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Deniz Tek interview

by Steve Tauschke from "Beat Magazine" - 1996 - English


Many thanks to Craig Regan who sent the article. One more time !

"Le Bonne Route", meaning the good way, is the Deniz Tek Group's latest album. Steve Tauschke speaks with Tek on the eve of the band's Melbourne sojourn.

Beat: This is the second record with this lineup which has developed into a good little unit. You must be feeling comfortable making records with these guys.

Deniz: "Yeah, it is a good unit. It's real nice because we've played together enough that we know how to do it. So we can spend time apart then get back together and it's like going up to a car you've had parked for a while where you can get in and turn the key and it goes, pretty much by itself. It's a good thing!"

Beat: You've spread your wings somewhat on this album, kind of a departure what what you've done previously. I'm referring to songs such as "VMO".

Deniz: "You know it's good that you like that because it's the kind of thing where you get comfortable with a certain way of playing because you know you can do it well and you've gotten some good reactions from it in the past so you tens to take the comfortable position playing the same old way.
One of the good things about this album is that we did take a few steps outside the norm, at least for me, and try new things which is a lot more fun, a lot more interesting for the band.

"It's a little risky to step out of what you know you're good at and try new things. But if you don't and if you stick witht the same old formula then you just run the risk of doing nostalgia, and we don't want to do nostalgia.
We sort of decided as a group that we wouldn't have too many restrictions on this one and that any idea would be entertained and tried out by the band."

Beat: I notice you're playing harp this time around. I don't ever recall you using harp before, certainly not in Radio Birdman.

Deniz: "I used to play it a lot in TV Jones, the band I was in before Birdman.
And I was in some rhythm n' blues outfits before that where I played harmonica. But you're right , I haven't played it since then but I felt it wouldjust suit that particular track to blow some harp and try it in the spirit of "anything goes" on this record."

Beat: You must have felt right at home recording in your homestate of Montana.

Deniz: "That was great, really great, not to have to travel a long way to record. The ability to do it near home I think contributed to the spirit of the album in a way because the guys came and stayed, lived in my house, and we put the songs together in that environment.
I have a little home studio in the basement of my house and so we'd go down there and jam songs and tape it then listen back to the tapes and see what we could use in songs. We sort of assembled the album in that way. Then we headed over to (another) studio to record. It was a good studio too because we could all play in the same room, there was good eye contact and it was mostly done live.
It's a big room and the engineer sits in there with you as well. It's not the traditional thing where there's a big mixing desk and a glass panel....it was a nice, live-type atmosphere."
Beat: Is that eye contact important when you are recording?
Deniz: "I think it is, especially when you're working on new stuff that eye contact is critical to play that song together in a good way.
Once you've done a song many, many times on several tours you can do it without eye contact and still know what's about to happen with the other guys because you can feel it."
Beat: You released an Italian tour EP earlier this year.
What other parts of Europe have embraced the Deniz Tek Group?

Deniz: "Well, France is good for us. And Spain and Italy - those three countries.
We'll always be able to play there and do OK, at least break even and be self-sufficient touring there without any record company support.
We haven't gone to Germany or the low countries as a solo band yet but I think we'd do OK there too.
America has many pockets of interest; Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, LA, San Francisco, there's groups of fans in each of these cities that are really kind of deprived people because they can't get the records in America and the import copies from Australia are so expensive it's outrageous really what people expect to pay for an imported copy from Australia.

It's wa y more underground than it is in Europe or here in Australia and it makes the people like it that much more...the fans are few but intense."

Beat: Didn't Polydor provide US distribution for you?
Deniz: "Polydor America and Polydor Australia, even though they are owned by the same parent conglomerate company, they are completely independent of each other.

Polydor America had no interest in distributing our stuff over there, it was the same for other bands on Red Eye too.
Kim Salmon couldn't get distribution in America, Clouds had it for a little while but then lost it.

The Polydors here and over there don't necessarily read from the same page really....but it's good for the band to be off Red Eye because we're back as independent guys again and that just gives you more freedom, more possibilities rather than less.

We're not tied to anybody's idea of a marketing strategy or anybody's idea of what we should be doing.
We'll continue to play and exist at a subversive level below the industry norm and that's a good thing! Citadel is the perfect place for us."

Beat: European interest in the band must be personally satisfying considering Radio Birdman didn't quite crack it over there.

Deniz: "Yes, unfortunately Radio Birdman broke up before it could do much over there. We did one tour, mostly in the UK but only a few gigs in Europe and then broke up so it's good to go to Europe now.
The band has a lot of fans there and we can organise shows and play without having record company support..."
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