Jeremy Neale and Simon Ridley of DZ Deathrays discuss get rich schemes and off-grid living

Below you’ll find the transcript of a conversation between Jeremy Neale and Simon Ridley of DZ Deathrays acclaim. We didn’t ask Jeremy to write an intro, but he very kindly provided one for us anyway. Take it away, Jeremy.

“Separated by oceans but united by friendship. Jeremy Neale and Simon Ridley (DZ Deathrays) recently had a chat about life, the biz, yacht rock and the future of Tupperware. Simon [just finished] touring Europe with The Darkness. Jeremy is currently touring the menu at his local cafe.”

jeremy neale dz deathrays shane parsons simon ridley

Hear Jeremy Neale and Simon Ridley meld minds on all things proper; Santa Claus, yacht rock, gaming, and the allure of land ownership.

JEREMY: You’ve been in the biz for awhile. What do you reckon is the best part and the worst part?

SIMON: The shows are definitely the best bit, especially that feeling of walking off stage after a fantastic gig where everyone leaves the venue sweaty and with a smile on their face. Worst bit is the long haul flights… they will be the death of me. Whats your worst flying experience that’s been with a band?

JEREMY: Yeah, I can see why those big business CEO types and Fergie in Fergalicious are all about that first class lifestyle. The concept of sleeping comfortably on a long haul is truly beautiful. I think the worst flying experience was just every tour I did with Velociraptor from 2012-2016. No money for accomodation so we were staying up through the night to catch the first flight home. If the set was 10pm and you used all your energy during, staying awake ’til 5:30am is pretty torturous.

JEREMY: Do you think you’ll rock forever – physically playing shows til you’re 90 – or do you think you’ll eventually invest your rock energy into other things like hosting a radio show or being a stock broker?

SIMON: Considering my back is already ruined from lugging gear up and down tiny stairwells every night on tour, I don’t see myself doing this in to my 50s (unless we get really popular and can afford to hire some loaders). Hopefully I can just find a way to work from home, if you’ve got any suggestions let me know?

JEREMY: I see a lot of ads that say I could make $4000 a week working from home but I don’t click the links ‘cos I’m scared of the strange path it could take me on. Maybe it’s the only way out of the Matrix. Or maybe it’s just like – you can definitely make that much cash but you gotta be back-to-backin’ a bunch of Tupperware parties til you don’t wanna Tupperware party no more :(

SIMON: Maybe we should start an online store? If so, what should be our main product to sell?

JEREMY: Love. We put a little note in an envelope and it says “You are loved.” And we give every envelope a hug before we put it in the mailbox. No storage space required, limited carbon footprint, world gets a little bit brighter, and we’ll probably eventually find ourselves with a spot on an Oprah comeback special. One can dream.

JEREMY: I think there is a call to me to get progressively more adult contemporary as time goes on. Do you feel the same pull? Will Total Pace or DZ Deathrays ever go full Steely Dan?

SIMON: Hell yeah, yacht rock baby! I would love to end up doing that but probably not under the guise of those bands. People get real upset when you change pace too much. But maybe we’d just call it DZ CHILL DAYS or hopefully something a lot better. The amount of other punk rock bands who talk about doing something more relaxed is staggering. Also was playing some Michael McDonald in the dressing room last night and thought of you. Have you seen Will Sasso’s impression of him? It gets me every time.

JEREMY: Haha crikey, that is a primetime Michael McDonald impression. What a gift. It’s a good idea on the whole keeping the sound within a realm too. Every artist wants to be Ween and dance the way they feel between releases but the world isn’t ready. And I get it, I love stability and security and maybe in an uncertain world all we can really count on is the music we love.

JEREMY: What do you do with your downtime when you’re not touring – are you back on the video game train? I’ve seen a lot of people taking up hiking. It’s not for me at the moment but I wouldn’t write it off ’til I give it a proper go. By the same token, a lot of people like building things. I like the concept but I don’t know if I’d find it meditative or just frustrating.

SIMON: Yeah if I know we’ve got like a week or two with no real commitments I’ll try catch up on a game that I’ve missed the boat on. Like last year was Red Dead Redemption 2. Also catching up on movies I’ve missed with the Mrs and our dog on the couch, eating pizza is my all time favourite thing to do. Basically just staying indoors, not talking to anyone, and getting fat. What games have you been playing lately?

