PHOTO CREDIT: VANESSA CONE
The Wellington Sound has arrived, and it is DARTZ. The Wellington party-punk foursome have recorded a collection of their fan favourite songs; their debut album titled The Band from Wellington, New Zealand. Their upcoming album is to be released digitally, on CD, and on standard black or limited edition ‘Lion Brown’ (Bandcamp or live shows only) vinyl via Flying Nun Records on the 4th of November 2022.
The band have today shared the first track from the album, ‘40 Riddiford Street’ — a firm fan favourite recently re-recorded at Roundhead Studios. ‘40 Riddiford Street’ is a singalong anthem railing against the inherent injustices of New Zealand’s gruelling rental market. The single encapsulates the hellish living conditions of your typical beer-loving tenant. Featuring party-starting riffs and lyrics such as "an apple a day keeps the asbestos away" and "900 a week to live like we're squatting", this single is likely very relatable to the band’s fans new and old alike.
DARTZ are guitarist Crispy, bassist Clark Mathews, drummer Rollyz, and vocalist Danz. The four-piece, established in 2019 in New Zealand’s windy capital city, are a whirlwind of irrepressible personality who have quickly cemented themselves as one of Aotearoa’s fastest up-and-coming rock acts, having spent the past three years putting the foot to the pedal and building a diehard army of fans across the country.
After the award for Favourite Group at the inaugural NZ Student Radio Network Awards gave the DARTZ boys two free days of recording time at Auckland’s Roundhead Studios, the ciggy-chomping crew made their way up the country in early 2022 to embark on a Lion Brown-fuelled weekend of recording that saw them re-record eight of their fans’ favourite DARTZ hits, as well as lay down to tape two previously unrecorded songs that are similarly beloved by their live audience.
“It really was a bit too fancy for us,” says DARTZ bassist and self-declared CEO Clark Mathews, on the subject of recording at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios. “On some level it just felt wrong to waltz into such a nice studio with our cheap beer and start playing songs about shitty Wellington flats and MDMA - but Steven [Marr, producer] was such a legend, he put so much care and time into everything from set-up to mixing, so we didn’t have to worry about anything apart from smashing Browns and smashing out these songs”.
The result of that weekend is The Band from Wellington, New Zealand: a 26-minute showcase of DARTZ’s party-starting live energy; specifically recorded, mixed and mastered to deliver the elusive feeling and sound of experiencing the band in person. While many of the band’s previous recordings were whirlwind bedroom efforts that saw songs written and recorded within a matter of days if not hours, TBFWNZ is DARTZ at the peak of their performative powers.
According to DARTZ vocalist and luscious lyricist/illustrator Danz, “with this album, I feel like we’ve done right not only by the dedicated DARTZ fans who we love so much and who deserve this quality, but also by the songs themselves - I truly believe that every single song performance on here is up there as the best we’ve ever done”.
Kicking off with an emphatic “tahi-rua-toru-wha” from Danz before launching into an array of DARTZ anthems both new and old, the album wastes no time in showcasing the elements that make up DARTZ’ recipe for success: high-energy and hook-heavy rock that demands to be played loud, with lyrics that seamlessly weave cutting social insights into relatable tales of youthful debauchery and substance (ab)use.
Sit This One Out
High at the Beach
1 Outs Captain Cook
Pray for Prey
No Dogs at this Party
PHOTO CREDIT: VANESSA CONE
DARTZ is the band from Wellington, New Zealand. Formed in 2019, DARTZ ignited into being after singer Danz talked his way into an opening slot for Aussie rockers The Chats before realising he might need a band (and songs). Quickly assembling in a Wellington flat, the rabble-rousing quartet started to fire out their unique brand of snappy and intelligent party punk tunes, with influences rooted in the boozy anthemic Kiwi pub rock of yesteryear as well as modern punk freneticism and landlord-induced anxieties.
Three years on, the DARTZ boys have carved out their own lane in Aotearoa's music scene, with a diehard nationwide fanbase enamoured by their high-energy and rark-heavy live set, forceful singalong choruses, and razor-sharp lyrics which tackle everything from challenging colonisers to a fistfight in ‘1 Outs Captain Cook’, to a drug safety PSA for festival-goers in ‘Bathsalts’, to ridiculing the moneymania of megachurch pastors in ‘Pray for Prey’.
Described as New Zealand's "politically aware class clowns with a reputation for bringing the party wherever they appear" in a recent New Zealand Herald article naming them one of the country's 10 future music stars to watch, DARTZ are Crispy on guitar, Clark on bass, Rollyz on drums and Danz on the shouts.