Trav­el­ling in­spires lat­est Cir­cus al­bum

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

IT was a re­ward and a re­minder. As Dead Let­ter Cir­cus front­man Kim Ben­zie raced to fin­ish his band’s sec­ond record, The Cat­a­lyst Fire, he kept the al­bum by good mates Kar­nivool far away from his ears.

Ben­zie didn’t want to suc­cumb to the temp­ta­tion of com­par­ing their chart­top­ping third al­bum, Asym­me­try, with his band’s work in progress.

So he de­cided he would keep it as a present for his au­ral plea­sure when he com­pleted The Cat­a­lyst Fire.

Now he has heard it – and loves it – he fer­vently wishes his band en­joys the same fate. If the trend for hard rock al­bums to land straight into the top spot con­tin­ues, Bris­bane band Dead Let­ter Cir­cus has a good shot at the ti­tle.

‘‘It’s quite the op­po­site to com­pe­ti­tion,’’ Ben­zie says.

‘‘We’re tex­ting each other all the time and if we lived in the same city, there’s no doubt we would be hang­ing out.

‘‘I did try not to lis­ten to the new Kar­nivool record be­cause we were a lit­tle bit wor­ried we were do­ing ours at the same time,’’ he says.

‘‘I find it hard to lis­ten to other bands be­cause you are al­ways try­ing to dis­sect what they are do­ing.

‘‘But I have now and I am quite pleased we have done quite dif­fer­ent things. The thing I love about the Kar­nivool guys is they are so in­cred­i­ble I can’t fig­ure out what they are do­ing.’’

Ben­zie had to work out a new song­writ­ing modus operandi af­ter fel­low found­ing mem­ber Rob Maric quit.

‘‘We had a pretty in­tense cou­ple of years, do­ing a lot of tour­ing in­clud­ing three tours of Amer­ica and then Rob left the band and it took us a while to re­build af­ter that,’’ Ben­zie says. ‘‘When he left, it en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to dish out ideas and that was re­ward­ing.’’

Like Kar­nivool, Dead Let­ter Cir­cus hail from the melodic end of the hard rock spec­trum where singing is singing, rather than scream­ing.

Ben­zie finds it im­pos­si­ble to match his scream broth­ers. ‘‘I can’t ac­tu­ally scream,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

‘‘I tried in a cou­ple of comedic mo­ments, try­ing to re­cre­ate the sce­nario of me stand­ing on the edge of a cliff.

‘‘But I don’t think I’ll ever hit the ptero­dactyl me­ter.’’

The songs of The Cat­a­lyst Fire draw in­spi­ra­tion from the band’s world trav­els, their en­vi­ron­men­tal con­science – their last tour was called No Frack­ing Way – and the front­man’s ex­pe­ri­ences in South Amer­ica.

He took part in Ayahuasca cer­e­monies in Peru and later col­lab­o­rated with an artist he met there, Klara Soukalova, on the mes­meris­ing man­dala on the cover of The Cat­a­lyst Fire.

‘‘I guess we went from be­ing five guys from Bris­bane to cit­i­zens of the world dur­ing the last few years,’’ Ben­zie says.

‘‘When I went to Peru, you can see the oil com­pa­nies rap­ing the Ama­zon and it got me to think­ing about what’s wrong with the me­chan­ics of the world now.

‘‘One of the rea­sons the al­bum is quite dark, par­tic­u­larly on songs like The Cure, is part of the re­al­i­sa­tion that I am in­ad­ver­tently re­spon­si­ble for all the things I see hap­pen­ing on TV, mak­ing that con­nec­tion be­tween what is hap­pen­ing in the world and my ap­a­thy.

‘‘We’re not slam­ming any­thing down any­one’s throat.

The Cat­a­lyst Fire, to­mor­row.

The Cat­a­lyst Fire is re­leased to­mor­row. Dead Let­ter Cir­cus play The Hi-Fi, in Bris­bane, on Septem­ber 14. ‘‘It’s just . . . what we feel now.’’ While he blocked out their artis­tic in­flu­ence, Ben­zie had no prob­lem tex­ting his Kar­nivool mates for ad­vice on one of the rock world’s more press­ing dilem­mas: how many new songs should you play on tour?

‘‘I did text them ask­ing how many they were play­ing,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

‘‘We started stream­ing the al­bum so fans can let us know their faves, too.’’

– KATHY McCABE

Bris­bane melodic hard rock­ers Dead Let­ter Cir­cus re­lease their sec­ond al­bum,

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