Interview: JJ Peters of Deez Nuts
Clear the Lane! OG Heavy-Hitters Deez Nuts are hitting the road around Australia this December on the 'You Got Me F*cked Up' 2019 Australian Tour, presented by Destroy All Lines! We got to chat with frontman JJ Peters about the new album, keyboard warriors, changing their sound and plenty more.
How's life treating you at the moment?
Life's good man, it's exciting times like when a new album comes out after you've spent months writing and recording it and then all the lead up to it. I essentially manage the band so it's been a non-stop few months for me and now I just get to enjoy it and ride the wave for a little bit and see what people think of the album. So yeah, it's a good time.
Very nice, and where abouts are you and the band based now? Are you living out of Australia or overseas?
I've been living in Glasgow for the last year with my partner and our baby, she's got family out here, but we're actually about to move back to Australia. In December when we come there for our tour and then we're going to stay there for a year. So yeah, while the baby is still young we're kind of just figuring out where we want to be and that sort of thing.
Awesome! Congrats on the new album, it's really cool and I've been digging it quite a bit lately. It's got that party sound that you guys are known for but it's also got some progression and some new sounds which is interesting. Was it a fun album to record with these differences both sonically and logistically?
Yeah, like as far as when you mention the logistics of it, recording somewhere new just brings some new life into it and shit. It changes it up a bit and shakes up our routine which we've sort of had for the past few albums now. But as far as the writing process, I mean it's always a little bit stressful but that's our own fault because we always make it harder for ourselves, going into the studio with only a couple of month to write and record the entire thing. That's the best way for us to work though, we always do well under pressure. But yeah, the end result is usually a pretty stressful time, coming down to the last minute type of situation. But the results speak for themselves I think and for me personally it was really fun and as far as me being able to loosen the reigns and the constraints of where we kind of set the limit for ourselves. Obviously you can tell that we've tried to do a few new things that we haven't done before and for that reason it was a more exciting album recording wise because I also got to do some new things vocally, so yeah it was really fun.
You've mentioned earlier that this was the album that you guys had to create and you've found your party sound once again. So creativity wise, what sort of areas did you have to tap into so you could find that sound and feel satisfied with the finished product?
OK, so basically like we've felt it in ourselves and we've heard it from other bands as well that we've been missing that party sound that got us to where we are today. Obviously we've moved on from where we were at when basically every song was about doing shots and partying 24/7 and all of that. So we had to find a way to have that fun and positive energy but without just writing redundant lyrics about partying over and over you know? Because honestly that's not where I'm at in my life right now, you know, I mean we will always be a party band and when we're on tour we still give it nudge and encourage people to get wild because that's the kind of dudes we are. But I'm a family man when I'm not on tour, so if I like jumped up there and pretended like I'm some sort of non-stop, 24 hours a day, party animal maniac, that'd be a lie. During the times that we did 'Bout It' and even before that, when like 80 percent of our songs were party songs, we literally were like at that sort of peak of our lives where we just wanted to go fucking crazy all the time. So that's the music that I wrote back then, and it made sense because I was living it. But now we have to sort of find a way to have that positive energy, because I'm not in a negative space like I was in 'Binge & Purgatory' and 'Word Is Bond' and I'm not in a party place like I was on the albums before. I had to take a look at things from a bit of a different angle and yeah I think after a little bit of toying around with different things I managed to find a way to give that party sound and party vibe without having to scream about booze and shit, which is a bit of a challenge but I think we've kind of nailed it.
I mean you can drink and party all you want but I don't have to write about it for you to enjoy it you know?
Yeah exactly, I'm glad you found that balance. I was on YouTube earlier scrolling through some of the comments on your new music video.
Oh don't do that dude, that never goes well haha!
You see these so-called fans that have nothing nice to say, wishing you just released Stay True every couple of years. What do you have to say to those people that might not understand why it’s important to evolve and try something new?
Well, for starters let me just say, and when I say these things I’m saying this in like full honesty, I’m not one of those dudes that says “Anyone who says anything negative about us is wrong and their opinion doesn’t exist and blah blah blah” like I truly don’t believe that people who comment on YouTube really exist in the realm of those that come to shows and people that support the band. I honestly feel that it’s just a shit talking platform or whatever you want to call it. I don’t read the comments because it just pisses me off and there’s no way I can respond to all of these people by talking to them face to face so therefore it’s never going to be a conversation so I don’t really care what they have to say. Everybody else tells me how much negativity is on there so I don’t even really want to look at it anyway, but if I was to go by what everyone has told me which is like “Crooked Smile” has terrible comments and all that, it would lead me to believe that song has been hugely unsuccessful and that it was a failure and we fucked up. But I see all of our streams and I speak to our fans because I run all of our socials as well, so I speak to people on a daily basis so there’s always a bit of back and forth between me and the fans which I love. Anyway, I can see our streaming numbers and “Crooked Smile” has blown any song that we’ve ever done out of the water streaming wise. Obviously, there’s still some people that aren’t going to like it because not everybody likes everything, but if I was going off a percentage basis, I’d say about 75 percent of our fans really like that song. Generally, I don’t know about you, but if I like something, I just go on with my day and think that’s cool. But when people hate shit, they have to tell the world about it, which is where you get the impression that the majority is hating on something when really it’s the silent majority that like it and don’t have a problem with what we’re doing and they’ve got better shit to do rather than go on YouTube and comment on stuff. So, it doesn’t really bother me man, it’s just funny to me because I’ve done a lot of interviews about the new album and everyone’s like “Oh man, how do you feel, people aren’t really liking the new shit.” But really man it’s like, what 5 dudes on YouTube? We’re killing it, we’ve got a bunch of support, it’s all good. But yeah, it’s just part of life you know. Pretty sure if you went on YouTube and you looked up videos about grooming your dog there would be like 75 hateful comments on there or some bullshit.
I think that at the end of the day music is subjective and I always look at it like if you've got nothing nice to say about a band and their music then you're better off not saying anything at all.
Well that's a good way to go about it and isn't that what your Mum always tells you growing up? Wise words.
Yeah and you might lose 100 fans but then you might gain 1000 new fans because they dig the new stuff and it's got that appeal.
Well that's it man, and honestly people tend to think that everything is super strategic, like a lot of people thought we were selling out when "Crooked Smile" came out. They were like "Oh you're selling out, you've gone all melodic." That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, because most of friends in this scene or industry that are having massively huge success and are also super heavy, bands such as Architects and Thy Art Is Murder, those dudes are really heavy. Like if we wanted to just follow where the money is, we would have gone towards that heavy sort of beatdown, breakdown direction. We wrote "Crooked Smile" because we like that type of shit and we just make the music that we want to make and if everybody's on board then cool, if not then fucking so be it.
Yeah and I think it shows through the new music that you're actually having fun with it and playing what you want rather than what's considered popular. The title of the album "You Got Me F*cked Up" - what are you referencing there? Is there something behind it that fans might not have caught onto yet?
Yeah it was kind of a tough one, I had to get to convince the boys to get on board with that title because to me it's super straight forward. We've got two members of the band from New York, so to them 'You Got Me F*cked Up" is pretty much a very New York sort of aggressive way of saying that someone is misunderstanding you or the situation. You know what I mean? Sort of like if someone is pissing you off and you say, you got me fucked up. Not understanding where you're at so to speak. So it was kind of on that level because I think a lot of people tend to misunderstand us a lot, like straight out the gate we're called Deez Nuts, so people already have a misconception of what we're going to be about before they've even listened to the first song on the album. It kind of pertains to us on a lot of levels. But on top of that, it's also a more subtle meaning, like as much as we get painted with the brush of getting everybody fucked up and getting on the drink and shit, we haven't really been that band for a couple of years now. It's actually kind of become the reverse where we set the standard so early on, but now it's come back to bite us now that we're older family type dudes now, but we go on tour and we're coming back like shells of a human being because we set the bar so high for ourselves that now we have to live up to that. Now everybody has got us fucked up as a result, you know what I mean?
Yeah for sure. You touched on it a bit earlier how you're not the band that you used to be. What's it like being in Deez Nuts now compared to say the early 2010's? Are you still partying on tour and raising hell or are things a bit more reserved now?
I think what you have to understand when I say that we've toned it down, and this isn't me trying to be Billy Big Bollocks or anything like that. Us toned down tour, is still fucking wild and we are usually still the most wild band on the tour. Like we're about to do this run of Aussie shows and we've pulled it down about 20 notches to where we used to be at, but we'll still be the party band on the tour getting everyone fucked up as well as ourselves in the process. That's just what we do, we enjoy it and that's how we get along with everyone. But we've just taken it down a notch so that we can actually function as human beings and play properly. It got pretty out of hand there at one stage, we were starting to turn into one of the Behind The Music stories you see, one of those ridiculous party bands that just comes crashing down and hits rock bottom. We've learnt how to do our job and enjoy ourselves at the same time at a more reasonable level. I'm currently managing the band, I run two businesses and my solo project as well, so I can't be too hungover man otherwise no work would get done.
Definitely. Let's talk about those shows coming up in December. You'll be playing some shows here with Antagonist A.D and Born Free which is awesome. For a band who spends so much time touring Europe and the States, is it always special to come back home and play?
Yeah one hundred percent man, I haven't been home in over a year. Last time I was in Australia was for our last run of shows, and it's always a good time. Obviously for me just to be back in my own country, but even though the shows are a lot smaller and more intimate, don't get me wrong I love playing Europe, we always crush it there and I love playing anywhere in the world, but there's a vibe and a certain amount of history, nothing ever compare to home.
You get to see friends and familiar face as well.
Yeah for real, and we've been around for that long now that I feel like Born Free and probably much more of a relevant band in Australia, but still being able to take them out on tour and play to their fans who may not have ever seen us before. There's just so many cool elements about doing an Australian tour and being involved, it's just good fun for me.
That's it man, thanks so much for the chat and congrats on the new album and all the best with the upcoming shows.
Come and say what's up and we'll grab a drink at the bar. Peace!
You Got Me Fucked Up is out now via Century Media Records.
Thursday 5 December - Crowbar, Sydney (18+)
Friday 6 December - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (18+)
Saturday 7 December - The Foundry, Brisbane (18+)
Tuesday 10 December - Transit Bar, Canberra (18+)
Thursday 12 December - Jive Bar, Adelaide (18+)
Friday 13 December - Pelly Bar, Frankston (18+)
Saturday 14 December - Stay Gold, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets on sale now at www.tickets.destroyalllines.com