13 Aug 2022

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Dead Celeb - Dead Celeb Newsletter Interview

04 May 2018 // An interview by Shade
Dead Celeb are a Wellington based Alternative Rock 4 piece with a powerhouse sound. Described as "...a vocal character that is somehow “David Bowie meets Mick Jagger” deep and quirky (Dancing in the Streets anyone?), but undeniably Kiwi in its twangs, Dead Celeb is definitely the 2018 release that will be difficult to beat.".

Shelley had some questions for the band, and here's what they had to say.

Where did the name 'Dead Celeb' come from?

We found our original name 'Urge Empire' no longer resonated with us and once we started the process of recording our album, it seemed an appropriate time to change.  

'Dead Celeb' seemed to fit the lyrical themes that were binding the new songs together - that being the dark side of our society and the potential direction it may go. Dead Celeb is also a homage to those we’ve recently lost and points a finger at the vapidness and religious type worship we give to celebrity (the pinnacle of human success, yeah … sure).

It was quite hard to find information on you guys. Is there a reason there is hardly any information? I know some bands do that for privacy reasons or just as part of their persona.

Now the album is done we’re starting to get stuff out there. We already have four music videos people can check out on YouTube, a brand new website and people can now hear our debut on Spotify and Bandcamp. We’ve just approved a poster campaign to advertise Dead Celeb, and we’re beginning to play gigs again from May. Firstly around Wellington, then some around North Island, then the South later in year.

How would you describe your music? As I can’t really pick what genre it is. It’s very different and doesn’t have the typical song structures.

We can’t pick what genre it is either. Good luck. It’s in the alternative rock realm for sure, but what does rock mean? How do you define “pop” or “hip-hop” or electronic”? Music is amazingly diverse with so many sub-genres inside sub-genres that it’s harder to paint with a solid colour. We all listen to a huge variety of music, we don’t have any prerequisites for what Dead Celeb is or should be. Julian comes up with the main ideas, then we all get together and jam it out while attempting to assert our individual ideas upon the direction of the song. Some songs have evolved over a year, others in just a month. A song is never done, it just becomes time to record and commit it to pressing.

How do you come up with your lyrics and what inspires you the most when writing your lyrics?

Most of the lyrical content is a commentary on the day to day. The music acts as a stage to present those lyrics. Julian puts a lot of time into the lyrics and was playing around and trying out new ideas and words around right up until the last minute. He has a voice memo list packing out his phone full of melodies and lyrics ideas.

What are your influences, if you have any?

Other music, coffee, pedigree cats ...

Your musical seems rather political. Is that the plan? Or are you just writing about things around you?

There's one or two noticeable politically themed tracks yet there's also a few about evolving our ideologies and our isolation in an ever increasing public world. We've become more digital as a society (that's nothing new) - what effect does that have on us? So here we are in 2018 still threatening each other with bigger sticks. If we stripped all the lights and pixels back we’re still just ancestors of great African apes … guess we shouldn't expect too much from ourselves.

A lot of your work seems to very digital, collage-like work. What drew you to use that type of imagery?

We live in a collage-like world with many facets and dimensions, pasts and futures. Our music videos and artwork are a manifestation of that. We’re interested in seeing what happens if we mix A with B and then perhaps we add a little C or D. We love the visual medium, and our we’re passionate about making our own music videos. Julian is a digital designer and an artist and Hans our drummer, is a videographer/filmmaker.

You just recently released your new self-titled album. How did it feel releasing the singles and then the finished album?

It was a massive labour of love that extended well beyond what we had initially intended, which was 4 track E.P. It felt bloody fantastic to finally let it all go. We can now concentrate on our live playing again. Outside of creating and recording the music, we all contribute to the band in our own unique way, Julian took care of the artwork and video animation, Hans is filming videos, and James took up the huge task of recording and engineering the whole thing.

You don’t seem to tour with your music other than the occasional local gig. Why is that? Will you tour further anytime soon/at all?

When we got halfway through the recording we realised we needed a second guitarist, because we were adding so many new guitar parts. Gigs went off our minds while the recording got very intensive. Now that there were four of us, we were forced to wait until recording was completed before rehearsing and breaking in our new guitarist Neil.

At the time of writing, we are playing Valhalla, Wellington on May 10th and 30th and Caroline, Wellington on June 23rd. Now that our focus is off the album we’re set to be a live band again and we’re gagging for that stage. We’ll be getting around the country as the year progresses.

What music do you all enjoy listening too?

Currently on the headphones:

Blood Orange, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Opeth, Radiohead, AC/DC, Pantera, 9th Cloud, Jutes, Michael Jackson, Faith No More.

What is the one thing you want NZ to know about Dead Celeb?

That we’re not Dead and we’re not Celebrities, also that our album is out right now!

Thank you for doing this interview with. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to hear more!

We can’t wait to play these songs live and begin writing our next album already. Beware though, we might disappear again and change our name...we’ll start a fad!




Dead Celeb
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Urge Empire EP
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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