Die!Die!Die! - Promises Kept
Author: Angus Thompson
Friday, 11 April 2008
“I can’t play guitar for shit, and I think that if I could play guitar really, really well, I’m sure our songs would be really bad,” Die! Die! Die! frontman Andrew Wilson says. “I know for a fact I will never be mediocre because I can’t play guitar.”
Wilson is an expert at undercutting his own technical abilities. You heard it: according to him, he’s shit. But, ironically, therein lies his musical integrity as the leader of a punk band. Fast-paced, apathetic and totally inadvertent, Wilson breathes punk.
Talking to Andrew about making music is like asking someone how they breathe. Struggling for words, they wouldn’t have given it another thought. “We kind of just do what we do, we always try to make sure that it’s as honest as possible,” Wilson says.
However, the world at large has found substance in Die! Die! Die!’s cool air of apathy. Since their first international tour in 2006 the Dunedin trio haven’t stopped moving. My throwaway attempt at small talk – “So, how long have you been in New York-” – is met with a shocking “like two hours”, preceding an extensive tour itinerary that rolls off his tongue so freshly you’d swear he was recounting the last few minutes.
Dipping back into the antipodes of Australia and New Zealand in April, it’s rarely the case that a band’s tour of its own country is such a cause for fervour, however Die! Die! Die!’s overseas success has dubbed them New Zealand’s prodigal sons, who are now trailing a bursting treasure trove of international acclaim behind them wherever they go.
“It’s quite good to be out. Not sitting around at home doing nothing,” Wilson says, passing off the past two years of touring as simply a good excuse to get away from home.
Having lived in the UK extensively on separate occasions as a child, there’s no guessing these days why Andrew clings fondly to London’s DIY culture, with Die! Die! Die! swinging back and forth from New York between the two towers of punk civilisation.
“Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve always been able to go back and make more money than the last time we went there,” he says. “And it’s just getting a bit official now, and weird. It’s so cool, you know, but now it’s so different from how it used to be.”
Contrary to Andrew’s dismissive ambiguity, there’s calculation in their pursuits. With a three year gap since their debut album, Die! Die! Die!’s sophomore release Promises Promises is unsurprisingly matured. Double the length of their self-titled record, fat wads of melody have now surged through the cracks of previously blustering noise rock.
“I guess we just tried to not write the same record twice. I didn’t really want to be that obscure with the music, either,” Wilson says. “Because I come from that background of noise music and punk rock music – stuff we’ve been doing since we were 14, so it would be really easy to make noise, and the same songs over and over again. So we really tried to not do that this time.”
WHO: Die! Die! Die!
WHAT: Promises Promises through Etch N Sketch/Inertia / Play Oxford Art Factory
WHEN: Out now / Saturday 19 April