Belief in something greater pushes rockers DLC to its limits

Dead Letter Circus.
Dead Letter Circus. Contributed

"I'VE just been watching a UFO documentary," Dead Letter Circus drummer Luke Williams says.

"I'm a bit obsessed with the UFO phenomenon - I got into it from watching the Ancient Aliens series then started doing a bit of research on it."

Speaking from his Brisbane home, Luke, 35, says various experiences over time have led him to believe in something greater than he is.

"I'm not religious either - but convinced there's something greater out there."

Luke's fascination with the origins of humankind tie in perfectly with the band's creative and mystic flare for design and music - just jump on their website, read their bio and you'll completely understand.

In 2007, DLC blasted its alternative rock onto the music scene with powerful beats, high and low pitches following in line with deep, expressive lyrics.

The guys have since ascended to the forefront of alternative rock, with two records, Gold-selling plaques on the wall, international tours and their last four national tours sold out.

You may have even seen them support Muse in late 2010 in what was one of the most riveting stadium shows.

Recently, DLC was voted into Triple J's Hottest Australian Albums of All Time.

And now it is appearing as its own headline act when the band plunges into Gladstone for the El Grande Music Festival.

Luke says it's been three years since visiting Gladstone so people can expect a top show, with maybe a couple of extra songs from their newest record, The Catalyst Fire, that are yet to be debuted live.

You release a record and it seems like you just released it and people ask, 'so, when's the next one coming?' It just keeps rolling.

As an experienced drummer Luke is known for his charisma on stage, something that may have progressed from his years listening and learning music at a young age.

Now Luke says he's been drumming for about 25 years, starting at the tender age of 10.

"I was identifying with drummers in bands, watching Rage - Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Poison, all those kinds of bands."

As an only child, Luke would spend many hours at home after school practising music.

"My mum was out the back until 6 or 7pm at night so I kind of had the house to myself."

Luke says he was always able to sing all the ads on television.

"I had a musical mind. My mum would make the joke that if I could memorise my school work like my music…," Luke laughs.

"But she's kind of proud the band is doing something now."

And "doing something" is an understatement.

DLC had a massive 2013, packed with intensive writing for The Catalyst Fire, which was demo-ed in the studio, then recorded between three different studios.

Luke says they started on the Gold Coast, then Melbourne and finally came back to finish the guitar and bass in their Stafford, Brisbane studio.

"Releasing the record was quite a feat in itself," he says, about the album released in August, 2013.

"We then toured nationally then went off to South Africa, Europe, USA and Canada."

The three months of touring saw many adventures rolling in for the guys who were then due for a well-earned break.

"We basically came off that and spent the rest of the year relaxing."

But with a growing fan base, there is little time for constant r'n'r.

"You release a record and it seems like you just released it and people ask, 'so, when's the next one coming?' It just keeps rolling," Luke says.

The workload never ends but Luke clearly enjoys the industry and the benefits that come with it - playing live, to name one.

Dead Letter Circus are set to headline the wicked El Grande Music Festival in Gladstone. Photo Contributed
Dead Letter Circus are set to headline the wicked El Grande Music Festival in Gladstone. Photo Contributed Contributed

Chatting about their energetic stage presence, Luke says, "Yeah, we all sort of love writing music; we like to play and on stage at a gig we really enjoy playing those songs.

"We write parts that push the abilities of our musical abilities."

Luke says Stuey (Stewart Hill on bass) is famous for his bass stage presence.

"Like Neo in the Matrix. He bends over backwards - he can almost do that with his bass on. People see that and think it's pretty rad."

So while DLC has come from humble beginnings, and Luke still plays covers and teaches drums to supplement his income, there is clearly a story of success within the group.

"I'm kind of glad we can do this for a living and inspire people with our music," Luke says.

The drummer says one of his friends summed up success: "It's like a mountain you are trying to climb and you never reach the top. You never reach a point where it's like, 'we've made it'.

"You set a goal and get there and all of a sudden the machine sets off and you start again."

Luke says he'd like to see the band break into Asia.

"I think great artists will always have that thing where they set those higher goals. The greatest artists throughout history are the ones who have to be harder on themselves," he says.

"And I'd like to be known as a great artist when I pass away."


El Grande Music Festival

Topics:  agnes water blues and roots festival dead letter circus gladstone entertainment music

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