Interview With Dead Letter Circus - 2nd July 2011
Photo Of Dead Letter Circus © Copyright Dead Letter CircusJames caught up with Dead Letter Circus in Birmingham to talk about their debut album and much more.

First of all can you give us a brief history of the band such as how you came together and came up with the name Dead Letter Circus?
Kim: We’ve got a 5 year pact; we don’t talk about the name. We’re only 18 months away from it and we will reveal all, you’ll see that across all interviews we aren’t just making it up so don’t take offence ha ha! Basically Stuart and me were in another band and it was sort of imploding, as bands do. We were in a rehearsal room and I heard some amazing guitarist playing in another room, the door was a little bit ajar so I kicked it in then burst through and said “the fuck man, I’m trying to sleep in the next room what are you doing? Keep the fucking noise down” and after a moments silence of him looking really confused he said “Holy Fuck! You’re that guy from that band!”, so he gave me a demo and we started having a musical affair. I didn’t tell my other band about it and after a couple of weeks I thought there’s something really special here and committed. I then disbanded the other band.

Tom: And the story of how Luke joined the band.

Kim: Oh yeah! When we were doing our beginning shows, we did a show with our friend’s band and at the end of the gig we said “do we get paid for the gig?” and they said “this one’s for love”; what they didn’t realise is they were signing an emotional contract with us. Their drummer filled in for us a few months later when the original drummer left and he never left our band, they had to share him with us that was the deal.

Tom: I’ve been with the band for around 12 months now. Basically I met Kim one night at a gig, grabbed him by the arm as he was pacing through the crowd and said “Hey you’re that singer from that band!” kind of like the other guy did. I asked him to listen to my band online and we just stayed in contact.

Kim: We needed a guy to come in and tome was the perfect guy and tom would finally stop bugging me to come around and write music ha ha!

Who would you say your main musical influences are?
Tom: For me personally I grew up on bands like Tool and The Mars Volta, I think they are amazing. I remember listening to The Mars Volta for the first ever time and it was the most original sound I’d heard in about 5 years it really blew my mind and I think Tool, especially Aenema that album has such a natural raw sound and encompasses everything I love about music which is electronic nasty distorted sounds mixed with progressive rock, that music that pulls you on a really emotional level.

You released your debut album ‘This Is Warning’ back in May in the UK, how has the album gone down with both your fans and the press so far?
Kim: I think most of the reviews we’ve read are pretty good unless it’s like a really heavy magazine.

Tom: Unless management only filters the good ones through ha ha!

Kim: We don’t really care too much what the press say because the fans love us so much. With a review you’re really trying to fluke 1 guy liking your music whereas the past 2 shows here were an amazing realisation as to why I’m doing this, the people here have been just as excited as the Australian folk were.

The album was released a year ago in Australia and has helped you become one of the most exciting rock bands in the county, how does this make you feel? And why was the Australian and UK release dates so far apart?
Kim: Because we’re doing an independent release in the UK. Major labels are the people that make or break a band over here; I mean we’re signed to a major label in Australia but over there the independent music is quite large, if you can get over the initial hurdle of paying for your record then you aren’t sacrificing most of your music sales to give to corporations. We’re trying an independent release here with our money from Australia so you won’t see a lot of advertising about it we’re relying on the word of mouth mostly, people getting excited and telling their friends and the internet which we’re excited about because we’re more about the unity of people rather than the corporations flogging our stuff to make big bucks. If anyone likes it, tell your friends, tell your friends, you can even download it just come to a show!

Tom: Ha ha!

What themes and stories do you cover on the album?
Kim: The album is about becoming aware that there’s a construct and a design placed around us and we’re stuck within it. From start to finish it’s a realisation of that and a refusal to participate and just the futility of it like “what can you possibly do as a person” against something so massive that we’re all struggling against. Hopefully the answer people get is that it starts with the individual to start the end of the massive corporations dictating to us how to live; those days are coming to an end.

The artwork for the album is fantastic, who came up with the ideas and final design?
Tom: There’s this amazing artist in Australia, Cameron Gray. I remember the first time I saw any of his artwork it was prior to me joining the band; then me and Kim met up one day and we were talking about music, getting pretty deep into that, he was on his laptop and said “Man check this out” and showed me this artwork, I had the same reaction. This guys like a really talented artist; no idea where he came from it just blew my mind that this guy was doing this stuff in Australia and I think the guys asked him to propose a few ideas at first, then him and Kim had a lot of conversations about which direction to head with it. In the actual album there’s an art piece for every song so there’s the visual connection to the music.

Kim: It was pretty cool. I’d send him the song and the lyrics and asked what he’d see this as; it’s easy to misunderstand somebody especially with art. We ended up doing 24 pieces of art for the 12 tracks and if he got it wrong fist time he’d get a 2 page rant, a proper brain explosion and he’d always get it right after that. To our knowledge nobodies done anything like that so we’re really proud.

You are currently in the UK on a short tour, how have you found your stay so far?
Kim: The energy from the people has been amazing; we have a lot of sing along’s at our show but with the accent ha ha.

Tom: Its mind-blowing, we rehearsed all the way up to this tour and we decided to cut out a few of the sing along’s we do in Australia because you guys don’t know the songs and then that first show in Bristol..

Kim: Tom was about to say this magical thing happened but really I was lazy and just stuck the mic out.

Tom: All of a sudden these sing along’s are going and it was a really amazing moment having all these guys in the front row smashing it out we just felt really blessed.

What can someone who has never seen you before expect from your live show?
Kim: I would have to say, having done a few interviews. There is no way of answering this without being a wanker, so here goes 5 guys dressed in black playing music hopefully like the cd. Sounded like a wanker right? Ha ha.

Once your UK tour finishes you head off for some shows across America and then back to play more shows in Australia, how does it feel to be able to tour across the world playing your music to such a wide fan base?
Tom: We thank everybody who comes to all of the shows.

Kim: We’re really grateful it’s really good. We haven’t played America yet so we don’t know what to expect from there yet but every crowd has their own different traits and its really cool to find out when in a new country.

You have supported some massive bands in Australia such as Muse and Linkin Park, how did these amazing opportunities come about?
Kim: Matt Bellamy was not gentle ha ha!

Tom: I remember the day that Muse got announced.

Kim: We don’t really know how it happened, just management stuff. I got the call and everyone went quiet and I just said “Yeah, Yeah, 4th December? Yeah, Oh yeah guys we’re supporting Muse” and everyone was just like “WHAT THE FUCK” it was surreal.

Can we expect you to head back to the UK before the year is out?
Kim: We’ll be back in November.

If you could play with any band past or present, who would it be and why?
Tom: I feel really blessed to be honest I’ve played with all my favourite bands.

Kim: Tom came in after the hard work ha ha!

Tom: Yeah I stumbled into all of this ha ha!

Kim: Nine Inch Nails, just to see what goes on backstage.

Tom: Oh Radiohead, definitely.

What’s your take on the digital revelation killing off the music business?
Kim: I think its fucking awesome people download online. It’s made music honest, it’s very unlikely we’re going to get rich we’ll get to tour the world and get some experiences but we’re in it because we love it even though it’s unfortunate we probably won’t be driving Ferrari’s its not the reason to be in this.

Social network sites seem to be a big tool in the music industry these days, with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a social network page, what are your opinions on social networks as tools in the music industry?
Kim: We were really the last MySpace band in of Australia; you know the ones to get a record deal from their MySpace. MySpace was simple and more like a school project than anything else but we put 2 songs there then after our 5th show we started touring Australia, our first show in Melbourne we had 300 people purely from the MySpace feedback. Our friends The Butterfly Effect put us in their top friends and we are really grateful to them.

Where do you hope to see Dead Letter Circus in a year’s time?
Kim: We want to play in this big room [Academy 1] and the one in Bristol.

Tom: This won’t happen in a year’s time but I know you just had Glastonbury and Sonisphere is coming this weekend and I would love to play on a bill like that within the few years.

One last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra or Giraffe which one would you be and why?
Kim: I’m going to say a giraffe for the same way the higher the man’s head is as low as he must hang. Basically the giraffe needs to balance out somehow so I’m going to assume neck to penis shaft size.

Tom: I don’t think that’s how it works man. Is this question the drugs test? To see if we’re strung out.

Thanks for your time is there a message for your fans reading this?
Kim: What’s it with the pigs in this country. We keep them in cages but you let them run around and have awesome lives which are awesome. Is it like India where the worship cows but with pigs? Its awesome man we’re all for ethical farming.

Tom: That’s probably it.

Interview by James Webb
 Band Members

Kim Benzie
Luke Williams
Stewart Hill
Rob Maric
 Latest Releases
Dead Letter Circus - This Is The Warning
Release Date - 14th May 2010

1. Here We Divide
2. One Step
3. Big
4. The Space on the Wall
5. This Long Hour
6. Cage
7. Reaction
8. The Drum
9. The Design
10. Next in Line
11. Walk
12. This Is the Warning
 Band Related Links
Dead Letter Circus Myspace