Where would we be without the drums? Without drums we’d be living in a world of folk music. God love old skool Bob Dylan, but it would be a hard proposition for most. Who would be holding down the beat? What about rocking out and slam dancing? The thought sends a tear to the eye.
Mikey is a legend. He rocks one of the tightest and original sounding drum styles in noise punk music today. His band, the much-loved kiwi three-piece DIE! DIE! DIE! is defiantly leading the charge, reprezenting and taking their sound to a new higher level.
Recently signing to respected label Flying Nun, their latest offering FORM hit no.19 on the mainstream music charts in New Zealand. A positive sign that the Kiwi’s are getting behind music that isn’t just made for radio sleep candy. Hey kids, scrap what you know and start a new band. Listen to DIE! DIE! DIE!
In the middle of blitzing New Zealand with a full-scale album tour we caught up with Mikey while he was taking a breather. Get to know the guy that usually does his talking from behind the drums. Here’s what he had to say.
Where did you grow up?
Dunedin, New Zealand.
Did you find music or did music find you?
It was a combination of the two, it started with older siblings Nirvana records bleeding through the walls and the first explorations of the record store picking up the sex pistols, the clash and other mega punk records of the 70’s.
Slowly becoming aware of local bands playing around Dunedin and what shows were possible to attend without being thrown out from.
Can you recall one of your favourite early childhood memories?
Discovering all the party treats the night before my 3rd birthday, and having a pre party for myself.
What made you want to join a band?
Originally wanted to play the guitar and sing, but had difficulty finding a backing band to take me to the top.
Was persuaded to play drums instead, and so it began.
Tell us something about your hometown Dunedin.
Its spooky and geographically remote and beautiful, every time I return its pretty much how it was when I was there previously, which in a lot of ways is a good thing.
What’s the music scene like over there in New Zealand?
The music scene seems to be very healthy here in NZ at the moment, especially for more left of centre acts.
There are heaps more bands forming and playing all over the country.
What are the positives about being a kiwi band?
It’s very easy to get things done in New Zealand with a lot of really great people really willing to help out.
What inspires you to remain creative?
The willingness to not stay put and constantly push music to different places, that really great feeling where you challenge how you create and find exciting new sounds that really work both live and with recordings.
DIE! DIE! DIE! are definitely one of the powerhouses of live music from the Southern hemisphere and probably one of the purest brutal and honest bands rocking out in the world right now. Just wanted to say that.
You’ve probably seen a lot of bands in your travels. Name some artist out there in the world that you dig?
TFF from Dunedin, crazy kids who keep getting better every time I see them. They have a record out through their own record label Proxy music. There is Also the Coolies, Pumice, Golden Awesome, Heka, Full moon fiasco heaps in NZ at the moment.
What’s the best thing about music right now?
Is to be forever surprised and uplifted by what bands and other musicians are making, taking in whats already out there.
What are your thoughts about the internet and downloading?
I think the internet exposes your band to a lot more people who possibly wouldn’t have been able to listen to your music,and its a great way to let people know about shows.
It’s definitely taken some of the mystery about bands away, however. As for downloading, if you’re a fan of a record you always want the physical copy and will seek to buy a copy legitimately.
You guys recently got signed to respected New Zealand label Flying Nun. How did this come about?
It was a long time coming really, Roger S from Flying Nun came in an listened to some of the stuff we had been doing for this last record FORM when we recorded it and really wanted to release the record. Everything took much longer to actually get to the point of releasing the record seeing we had started recording it in August of 09.
Can you give Australians a short history lesson on Flying Nun?
Flying Nun was started in the early 80 s and released some NZ s best bands, stuff like The Skeptics,Snapper,The Clean, Bailterspace,Dead C, Look blue go purple and tons and tons of other great stuff.
The label was sold in the 90s and went through a somewhat grey area, having recently been bought back by the original owner Roger Sheppard it s ready to put out lots more great music.
So you guys are releasing a new album ‘Form’. What was the inspiration behind the songs?
The album started with us either writing a fresh or moving ideas we had previously into a coherent group of songs, we wrote quite a lot of it in Dunedin last winter in the upstairs of a very old hotel.
That definitely gave some inspiration.
Is there a new direction on this record?
We wanted to make a fun noisy guitar record, I really don’t want to be writing the same record over and over again. So we definitely tried new things, it’s still very much us though.
When does the new record drop?
FORM will be coming out in Aus on the 1st of October, let’s get excited!! Haha
Man you guys are hard workers, you guys are recording already right?
Ha! Ha! We have recorded like 8 new songs in this old book store in Auckland. It’s been such a long time between Promises,Promises and FORM we really didn’t want to do that again.
You guys are road warriors (built to tour). How does it feel to be in the one Country for a change? ie; NZ?
Ha! Ha! Never really wanted us to be known as road warriors, playing lots for us has always been the main way to keep the band going and functioning on a day-to-day basis. Being stationary in one place has given us more stability to concentrate on the recording side of things, hence the already new recording of a batch of songs while we release FORM.
So, when are you returning to Australia?
We will be in Australia at the end of September, through to early October. Just finished a really amazing album release tour of New Zealand so can’t wait to do it all again in Aus.
Favourite Australian City? why?
I’d say Sydney, it would be difficult to find a city of its size anywhere in the world that feels so open.
Are you a movie buff or a book head? give us your current fave’s.
Books of the month: Renegade – Mark E Smith
Imperial bedrooms – Bret Easton Ellis
The jokes over – Ralph Steadman
Movies of the month: The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock
Repulsion – Roman Polanski
The lonely guy – Arthur Hiller
Any recent life changing moments?
Not really, kind of happy to keep it that way for now.
Cremation or Burial?
Cremation, rather float away in the breeze bro.
Any last words of wisdom?
Success is 99% failure.