Interview: Dead Letter Circus Vocalist Kim Benzie Talks New Album, The Catalyst Fire

Australian alternative-rock band Dead Letter Circus are getting ready to release their new album, The Catalyst Fire, on October 29 in North America. Besides the release of their second album, the band will also be embarking on a US tour this fall opening alongside Born of Osiris and Twelve Foot Ninja for headliners Periphery. With the anticipation of the release of The Catalyst Fire building, Revolver caught up with vocalist Kim Benzie to talk about the new album, electronic influences, and weird fan gifts.

REVOLVER On The Catalyst Fire, you’ve taken more of an electronic approach than on 2010′s This Is The Warning, Would you describe this as a natural progression of the band’s sound, or is this something that recently came about?
KIM BENZIE Personally I would say the electronic elements are pretty even across the two albums.However, on The Catalyst Fire, we were a lot more confident and skilled. When you get it right, the fusion between the rock and the electro is amazing.

What are some of your biggest influences in electronic music and how do these influences translate in Dead Letter Circus’ sound?
Definitely the atmospherics from Massive Attack and the dirty grit of Nine Inch Nails.

This album is the first to feature newer band members Tom Skerlj and Clint Vincent. How did they come to join the band, and in what ways have they benefited the band?
Tom came on board as a live guy when we released This is the Warning, and became a full time member and writer shortly after. Clint’s story is a great rock tale. He was our tour manager for a couple of years prior to joining. When our lead guitarist left on very short notice prior to an American tour–Clint had a broken wrist at the time, but he cut his cast off his arm 3 weeks early and jumped on a plane with us and went straight into a two month baptism of fire on the road.  It was a crazy time, but the transition was seamless, and shortly after when the writing began for the album we knew we had the right team to take the band to the next level.

Your lyrics are pretty emotional. At what age did you begin writing and how do you go about choosing subject matter to fit your music?
I was that kid at school that was always writing teenage poetry in the back of his school books. I still have a huge box full of them all. I actually have a laugh sometimes that it somehow became my job. With the subject matter, it is always purely a reflection of what I am feeling and learning at the time. I feel like we have the massive honor of being the vessels for this music.

If there is one message that your fans get from The Catalyst Fire what would you hope that to be?
That we are not as separate and powerless as we have been programmed to think. The few that control us have done a masterful job of making us feel that way, but the prison is not perfect. The process of opening your eyes to the real mechanics of the world will involve a feeling of helplessness and anger, but it must be followed with action.

How much of a role does commercial success play in your collective decisions as a band?
None at all. We are lucky enough to be the vessels for this amazing music and we’d never dishonor that relationship with trying to write with radio in mind. Luckily, some stations love to play our stuff so we feel very blessed in that regard.

What is the oddest gift a fan has ever given you?
The latest weirdest thing was a set of towels with our individual names hand-stitched in cursive.

Would you ever consider relocating to the United States?
There are so many places to see, so locating to anywhere seems a little pointless. We are quite prepared to spend a lot of time in a bus to come meet y’all.

 

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