Menu Subscribe Search



Subscribe for the Latest Music News

Enter your email address below to subscribe to a regular(ish) dose of AAA Backstage goodness direct to your inbox.

Interview: Nic McKenzie from Deep Sea Arcade

Deep Sea Arcade 2016 Press Shot

To fans, it would seem Deep Sea Arcade have had a pretty quiet few years. However, they’ve actually been chugging away under the surface putting together some very exciting projects. Visions was a series of club nights started by the guys, and as part of VIVID they’ve been given their very first (FREE) festival, and a new album is on the way. We sat down for a chat with frontman Nic McKenzie about the busy couple of months ahead!

Visions is hosting its first edition of music festival as part of the VIVID festival, what has it been like working with Visions on its very first festival?

It’s been amazing. We’ve been doing it over the last two years, just slowly building it up as a monthly night, and having our own stage at festivals. Last year in September we had King Street Crawl, and we were the main stage at that event. It’s been slowly building towards that festival status that we’ve been hoping the club night would turn into, and this is the first time that we’ve made that happen. What’s even more exciting is that we’ve been able to make it free!

Deep Sea Arcade are curating, how did you go about selecting such a fine array of bands and artists?

Basically keeping really, really interested in what was going on in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and listening. The great thing when you start curating a music night is that not only are you looking for new artists and bands, but they’re looking for you too. I’ve had so many bands approach me and show me their music, and I’ve been out looking for music as well.

That’s been kind of what I was hoping would happen, because I have a real interest in music and in Australian Music. Just after we released Outlands, I spent almost a year in London, just trying to find local artists around London, and I was really inspired by their club nights. You can go to a club night with every kind of music in London. A lot of bands in London put on club nights, because obviously if you’re making music and writing music, you’re listening to it too, and you want to share that with people. Also as a band, if you’re putting on music, you’re learning things too, which is a great kind of exchange.

That was why I came back and started Visions with the Chugg guys, who are out managers, and they’ve always put on events throughout Australia, so it seemed like a good thing to do with our management.

How many artists are old hands coming back, and how many are new on the scene to Visions?

There are a few, like Salvador Dali Llama, Hunch, Flowertruck that are bands that are slowly growing. Kirin J Callinan just signed with EMI after many years. Montaigne is a fantastic artist who is just starting to get attention on the world stage. Gideon Benson has just left the Preatures and gone off and done his own thing. Flying Colours form Melbourne are starting to get recognition too.

How do you think that the Visions festival will fit in with the other events that are coming up for the VIVID festival in Sydney?

They’ve been super supportive of us. I noticed we’ve been on the main part of their page, and I feel like we’ve slotted in really nicely.

After you’re done with the VIVID Festival, do you think there is much room to spread to other capital cities?

That’s definitely the idea! We’ve been talking very closely with Premier Artists in Melbourne about starting a club night there, with the scope of it becoming a circuit. First we’ll start the club night in Melbourne. We might have the bands play on a Friday in Sydney, then a Saturday in Melbourne, and there might be the scope to have it open in Brisbane. We’d try to build a kind of Visions circuit, next year, and that would hopefully be able to become a festival that toured nationally. That’s the end goal, really.

Deep Sea Arcade have been on the scene now for a number of years, what do you guys think of some of the newer crop of psych rock bands that have come in swathes in recent years?

I can’t praise them more. As I say, we were in London, and I realised when we got back to Sydney, that the music scene here is so worth celebrating, even when you’re in an international city. That’s why I was like we should do a club night. You have Tame Impala and Flume and all of these bands really making waves on the international scene, and you want to look at the local scene and find out why these bands are doing so well, and inspect it on a micro level. You want to see who the next crop of Australian artists will be. I feel really lucky to be able to see these bands before they head overseas.

Is there a band or artist that you would love to work with but haven’t had the chance yet?

Absolutely! Last year we had Flowertruck and Polish Club. Crepes are amazing. Julia Jackson too, who is now at Great Escape, she has been amazing. Off the top of my head… These New South Whales, and Mossy as well. Of course, we have previously had The Preatures, who are doing massive things internationally. I would say those bands.

It’s been a couple of years since your last big release, and there’s been a fair few rumblings and pictures of you guys in the studio, what kinds of big announcements can fans expect to hear soon?

Yes! We’ve almost finished out record with Eric J Dubowsy who worked with Flume, Chet Faker, Weezer, and the Chemical Brothers recently. We’re just getting our final mixes back. Once those are all in the bag we’ll be setting a release date, and we’re aiming for September.

What can fans expect to see from the band when you take the stage?

We’ll just be playing all new material off the record!

Visions Festival

The Lord Gladstone Hotel, Sydney


Written by Max Higgins