Die! Die! Die!
I first discovered Die! Die! Die! when I was 17 years old. A boy I liked at the time was a big fan, and in my teenaged attempts to grab his attention, of course I had to follow suit. Little did I know I’d end up head-over-heels and still completely infatuated almost five years later. With the band, that is. Having just released their fourth full-length album Harmony and about to embark on another Australian tour, I spoke with Die! Die! Die! front man Andrew Wilson about growing up, record label troubles, and doing things independently.
Since the release of their debut album back in 2005, Die! Die! Die! are a band that have perpetually been on the road, slipping in the release of an album every two or three years between gruelling stints of world travel. No matter how lengthy the tour or amount of time spent away from home, Wilson insists that this how he likes it.
“I like being busy. It’s better than not being busy,” he explained when I asked him about his band’s seemingly bottomless schedule. “If I’m not busy than I get into all sorts of trouble. I’m not a ‘chiller’, I don’t chill out. It just doesn’t suit my personality.” Wilson and Die! Die! Die! drummer Michael Prain’s desire to keep moving lead the band to recording Harmony at Blackbox Studios in France, where they employed the help of Australian producer Chris Townend after plans to tour the US and work with Steve Albini, who also produced their first album, had fallen through. “Chris is absolutely amazing,” Wilson said enthusiastically of the unexpected Harmony producer. “I think he’s a fucking genius. I don’t really speak highly of many people, especially people in the music industry. They’re all pretty awful. He is one of the very few people whose hearts and minds are in the right place. He literally jumped on last minute and saved the day.”
Despite almost ten years to the Die! Die! Die! name and an even longer musical relationship between Wilson and Prain, Wilson insists that Die! Die! Die! is still malleable and the roster of changing bassists not something he is concerned with; “at the end of the day it’s always been me and Mikey [Prain.] We don’t have to really worry about being brutal with decisions.” Lachlan Anderson, the band’s longest standing bassist left after the recording of Harmony’s songs were still skeletal, Wilson explaining the album changed dramatically since then. “The album was a completely different thing. [Lachlan leaving] put us back for about nine months, but everything worked out right.” As for new bassist Michael Logie, who has played stints with The Mint Chicks and currently Opossum, Wilson isn’t concerned whether he is here to stay or not; “I don’t really care. That may sound pretty weird but if Michael Logie is in the band then brilliant. Michael [Prain] and I have realised that we can kind of do Die! Die! Die!. We can just kind of keep it going.”
However Wilson’s current comfort in Die! Die! Die! has not always been so, with the band’s incredibly fierce do-it-yourself ethics put under pressure in the past. “We went through a lot of hard times,” Wilson said, explaining that moments of disillusionment lead to some wrong decisions, such as “working with a lot of fuckwits. [That’s a laughing ‘fuckwit’ by the way!” Wilson ensures.] However with the release of Harmony, those days could be few and far between with the record being released in New Zealand and Australia through their own label Records Etcetera. “In New Zealand we’ve done so many albums and every label we’ve worked with in New Zealand hasn’t done the job. We haven’t met the right record label in Australia either, so maybe if the right record label came along we’d work with them.”
Though only just over two years since the release of their last album Form, Harmony once again displays an evolution in Wilson and Prain’s musicianship; “I’ve grown up a lot. When Die! Die! Die! started, I had only been out of Dunedin a year. I had been living in this small south island town my whole life. I’ve had a lot more life experience and listened to a lot more music. There’s been a lot of living going on. It’s important for me as a musician, and to keep it interesting for me, that I don’t just sit there and play the first Die! Die! Die! EP over and over again!” However according to Wilson not all agree; “I had this conversation with a guy in Hamilton [New Zealand] who was saying that he was expecting us to have evolved more!”
When asked whether Die! Die! Die! had reached his idea of success, Wilson promptly replied that success is was exactly what they were doing now; “I’m making lots of music with my friends, and there’s no pressure and all my friends add to my life, everyone is very supportive. Die! Die! Die!, up until a year ago I just felt drained and now I feel really invigorated. I don’t judge success by money, I just judge it by what you create."
BY ALEXANDRA DUGUID
Harmony is out now via Records Etcetera. DIE! DIE! DIE! are playing this Saturday August 25 at Ding Dong Lounge, supported by Damn Terran.