Dead Letter Circus Talk "This is the Warning"
Mon, 02 Jan 2012 09:19:44
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Australia's Dead Letter Circus incorporate swirling melodies into a torrent of distortion on their latest offering, This Is the Warning [Sumerian Records].
In a nutshell, the band sounds like Muse with real balls. Heavy music hasn't experienced an outfit this infectiously cerebral since Tool first made their incision into pop culture in the early '90s. Yet, Dead Letter Circus are decidedly their own enigmatic entity, and that's what makes This is the Warning such an invigorating aural journey.
In order to get a little closer to the myths behind this Circus, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino sat down with Dead Letter Circus singer Kim Benzie for an exclusive interview.
Did you approach This is the Warning with one vision?
Our first release was an EP of six songs called Dead Letter Circus – EP. We spent 18 months writing and writing until we had six good songs for it. As a result, when we released our EP, the big bands went, "Wow, this is a cool support band". At our 15th show, we were out in front of a thousand people and touring. We basically spent a year and a half doing that. So we wrote This is the Warning in little pieces and blocks when we had a couple weeks off here and there. It captured two years of our lives. It wasn't all in a bunch and we didn't consciously do it. It's a sound we learn towards. We wrote what we like, and we're lucky enough that other people seem to dig it as well.
Is there a thematic thread to the album?
During that two years, we completely unplugged from any kind of mainstream information outlet. Our information came from YouTube or TrueTheory.com. Lyrically all the way through, it's a first person account of waking up and realizing that you're in some construct or design that's been placed around you and you're expected to live within. It began with a refusal to be a part of it. That was the general theme. It wasn't intentional. I had all of the lyrics in the wall in front of me, and all of these key words kept popping up. It accidentally tied the whole album together lyrically in that way. I actually spent two months in this little room, pouring over the lyrics to make sure each one had a place. Everything was quite deliberate in that aspect. It was a very inner time with a lot of introspective moments. We had a deadline and I couldn't really think of anything else. I had a breakup at the same time so it was the perfect timing to write an album.
What's the story behind "Lines"?
I was in another band that did well on a small scale. That band broke up, and I fell out of love with the musical dream for a bit. I got my first job and became part of society. I'd never really been a part of it. Music had been my dream from when I was younger, and I had a very supportive family. I was shocked at how structured and restrictive life was. It felt like we were all walking along these little lines in life. I didn't fit at all into that thinking. I felt like an alien walking into this alien world working nine to five and I just didn't fit there. It was shocking, man [Laughs]. It was a very strange concept, and I'm sure it's very normal for most people. If you're a child waking up in twenty years when we have actually broken all of these bonds into the new world, I think the concept of how we live now is going to be spoken about as some weird story.
Where did "This Long Hour" come from?
It's about challenging yourself to stand up and not be fearful about making change. You can be a sheep or a lion.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
All of the songs are written from that first-person perspective. They're generally about something that happened to me or someone close to me. I'm sharing that. They're like a conversation. If I had a revelation, I'll share it. It's not preachy though. I'm not trying to force an opinion.
Do films foster that?
We watch movies like Esoteric Agenda, Thrive, Kamatica, and anything on TrueTheory.com. We're interested in consciousness expansion and spiritual things.
If you were to compare This is the Warning to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd compare it to The Matrix and Fight Club. Fight Club is primarily about fighting against a system that's just so ridiculous. It's a bunch of guys who are inspiring others to break the mold of the life that they've been given to lead rather than the life they want to lead. I watched that the other day for the first time in about five years, and it's still so relevant. Then there are the parallels with the truth of The Matrix. Life is a dream. We're not all separate entities—we're all actually one flowing thing. I think they're two of the greatest movies ever made.
Have you heard Dead Letter Circus yet?