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DZ DEATHRAYS // Too Fast, Two Positive

After ten years of dominating Australia’s rock scene, DZ Deathrays were at a crossroads. Facing the challenge of furthering their legacy even more, the band stepped it up—embarking upon releasing a double album. 

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Ahead of Positive Rising: Part 1’s release, we chatted with the band to dive into the process of recording and writing, transforming into a trio and why you should still give a shit about the album format. 

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Hysteria: There’s a lot of chatter surrounding whether the album format is still relevant in the age of streaming. With Positive Rising marking the first release in a double album package, why do you think the album format is so important to music?

DZ: It really just depends on the listener. I mean, for people like us, we grew up on the “album” so we always loved that sort of thing. There’s nothing cooler than going on the musical journey that someone’s crafted. But, we kinda understand that streaming is starting to break up that whole formula, with Spotify and everything. 

That’s actually why we did it in two parts—initially we wanted to do a big, dual CD, double album. But, once you put out an album two years of work becomes three months worth of press and it gets consumed really quickly. So that’s why we kinda staggered it, so that we could release one part, tour and release a second, so we don’t just release 20 songs in one whole hit.

Bloody Lovely was a massive success last year, resulting in DZ really crossing over into a variety of different Australian music audiences. What was that experience like and how did the lessons learnt from that journey inspire the new record?

We took a lot of time writing that one and we were really stoked to be able to just play some new material for everybody and we played to crowds of sizes we’d never experienced before which was amazing. 

We toured that record with Lachie who’s helped push the band for the past four years, so to have him on this new one writing as well has been great. I think all those experiences that we had, touring Bloody Lovely have really helped to make us figure out what parts work in a live setting. Going into writing this record we were really anticipating how we’re gonna do it live and that type of thing. 

I could definitely feel that on the record – especially the song Hypercolour… it has this kind of arena rock vibe…

Yeah, that’s like a festival track, you know [laughs], I guess, yeah that’s what we’re going for.

We took a lot of time writing that one and we were really stoked to be able to just play some new material for everybody and we played to crowds of sizes we’d never experienced before which was amazing.

Positive Rising has struck such a major balance between punky dissonance and catchiness  – something that DZ have been renowned for now – how did you refine that sound even further on this album?

Well, I don’t know, I think it’s just through experience. We demoed seriously over 50 tracks and, I think we just keep working away at these songs and just trying to refine what parts make the song great and how we can channel that into a song to try and make it the best. I guess it’s habit to just keep writing a lot and then hopefully it gets to the place we want it to be.

Positive Rising  incorporates some new elements that people might not expect from a DZ record. Was there any fear or nervousness that went into incorporating any of those elements?

We always try to push – but not to the point were we’re going to lose our audience, you know. On this record there’s sax, there’s even a little bit of acoustic guitar on there which we never thought we’d have…I guess we kinda know it’s in there and not a whole lot of people pick up on it, they’ll just, you know, feel it. 

So we always try to do that sort of stuff, we always try to push the band. So, I mean, you just try to find that balancing act and then—where you’re not going to alienate [people] but it’s still interesting and I think that’s kinda just what we do. 

Lachlan wrote a lot of the record with you, how did it alter the writing process?

It’s been really great because Lachie’s a bit of a dark horse. He can play drums and guitar and. Right now we’re in the studio recording part two and, when you’re doing a fifth album, you start to get bored of your own chops. You instinctively go for certain things when you’ve been doing it so much, you kinda just worry about how repetitive things are getting. 

When we felt that happening, we had Lachie there to bounce ideas off and it’s been awesome. It’s really like a rejuvenation of sorts. 

What do you think is so special about the Australian rock scene at the moment? The rest of the world seems to be under the impression the genre is dying, but our scene is thriving…

Well, I mean, we had the greatest pioneers for rock music, AC/DC, they got associated with pub culture and I think there will always be that in Australia – hen there will always be room for rock. There seems to be just a lot of rad rock bands going on in Australia. I mean, there’s also rad rock bands going on in America but I think, per capita yeah, we’re doing pretty well.

Purchase/Stream Positive Rising: Part 1 here.

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Catch DZ Deathrays at the following dates:

SYDNEY // Friday 18 October // The Metro Theatre (AA)
SYDNEY // Saturday 19 October // Manning Bar (18+)
MELBOURNE // Friday 25 October // The Forum (18+)
MELBOURNE // Saturday 26 October // The Evelyn (Under 18)
ADELAIDE // Friday 1 November // HQ (AA)
PERTH // Saturday 2 November // Astor Theatre
BRISBANE // Friday 8 November // The Tivoli (18+)
BRISBANE // Saturday 9 November // The Zoo (Under 18)

Tickets available here.

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