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The Death Set - Death Becomes Them

Author: Nina Bertok
Monday, 5 January 2009

Ex-pat indie anarchists The Death Set are returning to Australia, supporting Santogold in Sydney. 3D’s Nina Bertok found out what a live show really should be.

There’s no doubt The Death Set are a stubborn bunch. Ever since waving bye-bye to their hometown on the Gold Coast five years ago, Johnny Sierra and Beau Velasco set out to blow the socks off Sydney, New York, Baltimore and now Philadelphia with their anarchic brand of electro-punk and frenzied live shows.
Hell-bent on touring their music for the people since the band’s very beginning, Sierra says he and Velasco currently couldn’t be any more in their element.

“The whole reason behind releasing the first EP was to try and actually start touring,” he explains down the phone from the US. “From the very start we wanted to be a touring band. We’d see bands on MySpace playing, like, 30 shows in a month or whatever and we though, ‘fuck it, we want to do that’.”

In recent weeks The Death Set completed a touring schedule that saw the band constantly playing live since January. Despite exhaustion, Sierra insists it isn’t a case of be careful what you wish for.

“This whole entire year since January we have been touring this record absolutely, literally non-stop with about two weeks off during that time. We just knew what we wanted to do and we went out and did it. The industry really had nothing to do with it. In hindsight, it’s actually quite easy once you decide that you’re gonna tour. It’s that thing where if you’re really dedicated to something, you will attract the people that will help you, that has been true for us. Even the labels coming down to see us and this album, it’s all come from that touring thing in the beginning.”

With live shows that have inspired comparisons to Black Flag-era Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop, fans have come to expect a downright spectacle from the Aussie mentalists.

“I’ve always know what I would like to see when I go see a band and I wanna see people hanging from the roof! I wanna see a crazy performance, people really giving it their all. So the visual aspect for a band playing live is probably the most important. A band playing a song perfectly is not that important, I can go buy their record. Actually, we just got off a tour with Girl Talk who is absolutely huge here and a Girl Talk show pretty much personifies what I’m talking about. I know it sounds weird because you’re watching this little scrawny dude with shorts who’s hunched over a laptop, but there are hundreds of kids going crazy on stage around him, it’s this massive spectacle that’s visually amazing to watch. I just love watching people lose their shit.”

While the band’s debut Worldwide has been doing just that, Australia is about to see The Death Set in flesh and at their best.

“Oh and we’ll soon also have a few months to start writing songs again,” Sierra announces. “We’ve written a few already but the real focus on writing will be after Australia.”

WHO: The Death Set
WHAT: Support Santogold at The Forum
WHEN: Tuesday 6 January
MORE: forumsydney.com.au / myspace.com/thedeathset

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