Their distinctive style of music has won them a legion of fans and as Luke the band’s drummer explains, they have taken the musical influences of bands past and present and morphed them into their own special brand − which lately is taking on a more electronic sound.
Why drumming, and how did you get into it?
I grew up in a very musical house. My mum was constantly playing old vinyl records, and I guess I always gravitated towards music and that created my musical ear. When I was about 10, I started focusing on and idolising bands that were in the charts. That was the late ‘80s, so it was Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Joni … all those sort of glam rock bands that were dreaming over the top and all about the bomb bust. I identified with that, and particularly the drummers, and shortly thereafter I started getting drum lessons at a local store. It’s been a lifelong thing since then.
How and when did Dead Letter Circus form? Give us a bit of your history.
I wasn’t actually in the band when they formed. I think it was around 2004 that the band started writing music together, then they released the self titled EP in 2006/2007 and started touring really heavily on that EP. They got a bit of success with Triple J and picked up support tours with Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect, COG. The original drummer, Scott Davey, decided to leave the band for family reasons, so I got the call up from a frantic Kim [Kim Benzie – vocals] a week before the Cog tour, actually. So I came in as a temporary replacement for the Cog What If tour, which then turned into something a bit more permanent. We gelled well personally and musically, and then I became an official member about a year later, I think.
How did you know the band to get that call up?
We just knew each other from playing in different bands, and I guess they liked my drumming and thought I would be a good replacement for Scott.
What are you guys looking forward to most about coming to the Mid North Coast and playing at FOTSUN?
I am just excited to come there (laughs), because I have never been there before, and I hear it is beautiful. I was talking to a friend last night who has been to a few FOTSUNs, and he said that it’s right on the beach at the caravan park. He said the setting is really beautiful and it’s a really cool vibe, and everyone is allowed to bring their own alcohol, is that correct?
Yes, that’s correct.
Yeah – he said it’s a really different, chilled out, nice little intimate festival, so that will be nice, rather then a massive one. And hopefully I will get to have a swim in the ocean as well – it’s been a little while. I can cleanse myself before the show … chill out!
Will you have time to enjoy the region while you’re here?
I think we will probably fly in on the day, do the show and fly out the day after; that’s normally how it works with bands. It would be nice … it would be beautiful to stay, bring our girlfriends down and stay a few days, but I think it will be a get in, get it done, get out kind of affair, unfortunately.
Where do you guys get your musical inspiration from?
Lots of places. Bands like Faith No More, Tomahawks, Deftones, Mars Volta, Muse … U2 definitely inspired our sound a lot; I think people can pick the U2 influences. We borrow what we like from those styles of music and then try and create our own brand of Rock and Roll; that’s sort of what we strive for. Instead of ripping something off totally, we will kind of borrow a sound and morph it into our own particular brand.
Lately we have been getting into electronic music productions, so that’s starting to come out – bands like Massive Attack, UNKLE have inspired us to write electronic things, Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor’s stuff, we all massively love. All the electronic stuff started to pop out on the last record and will be promoted on this latest record as well.
What’s your favourite Dead Letter Circus song and why?
My favourite song to play live would have to be Next in Line, because it’s just so physically pumping and it’s really like the final to the set for the band most nights. I would have to say either The Drum from our first record or Alien from the first EP.
What’s new for Dead Letter Circus in 2012?
We are going to start recording the new record next month, so we will be flying to Melbourne and will track all the drums down there. We found an amazing studio in Melbourne to do the drums, and then we will fly up in the middle of September, back to the Gold Coast, to track all the guitars and the vocals.
So we will be doing about five or six songs in September and then going away, writing for a little bit longer, and then hopefully finishing off the last six around the end of November/ early December. And then we just have all the festivals, which is a good chance to play and that’s basically it – just focusing on getting the new record done.
Will we be hearing some of the new songs at FOTSUN?
Possibly – yeah! I think you probably will. We will probably road test some of the new tracks at FOTSUN.
Thank you very much Luke.
This story was published in issue 67 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus