For a band that started with such humble and small expectations, Deez Nuts have enjoyed a quick and popular rise. With a new studio album, ‘Bout It’ due out in March, Killyourstereo.com caught up with Deez Nuts frontman JJ Peters late last year to talk about music, plans for the future and the Boys of Summer tour.
Hey JJ, how’s it going?
Not too bad man, how are you going?
Yeah, not too bad thanks.
You’ve got the last Prom Queen show wrapping up tomorrow. How has the tour been?
It has been great actually, we played Adelaide last night, so the hometown, that was a good time.
What’s the adjustment period like when you are shifting from fronting a band in Deez Nuts to going back to performing behind the kit?
It’s two completely different worlds to be honest. From being the frontman in DN [Deez Nuts] to sort of having to be in charge of having to rile the crowd up and being right there in amongst it. To having the chilled position of playing the drums and having to be to a lot more physical, but not really being involved with the crowd. It really is two opposite ends of the scale, so it’s cool to be able to see both parts of it. I enjoy it.
I was going to ask on that. Is one more taxing than the other? Is it harder being behind the kit – blast beats and double kick or jumping up and down fronting a band?
Once again, the physical aspect of it is two completely different things. Because on the one hand you are stationary on drums as much as you’re going hell for leather the whole time, throwing your arms around, you’re still sitting there. Whereas, fronting a band I have to make use of the space and be able to keep screaming the lyrics at the same time. So, they’re both exhausting on different levels. It’s more the mental side that is more exhausting drumming wise because there’s that pressure if you fuck up as the drummer everyone fucks up. (laughs). Being a frontman I find quite effortless, so I think I’d say drumming is more straining for more me.
Ok, fair enough. And I’ve been reading the new album details. And I remember last time we were interviewing you, you mentioned you didn’t think the band would get past the demo stage and now here you are a couple of albums in. How does it feel now?
It feels good. It’s surreal at times when I think about the humble beginnings and doing the demo and what we’ve actually achieved – playing some of the biggest festivals in Europe and touring with bands that are influential hardcore bands. We’ve ticked a lot of boxes that a lot of people would be proud to do and we did that with a band that started off as a joke, so it’s pretty crazy. At the same time, I take it all as it comes. Things could peter out at any moment or they could get twice as big. You just roll with the punches and enjoy it for what it is. And as long as people keep enjoying it, we’ll keep making it and when they stop enjoying it, we’ll fucking do something else. (laughs).
And the video for ‘Band of Brothers’ was recently released. I know in the past, you’ve been big, particularly with these songs, measuring them based on how they are received live. Is that the feeling again? These are ones to play live more than in the studio.
Yeah, I guess so. I don’t know? It’s a tough one because you never really know what’s going to click live and what’s not and what people are going to catch onto as far as sing-a-longs and what not. I always write songs with the live element in mind because that’s the real deal. Obviously, you want to put together an album people are going to be listening to for 10, 20 however many years and enjoy, so you want to put out a quality album. But when I’m actually writing the song themselves I’m thinking past that and I’m thinking about what’s going to translate live and what’s going to be an enjoyable part for the crowd to sing-a-long. And what’s going to make people bang their heads no matter what. I think with that first song we released [‘Band of Brothers’] because there’s that sing-a-long, goodtime element to it, I thought that would be a good lead-in track because I think people will catch onto that quickly and when it comes time for the Boys of Summer this year and tours we have coming up after that, those melodies and sing-a-long parts will be stuck in peoples heads and it will make for a camaraderie type vibe in the crowd, which s what we always look for.
When you’re talking about creating songs and ideas in that sense. How hard is it separating the two bands? Prom Queen and Deez Nuts they’re apples and oranges. They’re heavier music, but they’re so different. I know you’ve been recording new music with both recently. How hard is it separating the different ideas and styles from the two?
I’ve got a really eclectic taste in music. To be honest, the stuff I listen to mainly these days isn’t really like any of the bands I play in. And I think that’s a healthy thing and allows me to come into those bands from a different angle from most metal drummers or hardcore frontman would cover it from because that’s not my staple musical diet, so I might look at song writing differently. As far as writing with each band, they’re different heads. I sit down with Jona, Sean and Kevin and the Prom Queen team and it’s totally different. With Deez Nuts it’s a more organic feel to how we write songs. We take each for what it is and don’t try and compare the two because, as you said, it’s apples and oranges.
With this album ‘Bout It’, what separates this from previous Deez Nuts albums?
