College Times

DZ Deathrays Could Rock the Lawn off Your Backyard

By Ana Anguiano • College Times

Published: Monday, July 9, 2012

Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012

DZ Deathrayz

Kane Hibbard

There must be something in the drinking water from Down Under because Australia seems to be cranking out new musical talent as if it was an Olympic sport. DZ Deathrays is the latest in a string of high-quality Australian musicians who can not only work a crowd at a venue but a killer house party, too.

Life is a gas for DZ Deathrays singer and guitarist Shane Parsons and drummer Simon Ridley. They’ve had a crazy and chaotic year touring, but they’re holding on and playing each show as if it’s their last.

A musical duo from Brisbane, the duo has drawn comparisons to other two-piece bands such as The White Stripes but more accurately fall between Canada’s Death From Above 1979 and Japandroids. DZ Deathrays plays hard and fast rock ‘n’ roll with a slight electronic twist. They make musical chaos and refuse to apologize.

Oddly enough, the band had to adjust to make it in the US. They recently lengthened their name from DZ to DZ Deathrays in order to avoid confusion with the American dubstep DJ – not that anyone could confuse them for a dubstep act.

With a new name and a new album, the pair was ready to take on the world. They released their debut full-length album, Bloodstreams, last month and it was critically well received. NME even listed them as No. 4 on its “20 Most Exciting New Bands of 2012” list.

The hype and new-band smell means the DZ Deathrays boys are growing accustomed to playing festivals all over the world. However, they came from humble beginnings.

“When we were growing up I used to have a band and we would play house parties,” Parsons said. “It was really cool ‘cause every house had a show. “

Growing up in a small town in Australia, house shows were the best way for Parsons and Ridley to play and hone their craft. According to Parsons, all you really needed for a successful house party was a backyard. He would exchange CDs and listen to The Vines, Silverchair and The Strokes with his friends during the day and party at night.

“It was really cool because you would have like 40 to 50 kids come down and it gets pretty wild,” he said. “That’s where it started. Sometimes bands would be playing and sometimes it was just a party. “

The DZ Deathrays guys are house party masters. They can party harder than a teen starlet in a downward spiral and wake up the next day feeling fine.

In fact, the entire premise of their music video for “The Mess Up” revolves around their tolerance to alcohol. Parsons and Ridley are shown sitting at a table facing a camera, taking consecutive shots of Jägermeister chased with beer. By the end of the video the bottle is empty, the song is over, and Ridley leans over to the side and simply … releases.  

While duo bands are popular and trendy, not many are still around. DZ Deathrays is taking advantage of their chance to shine. Parsons said the audiences are a little more crazy on this current tour with Mississippi's Bass Drum of Death.

“You remember [the shows] that are more crazy and people get into it,” Parsons said.

It’s this same audience reaction that keeps the band going when they play night after night.

Living on the road isn’t easy and Parsons said it means they end up writing new material on the road.

“We’re just going from one thing to the next,” Parsons said.


Bass Drum of Death w/DZ Deathrays, The Rhythm Room, July 8, 8 p.m., $8-$10


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