DZ Deathrays Interview: New music, life on the road and onstage streakers

We speak to Shane Parsons, frontman of DZ Deathrays, to discuss their latest album Positive Rising: Part 1, life on the road, and onstage streakers.

Brisbane rockers, DZ Deathrays, continue to evolve with the release of Positive Rising: Part 1 (see our review here). Whilst we here at Vinyl Chapters eagerly await the release of Part 2, we were able to interrupt lead singer Shane Parson’s busy schedule for a chat about the band.


Your upcoming album, Positive Rising: Part 1, is the first of a two-part album. Why did you choose to release the record as multiple parts?

As this is our fourth record we thought we needed to try something more ambitious than we had before. Initially, we thought of doing a double album but these days once you release a record you really only get a few months out of it. So instead of blowing 20 something tracks in one hit, we thought we’d space it out. Also, it means we had more time to prepare the second part in case of any last-minute songs that felt right to include.


Who were your biggest influences for the record and which albums inspire you most?

It’s hard to say with this one. I think we were more influenced by the idea of making something larger and closer to a concept album than just a collection of songs that worked well together. Records like Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was kinda the vibe I personally was going for, hard to say for the others. More so how they put it the entire record together and how although it was kinda a concept double record it was still fairly abstract in the range of songs and other ways in comparison to a proper concept album like Pink Floyd’s The Wall.


What should we expect from Part 2 and what stage is it currently at?

We’ve started recording Part 2 and I think, from the demos, it’s going to have a bit more swagger about it. Part 1 feels more like a party while the second half is a little more of a darker affair.


Do you prefer writing, recording, or touring, and why?

I love and hate each side for different reasons. But I think if it weren’t for all three aspects together I probably wouldn’t do any of them. I love writing because it’s relaxed, we do most of it from our homes and it’s fun bouncing ideas off of each other and seeing what we think is possible as the band. But the downside is sometimes when a song is up to its 15th version or more I am usually pretty overhearing it and want to burn it with fire.

Touring is incredible because I love hanging with my best friends travelling the world, meeting new people and seeing old friends whilst getting applauded and free drinks for doing so. But after a few weeks of that every day and only living on 4 or 5hrs sleep a night we all start to miss our families, homes and want to die.

Recording is stressful as it costs a lot of money and there’s seldom enough time to do everything that you want. But at the end of that, you come away with a year or two’s work finished and it’s such a relief to be able to hold that work in your hand as the finished product and then you’re ready to go out and start the cycle all over again.


You have recently added new member Lachlan Ewbank to the band. How did this come about and why did you feel the need to add another member?

It was after we recorded Black Rat that we realised we needed another guitarist for all the extra guitar lines Shane started adding. So we had a number of guitarists fill in over the years then once Lach came on board he just complimented the band in such a great way we knew he was gonna be around for a while. So by the time we finished up our 3 album contract, Lach had been in the band for about 2 or 3 years so we invited him to jump into helping us write and be on the next set of contracts and records.


You have been together since 2008, so are sure to have seen a few crazy things on the road. Are there any in particular that you remember?

Yeah, we’ve had streakers try to sexually assault us, dildos thrown at us, flares go off, been shut down mid-set etc. We recently just did a show opening a new venue in Brisbane last week with some of the guys from Australian rock royalty:  Powderfinger, as well as Saraha Beck and Jeremy Neale. Still a bit of buzz going from that one.


What has been your favourite gig and why?

Too hard to answer. We’ve done a lot of shows we never thought we’d do from stadiums through Australia with bands like the Foo Fighters to playing castles through Europe. I don’t know, I loved them all except one time we played in Chester and another we played in Stafford. Fuck those shows sucked…


You are heading on tour in September. Are there any albums or songs you frequently have on rotation in the tour bus?

Depends who’s in control of the stereo. Usually, Lach so a lot of Midnight Oil…


When listening to the new album it seems there is a clear A and B side. Was this intentional and, if so, did you write with vinyl in mind?

We definitely consider how it will play on vinyl and tracklist it accordingly. But we never really write specifically for a type of media.


Does the increase in vinyl consumption excite you? What’s your preferred format to listen to?

It does, and having put so much effort into an album and being able to hold the actual finished record in your hands is one of the most rewarding things a musician can do, I believe. But honestly I just stream most of my music….

DZ Deathrays are on tour in Europe this Autumn. You can find tickets here

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