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Interview: DARTZ Discuss Their New Single 'High At The Beach'

Interview: DARTZ Discuss Their New Single 'High At The Beach'

Annabel Kean / Interview by Clark Mathews / Photo Credit: Vanessa Cone / Friday 18th September, 2020 1:46PM

DARTZ are single-handedly manifesting summer days at the beach with their new track 'High At The Beach', an earnest metaphor for friendship lifting you up in times of need. Although 'High At The Beach' and previous single '1 Outs Captain Cook' may give an impression the Pōneke crew have a follow-up to debut No Matter Whatz EP on the way, frontman Danz has ruled out any such rumours saying "DARTZ have decided not to do EPs or albums anymore, we are strictly a singles band". In addition to the band taking this new path in their musical journey, the cut was recorded in collaboration with Hunter Jackson (Doprah) and Joel Cosgrove (Eyegum), resulting in a stunning mix — claimed by Danz as "the best sounding recording that we’ve ever had". In the mess of lockdown restrictions, DARTZ' Tāmaki Makaurau show and Others Way 2020 appearance were both sadly cancelled, and their dates in Ōtautahi and Pōneke have been postponed for the time being. In lieu of a venue to stomp your feet in, the next best way to celebrate the single is to trek down to your local beach with nine of your most uplifting friends and get high on life!

“High At The Beach was the first song we wrote together as a team ... After spending so many months stuck inside, and dealing with the mental health and other issues that come along with that, it’s about finally reaching out to your buds, embracing happiness and friendship again.”

Clark Mathews went above and beyond, donned his UTR Roving Reporter hat and kindly took the time to get to the bottom of the new anthem with DARTZ singer Danz — listen to 'High at the Beach' and scroll down for their chinwag...

Clark Mathews: Hi there, this is Clark Mathews, roving reporter for Under the Radar. We’re interviewing Danz from the band DARTZ from Wellington, for the release of his single 'High At The Beach'. Hi Danz, how are you today?

Danz: I’m great, thank you Clark.

So sources tell me that you’ve had this song 'High At The Beach' in the works for quite a while. How does it feel to have it out?

Well Clark, your sources would be correct. We’ve been working on this for a good half a year, since early Jan we’ve been working on this song. It’s a summer anthem, summer jam, we’ve been working really hard at it, really tirelessly actually, and we’re excited to share it with the world.

I’ve seen your band DARTZ live in Wellington quite a few times, and 'High At The Beach' has consistently been the closing song in your set. It’s normally a really powerful moment with crowds singing along and going really crazy for it. How do you translate that live energy to the recording?

Clark, as you would know from attending these shows, it’s all about repeating the rituals that we do at those gigs in the studio to capture that energy. You know, a box of Lion Browns, a positive attitude, and a good foundation of friendship.

I see in your press release that you recorded this song with Hunter Jackson and Joel Cosgrove, who I’d say are two fairly well respected figures in the Wellington indie music scene. How did that come about and how was working with them?

Yeah, we were very lucky to be able to work with Joel and Hunter, they’ve both been mentor figures to us - specifically Hunter who is very much responsible for the quality of 'High At The Beach' as well as the future upcoming DARTZ singles. I’m so grateful to him, this is probably the best sounding recording that we’ve ever had. Hunter Jackson is a class A guy.

So when you sing about being high at the beach, what does that refer to? Beaches are normally quite low in altitude given they’re next to the ocean.

High is a metaphor, Clark. It’s a metaphor for your friends lifting you up when you’re feeling low, and also for smoking mar—

Psych you fucking bitch. I know what the song is about, it’s incredibly obvious. How dare you joke about a topic like weed smoking at a time when it’s such an important and serious issue with a referendum on the way

Clark, if you really were a DARTZ fan as you claim to be, you would have studied these lyrics and you would understand that there’s other important issues in there besides the referendum. It’s about mental health, and about mental health between males in particular.

The song obviously does mention mental health, and coming out of the house to see your friends for the first time in a while. Is this something you’ve dealt with recently with the lockdown and COVID-19?

Yes Clark, you may not know this but the band were separated during the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s tough, when you have a relationship like ours when you normally see people every day, you miss them. I missed them. It really did have an effect on me. But seeing the boys on the first day back, cracking open that first bomb, it really resonated with me. [‘Bomb’ = a can of Lion Brown, DARTZ’s favourite beer - Ed.]

So I saw in your amateur and quite lacklustre attempt at a press release that 'High At The Beach' was the first song the band DARTZ put together and wrote as a band. When did you write it and what was that process like?

Look, I just want to preface this by saying that I have no control over the press release. Each DARTZ band member has a role in terms of band management, and unfortunately our bassist and shaker player took care of that one, so don’t bring me into this. But yeah, this was one of our first songs: it originally was going to be called 'I Hate The Beach', but due to a misheard lyric it changed to 'High At The Beach', and then took on a life of its own from there.

Off the top of your head, what’s the most offensive thing you can say about Eric Clapton? 

I think Eric Clapton made a deal with the devil, and I don’t want to go into the specifics because it could get me in trouble.

What’s next for DARTZ? I saw that this single might be the first off a second EP or release — anything you can tell us?

Absolutely not true. DARTZ have decided not to do EPs or albums anymore, we are strictly a singles band.

Thanks for your time Danz. Any parting words?

So what happened with Eric Clapton - [the rest of this answer has been redacted on behalf of DARTZ’s management and legal team. The views expressed by Danz are not representative of the band DARTZ as a whole, or of the views any human should hold.]


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