Around 900 shows around the globe, 5 LPs, 2 EPs, 5 7”s, 2 Best-of-CDs and 5 split releases all on international labels, 10 different bass players, 2 band names and countless crazy tour stories to tell. You could think Austria’s punk rock band DeeCRACKS have seen and done it all. And you are probably right, but that still didn’t stop them from recording a new album.
Forced to take a break from touring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DeeCRACKS recorded a brand spankin’ new album called ‘Serious Issues,’ out now on Pirates Press Records. We caught up with Matt and Mike to talk about the new album, Ramonescore and still not being allowed to tour the US.
PRT: You guys have been going at it for close to 20 years now. What is the main thing that keeps you going?
Matt: I don't really know. I was always into music, my whole life and ever since I was a teenager I was involved with bands. I can't picture life without making or listening to music.
Mike: We love what we do and it’s the best fun we have in our lives. It’s great to be able to tour and go places and meet people and share our fun with them. It’s all priceless memories and we love making more of them, so, on and on we go.
PRT: Over the course of 20 years a lot must have changed in your lives. Does DeeCRACKS still have the same priority in your lives as it did in the beginning?
Matt: I don't think the band was ever a priority for me. I see this as my hobby. I do it because I enjoy it and mainly to have fun. Of course, it demands a lot of time and effort but that's fine.
Mike: We always thought this band could be done anytime soon, so we always tried to do as much as possible while we have it. We still have that attitude. I always put everything I can aside for this band and dedicate my time to DeeCracks. After all, it’s an important thing in my life that keeps my spirit up and makes me happy.
PRT: 2020 was a difficult year for musicians and I guess even more for road warriors like you. Obviously you wrote new songs, but how else did you spend that time? Did you learn any new skills or find out something new about yourself?
Matt: In the beginning this whole lockdown situation wasn't a big deal for me. It was more like a much-needed break. We actually decided in fall 2019 to take a little break from touring. which was supposed to end March 2020. Well, it got extended just for another year for now, haha. I for my part spent most of the time at home recording songs. I did that before the lockdown as well so nothing really changed. I haven't learned anything.
Mike: Same for me, I tried to stay productive and creative. Having new DeeCracks songs to work on was great and after I worked on different projects, like the hockey themed band I have with my brother called Trauma Centrum Süd. I started a YouTube podcast series called DeeTALKS and tried to find new ways to reach our fans, to fill the void of not being able to tour.
PRT: The new album is called ‘Serious Issues’ and by the time this interview will be online, it will be out on Pirates Press Records. What’s it like to work long and hard on a new album, have it come out and then not be able to immediately follow it up with shows?
Matt: Yeah, not being able to go out and perform the new stuff sucks. Not just for people who wanna hear it but also for us. I know by the time we'd be able to play the new material, it will already be old to me. Which means we'd have to do another new record then, but I doubt that'll happen.
PRT: On that same note... From what I gathered you guys are still banned from the US. Is it frustrating to have the backing of a label like Pirates Press over there and then not be able to play there?
Matt: The USA issue is such a mess. We still don't know if/how/when it will be solved. We love traveling and of course miss coming to the States. The fact that the label is there is just another good reason for us to keep trying to make it over again someday.
Mike: It’s such a bummer. I’m happy though that we have the brilliant people at Pirates Press Records working with us and keeping us alive over there. For them to trust us and releasing our stuff knowing we can’t come there and tour is certainly a big compliment to our music and work ethic. I’m really happy they gave us a chance despite that.
PRT: ‘Serious Issues’ is once again recorded with Marco Perdacher. What is it about him that makes you keep going back to him?
Matt: We are like a family, you know. Marco is a friend for 25 years or so. He was our lead guitarist in the first 4 years (as the Cretins) and is our go-to engineer ever since. He knows what we need/like and we simply trust him.
Mike: Exactly and he always delivered too, I can highly recommend working with him.
PRT: You always have one or two instrumental songs on the album, in this case opening track ‘Desert Surf Storm’ and ‘The Ambien Shake’. Are those more challenging to write? And maybe a dumb question... are those songs specifically written as instrumental songs? Or are they songs where you struggled to come up with lyrics, but where the music and melodies are too good to be dismissed?
Matt: I am a big surf rock fan, well, we all are, and I think punk rock and surf music go pretty well together. These songs were always meant to be instrumentals. Who knows, maybe someday there will be a DeeCracks surf album.
PRT: You have always been lumped into the Ramonescore category. How do you feel about that label? And is it something you feel you have outgrown on ‘Serious Issues’?
Matt: We are a punk band and we've always been one. I can't wrap my mind around the term Ramonescore. I don't know what it means. The Ramones were a rock'n'roll band with a punk attitude. They were unique and original. I guess every band should try to find their own style and not just copy somebody else's. People can call us whatever they want. We know what/who we are.
Mike: I don’t get the term either, but yeah, as long as people dig it, I don’t care what they call it.
PRT: You don’t just have the new album out. You also re-released ‘Attention! Deficit Disorder’ via Monster Zero, completely remastered and with new artwork and two extra songs. Was it fun to revisit your first full-length?
Matt: Well, I haven't listened to this record in ages so it surely was fun checking the masters and restyling the cover. "I Wanted It All" or "Not Another Minute" are part of our set since the day we wrote them. The record was and is very important to us and maybe to Monster Zero Records as well. It's cool it's finally available again.