This is the first album where the band is unified line-up now, we’ve been touring together for well over a year. So this album, for the first time I actually had the whole band write and record the album together, so it wasn’t just me in the studio this time around. We went over to the UK to write the album together to sort of meet in the middle and get away from everyone because there’s two guys from New York in the band, two guys from Melbourne, so we met in the UK and then went over to Boston to record it. It was a fresh take on the whole recording process and a fresh take on the writing process and as a result it was a much more, I hate using the words mature and polished, because those aren’t words that come to mind when you think of a band like Deez Nuts (laughs) but it’s a better album I think. There’s more talented people playing instruments and there’s more heads working together to write songs and I’ve had more time to focus on lyrics and not rushing into the studio and doing everything by myself. So as a result it’s a better package. I’m really excited by the album.
I was going to say on that, because as you said you’ve been a jack of all trades in the past, does it make it more easier when it comes time to record to just focus on one thing?
Yeah, it does. And I think it’s healthier. I think there’s a reason bands operate as a functioning unit as four or five or however many people and that’s because you want the person who is the best at each job, taking care of that job. I guess because I started DN by myself for the next few albums I just continued to do it that way because that’s how it had been working. But now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with the guys that are in the band now are much better at their instruments than I am (laughs). That’s their trait. Also too, more people to bounce ideas off and more people to be there if I write songs that suck, there’s someone there to tell me rather than me finding out after I’ve finished recording (laughs). I think it’s a much better process and it has worked out really well for us.
Before, we briefly mentioned the Boys of summer tour. They’re always a good run of shows. What’s the mood like leading up to that?
It’s awesome man. There’s been some last minute changes, but the bonus of that is our good friends in First Blood are taking over the place on the line-up and also The Bride are doing the tour. It’s their last ever tour. Along with Hand of Mercy and also Comeback Kid it’s going to be an awesome line-up, with a bunch of really good dudes. I can’t wait for it. Summer tours are always the most fun. So I think it will be a really good time.
In terms of the band itself. Were do you want to go with it next? What’s something you still want to achieve?
Like I mentioned, every thing we’ve done so far we’ve achieved so much more than what I’ve ever imagined the band could do. I’m pretty happy with where we are at. But at the same time, things are getting bigger and brighter in the future. We’ve got a bunch of good tours coming up after Boys of Summer we’re doing Europe with the Ghost Inside and Stray from the Path. We’ve already got a bunch of summer tours booked in Europe and we’re always out there constantly and we’ll have the album launch obviously. I guess at this point I’m just excited to release the full album and to see peoples’ responses because we’ve playing songs off of ‘Stay True’ and ‘This One’s for You’ for the last four years since ‘Stay True’ dropped. So it’s getting a bit old for us and I’m assuming it’s getting a bit old for other people too (laughs). But, I’m just excited to have a new refreshed set and playing new songs and getting out there with some new material. So, I’m just excited to get out there and do that and see what happens.
In between these Prom Queens shows and the Boys of Summer, what have you got planned over the break?
There’s not a lot left over to be honest man (laughs). I’ve got a couple of weeks to spend a bit of time with the family over Christmas and that’s it. Then I’m back on the road and probably be out for the better part of the year. So, it’s a non-stop tour for me (laughs).
In terms of hardcore at the moment do you have any opinions on any styles or trends?
In music (laughs).
Yeah, just in terms of the genre, it’s always evolving and there’s good and bad things about it.
Well, everything is subject to opinion. There’s a lot of bands I love and some stuff that I don’t really have a lot of time for, but at the end of the day, there’s something out there for everyone and I’m not out there to put anyone down. If people out there doing their thing then good on them. There’s certain styles I’d probably steer clear of, and there’s other ones I can’t get enough of, but I leave it up to other people to make their own decisions.
2012, have there been any albums you’ve been digging the most?
Well like I said, I listen to a lot of stuff that isn’t really rooted in the music I play. So, I listen to a lot of hip-hop and old soul music (laughs). There have been a lot of great rap albums that have come out this year that have been pretty exciting. But, as far as bands within the genre I think Stray from the Path are an amazing band that are probably doing something that no one else is doing in heavy music at the moment and I think that is pretty amazing. And also a band taking me by surprise is Survival, they’re probably the best hardcore band, in my opinion, that are coming out of Australia at the moment. So if anyone gets the opportunity to check them out they should definitely do it.
And just before we let you, were there any finals words you wanted to pass onto the readers?
I would just like the thank anyone that has supported DN over the years and I encourage everyone to check out our new video ‘Band of Brothers’ and check out the album when it comes out. And, hopefully I’ll be able to thank them for their continued support of the coming years.
Thanks for the interview JJ.
No problem, thank you.
Deez Nuts play the Boys of Summer 2013.