Uncharted is our weekly showcase of rising artists. This week Chris Hampton profiles New Zealand punk project The DHDFD’s, whose debut full length is going to be released internationally next month.
Climbing, bleeding, convulsing. The greatest punk performers are reckless and dangerous, like a power cable sliced down the middle, sparking with deadly energy.
Scot Brown of The DHDFD’s is one of those classic punk wildmen. Think Iggy Pop or Darby Crash or maybe GG Alin without all the butt stuff. Hailing from Point Chevalier, a suburb of Auckland, NZ, The DHDFD’s provide the perfect live spectacle (see for yourself). Beyond Brown’s frenetic song and dance, young James King’s guitar work manages to eek out hints of the melodic early days of New Zealand punk — AK79 and that Buzzcocks sneer that flew east from the UK and caught on with young Aucklanders looking for an adequate “fuck you” way back when.
Over seven years, The DHDFD’s have recorded a slew of EPs along with 2012′s full-length French Fries. On April 1, Bomb Shop Records will properly release that debut internationally, followed by the band’s first pilgrimage west of Japan.
We shot emails back and forth, and turns out they’re a bunch of sweethearts. But who says sweethearts can’t trip balls on acid, smash their heads against oil drums, or compulsively destroy their own artwork?
You guys are from Pt. Chevalier, Auckland, NZ. What’s that place like for those of us on the other side of the world? If you were my tour guides on some Saturday in Pt. Chev, what would we see and do?
Pt. Chevalier was where I spent 23 years of my life and 8 of them being in DHDFD’s. Its a piece of land that runs into the ocean. On a Saturday, I’d take you to one of the 6 bars it has and we would gamble poker machines, then have a swim/bbq on the beach. It’s a pretty quiet suburb in Auckland, but it’s very close to the city so we would spend the rest of the night at a DHDFD gig.
Scot, I read you were an airport baggage handler. Are you still? Got any stories from that?
I work at the airport in Auckland lifting bags to and from the aeroplanes. Its a pretty mindless job. Its pretty hard to be a full-time musician in NZ with the country being so small and far from everywhere else. There isn’t too much interesting stuff with baggage handling in New Zealand. We are filmed by big brother every step, so even if we wanted to fuck around i guess we couldn’t. My job is pretty much a lot of sleeping/smoking/lifting bags…hahahaha we have a lot of downtime.
And James, you were studying art. What lead you there? Care to share some of your work?
I did study the former, no essays on Michelangelo yet. I got into art mainly because I began painting before I started playing guitar, but playing encouraged me to pursue more study in applied creativity. The theory behind a lot of movements has bled into a lot of my musical writing, so I think that engaging in two different veins of art-making can be mutually beneficial to the two in how the ideas can cross over. I don’t think i would be able to share any of my visual art because I destroy most of my work when I’m done with it. Scot and myself are supposed to contribute to an exhibition soon, so perhaps there will be some good stuff there.
What do the other dudes do for day jobs?
Joel, our bassist, works for a DVD rental company, and our drummer’s situation changes all the time since we go through so many drummers.
So the DHDFD’s have a pretty legendary live show. Scot, has it ever gone wrong?
We played a festival in New Zealand called “Camp A Low Hum.” The day before we played, I took acid and lost my mind, so by the time we played, my head was mashed and i was dead sober feeling like shit. All I remember was a girl telling me before we played our last song that she only came cause she wanted to watch me be crazy. So that last song i got a 40-gallon oil drum and used my head to play along to the song. It was our most popular clip on YouTube for a while.
I heard you guys started with a set list of covers. Do you remember what songs you were playing?
The first set list woulda been something like this…fuck we where aged 14-15.
Some Hives song — i cant remember what it was called.
Metallica – “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
Misfits – “Where Eagles Dare”
Best show you ever played and what made it so fun?
Any of the shows we did in Japan in 2008 with King Brothers, a.k.a. the best band in the world.
You guys are touring Europe for the Bomb Shop release of French Fries. What excites you most about that? Anything on the must-do list?
We are all looking forward to going to Europe and playing our songs to fresh ears. I haven’t thought about the sightseeing yet, just trying to get everything planned out and get there first.