Melbourne’s Dregg are more or less the new kids on the block, but that hasn’t stopped them from turning a lot of heads lately. Not just for their tight, engaging live shows but for their most recent single and music video, ‘Sorry Daddy’. Seriously, it’s a great clip! Not just in its visuals, but in the music itself. I recently had the chance to shoot off a few questions at the band this week and they were kind enough to answer them all.
‘Sorry Daddy’ is not only a great song, but a great video as well, and a part of that is the band’s image, I think. Does the band’s image – from the makeshift masks, face paint, make-up – stem from an organic place in terms of creativity? Or is it more about adding flare to your music and standing out from the crowd? Maybe a little of both?
As a band and individuals, we wanted to create something we all enjoyed doing & pretty much have the freedom to do what we want to do in terms of our sound and image. We don’t want to be categorised into any certain genre or a certain look we are “meant” to have, but I mean in this day and age it’s pretty unavoidable. Most bands dress in all black, look the same and do the same shit, which is fine, but it’s not really what we’re about. All of us are completely different in personality, music taste, clothing etc. It can be quite funny trying to come to a collective decision because of that reason. But as far as our releases go, we want to continually be progressing and not just spitting out the same regurgitated sound as everyone else. We aren’t a hardcore band, we aren’t a nu-metal band; we’re just DREGG.
Still on the video, how much of the visuals and the scenes came from Thomas Elliot, and which of those parts came straight from you guys?
All the visuals and scenes were conceived by us [Chris and James], we knew exactly what we wanted and Thommo was extremely transparent to work with, in the sense that he didn’t want to take anything away from the creative direction that we had. He has such an artistic and professional way of going about things, though, we think that really shines through in the video. Honestly, being musicians there is only so much you can convey to a videographer who has spent so much time and effort honing his craft, which is why we chose to work with him in the end. Also, he’s a really good-looking bloke
Good to hear. Also, what was written on James’s snare drum in the music video? I noticed it once and am just really curious.
I guess I’ll answer that with another question. “What do you know about being a fucking weirdo?”
Right… Well, you can’t deny that nu-metal is in your sound, and I imagine it was bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot that inspired that? Are there any other bands, heavy or otherwise, that have had an influence over Dregg’s sound?
Bands like Korn, LB and Slipknot have had an influence on the way we sound, having said that, we are a product of our time. Most bands in the Australian heavy music scene draw the same influence, whether they’re aware of it or not. I guess personally for us, bands like Killswitch Engage, System Of A Down, P.O.D, Terror, The Mars Volta, Deftones…even solo artists such as Eminem and Ray Charles have some sort of musical influence, but most of all I’d say it’s the environment that we are surrounded by. I think our music is more a product of that than anything else.
That’s a rather eclectic mix. But are you ever worried that Dregg will be solely defined as one of these recent hardcore/nu-metal revival bands, even if that was never the intention of the band’s sounds?
At the end of the day, this band is in its foetal stage. We’re going to be put in a box by people engaging in our music. People are so categorical in their thinking that the idea of something being separate or somehow drawn away from the boxes they’re accustomed to packing bands and their sounds into, forget that there is no original content anymore. We are all a product of influence but the difference is, we acknowledge it. This “revival” is simply a coming of age, bands filled with kids who grew up with this sound. This cycle has turned for generations so we feel it’s impossible to avoid this criticism – instead, we welcome it. Our first release was rushed and written so quickly it just ended up the way it was. Not necessarily the sound we wanted, or what we are about. Now we are slowly recognising what DREGG is about and it’s endgame. So, if people want to label us as a hardcore/nu-metal band, go ahead. We’ll use it as a means to flank your thinking and remain unpredictable.
Well said! Christopher, what are your and the band’s thoughts on Germany recently passed a resolution to fully acknowledge the 1915 Armenian massacres as genocide?
I think it’s a great thing! I’m saddened by the backlash the German government received from the Turkish prime minister noting the recognition as ‘irrational’, thought that was expected. Being a descendant of genocide survivors and knowing that other nations around the globe are starting to stand up and solidify the acts performed into the history books as truth, fills me with the hope that one day this ridiculous argument will come to a halt. It’s slow steps for now but we will not allow 1.5 million of our ancestors to be forgotten.
Do you think that it speaks volumes to the intolerance and callousness of a large portion of Turkey’s government, because as you say, many of them saw this acknowledgement as a bad thing? Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister went so far as to say that the vote is a “historic mistake”.
I wouldn’t necessarily place the blame or any hate towards the staff of their government. The thing I always have to remind myself when I feel frustration from it is that most of them grew up in Turkish homes with Turkish parents who go by what their media in their country taught them at the time. Similar to us here in Australia. For years, white settlers never felt it was necessary to say sorry to the indigenous people as we were just going off stories from older generations and our own media. My hope is that we could come to a point in time where we could sit down as the neighbouring nations we once were and really analyse together what occurred and what needs to be remembered.
One criticism I often hear about Dregg is that the band is “too political” or “too preachy” at times. What do you say to that? I personally love my music mixed in with political and social themes, as then the music actually has something to say and that goes a long way in this scene, I find.
We aren’t political as much as I would say that we’re socially aware. None of us think we could run a country, but it doesn’t take a Parliamentary leader to recognise our systematic approach to the sustenance of life is flawed. We see what’s going on around us and in the spirit of what punk and hardcore have taught us, we try our best to keep that alive. It’s not like we’re the first band to be pissed off about the unfair distribution of wealth on the planet, we’re merely just trying to keep that fire burning in aggressive music. If people don’t like that, they can run straight back to a 9-5 job to pay for the suits’ new Espresso machine. The beauty of our position as a “new band” is that we have no obligations to fulfil to anybody but ourselves. If you lack the foresight to see past an undertone, our music simply wasn’t written for you.
I agree with you on that, guys. Finally, I’m just going to assume that there is a new EP or even a full-length album coming out this year…is there any information that you can give me about what we’ll see from Dregg next?
Nothing set in stone yet. Perhaps another single, maybe an EP, or maybe a full length with a little something sneaky on the side or maybe nothing at all. Who knows, we might just quit music and assemble a prime time news team. Whatever it is, it’s going to be a lot more confronting than what you have witnessed this past week. The training wheels are being wrenched out as we speak. It’s just up to you whether or not you want to be there when we start doing some stunts.