Darwin Muso Series is a string of an indeterminate number of mini to medium to mega interviews with Darwin-based musicians and performing artists. Starting in September 2019, and we’ll see how many we can cover over the next weeks/months/years.
Airlie Beach Festival of Music is held in November, however, in the lead-up, the organisers stage what is arguably* Australia’s biggest battle of the bands competition.
* If anyone wants to claim a bigger battle of the bands competition in Australia, kindly fill in the 36 page nomination form on the website and send to Overheard Productions with a non-refundable $200 admin fee.
Danger Den describe themselves as a pop rock group, though their sound definitely leans towards the heavier side. Danger Den are emerging artists in Darwin’s very diverse original music scene, but they’re already finding some traction and interest from live audiences, playing their own blend of punk and rock music.
I didn’t manage to catch up with Danger Den on the night at the Rails, but sometime later, I met up with vocalist Jeremy Uyloan to learn more about the band.
Bill Quinn: Tell me a little bit about the Danger Den story.
Jeremy Uyloan: Basically, me and my friend Donald – BigD; he’s the big guy with the man bun, the lead guitarist – we’ve been playing music since middle school. I’m 21 now, and he’s 22.
And we stopped around graduation, and we decided to either go to uni or work. But really that didn’t last long!
BQ: What, the uni or the work?
JU: Both, actually. Donald wanted to do IT, and I got into full time work. And I stepped down because I didn’t like it. Donald got a job and left studies.
So we formed Danger Den in early 2018. We were looking for drummers, so we looked at the Darwin Music Scene page [on Facebook]. That’s where we found Neil [Wright]; we were looking for any punk drummers out there, and Neil put his hand up.
We were a three-piece for a while, but then we eventually got our fourth member – our newest member who joined us is Callan [Power]. He also plays in the band Temperamental, who also competed at Passport To Airlie.
BQ: One thing I noticed that night was there were a few faces that popped up in different bands!
There’s a lot of labels for this sort of music. How do you define yourselves, or do you?
JU: For me, I’m not the type of person who wants to put labels on music. I just want to write music, whatever comes to mind. I guess you could say, if you want to sum it all up, we started off as like a punk rock band as a three-piece, we played punk music: angry sounding, four chords.
But as soon as we progressed, I guess you could generalise it and say it’s pop or rock.
BQ: It’s interesting because punk really hit its straps way, way longer before you were born! Do you feel like there’s a message? Back then it was about destroying glam and disco music; is it angry music about what’s going on today? Or just a music form that you like?
JU: Ever since I started playing guitar, that’s when I got into punk music. My first punk band was Green Day, and then Blink 182, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash.
BQ: On the night [of Passport To Airlie], the bloke sitting next to me said, ‘They [Danger Den] remind me a little bit of The Jam’.
JU: I’ve never heard of them!
BQ: They’re not punk, but the very next song you played, I thought, ‘Wow, this has really got resonances of The Jam from their early records like In The City’.
[Shortly after the interview, I sent Jeremy a link to In The City by The Jam and Jeremy agreed there are similarities.]
BQ: How would you say that punk is received in Darwin? Is it something that’s got a good following?
It’s very pop-punk, I guess. There’s also Temperamental which is like grunge punk, a bit of a fusion. But not really; I don’t think there’s many. A bit of a rare breed for us.
BQ: And how do you go getting gigs around town?
JU: When we started out, we started with open mic nights and jam nights. Places like Dolly’s, the Nirvana, and Parap Tavern. We used to go there every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday when they did that sort of thing. Until we got more confident on stage, we decided to do that.
Our first gig outside of that was when we got invited by a guy promoting a gig. He saw us and said, ‘Oh, good, a new band!’
And then we started meeting people in the music scene, and you go to gigs, and then you build your connections.
BQ: And tell us about ‘Rock Ya Temper‘ [an annual gig for Darwin’s rock, punk and metal bands in support of suicide and mental health awareness].
JU: We played that last week. It was pretty good. Apparently they had a record of ticket sales, so that’s pretty cool. It went pretty well; we played as a second act – we were a bit of a warm-up for the crowd, but it went off later in the night.
That was cool!
BQ: And Passport To Airlie? How did you get into that?
JU: Basically, we just saw it on the Darwin Music Scene page. Andrew ‘Legs’ Arthur was promoting it. We entered last year; we didn’t win, but we decided to give it a go again.
I think we did a little bit better than last year.
BQ: So you didn’t win this year. Do you have hopes of touring outside of Darwin?
JU: Eventually, yeah. We’ve come to the point where we think we can travel a bit, spend a bit of money, and we can take time off work and play at different places, which is nice.
We’re thinking of starting in the NT region, so maybe like, I guess, Katherine or Noonamah, Humpty Doo, Alice Springs – see what those are like. I’ve heard they’ve got a bit metal scene there [in Alice Springs] – a metal festival or something like that.
We’ll check them out.
BQ: And how about recording your own material?
JU: Currently, we’re recording our album. We were hoping to get it this month – October, but there was a lot of set-backs – we get invited to gigs, stuff happens in your private life, we get caught up with work and school, I guess, for some of us. But we got a new sound engineer to work with so hopefully we should get a couple of tracks out soon to show everyone that’s been waiting.
You can keep tabs on upcoming gigs, recordings and other Danger Den-related news at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dangerdenband/