Dead Letter Circus interview

«We were one of the last MySpace success stories»

01/10/2013 @ 12:27
Dead Letter Circus are one of the most talented bands of the contemporary Australian rock scene, where alternative rock is blended with many progressive rock elements. Contrary to other bands of the scene, such as Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus are not directly hooked on to Tool. The band gives rein to their alternative rock side, always paying attention to writing emotionally electrified music. The band’s frontman, Kim Benzie, with his passionate voice, is to a large extent responsible for this. Benzie spoke to, reciting the story of his up-and-coming band, which succeeds to stand out on the other side of the globe.

Dead Letter Circus released their second album "The Catalyst Fire" earlier this year.

Dead Letter CircusDead Letter Circus is a band that make slow and steady steps towards their goals and success. Yet it seems to me that you have worked hard to create your own sound, since the beginning, before releasing any of your full-lengths. Is that true, and if so, how did you manage that?
We spent a lot of time searching for our sound. Once we had the first song down of what we felt sounded like a fresh new band, we wrote for about 18 months without doing any shows until we had 10 songs we really loved and felt proud of, no filler.    

Australia has a truly remarkable alternative/progressive scene with many great bands. Nowadays, with the internet and globalization, it is very rare to find a scene with geographic and musical criteria. How was yours created and what is its form today, in 2013? Give us the big picture.
It all started with a band named Cog from Bondi. After the Nu Metal scene died around the world, they suddenly reared their head at this international sounding band on our shores. It inspired everyone and birthed a scene where singing was back as a priority and intricate detailed journey-esque songwriting was a must. Very shortly Karnivool and The Butterfly Effect popped on the scene and then a few years later Dead Letter Circus. I think everyone keeps setting the bar higher every time someone releases, so it's compounded into a really healthy scene.   

Dead Letter Circus - The Catalyst FireYour two EPʼs in 2007 and 2008 were some of the best and most 'fresh-sounding' alternative rock EPs I have heard. How much attention did they attract? Did their quality help you to exist as a band and sign a contract with a label?
We definitely stood out straight away which was awesome. We skipped that stage where you have to play to 5 friends in a dive bar, as people loved it as soon as we put it out. We were one of the last Myspace success stories in our country and as a result we were touring straight away.

"This Is The Warning" was your debut album, and as with all debut albums, bands tend to have things about them that they regret. What would you do different about it?
Love it... wouldn't change a thing.  

This August, "The Catalyst Fire" came out. What were your initial goals with this album? And also, which are your favorite tracks? Mine is "Say Your Prayers"... Awesome song.
The main goal was to create an album where any of the songs could be someone's favorite, all killer no filler. I love them all so it’s hard to pick a favorite. I'm really enjoying playing "Alone Awake" and "The Veil" live.

Dead Letter CircusI would like you to talk to us about some of the lyrics of the album. The most important ones, according to you... What messages do you wish to spread?
Lyrically our first album was about becoming awake with the construct and shouting to others to do the same. The Catalyst Fire is very much set in the now where most people are awake and are emotionally opposed to the mechanics of the world,  but feel powerless to invoke change.   

Forrester Savell (who has also done an interview with was once again your producer for this album. I think he is pretty much one of the biggest factors in the quality of the aforementioned Australian scene. What is it that he does different from everyone else?
We are all very good friends, so the main thing other than his technical skill set, is the great vibe he brings. For Dead Letter Circus, he is the adjudicator and peace bringer. He's also a really creative guy too and can throw some really interesting options on the table.

Dead Letter CircusIf you had to do a 180 degree turn and change drastically the Dead Letter Circus sound, in which genres would you venture?
Personally, I have been loving doing some acoustic versions of the songs. We've still got so much room to be creative within the bounds of our signature sound that for now I wouldn't change too much, just forage deeper.

Do you follow closely new rock releases? Which bands would you say that are the future of rock?
It's a pretty exciting time in rock, so much has been done now that finding new ground is a hard game. Personally I would keep my eye on the Australian scene.

Which artists do you detest (or you canʼt stand listening to them even for a second)?
That award would have to collectively go to the corporate puppet politicians performing for us all across the world.

Dead Letter CircusIf you got a genie of the lamp and had three wishes for Dead Letter Circus, which would those be?
Firstly, that the music resonates with enough people that we can evolve to a stadium size show that could cater to the limits of our creativity. Secondly, that we are able to tour as much of the world as possible, especially the crazy small out of the way places. Thirdly, that this amazing ride continues for us for another 10 years. And, lastly, that they hurry up and invent hover boards!

I would like you to name three albums, that if they were never recorded, Dead Letter Circus wouldnʼt exist.
Tool - "Aenima", Massive Attack - "Mezzanine", Cog - "The New Normal"

What are your plans for the near and far future?
We are going to tour the album on a world scale and write our next record on the road.

What albums have you been listening to lately?
Deftones - "Koi No Yokan", London Grammar - "If You Wait", 12 Foot Ninja - "Silent Machine"

Thank you Kim. The last words are yours to address to the people that enjoy your music here in Greece.
Thanks for reading and please make enough noise that we have to come play for you.

Manos Paterakis