Trading Cartons For Cartoons With Deez Nuts
JJ Peters talks growing up and Deez Nuts' new album, Word Is Bond.
"I'm just in Dusseldorf watching the sun come up and enjoying watching some Pepper Pig with my daughter." Wait…this is JJ Peters, right?
It's definitely the right guy, and he sounds totally content to be up at dawn watching cartoons with his daughter. To be honest he actually sounds pretty stoked, which isn’t all that surprising, if it wasn't for the fact that Peters made a name for himself writing and yelling lines like "There's a party over here, ain't shit over there/If you're fucking tonight say fuck yeah". Peters is the frontman for Deez Nuts, the Aussie hardcore band with a palpable hip hop flavour and a reputation for indulging in a tin or two, challenging all conventions of the hardcore music scene.
High pitched squealing bursts down the line and briefly drowns out Peters' voice, "Sorry man, my daughter's going crazy in the back," he laughs. "I'm in Europe now, I've been here for a couple of months so I'm kind of acclimatised to it already, but the boys get here not tomorrow but the next day and we rehearse for a week and then we hit the road… It's been months and months between tours which is bizarre for us, we've never had this much time off."
The time off has been well spent, with Deez Nuts hitting the studio to record Word Is Bond; their fourth and undoubtedly most significant album. The interval following album three, Bout It!, found the group writing from a place uncharted on previous records, and the result is a far more thoughtful collection of songs. Peters explains: "It's kind of based in the headspace of reflecting on some more serious and darker things that happened since between Bout It! and this album, so it's less 'full steam ahead party album' and a little bit more reflective…a little bit more dark in places and a little bit more aggressive in places."
Peters reveals that the band didn’t set out to write a darker, more serious record this time around, it was simply a product of shared circumstance. "We were just all in an angry place where we were going through shit at the same time and I guess we kind of reflect off each other being around each other so much as well, but in our own personal way we were all going through shit, so as a result the album is just a lot heavier and a lot more aggressive from all directions."
The frontman is quick to dispel any concerns about Deez Nuts jettisoning their party vibe entirely: "You can't hold the boys back in that respect," he chuckles, "We're still gonna be that good-time band and we're still those dudes at the end of the day so there are definitely those tracks on there. Party At The Hill featuring Drew York from Stray From The Path is one of my favourite tracks on the album and that's definitely one of those party anthems."
Not only does Drew from Stray... feature on Word Is Bond, both him and Sam Carter (Architects) played significant roles in guiding their close friend with his writing direction on the new record. Peters heaps praise on the pair for their support: "They're just the homies. We spend more time just talking shit and joking around and stuff, so it's easy for me to forget that these dudes are geniuses in their own right and musicians that I look up to. Sometimes I forget that I can turn to them about those kinds of things because we're too busy just talking ridiculousness straight back and forth.
"They just kind of allowed me to give myself permission to open up a little bit more. I guess I kind of felt like I'd painted myself into a corner a little bit with DN and made it a band that was so much about partying and so much about the good times that I felt like I couldn't write about other things and that's not where my head was when I was writing this album. I was in a different place and I wanted to write some darker, angrier stuff and I just felt like I couldn't with DN, so when I spoke to both of them they just reassured me that DN was gonna be whatever I made it about. As long as I was being honest it was better to write an angry, honest song and have it be real than write an album full of fake party songs that I wasn't really feeling."
"In our own personal way we were all going through shit, so as a result the album is just a lot heavier and a lot more aggressive from all directions."
In a scene saturated with bands that live and breathe straight edge, it's no surprise that Deez Nuts have often split hardcore fans down the middle. With the new direction taken on Word Is Bond likely to change a lot of peoples' opinions of Deez Nuts, Peters is all for new fans getting on board, even those who might've ragged on his band in times gone by. "I'm of the opinion that, you know, the more the merrier when it comes to our music and playing shows and what not. I never wanna cut off my nose to spite my face and be like, 'Fuck everyone if you haven't liked us up to this point, go fuck yourself'. That's just ridiculous because obviously you want to grow as a band and that means discovering new fans and new fans discovering you.
"I'd like to think that this album is a step forward. We've grown as people and grown as musicians and we've grown as a band, so hopefully that would result in our fan base growing as well and if that means tapping into some people who might've turned up their noses in the past because they thought we were a one dimensional party band or whatever, if we can turn those peoples' opinions around; cool, but at the same time there's still that other side that's like, if people don't like us I really couldn't give two shits either."
New and old fans alike will get the opportunity to party with Deez Nuts this June when they play a string of dates across major cities in Australia. Peters is characteristically straightforward when describing what one may encounter at the upcoming shows. "You can expect to see four dudes who just happen to be best mates in a band together having the time of their lives. Anyone who wants to have a good time with us is more than welcome and anybody who's not having a good time can please quickly exit the building."
The conversation eventually finds its way to Peter’s love of hip hop and Kendrick Lamar’s newest album. Quizzed on whether he’s given To Pimp A Butterfly a spin yet, the frontman again proves that along with being an untouchable vocalist, he’s also father of the year material. “Everyone's been raving about it hard out, but since that dropped I've been in Europe with my daughter the whole time so I haven't had a chance to sit down and give it a listen properly because, you know, Pepper Pig kind of takes the forefront."