Interview: Death by Denim on My House is a Club, pre-gig routines and karaoke favourites

  • Bruce Baker
  • June 19, 2023
  • Comments Off on Interview: Death by Denim on My House is a Club, pre-gig routines and karaoke favourites

Death by Denim

Perth’s Death By Denim are a four-piece synth and dance rock outfit renowned for their high-energy chaotic live show. In March they released their latest EP, My House is a Club, a follow-up to their 2022 LP, Moonbow.

The boys have been on a national tour to celebrate the release of My House is a Club. I caught up with them just prior to their Sydney show. We chatted about the EP, touring life, influences and karaoke picks.

The tour has just finished, and already the boys have announced a new set of dates. They will be supporting Tyne-James Organ in August, then in September will be supporting Teenage Dads on the WA and South Australian leg of their tour, before returning to Red Hill Auditorium in WA to support Ocean Alley. Don’t miss your chance to see this incredibly talented and high-energy band.

Having formed in 2016, Death by Denim is comprised of close friends, Palle Mazzulla (P) on guitar, Nikolas Ilidias (N) on vocals, George Gunson (G) on keyboard and Hamish Macarthur (H) on drums. Read on!

Justin Stewart Cotta


Hey guys, how did the show in Melbourne go last night ?

N: It was great, we love playing Melbourne. It was a cool show, cool venue and we had lots of friends there
P: It was the first show of the tour, which is always exciting
G: It’s a big old venue – we hadn’t played there before. There was a poster of Billie Eilish there from 2018 which is mental. So what I’m saying is, that we are Billie Eilish ……. In 5 years

The first night of a tour can be hazardous with the temptation to go large. Did you succumb to the dangers of over-exuberance?

G: Yeah – we did. We had a DJ set at 1am. So we finished our gig at 11.30 and then high-tailed it down to Yah Yah’s for a DJ set. Played some bangers, can’t quite remember what it was I played though
N: There were some bangers
G: Definitely, there were some bangers, and tequila was in there as well. Melbourne is great. Just like at the gig, everyone is open to new music, as long as the vibe is there. No one was being a dickhead, they were just there to enjoy it. I’m sure the vibe will be very similar tonight. Sydney never disappoints.

I was speaking to a friend last night who was with a Melbourne band that played here, and she reckons that Melbourne crowds always go straight to the front of the stage, but in Sydney, the audiences take longer. Is she onto something there?

H: Interesting – one of the best shows we played at was the Lansdowne, and that one was crazy, from the get-go. People on shoulders and all that. Energy was high

Sydney tonight, Gong tomorrow then 5 days before the Sunshine Coast. What’s happening then?

N: We’re going to get a tan!
G: We’re going to do some writing which is good. The ‘Gong is interesting because it’s a uni town. So there’s usually a last-minute surge in ticket sales. You never know what you are going to get. It’s usually packed, but going up to it, you never know. We are playing at the same place we always play – La La La’s as well – as opposed to Yah Yah’s from last night!

P: The stage is as wide as this bar (not very) – we are all jammed together. It’s a good time.

Death by Denim

Do you guys have a pre-show routine?

N: There are a couple of things – we always do a huddle right before going on stage
P: Someone has to give the pep talk – it rotates every time. Hamish – you’ve got a couple of things you like to do by yourself
H: I pick up some heavier marching sticks, and try and get my hands warm and focus that way
N: I do the same with cigarettes and alcohol
G: We always try and catch the supports – it’s never just lock ourselves in the green room.
H: It’s a good point – sometimes I’m too in my head, and think I’ve got to warm up and get ready. It’s actually better to go out and be inspired by what you are there for. I find that I’m in a better mindspace if I do that

And post-show?

N: Packing up is pretty parching (laughs). Then it’s a few drinks and catchups
G: There’s usually a few people in the front rows who want to have chat. We’ll debrief, catch a breath, then go and have a chat, swap some names, setlists etc. I think that’s one of the pluses of being a smaller band when you can leave the stage, then come back and have that interaction.
As much as it would be nice to have the mega-fame experience, we really enjoy the interaction.
P: When we played here 4 years ago it was a pretty small fan base. The people that came to those shows are mates now. They still keep coming to the shows. Big shoutout to Cory!

Congrats on the EP, My House is a Club – 5 tracks – were they all ready when you started recording ?

N: Pretty much. We don’t want to waste too much time, ’cause studio time is expensive. We rehearsed them a fair bit before we went in.
N: Hamish records the drums in a day, it could be 1 or 20 songs. Then George and I will need a day or two to figure out what we want it to sound like. All the various textures. We tend to let that happen organically.

We do it in parts – this is the first time where we did a pre-production day, to play it as a band and get a feel for it. Usually it’s a fully fledged song, the structure is there, but we’ll end up butchering it, cutting it apart then reassembling.

There’s loads of synths in there, but not as many as the last album. With this we took some synths out and filled it with weird guitar stuff and vocals, and drum machine stuff to back up what Hamish was doing. Going in that direction of Tears for Fears, Yes, Depeche Mode. All those guys that made the synths famous but not really dense.

