Q&A | Andrew Wilson on Die! Die! Die!’s new album, Charm. Offensive.

It’s been over a decade on the road, and Dunedin band Die! Die! Die! are still going strong – plugged as ever into the international underground. Together since high school days, the trio adjusted their line-up in 2015, bringing Brit bassist and producer Rory Attwell onboard to join frontman Andrew Wilson and drummer Mikey Prain, and the addition injected a fresh energy to their already-crackling sound. Sarah checked in with frontman Andrew Wilson about the band’s sixth, very tidy, release Charm. Offensive.

Die! Die! Die! have been around for a long time. Where are you from, how’d you get together, and what are three top memories from your time as a band?
Kia ora, Die! Die! Die! are a band from Dunedin, New Zealand. But we are now based in Auckland. Michael and I met in high school and formed Die! Die! Die! after a few other failed bands.

Three top memories of Die! Die! Die! are recording in all the amazing places we have managed to record, whether it was Chicago, a studio in the country in France, or in the country in Upstate New York, or Tasmania in the mountains, or on the boat on the River Thames in London.

Playing with Wire at the Seaport Music Festival in New York City really sticks in my mind as one of my favourite shows ever, and also meeting so many people who have become such integral parts of my life.

Who’s Rory Attwell, and how’d you guys hook up?
Rory is an engineer who played bass on Charm. Offensive. We toured with his band KASMs in 2009 in the UK and we became fast friends. I realised the other day he has helped us in one way or another on all of our last three albums.

Lightship95 sounds cool. What is that place, and what was it like to record at?
Lightship95 was a studio on the Thames. Rory used to have a studio there which he worked out of. I loved that place. I just heard a new studio opened on the boat, so that’s good.

I live in Manchester. Any good anecdotes from being on the road in the UK?
I kinda only have disastrous, depressing memories of touring the UK.

You’ve toured so much. What have you learnt about how to quickly connect with new audiences, particularly those of entirely different cultures? Or is the shared underground culture enough?
I don’t find culture ever to be a barrier with music. However there are different types of crowds, which bring different kinds of energies.

Martyn Pepperell has deftly described your sound as being “rooted in a stylistic conversation between post-punk, noise pop, shoegaze, lo-fi, experimental electronica and punk rock.” Do you agree with him? What sound do you hope comes out of you when you perform?
Yeah I guess I agree with him, I like all those sorts of genres. I just want to be pure and honest with what I do. There have been times when we haven’t been, and it has really shown itself.

Word on the street is you guys are really happy with this album – like it’s a fresh start and a new chapter. How were you feeling about the band and your output before making it? What changed?
This album came out of nowhere, and with that there was no pressure. I don’t think that anything drastic changed, bands go through ups and downs creatively.

You’re gradually building a solid following in China. What can you tell us about the DIY scene there, and who are some local bands and venues that you rate?
China is my favourite place to tour in the world. Something really special is going on there through Maybe Mars and Far Out Distant Sounds. All the venues were pretty amazing, I must say. I really love Birdstriking and Die! Chiwawa Die!

Andrew Wilson is frontman for Die! Die! Die! Get their new album, Charm. Offensive. here. You can also help Andrew raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand by sponsoring him to run the Auckland Marathon.

Sarah Illingworth is a freelance journalist and Editor at Impolitikal. She has an MSc in Poverty & Development from the University of Manchester. Read more by Sarah.