Sydney band DEN makes post-punk music and – in the spirit of the era from which its genre stems – has released its self-titled debut EP on cassette as well as digital. Michael Grossman, Steven Hicks, Tomas Nunez and Michael Hassett formed DEN in 2014 and employed a strict policy of DIY recording at vocalist and guitarist Grossman’s Marrickville studio – a tradition they stay true to today. He talks us through it.
Broadsheet: What can you tell us about your debut EP? Michael (Micky) Grossman: Pretty much every song is about anxiety in some sort of form. Even when there was a particular story or “thing” I was writing about, it inevitably morphed into an inner reflection on my thought process. It could be due to the music being somewhat anxious sonically or how the music was produced. It was all written/recorded in my studio that felt like a cage sometimes, so that could have been a factor. In saying that though, all the songs have distinct differences and we wanted to highlight the contrasting nature of our music. The EP has a sort of light, dark, light, dark format. BS: You’ve also put it out on cassette. Why? MG: A cassette can hold a lot of audio. We have a lot of unfinished/demo versions of songs, new and old, that we were able to put on the B side of the tape while still having the EP as one piece of work on the A side. BS: Are you still operating on a strict DIY recording policy? What does that bring to the sound that you enjoy? MG: Yeah. We are recording/writing an album in my studio at the moment. It's a blessing and a curse. Having almost infinite time to create means that little ever gets finished. The songs change all the time and I think it allows the opportunity for songs to move into directions never intended. BS: Can you describe an average day/night/session in your Marrickville studio? MG: Everyone comes in and does their bits at different times. It starts with drums then everyone experiments over the top. There is no average session per se as it's a place of writing just as much as it is recording. People are in and out all the time. BS: Songwriting heroes? MG: Colin Newman, Rowland S. Howard, Gary Numan. BS: Apart from music, what inspires you? MG: They change all the time. I've been watching The X-Files nearly every night for the past four months. It could be indirectly influencing my music. Who knows? BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere? MG: Kraftwerk, 2008, Qlimax. Performance dates: Sydney Fri December 9 – Factory Floor (w/ Zeahorse) Sat December 10 – Black Wire (EP launch)