How post-punk indie band Die! Die! Die! continue the buzz

Die! Die! Die! lives on

Pioneers in the post-punk revival, New Zealand indie band Die! Die! Die! have just released their sixth album. Lead singer Andrew Wilson, known for his theatrical live performances, chats about continuing the buzz.

Back when big international bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were embracing the post-punk revival of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a little band in Dunedin formed their roots. Die! Die! Die! has changed members a few times since their 2003 creation, but lead vocalist Andrew Wilson has always been a key player in the three-piece band’s 14-year-long foothold in New Zealand’s music scene. With this week’s release of their sixth album, Charm Offensive, Wilson chats about inspiration and the band’s longevity.

INDIA HENDRIKSE: Is there a common theme between the tracks on your new album?

Andrew Wilson It’s a bit of a stream of consciousness when I’m writing songs and working on the words, and then I kind of realised in hindsight there are themes but at the time, I just go with the flow. I wrote all the words then we all did the music together.

What do the lyrics reflect about your own experiences?

I have struggled a lot with my mental health over the years so I would be lying if I said that didn’t play a huge part in the making of this record. This album really was a mix of some of the best times of my life and some of the worst.

How long did it take to create?

It was quite quick really. We did a couple of days recording and writing in Byron Bay about 18 months or two years ago. Then exactly a year ago, we rented out this studio – my cousin has a studio on a boat in London – and did half of the album there, and went to Dunedin in summer and finished it all.

Do you have a personal favourite track on the album?

Yeah I do, I really like the ‘Sinister’ song. I really like how the songs don’t all sound the same.

How would you describe the sound on your new album?

I would describe the sound of this album as the most free and loose Die! Die! Die! album, with an electronic undercurrent.

What bands got you into making post-punk music?

We grew up in Dunedin and a lot of the older musicians would always play us The Fall or a lot of the early Xpressway Records music; it had a bit of a post-punk energy to it. Then I heard lots of The Pin Group. I remember the guy from my high school band, Tim: his mum told us about Joy Division when we were like 16. That was a long time ago, so we couldn’t download the music or anything, we had to search out the music in the record store.

Has your taste in music changed a lot over the years?

It’s ebbed and flowed. I mean, I think it’s so hard with listening to music now because you’ve got so much. It can be overwhelming to realise what to listen to, so I end up listening to the same stuff over and over again.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Well, this band called Evans The Death, [who] have actually just broken up. So I’ve been listening to a lot of them, being a bit nostalgic about them breaking up. And lots of Stereolab.

Do you feel like your sound has changed over the years?

I never thought I’d be in a band that has six albums, it’s quite a lot of music. I’ve said this before but I think we realised that we lived within self-imposed boxes and within rules we put on ourselves, and then with the first EP, we were like, “this is what we do, Die! Die! Die! does this, we don’t do anything else”. Whereas now we do what we want and change around things and the formulas. I think that’s important for a band, when they start to have a really clear aesthetic and then you can break your own rules I guess.

With your performances, you’re often quite physical. Have you ever had an injury?

Yeah, I have had a few injuries. I dislocated my shoulder a couple of times, I was falling off the PA, and I remember a few visits to A&E, particularly in those earlier years.

And you’ve learnt how to fall now?

Yeah, I’ve learnt how to fall – just don’t fall shoulder first. I remember being on tour in America a lot and not having health insurance and then having to fall on my knees or something and then hobble around. 


Die! Die! Die! will play at Whammy Bar, Sat 14 Oct, as part of a nationwide tour.