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DREGG: Turning important conversations into important music

Loud, technicoloured, individualistic, and unapologetic, DREGG are troublemakers, an affront to the tidy order of things. No doubt the order of things thought it was safe from the full extent of the DREGG, what with the band locked away in Melbourne and all, but in a matter of weeks there’ll be no escaping their gaze with the band loading up the van and hitting the highways of Australia for the Internet Tour.

DREGG kept themselves busy in lockdown, not only announcing their signing to Epitaph, but releasing a plethora of singles: ‘Return of the DREGG’, ‘I’m Done’, ‘Hectic’, ‘Evolve’, ’21st Century Ignorance’ and the tour’s namesake, ‘Internet’. It’s with that latent kinetic energy that the band spring forth from their Melbourne studio.

We spoke with vocalist Chris Mackertich for a vibe check before they left.

DREGG will make their triumphant return to the stage for the Internet Tour, as headliners no less! It must be a huge trip to be hitting the road again, how are you processing it?

I feel like it’s been hard for most people to get excited about any sort of plans lately with things opening and closing constantly, but we’re just staying focused on the fact that we’ll finally get to play for our fans after they’ve been so patient through the lockdowns. We can’t wait to take all the new songs out on the road and bring them to life. 

It’s been a huge 12 months of releases from the band, with heaps of singles unleashed. What was it like writing, recording, and releasing with such a hectic schedule during a global lockdown?

Luckily, I live with our guitarist Sam who also does all the production for DREGG, so I was able to record vocals throughout the whole year. We just tried to channel the frustrations we had around the lockdowns into productivity and didn’t want to lose momentum. It was tough at times but definitely glad we kept pushing to create. 

DREGG went above and beyond with their audience engagement throughout this period, even launching the Evolve energy drink. How important do you think it will be going forward for bands to be open to exploring these ‘guerrilla marketing’ techniques?

I don’t feel it’s super important because people make music for all sorts of personal reasons. We like experimenting with different release formulas and campaigns, I guess to almost contest the norm around ‘hype’ in heavy music. And it was a good troll for everyone that said signing to Epitaph would make us sell out. 

Each of the five singles has a strong message and provides a unique lens through which to view the topic. What comes first in your creation process, the idea or the song?

It depends really, sometimes I’ll write to riffs that have already been written and sometimes I’ll approach the band with an idea, and we’ll go from there. We just kinda go with what we’re vibing and try not to push anything that isn’t working. 

If we can focus on one common thread between the singles, it’s that of cautionary tales if we continue down these regressive paths as a society. They often say the most important things to say are the hardest – how does DREGG go about fitting these big, challenging issues into easily accessible jams?

I think society plays more of a role in the simplicity of it rather than us. We’re just taking the conversations everybody is having and turning them into music. If more people had conversations with one another rather than arguing all the time, I think they’d see that they have more in common than they’d like to think. 

For the Internet Tour, you’re making use of the rare commodity that is JJ Peters. It must be a buzz to be hitting the road with the big dawg?

Yeah, it’s super sick that he’s coming out. He’s played a huge role in helping our band grow. Deez Nuts has taken us out on two Australian tours and JJ has always had nothing but good advice for us throughout our career. I’m just stoked we get to be a part of hardcore x hip hop history with this being his first solo tour.

Once the tour wraps, we still have a few months left of the year, what’s next on the cards for DREGG? Album time?

We’re working on something really cool that’s very outside of the box of anything we’ve done before. I can’t say much but I think a lot of people from different corners are gonna enjoy it. 

DREGG’s Internet Tour featuring JJ Peters

Tickets available now

Friday, 11th June
The Brightside, Brisbane

Saturday, 12th June
Red Rattler Theatre, Sydney

Friday, 18th June
Enigma Bar, Adelaide

Saturday, 26th June (Early Show)
Howler, Melbourne

Saturday, 26th June SOLD OUT
Howler, Melbourne