Adelaide’s Dangerous! are arguably the most promising Australian musical export right now. Signed to Epitaph, the rock n’ roll four piece managed to nab a spot on the line ups of both Download and Sonisphere in the UK alongside names like Metallica, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Having released their debut LP "Teenage Rampage" in September, Dangerous! return home for a run of headlining dates this month. Ahead of the tour we spoke to frontman Tommy Lofts about what local audiences can expect from the band.
What’s your favourite band to have ever come out of Adelaide Tommy?
My favourite band to have come out of Adelaide is probably Day Of Contempt. They signed with Epitaph in probably 2005 when we were pretty young, growing up, watching them play live and stuff. When they got signed we were just like so siked and were like “man, we can fuckin’ do that too”, you know, and then we did. So that’s probably one of my favourite influential, local bands.
How would you describe Dangerous! to the unfamiliar listener?
Dangerous! is kind of like a pretty mental sounding garage rock band with a lot of pop, catchy songs. It’s definitely a good time, yeah. It’s definitely worth a listen.
What would you say are your major influences, whether musical or otherwise?
It’s hard to say you know. We grew up with all sorts of different styles of music so everything we’ve grown up with is kinda mashed into one. We grew up with nu metal bands but then we grew up listening to a lot of punk rock as well and listened to hardcore. It’s all meshed into one. We’ve taken everything in and regurgitated it out as “Teenage Rampage”.
Speaking of nu metal, are you looking forward to Soundwave?
Well actually we’re rehearsing up for this tour now and we’re going to take a break on Saturday for Soundwave. So yeah, it’s one way to get siked up for a tour that’s for sure.
Keen for Limp Bizkit?
We were lucky man, we were over at Sonisphere last year and we caught them there.
Yeah I was going to ask you – having played Sonisphere and Download festivals in the UK as such a young band, what were the highlights for you guys?
Everything was just insane for us. That was our first time as a band and as individuals in the United Kingdom so we couldn’t believe just being there to start off with. Next thing you know we’re playing some of the biggest festivals next to some of the biggest names, it’s just absolutely insane man. You know we’re just like backstage and Jonathan Davis from Korn walks past and like, bumped me out of the way. I just couldn’t believe it man, it was fucking wicked! Phil Anselmo was also at Download Festival, I saw him drunk off his arse backstage which was fucking great. He sung for Pantera and was singing for Down at the time. Just wild man. Yeah Limp Bizkit, we saw Limp Bizkit and Slipknot at Sonisphere. I did a piece for a magazine where I put on head cam and went crowd surfing for Limp Bizkit and then got onstage and I was allowed to stand up on stage and watch the band from side of stage right next to Wes Borland the guitarist, watching the absolutely massive crowd. It’s just crazy, there’s nothing really like that over in Australia you know, these three day festivals that are absolutely massive with huge headliners every night. An absolute sea of tents, it really just did blow our mind. We’d never really been to anything like that, let alone play at anything like that. We’re very lucky man, it was a good time.
Your debut album “Teenage Rampage” was released last September. How do you feel the response has been from both fans and critics?
I think the critic side of things has been not too bad, you know. I mean, I think they’re going to be easier on a new band coming out rather than criticising a second album or something like that. So we kinda had like a kick forward because of that, because we’re newcomers. It’s been received really well, we’re really happy with it. Nothing’s really shocked us or disappointed us in terms of critics. We’re getting good reviews in magazines over in the UK and proud reviews in Australia as well. We’re definitely more than happy about the response and that aspect. This up and coming tour we’re doing is the first tour we’ve done since the album’s been out in Australia so I couldn’t even answer that question yet. But definitely excited about playing the songs for a hometown crowd, that’s for sure.
Do you think you’ll get as big a response as what you’ve received overseas?
I don’t know, it’s tough to say. But we’ve been touring up and down the east coast and throughout Australia since we were young. It’s always been something that we’ve done and we’ve done a fair few tours as Dangerous! as well, up and down the east coast. It’s going to be really redeeming, you know. I think you can play overseas and you can do all these great things and that’s great but to play in your hometown and your home country, and to have your album finally out and people singing along – that’s going to be a really redeeming feeling yeah.
I noticed there were a lot of dates in and around Melbourne. Is that because you’ve got a really big following there or?
That’s just because we’ve got a really cool place to stay there (laughs). We’ve got a friend’s house to stay there … nah I guess it’s kind of just what came about you know. When we started organising the tour we had offers from here and there and that’s where the most came up. Also, because we’re driving around and we’re in a vehicle, we’re not flying, you want to get as much stuff done as you can because Australia is such a big place. Over in the UK when you’re touring you drive like a couple of hours and you’re in a whole new place with a whole new fan base and stuff like that. In Australia you’ve got to drive 8 or 16 hours to the next town so you’ve got to get as much done as you can in the one city.
Dangerous! is pretty renowned for your live show too. What can Australian audiences expect from you guys this time around?
I feel pretty confident that we have a good live show because we’re one of those bands that’s been around for a long time and we started out by touring and playing shows before we ever released anything. I’m confident we have a great live show and I think that’s where the good press and stuff comes from. It’s second nature to us, it’s just something we’ve done a lot of in the past whereas other bands may have come up a lot quicker and into the industry from a different angle. But that’s where we’ve come from and we feel that’s our forte. It’s always really great to play live and really great to have the crowd into it just as much as you are and singing along. A highlight of being in Dangerous! always is playing live, that’s fore sure.
All of your music videos look to have been really fun to have shot. What was your favourite one to make?
Well we’ve done a couple ourselves and a couple under the wing of the label. No we’ve done one under the wing of the label, which we did in downtown LA for the first track off the album called “Not One Of You”. That was a lot of fun to do. We flew over to LA and basically we were straight on set the next day so we were a bit jetlagged and stuff. It was all a bit surreal when we got there and there was about a hundred people working on the clip. There was catering and there was wardrobe and makeup and all this shit, it just blew my mind. We got there and I was like “number one: we don’t need wardrobe, we’re a fucking rock band. We’ve been wearing the same clothes for like ten years.” (laughs) And obviously we don’t wear makeup. But it was just funny that there was so much excess, there was so much stuff there which was cool. We had such a great day. We recorded it in a beaten up old warehouse in downtown LA and it was just really, really cool. We got there and they’re setting up the wrestling ring and there’s all these extras and kids hanging around. The Mexican wrestlers were coming in and out and it was mental man. It just kind of happened. We just got up there and we did what we do and it all came together. All the other clips we’ve done ourselves. We filmed a couple in our mate’s bedroom in Adelaide, you know, our hometown. The others we just film ourselves and just have a good time so it’s fucking awesome man.
Now that you mention Epitaph, it is of course such an honour to be signed to a label with such a huge name, especially for your debut. Aside from the video, how has it been working with them so far?
Well they’re an old school punk label so they’re definitely about the bands. I think they’re different to a lot of mainstream labels. They don’t want to change you as a band whatsoever, they let you do what you want to do. For a band like us that’s really great because we have our own ideas. We want to film our own film clips, we want to do our own artwork and write all our own songs. We want everything to come from us and they’re cool with that, they understand that. When you’ve got someone like funding your career and backing you financially it’s quite normal for them to want to have control over it. If they’re putting money into something they want to make sure it’s their baby too but Epitaph, the best thing about them is that they’re really open to letting things go and letting the artist take control of it and do what they want to do. That’s what we’ve been able to do and it’s probably the absolute best thing about being with Epitaph.
As you say, with Epitaph’s support of your career, how was it being able to work with Ulrich Wild considering his experience working with everybody from Slipknot to Snoop Dogg?
Well that was really cool, yeah. To start off with we had so many different producers that we were looking at trying to work with. You know, we had all these Australian producers that we wanted to work with and we had ones that were kinda handed to us from the label. We actually went through all our records and found Ulrich Wild – we found his name on all these awesome records we’d grown up on like Pantera records and Deftones records, and tried to get in contact with him. The crazy thing about this story is that we had no contact to him whatsoever, it wasn’t through the label or management or any agent of ours that got us onto him, it was ourselves. We looked him up on the net and got his email. He didn’t write back to the email, so we get his home phone number off god knows what website and we call his fucking home phone man. We’re like “it’s Dangerous! from Australia, are you gonna do our album or what? What’s up?” And that’s how it started. So that was crazy and it’s a good message to young kids and other young bands. You’ve got the internet man, you’ve got the strongest tool under your fingertips. If you want something, get out there and do it and get it done because it’s possible, it’s how we did it. I just think that’s a cool story, you know.
Absolutely man. So after you wrap up the “Teenage Rampage” tour, what does the rest of 2012 hold for Dangerous! ?
Hmm good question … we don’t really know. We take it as it comes because last year when we went over to the UK and did those festivals and stuff, we copped wind that we were going over to do some stuff over there but we didn’t really have confirmation. We got confirmation a week earlier with our flight itinerary sent to us just one week before. So things just happen on the fly and that’s the most exciting thing about it. I couldn’t tell you man, I don’t know. We’re going to take it as it comes and just do everything that we can and enjoy it while it’s happening.
Thanks for your time Tommy, good to chat.