JEREMY: Unfortunately I haven’t done a deep dive on a game for awhile. I was enjoying Destiny 2 for a bit. And I gave The Last of Us a crack but it was too stressful. Nobody needs artificial stress in their life. Or maybe some people do – like Jason Statham in the movie Crank and also Crank 2: High Voltage. Been enjoying the casual nature of Tricky Towers though. It’s like multi-player battle Tetris but you’re competing to build the highest tower. Also there are wizards.

JEREMY: You’ve seen a lot of the world. Do you feel like Brisbane is your forever home or is there a coastal/off-grid yearning?

SIMON: I love Brisbane and I think I’ll always be attached to it and partly live there in some form. However lately I’ve been pretty obsessed with the idea of finding a cheap block of land somewhere in the middle of nowhere to put a little off-grid house on and get away from everything for a while. I could see you as maybe a bit more of a caravan crusader, do you have any interest in it?

JEREMY: I feel that. I don’t think I could imagine living anywhere other than Brisbane – I always miss it whenever I’m away for even a few weeks. But I would love to have more nature in my life and would love to do the eventual driving tour of Australia. In the meantime I just wanna go to the beach like once a month. Maybe look at a mountain somewhere. Rolling hills. Fresh air. So when you do get that off-grid house, I’d like to get in on the timeshare for it.

JEREMY: Speaking of what we want for our lives – some people are motivated by bringing joy to the world. Like Santa Claus. Others just love community. Some, the hedonistic pleasure of fame – also like Santa Claus. What would say is your main driving force?

SIMON: Haha, Santa is a bit of an attention whore. He’s only supposed to have one day a year but it seems to stretch out to a month or two of festivities… not a bad thing though. Anyway I think I’m at the right level of fame, it’s like just enough that no one really knows me when I’m walking down the street or whatever, but enough that sometimes people might notice me and buy me a drink at a bar. It’s a tough one because in order for a band to make a decent wage they have to be pretty famous, but I’m still unsure how I’d feel about being at that level. It surprisingly sucks trying to hang out with a famous person because of all the shit that comes with it. My only real drive is I want to work for myself, doing something that’s creative, I can do it with my friends and most importantly it makes people happy because that’s what makes me happy. Music just seems to be the only thing I’ve found so far that does all of that.

JEREMY: That’s a really nice motivation. And a nice level of notoriety. I’m trying to get my new record stocked in bars so people have the image etched in their drunken memory. And then I’ll just be hanging out as a bar fly. And they’ll be all “don’t I know you from somewhere?” and I’ll be like “Ah, I dunno, maybe?” And then they’ll be like “Yeah, I do. Lemme buy you a drink” and I’ll be like “Oh I just got one but if you could buy a copy of my new record, that’d really cure what ails me.” And that’s the peer-to-peer sales that’s hopefully gonna keep me in the biz for 4 more years. 4 more years! 4 more years!

JEREMY: I’m still thinking about Santa Claus, have you toyed with the idea of a Christmas single?

SIMON: We’ve done two! Haha. We did one in Berlin with Simon Berkfinger for a split 7” we released with Pulled Apart By Horses. That turned out pretty well. The other we did at Maida Vale studios in London which was an amazing place to record a terrible Christmas version of Rad Solar. We didn’t release it, hopefully it never sees the light of day. Anyway Christmas songs seem a pretty over saturated market, we need to find the next holiday to get behind. Any ideas for a holiday we could write for? Easter? Black Friday?

JEREMY: I can’t believe I missed Lonely This Christmas – it’s great! Also, feel free to email me the Christmas edition of Rad Solar when you get a chance. The biggest concept I’ve got is a Christmas in July song. I wrote one a few years ago but have never been able to justify recording it. The Halloween single is actually where it’s at though. It’s not often that you get to play with the palette of spooky instruments. Theremin, evil laughter, “ooooh” ghost-type backing vocals, rattling chain style percussion. Maybe life is already spooky enough though. Makes you think.


Jeremy Neale’s new album We Were Trying To Make It Out is out now via Dot Dash / Remote Control.