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DZ Deathrays (previously DZ) are an Australian dance-punk duo from Brisbane, Queensland. Composed of Shane Parsons (vocals/guitar) and Simon Ridley (drums), they put out two EPs before releasing their debut album, Bloodstreams, in April 2012. The album went on to win the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album award at the 2012 ARIA Awards.
Parsons and Ridley are both from Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, were initially the founding members of Brisbane band Velociraptor, and continue to play with the group. Following the formation of DZ Deathrays, the band's first performances occurred at Brisbane house parties. The debut recording for the band was an EP, titled Ruined My Life, that was released in 2009 and its entire content was recorded live at a house party.
DZ Deathrays released their debut album, Bloodstreams, in mid-2012 and received praise from Pitchfork Media, with reviewer Laura Snapes writing that the album is "more than worth going deaf to." The album was co-produced by electro artist Richard Pike and was recorded in Queensland during a two-week period. It was released in the UK in May 2012 on the Hassle label and NME reviewer Kelly Murray explained: "This album has the potential to make your little sister want to shave her head and invest in mock leather hotpants. It's the penned seduction of a weekend of irresponsibility and a Monday full of inferior excuses."
The band's second album was recorded with producer Burke Reid at the Grove Studios complex, located adjacent to the Strickland Forest, north of Sydney, Australia, in January 2014. The band recorded with Reid for a two-week period--a 9 January Facebook post from the band read: "Producer Burke Reid tinkering away at about 3am. Sounding brutal." The band's press release for the album states that the recording is "a rich, deep collection of sounds, textures and arrangements".
In early April 2014, the band signed with the Infectious Records music company for the release of Black Rat in the United Kingdom (UK). The band toured the UK during April 2014, appearing at the Liverpool Sound City event, prior to the UK release of the album in August 2014. The duo released their second studio album Black Rat in both Australia and the United States (US) in May 2014.
The band's press release for the album states that the recording is "a rich, deep collection of sounds, textures and arrangements". In the promotional material that accompanied review copies of the album, Parsons described the album as "definitely a night-time record. After 9pm; that's where it finds its place."
In early May 2014, writing for the Australian newspaper, music journalist Andrew McMillen awarded Black Rat 3.5 stars out of a possible 5. McMillen describes Bloodstreams as comparatively juvenile alongside Black Rat, and writes that the more mature sound better suits the duo, as they move beyond their "trash party" origins. McMillen further praises the album's 11 songs as a "significant step forward" and concludes: "... it's Black Rat the sound of a confident band torn between its populist, party-friendly beginnings and a new-found ability to embrace glimpses of beauty amid the sonic destruction."
DZ Deathrays have toured throughout over 15 countries, including Australia, the UK, the USA and Canada. In the promotional material for the band's second album, Parsons explained that the band had spent the preceding two years drinking and touring, a period in which the songs for Black Rat were created.
To promote Bloodstreams, the DZ Deathrays performed at festivals such as the Reading and Leeds Festivals (UK), the A Perfect Day Festival (Villafranca di Verona, Italy), Splendour in the Grass (Australia) and St Jerome's Laneway Festival (Australia), and headlined the NME stage at The Great Escape Festival, held in Brighton and Hove, UK. The band's performance at the US South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas was shortened, due to the extreme volume of their music. Musical touring partners include Blood Red Shoes, TRUST, Foo Fighters and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
They won Best Independent Hard Rock album at the 2012 Independent Music Awards and Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album at the 2012 ARIA Awards, winning over bands such as Frenzal Rhomb and Buried in Verona for the latter award. The band was completing a European tour when the ARIA ceremony occurred, but in response, Ridley wrote: "this award only means something because we all did it as friends instead of business partners. Looking forward to getting back and having some well-deserved congratulatory drinks together", while Parsons stated, "the whole thing is pretty unexpected which makes it a nicer surprise."
In April 2014, Ridley identified seven albums that "changed his life" for the Australian "Tone Deaf" music website. Included in the list are Smash by The Offspring, which was not only the first album that Ridley owned, but "also the first album with swearing on it"; The Bronx's first self-titled album, "a psych up album for nights when I'm too tired but need to party"; Air's Moon Safari, which is an album that was listened to after Ridley would "come home from work every day" and "melt into the couch"--he stated that he now listens to the album on a weekly basis; and Rust In Peace by Megadeth, praised by Ridley for being "Metal how it should be!"
Shane Parsons - Lead vocals, guitar (2008-present),
Simon Ridley - Drums, percussion, backing vocals (2008-present),
Lachlan Ewbank - Guitar (2015-present),
Former touring members:
Mitchell 'Mood' Gregory - Guitar (2014-2015)