“Jem and Jace are DEAD. They awesome. Most bands are awful but not DEAD, they’re awesome. It’s spelled in capitals ‘cos there are only four letters and you have to make them count.” – says Melbourne duo, DEAD’s bio. Emma Dean chatted to the Jem about his favourite albums, touring and the bands Pozible campaign.
Tell us the story of how DEAD come to life – how did the band start? How did you meet?
This band started ‘cos we both wanted to do more with our other bands. That is: we wanted to play more often, release more music, tour overseas etc. Eventually we though ‘fuckit, we’re mates, well just make a band with the two of us and whatever it turns out to be it will be fun’.
It’s the first time I’ve been in a band that booked a tour before we wrote a song! We met years ago when my band Fire Witch organised some shows for Jace’s band back then called Pigman Vampire. Other members may come and go in the future, but I figure we will remain the constants DEAD for it’s lifetime.
You are both in several other bands – what direction did you want to take with DEAD that was different to your previous bands?
No direction as such. We just started jamming and went with what felt good. Musically we didn’t try to re-create or deliberately diverge from our other bands. To us every band will always sound different, depending on who is playing.
What are you listening to now? What are the three albums that have influenced your life/work?
Right now I am listening to BJ Morriszonkle; an incredible one man band from here in Melbourne. And have been smashing the new album from Vaz (New York) and 7″ from No Anchor (Brisbane).
Could never choose three albums. King Crimson are a long time influence for me. As are Nunchukka Superfly and The Melvins.
You’ve toured all over the world – what is your favourite place? Any amusing tour stories to share?
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was extra special for me as I got to play to my family. Malaysia and Indonesia have both got great underground scenes that we slotted into very comfortably. We’re very keen to get back there. USA was also a blast, in a very different way. Our best shows there were kinda out of the way places. Minot, Spokane, Albuquerque, Minneapolis with Gay Witch Abortion and Total Fest in Missoula where we got to play with Big Business, White Shit, Thrones, Helms Alee, Vaz and a heap of other sick bands.
Stories……..hmmm I don’t think you got space for that here. We got stuck in a Hurricane in New Orleans, that was the opposite of amusing. Have slept in many places I’d rather not remember.
You’ve just been to NZ- how was the tour?
Awesome. ‘Camp A Low Hum’ was a really special festival. Nothing like that exists here as far as I know, perhaps not in the world. Played with some great bands including God Bows To Math who are touring here this week and Threat Meet Protocol who I hope come out here some day.
Tell us about your debut album ‘Thundaaaah!’
We made it in a few days around Christmas with some discounted rate studio time. We recorded it at Headgap where we did a Fangs of LP (our other band) and I recorded an Inappropriate Tough Guy Behaviour LP.
We basically had a rule of doing everything in one take, including any overdubs so it’s quite raw but layered which I think is kind of unusual. All the songs were new, we’d only been together a couple of months. We made the album early on deliberately as we felt it’s a part of a band’s life that is often not documented.
You are currently taking pledges from fans on Pozible to raise money for your second EP – how’s that going? When do you start recording?
It’s going pretty well. We are about $400 short of our $2,000 target. People pledge cash and get stuff in return so it’s a win/win situation. Some bands like Budd/Christbait, Hard Ons and Electric Flu have even donated stuff to the campaign which has been especially cool.
We got about two and half weeks left on that so fingers crossed we reach the target. I really had no idea if anyone would support it or not when we launched it. We have applied for government grants for all our tours but not got any and it all costs a lot. We have sold a decent amount of our LP so I knew people out there actually liked the band but it was still hard to predict if people would want to get behind the campaign. But a few have which is great.
We start recording early May. With or without the cash.
And finally, what’s next for DEAD?
A bit of laying low. The band accounts are looking pretty sorry after all this touring and releasing. We tour to Japan in September and will tour Australia again around December and will release the new LP sometime before that. Between now and then we’ll be saving up cash for this expensive habit we have called DEAD and playing a few shows in Victoria which you can check out here:
For more information about the band, check out: http://deadsounds.com/