout, placing the band at #4 in “20 Most Exciting Bands for 2012.”
News of the band has bled back to the USA, where The Death Set covered their notorious video for “The Mess Up” and it received attention on Pitchfork TV. The band will be backing it up with a return to North America for SXSW and Canadian Music Week in 2012, while at the same time, releasing their first EPs through 3|4 (USA) and Dine Alone Records (Canada).
- Shane Parsons
- Simon Ridley