There are many great influences in your music, and such a wide variety. What were leaning on for this record?

P: The main one which we were all listening to was The Weeknd – That’s a massive influence. We were thinking ‘can we try and do something similar’? Probably not, but let’s give it a crack. We all have individual influences, but that’s one we all loved.
G: We had some left of field references. Pop is fascinating. Sonically
H: I remember we were going through one of the tracks we were setting up in Palle’s basement, and “Airport Beers” from Cameron Avery (Tame Impala, POND) came on. It was really inspiring for layering and different song structures. How I could try and emulate that as a drummer. A cool song – check it out.

And the title–track – “My House is a Club” – everyone loves a share house, especially if it is someone elses. Who’s had a bad experience?

N: We’ve shared – in the thick of covid, we had some low-key parties (laughs) , trying to make the best of a bad situation that fed into the EP
It felt like a club at the time. With our muso mates always coming around.
P: ‘my house is a club and I’m getting lonely’ – did you write that because of the aftermath
N: Your house is the party and you live in the mess, pretty much. There’s a lot of social interaction but it’s taxing – what did I achieve? – who did I talk to? It’s challenging.

You reference the social media thing – life’s not quite as rosy as it might seem sometimes?

G: Yeah – a lot of bands at the time were putting out stuff as though it everything was great. We were thinking how can we be musicians when we can’t even gig? But on the other side, that was the only way to connect with the fans, so we had to cherish that. But when that’s the only thing you can grow with, it’s tough.

You are a few records in now – do you have the recording process down pat?

G: We’ve done every studio session with the same producer – Andy Lawson – and we’ve become good mates with him. There are no pleasantries, we just go in and start getting it done
P It’s like a second home,
G: We recorded this EP over 2 weeks, rather than staggering the recording. This was trying to make it more cohesive. We think we will do more of that in future. It was fleshed out as one big packet.

Harry Styles is an influence on you guys. Did you catch him when he was out?

Tickets were too expensive! We can’t afford that!

For our Triple J Like A Version, we did a Harry song (“Watermelon Sugar”), We wanted to do a song with a bop, and he doesn’t really get played there (triple J) much, so we gave it a go.

What’s on for the rest of 2023?

We’ve got a song coming out soon. We originally recorded 6 for the EP, but dropped off one. That will come out sometime in the next few months. Some gigs which haven’t been announced (Ed: they have now – check below for details). Keep recording, keep writing. Maybe another tour towards the end of the year.

We are looking to collaborate with more artists and more producers. We’ve been recording with Andy since we started, and even he is saying that we should work with someone else. Probably ’cause he is sick of working with us (laughs) – he said it’s good for musicians to branch out and seek other recording engineers. That’s how you grow. You can’t just be locked in your own world. You need to get new ideas from people. We are working on that all the time.

Death by Denim

I have a hunch you guys would be great at karoake. Go-to karaoke songs ?

When we were in Sydney for Like a Version, we went to Frankies Pizza, and celebrated. It was a night to belt out a tune
P: “Livin’ on a Prayer” – that was mine – the last in the set, bringing it home
G: In the key change, there was visible pain. You nailed it. Palle has an incredible 80s voice
N: I did Aerosmith that night, but mine would be ‘Feel’ from Robbie Williams – I actually go to karoake quite often (much laughter)
G: I love “Stop” by the Spice Girls – it’s great – it’s a hard song. If I can’t sing that, it’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ – also by the Spice Girls
H: Mine would be Justin Timberlake – they are all hard to sing – but I’d give it a crack. There’s a Justin Timberlake song for everybody

Thats great – thanks, and good luck for the rest of the tour.

Justin Stewart Cotta

Death By Denim – Upcoming Shows

4th August – Uni Bar, Adelaide – (Supporting Tyne-James Organ)  TICKETS
5th August – Corner Hotel, Melbourne – (Supporting Tyne-James Organ) TICKETS
12th August – The Zoo, Fortitude Valley –  (Supporting Tyne-James Organ) TICKETS
20th August – Icebreaker, Factory Theatre, Sydney – TICKETS
7th September – Froth Craft Bunbrewery, Bunbury (Supporting Teenage Dads) – TICKETS
8th September – The River, Margaret River (Supporting Teenage Dads) – TICKETS
9th September – Freo Social, Fremantle (Supporting Teenage Dads) – TICKETS – Under 18’s – 4pm
9th September – Freo Social, Fremantle (Supporting Teenage Dads) – TICKETS – 18+ – 8pm
6th October – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide (Supporting Teenage Dads) – TICKETS 
21st October – Red Hill Auditorium, Adelaide (Supporting Ocean Alley) – TICKETS
22nd October – Red Hill Auditorium, Adelaide (Supporting Ocean Alley) – TICKETS


My House is a Club from Death By Denim is available on all streaming platforms.

You can keep up to date with Death by Denim on their Website, Facebook, Instagram, TiKTok, Spotify, Twitter and YoutTube

All photos by Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker