Caroline de Dear is one quarter of Sydney psychedelic pop quartet Day Ravies. Happy had a chat to her in the wake of Tussle‘s release and talked about Adelaidean bunk beds, the Marrickville scene and the awesomeness of Deerhunter.
Happy: First of all congratulations on releasing Tussle and all the rave reviews it’s been getting around the world – how does it feel to have your debut album so warmly received?
Caroline: It feels pretty wonderful. We all put so much into it, it’s really lovely that it’s gotten such a warm reception and that people sort of understand where we’re coming from and appreciate where we’re coming from and what we’re trying to do. Everyone’s been really supportive so it feels pretty lovely.
Happy: What inspires you to make the music that you do?
Caroline: We initially formed the band because we all wanted to write pop music in a broad sense. We all have known someone else in the band for a while, like I went to high school with Lani and Matt and Sam grew up on the beaches together so we sort of joined forces and all had quite disparate influences but I guess we’ve found a way to integrate that variety into a pop format. It has coherency but it’s derived from quite varied roots.
Happy: Yeah, cause Tussle has a lot of different styles of music on it, does that come out of each member of the band writing their own song and using those different influences?
Caroline: That’s a huge part of it and that’s what keeps it interesting for us and it’s a real contributor to our motivation and our drive as well. Because we all write in the band it’s very diplomatic and equal and we share responsibility and are all as committed to the band and the writing as every other member. I mean everyone has quite a different style and we always workshop each other’s songs and demos and ideas and we all add our own personal sprinkle.
Happy: So what kind of styles are you personally responsible for on the record?
Caroline: I guess I’m really influenced by Krautrock at the moment and also 60’s pop music – girl bands and singer groups like the Shangri La’s and that sort of thing. It’s really whatever I’m listening to really, like I grew up on a lot of experimental music as well, a lot of electronic music and a lot of African music as well when I was a kid. I’ve always been really interested in rhythms and polyrhythms and stuff like that. Naturally whatever I’m listening to at the time is what influences me. We all have quite strong roots in punk and really appreciate that ethos as well so I think that comes through on a few songs.
Happy: Yeah definitely. With the whole punk ethos thing, did you take that attitude towards making the record too?
Caroline: Oh for sure, we did everything ourselves and I guess we’re pretty lucky because a lot of our friends are either sound engineers or getting into audio quite seriously. We managed to record the whole album with a friend of ours after hours at a music school that he works at, so that worked out really well. Another really good friend of ours has also built his own sound studio and has a lot of like 70’s analogue sound equipment and a big old analogue mixing desk. It was a very slow and involved mixing process but it was a lot of fun and we had so much control over every element and every stage of the process of making the album and that was really ideal in a lot of ways. Because we had control of everything and we were working with friends who sort of knew where we were coming from, it really ended up sounding a lot like we all imagined it would – we’re all pretty happy with it.
Happy: You guys have been on tour as well recently…
Caroline: Yes, we just finished last weekend.
Happy: Any cool stuff happen on the tour?
Caroline: Well we definitely had a ton of fun. In Adelaide we got to sleep in bunk beds which felt like school camp – in Canberra we bought coconuts and had a coconut party which was pretty fun. There’s a lot of waiting around and stuff when on tour so we just goofed around and amused ourselves most of the time.
Happy: Who else were you playing with on this tour?
Caroline: In Sydney we were supported by a Melbourne band called Chook Race and there was a terrible storm that night too so they were held up at the airport and had to wait on the tarmac for three hours. They came to the show straight from the airport after that ordeal so, I mean it was a really fun night but it was quite tense for a little bit. East River also played with us that night who are one of our favourite Sydney bands and we had like a 90’s shoegaze band called Sounds Like Sunset play as well, who we’ve wanted to do a show with for a long long time cause we really like their sound. In Melbourne we played with Pearls and Pageants who were really wonderful and in Adelaide we played with some really great bands, which I’m only just discovering the whole Adelaide music scene and there’s some really wonderful things happening down there. We played with Bruff Superior, Body Horror and Wireheads and then in Canberra our record launch was combined with The Cannanes launch – they had a big show there so we were supporting them and that was a great show. We actually played with The Cannanes in the Popfrenzy showcase last year at Sound Summit – it was really great to see them and play a show with them again cause we all really adore them.
Happy: Where’s your favourite venue to play at?
Caroline: I’d have to say the Red Rattler. I think the location is wonderful and I feel like it’s a struggle to find decent venues in Sydney but I really love the vibe and the sound is fantastic there and it’s such a lovely room. I think there are a lot of interesting spaces that are popping up around Marrickville at the moment and we all live around there so it’s pretty easy – nice and local. Also our friends Unity Floors – half of which live in Marrickville are having their record launch at the Factory too on Saturday (Dec 7th). They’ve just released an album and they’ve done a tremendous job with it, they’re great guys.
Caroline: Yeah I’m really excited for it. I don’t know KVB very well but I like what I’ve heard. I’ve been a big Deerhunter fan for a while so that’s gonna be the biggest show we’ve had to date. It’s pretty exciting to play with a band we all admire and have listened to and followed for some time.
Happy: What’s your favourite Deerhunter album out of interest?
Caroline: Oh, gosh. I’d have to say Halcyon Digest. It changes a lot though depending on what mood I’m in – but I’m a big Stereolab fan and I just read that interview that Bradford (Cox) did a little while ago with them. It’s like a discussion between him and Lætitia Sadier – I found that really interesting.
Happy: What’s next on the Day Ravies schedule?
Caroline: We’re trying to record some new tracks at the moment – well not trying to – we are recording some new tracks. I think because we’ve been playing so much recently we’ve got a bit of momentum and we’re all feeling fairly productive. I guess we’re just trying to keep that all going. We’re all writing, including Matt which is really exciting because up until now it’s just been Sam, Lani and me so it’s really nice having his perspective in the mix as well. We’re also going to New Zealand next year after our support slots and we’re really in very early planning stages but we’re gonna try to book a little tour if that’s possible. We caught up with some NZ bands who were touring recently, Surf City and Trust Punks, they were really lovely guys and they gave us some tips on cool places to play and places to see in New Zealand cause we’ve never been there before. That’s the rough plan – we’d all love to travel more and then put out another album late next year. The ball is rolling!
Happy: Final cheesy question here… What makes you happy?
Caroline: What makes me happy? Oh wow so many things! I could be really cheesy and say playing music with my best friends… or I could be cheesy and say my pet rabbit…
Happy: How about playing music with your pet rabbit?
Caroline: I think she might be a little deaf, but yeah, she’s pretty gorgeous.
Listen to Tussle at the Day Ravies bandcamp below and make sure to catch them support Deerhunter and the KVB throughout December.
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Our artwork today is from the wonderfully talented Louis Kanzo. Now based in Melbourne, Louis grew up in a small house in Jakarta surrounded with walls full of doodling by his brother and himself. He is influenced by street art movements, caricature and graphic novels such as Manga, Marvel, Tin Tin, Peter Madsen’s Valhalla and Asterix & Obelix. Check out his work at http://www.louiskanzo.com/ and on The Loop.