Last year while working on the Punx In Exile compilation with independent Melbourne label In Exile Records, I discovered a band from Bendigo called Dero. The band was kind enough to give us a song for the compilation as well as agree to play the Bendigo leg of the Punx In Exile tour which was my chance to see them live and on their home turf. After watching a ripper performance on stage that included a rendition of happy birthday to someone in the crowd as well as telling someone who was causing trouble to get the hell out, I knew I’d stumbled upon something special. This band and I have supported each other ever since, I constantly put their name in the hat to fill lineups for shows and in return they agree to my ideas like this interview haha. They’ve recently been in the studio and are about to play a show with Fat Wreck Chords band Get Dead, so I thought now was a good time to ask the band to do an interview for Crannk.
Mike: So for those who aren’t familiar with the band, can you tell us where Dero are from and how they got started?
Reece: Warwick and I are brothers and had been writing and jamming for years. Our neighbour worked with Kurtis and told us he played drums. So we got him around and started jamming, hanging out, that’s kind of how it started. Our mate Greg booked us for a show at the Newmarket without asking so we had a week or two to write and learn a 30 minute set, and it kind of went from there. A few years later Dave was watching us pissed, we basically dared him to become our singer. The next show he eventually got on stage with us
Mike: What got you into punk music and wanting to start a band ?
Reece: My dad got me into music as a kid lots of 50’s rock Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and all the kids in the family learnt instruments. Warwick had a drum teacher that gave him a tape that had the Sex Pistols on one side and Dead Kennedys on the other. That really pushed me into punk, especially the American stuff like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minute Men all that good stuff.
As a kid I always wanted to play in bands, but I was mostly playing in classical guitar groups even though that wasn’t the music I loved. It wasn’t until later in life that I actually managed to go bugger it lets play our music.
Warwick: Reece is my brother we grew up listening to the same stuff, I got more into the metal side of things until my drum teacher opened my eyes to punk. But I will listen to whatever grabs me at the time if it sounds good and makes you feel something that is all that matters.
Kurtis: I grew up with a Lot of 70s and 80s rock so naturally as i grew followed on to heavy and faster stuff. When i was in high school i played bass but my brother had a drumkit and i would play that more and more as time went on. There is no better feeling then having no turn down dial! Playing in a band makes you a better artist and enjoy your own music much more.
Dave: Being a smidge younger then the other boys my introduction to punk was along the lines of Blink 182, Yellowcard and sadly even the likes of Simple plan. But I had a healthy dose of Hüsker Du, Billy Talent and rise against that opened my ears to a much bigger world. These days Im a bit of a music whore. I listen to almost anything! Punk, stoner rock, doom, metal core, even a little bit of country… ALMOST anything…
Mike: You guys recently spent some time in a studio recording your debut EP ‘Aim Low Reach For The Middle,’ can you tell us a little about that experience?
Reece: We recorded at Sound Recordings with Alex Bennett, can’t recommend this guy enough. Super supportive and knows a lot of tricks. The studio is completely analogue so some of the songs changed a bit, because we aren’t incredible musicians so how we played them on the day is how they sounded. But Alex and the band also had some ideas during recording that we tried and if they worked they stayed.
Mike: do you have a favourite song on the EP ?
Reece: Brownimal, it’s about my old dog Barjar so it’s got personal ties.
Kurtis: Lunatic would be my favourite.
Dave: Smart Cunt because I just really wanna here that on some commercial pop radio station unsensored. It’s an Top 40 banger if I’ve ever heard one.
Mike: How does Dero approach songwriting ?
Warwick: Normally we will just jam and figure it out. Sometimes Reece or I will bring a riff or Kurt will start a beat for us to work off we go from there. I have books full of lyrics that I am constantly scribbling in after we figure out the music just try to match them up. Dave has been writing some lyrics too but usually just sings random shit along until he gets some structure and I’ll throw some lyrics at him and he’ll work it all in.
Mike: How does Dero approach gigs?
Warwick; Get up there have fun, head down and fuck it.
Mike: What was your first gig like?
Reece: Pretty shithouse. I was packing myself I just remember staring at a beer sign the whole time.
Dave: All I remember thinking is “what the fuck am I doing?” These guys had been a band for years and I had been to a handful of practices and that was it. After freaking out for half the set out the front I walked in and did it. I don’t think I looked up from my lyric sheets though. Good times!
Mike: what is your favourite gig so far?
Reece: Two Stage Rage at the Bendigo Hotel. Super fun show, and we played with Don Berserk those guys were really good before they split up.
Warwick: I loved the Bendigo hotel show too, have always wanted to play there after seeing snfu play there.
Kurtis: Hard to say but one music man gig, when we finished, Dave started singing I’ve had the time of my life so I came in as back up drums for him and rocked the encore!.
Dave: It’d be a toss up between the Bendigo Hotel Gig and one we did at Entree Music Bar with Wolfpack here in Bendigo. Literally had the lights falling out of the roof we were that loud.
Mike: What can fans expect from a Dero gig ?
Reece: Lot’s of noise, and Dave running around like a angry midget.
Mike: got any crazy gig stories ?
Reece: Not too crazy but we played a UMAC show at the Tote. The bill was pretty much all doom bands and us. So they crowd wasn’t expecting Dero. There was one guy in the crowd who started running straight at Dave. Warwick and I nearly dropped our guitars to jump in because we thought he was going to punch him in the back of the head. At the last minute he kind of changed his mind and turned the punch into a hug. Turns out he was a big fan.
Mike: The bands next show is as a local support for the Get Dead Tour with Wolfpack at True Brew, is this a big moment for the band ?
Reece: For me personally it’s huge. Fat Wreck was the sound track to my high school. I still listen to a lot of their stuff. Warwick has a couple of Tony Sly tattoos. They have put out some Descendents stuff who are one of my favourite bands. On a less personal note it is just awesome for Bendigo. Having international touring punk acts coming to town is something we’ve wanted to help organise since we started the band.
Dave: It’s also pretty special too because it’s a local gig. Playing in Melbourne is a tonne of fun but with the local gigs we have all our friends and family come along. Without many places to play in town we are pretty thankful that True Brew is willing to let us play. It’s not everyday you get the chance to bring in big international artist to small country towns. When Entree closed I honestly thought that this was gonna be an opportunity we might have to miss out on. Shoulda had more faith!! Annnd any excuse to get day drunk works for me too.
Mike: What would you say to young musicians wanting to start a band and live the dream?
Reece: Just pick up an instrument and have a crack. It is easier now then ever to make music then ever you can record in your bedroom if you want. But if you want to play live you need to go out and support venues so you have somewhere to play. Also if you want gigs just don’t be a douche then bands will probably ask you to play shows with them, it’s how we’ve gotten most of our shows.
Like all good interviews, we exchanged thank you’s at the end because even punks have manners.
Here’s a link to their show at True Brew in Bendigo on the 13th of October 2019 https://www.facebook.com/events/489132618312904/?ti=as
Dero Facebook Link https://www.facebook.com/DeroBand/
Dero Bandcamp Link http://deromusic.bandcamp.com/album/aim-low-reach-for-the-middle
Dero Instagram Link https://www.instagram.com/dero.band/
Dero Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw62SX8NMm_-CCGH7Q3HvGg
Check out Dero on Spotify but if you really want to support the band and scene go over to bandcamp and grab some music/merch and head out and catch a live show 🤘