Dead Letter Circus were pleasantly surprised when they arrived to the ‘States for their first North American tour just a few months ago. While Americans have unfortunately garnered a global reputation for being cocky and rude, that stigma quickly vanished as the Australian rock quintet were charmed by the country’s culture, beautiful landscape and hospitality.
“There is definitely a misconception of the international public [with] somehow Americans being arrogant, which is kinda how the international impression of them are. But it’s a total contradiction to the people we’ve met,” vocalist Kim Benzie says. “Everyone has gone out of their way [for us]. It’s really quite humbling. From the service station attendant to the guys checking I.D.’s at the door, everyone is really nice.”
While Dead Letter Circus are thoroughly enjoying their time in the United States, the group is here on business and that is to promote their full-length debut album “This Is The Warning.”
This Is The Warning
All throughout the 12-track collection, Benzie -- who sounds like the Australian version of Linkin Park’s highly respected vocalist Chester Bennington -- passionately sings about taking back control over an array of riveting prog rock melodicism. The theme shines on every composition including standouts like “Big,” the manic-driven “Next In Line,” and electro-tinged delights “One Step” and “The Space On The Wall.”
“It’s all about personal evolution and change. It’s like a refusal against waking up to the fact that there is a construct and it’s been put all around us. That’s what the album is all about. It’s a warning,” Benzie explains. “There’s a bit [of a] Morse code at the start of the last song ‘This Is Warning,’ [which is] basically saying to those that think they can control us, this is the warning.”
The album was released in Australia on May 14, 2010 and debuted at #2 on the charts. Aside from their bustling reputation, the stellar first week showing was due in part to their revolutionary ‘Project Dead Letter’ campaign where fans were given a daily glimpse into the making of “This Is The Warning.”
“It’s a cool project where we had film crew in [the studio] recording. We had artists create 12 individual pieces of art relevant to that [particular] song,” Benzie explains. “We had 76 days of content where if you pre-order the album, you get a special look into the website and it was essentially this behind the scenes experience -- everything from the drama of having a tantrum to someone popping in.”
Tantrums aside, Dead Letter Circus have always strived for perfection.
Next in Line
Formed in 2005, the Brisbane, Australian-based collective spent nine months straight in the practice space writing and perfecting ten songs they were proud of. Once that feat was accomplished, the five-piece began booking gigs and were soon touring around the country.
“Basically, we went from rehearsal room to the real thing. That was a test in itself, so we didn’t get off scot-free honing our stage craft,” Benzie says with a chuckle. “There are a lot of bands around, but only the good ones get fledged to the surface and make it a career because there are only so many venues to play. It creates a healthy competition or a standard where you want to be part of the five percent of people who are gonna be professional musicians and do this as a day job.”
There are a lot of bands around, but only the good ones get fledged to the surface and make it a career because there are only so many venues to play.
Dead Letter Circus would become part of that five percent. The alternative rock troupe performed at big Australian showcases such as Big Day Out, Come Together Music Festival and Over-Cranked Music Festival. Also, they dropped their self-titled EP in 2007 and their single “Disconnect And Apply” got massive airtime on Triple J -- the country’s premiere radio station. From there, they worked on “This Is The Warning” and unveiled it in 2010.
While Dead Letter Circus are promoting their non-conformist mantra with “This Is The Warning,” it’s important to know these role models practice what they preach. Instead of forfeiting their musical destinies to a major label, the group decided to take control of their fate and align with different record companies in different regions of the world. Their most recent alliance comes with Sumerian Records, the independent label that is responsible for bringing them into the ‘States.
“The catch with Sumerian Records was … I guess they blew us away with their passion for the band. When you’re on a major label, the passion is cool. Like, you’re really focused. But the Sumerian guys were so much more believable,” Benzie jokes. “They instantly knew parts of the songs and [that] left an impression. So we’re signed to Sumerian [Records] in North America, Warner [Music] for Australia, and for the rest of the world, we’re independent.”
Now, Dead Letter Circus is ready to bring the “Warning” to the rest of the world.
- Kim Benzie – Lead Vocals
- Rob Maric – Guitar
- Tom Skerlj – Guitar/Keyboard
- Stewart Hill – Bass
- Luke Williams - Drums
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