By Rod Whitfield
“You meet some interesting people out there!”
Dead Letter Circus are heading out beyond their usual inner-city touring haunts, and hitting three outer suburban Melbourne venues in as many nights in early to mid-December. According to front man Kim Benzie, speaking from his home base in Brisbane, they have done these types of shows semi-regularly over the years, and they are always a slightly different experience. But he is very much looking forward to the ‘Urban Spread’ mini-tour anyway.
“We’re hitting the ‘burbs, and I’m pretty psyched about it actually,” the understated but affable singer enthuses, “I like sleazy little suburban gigs. “We’re jumping into the heart and soul of the community, not just the city dwellers.”
There is also a positive message behind the shows, as the tour teams up with the Transport Accident Commission to provide outer suburbs punters with the opportunity to see great bands like DLC without having to drive into the city.
“It’s all about the responsible use of alcohol, and looking out for your mates,” he explains, “so it’s a great idea. And it’s definitely needed in the alcohol related culture that we live in. It’s a big part of our life, so this type of thing is important.”
And the line-up’s they are bringing to the ‘burbs with them are really quite stunning as well, with such luminaries of Aussie alternative and progressive rock as Caligula’s Horse, Jericco, Sydonia and Alithia filling out the bills. Benzie admits to not having seen Caligula’s Horse as yet, and jokingly hopes for some ‘Caligula’ style debauchery onstage when they play.
“This will be my first time seeing them,” he reveals, “I’ve heard nothing but good things, some of the other guys in the band have seen them.
“I’m a big fan of any Caligula themed antics onstage!” He laughs, “I found that a very disturbing movie, I watched it as a kid. I was like ‘fuck, mum, I don’t want to watch this!’ It left scarring. But now, with the internet, that’s a day’s browsing!”
It’s been a magnificent year for the band. After a successful first single release back in May, they released their stunning third album Aesthesis in July, and it went directly to number two on the ARIA charts. The tour in support of the album was a veritable triumph, and the year is being capped off not only with the Urban Spread tour, but also with an ARIA award nomination, no less, for ‘Best Rock Album’. While it was the band’s first chance to attend a ceremony of such magnitude, Benzie decided to do the gentlemanly thing with his own seat.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, because it was a sold-out event, I offered my spot up to my wife, who went along in my stead,” he informs us, “I won big brownie points, and I ended up sitting there laughing because she ended up on TV!”
“All the other guys in the band had a great night.”
Unfortunately, the band didn’t take out the award on the night, as it went to Perth art-rockers Tame Impala. Benzie admits to never really expecting his band to pull off a shock win.
“That (the Tame Impala win) was a shoe-in,” he states without hesitation, “never once did we or even our label even joke that we would win.
“But I think we won the moment, getting nominated in that category, and getting the TV time. Plus, my wife got to walk down the red carpet!” He laughs again.
“But I got a bit of a taste for it, I wouldn’t mind one of those sitting in my ‘man cave’! So, the next ARIA’s be warned! I’m clearing a spot.”
And 2016 looks to be just as big, if not even bigger for the band. Late January sees their first ever appearance on the prestigious Soundwave Festival, where they will share the stage with the likes of Disturbed, Bring Me the Horizon, Deftones, Northlane and many, many more, and play to massive crowds, giving them the opportunity to play to a whole new audience.
“Yeah, that’s going to be fucking awesome!” he says, barely able to contain his enthusiasm, “we are so psyched for that. I was so stoked when AJ (Maddah, festival organiser) got in touch with us on Twitter, and started talking with us about doing the show. I thought I was getting pranked, actually!”
Plus, the band are apparently already at work on the follow-up to the highly successful Aesthesis, and they will also be heading off to tour overseas shortly after the completion of the Soundwave tour. So it’s all before this most talented and hardworking of bands.
“I’m keen on that album cycle turnaround that we just did (it was less than two years in between second album The Catalyst Fire and Aesthesis).
“And yeah, most of next year we’ll be overseas,” he reveals, “we might not even play Australia at all next year, it depends what pans out, but the next year will pretty much be all about America and Europe.”
Urban Spread Tour Dates
10 DEC PLAZA TAVERN, HOPPERS CROSSING
w/Caligula’s Horse, Jericco, Gatherer
11 DEC – CHELSEA HEIGHTS HOTEL, CHELSEA HEIGHTS
w/Caligula’s Horse, Jericco, Gatherer
12 DEC – VILLAGE GREEN HOTEL, MULGRAVE
w/Caligula’s Horse, Sydonia and Alithia
Tickets from: www.urbanspread.com.au
Presented by TAC