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Die! Die! Die!

Die! Die! Die!

Interviewed by
Ben Coley
Wednesday 6th August, 2014 1:08PM

Never ones to stay quiet for long, Die! Die! Die! are back and sounding better than ever. Over the last ten years the band have proven to be one the country’s most prolific, hardworking bands and are well known for their energetic and often chaotic live shows. Currently, the trio is getting set to release their fifth album S W I M, which is out via their own label Records Et cetera on 15th August. To support the record's release the three-piece will embark on nationwide tour the same day. UnderTheRadar sat down with frontman Andrew Wilson to find out more about the making of S W I M, and how things have changed for the band since they put tumultuous times and drunken nights largely behind them...

UTR: Hey Andrew, how long has S W I M been in the making?

Andrew: Hey! Well we started recording the album properly about this time last year. We spent three days tracking the album at The Lab in Auckland. I then went over to London and recorded the vocals at Lightship 95 studios. The album was then mixed in Tasmania at the same place we did Harmony. It was such a fun experience last time that we thought we’d do it again. We had a good creepy male-bonding time in the mountains, with lots of campfires.

This is the first album Die! Die! Die! recorded with Michael Logie (The Mint Chicks, F in Math) on bass. How was it working with him in the studio?

It was awesome. Working with him is amazing - Logie is one of the most inspiring people I have ever played with. Not only is he incredibly talented, he is super humble. He joined the band just before we toured Harmony. A lot of people thought he recorded on that album, but it was actually our previous bassist Lachlan. I received these weird emails after Harmony came out, from people saying how much they missed Lachlan’s bass playing on Harmony, which I found hilarious.

Would you agree S W I M sounds more urgent than your last album Harmony?

Yeah, I think it is more urgent. With S W I M we didn't rush it, but also didn't overthink it. The band wasn’t really working before we released Harmony so I spent a lot of time over-thinking that record and was doing quite self-indulgent things with it, because I thought no one would ever hear it. On S W I M, I tried not to listen to it too much when we were mixing. I have been listening to it more now though and am really happy with it.

There is a reflectiveness and maturity to the album, which almost seems like you are washing your hands of the past and looking ahead. Is this the case?

A little bit. The older I get the more comfortable I have become with who I am as a person. Life doesn’t need to be a struggle to make good music. I currently have a really decent group of people around me, so the album has come from a good place and that comes through on S W I M. It is a positive sounding album. Our only other record that I think have also come from a positive place were our first EP and Promises Promises.

The video for 'Crystal' shows you drinking and life going past as a blur. Does this have anything to do with the lifestyle you live and constantly touring with Die! Die! Die!?

The idea for the video didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted. You can use substances to put yourself in a bit of a hole and what you think is a social thing actually isolates yourself from others. I have had a bit of a problem with alcohol in the past and at points I feel it may it have been something that got away on me. I haven’t been drinking lately and I have had no regrets or done any dickish things. Don’t get me wrong drinking is great if you can handle your shit, but if you can’t, then don’t do it.

S W I M is an acronym for "someone who isn’t me". Can you tell me a little more about choosing the title?

I wish there was a great story behind it, but there isn’t. We were struggling for an album name and needed to come up with something. "Someone who isn’t me" is how people describe their drug taking experiences when talking on the internet and the song 'Swim' is about drugs, so it just sort of came to us.

The photo-realistic cover art was done by Mark Rutledge. What's the story behind it?

Mark is one of our best friends and such a talented artist. He did the artwork for Promises Promises and has seen us play over 70 times. I was blown away by that painting. It is one of the most moving pieces of art I have ever seen. It is of Mark’s best friend Zach who passed away last year. We got together with Mark and played around with some ideas, which didn’t work. In the end we just asked Mark if we could use that painting which he was fine with. He had to check with Zach’s family first to see if it was OK. They agreed for us to use it, which I am really thankful for.

Are there any strong influences that inspired this album?

Not exactly... I guess what inspired this record was touring Harmony. The band had got into a bit of a rut and playing live wasn’t as enjoyable as it had been. It had started to feel like it was a bit of a job. So to be playing live and for it to be exciting and fun again was refreshing and made me eager to write S W I M. I would also say that Rory Atwell was another influence. I hung out with him in summer and he filled in on bass when Logie was touring with Opossum. He recorded the vocals for S W I M and does backing vocals in one of the songs on the album.

The album is being released here in NZ on your own label Records Et cetera, but you also work with a lot of other labels overseas. What is the reason for this?

We have Black Night Crash records in Australia, Smalltown America in the UK, Sounds of Subterrania in Europe and Disc Union in Japan. We prefer working with smaller labels. If a label likes your music and asks to release your band it is worth more than asking a big label to release your music. I like the fact that smaller labels give a shit; they almost treat your music like it is their own. They cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

Your NZ tour starts soon. Are you looking forward to it?

Yeah! It kicks off the day S W I M comes out. There are a few venues we haven’t played before. I am also really looking forward to playing in Barrytown again. We first played there ten years ago with The Mint Chicks and have been back a few times since. The shows there are always pretty weird. Caroles are joining us on this tour - they are an exciting band, so I am looking forward to playing with them.

What is the plan once you finish the tour?

We have most of the year planned out which is good. We go to Australia in September and then head over to Europe in October for a short album release tour before heading back to NZ for summer when we will hopefully do some recording. We then head back over to Europe for the festival season in their spring/summer.

Die! Die! Die! kick off their nine-date album launch tour on April 15th at Galatos in Auckland. Head over here for ticketing information.