Dead Letter Circus 2019

Dead Letter Circus – Kim Benzie

Fresh off the back of winning a QLD music award and riding a wave of momentum following their latest album release, NQ Press catches up with the ever-humble, Kim Benzie, from acclaimed Brisbane Prog rockers Dead Letter Circus.
Speaking to the frontman of one of Australia’s most successful heavy bands this millennia, you’d be forgiven for assuming something like public speaking would come easy to the bloke. He has, after all, fronted a band who has toured the country supporting international acts such as Muse, Linkin Park & Prophets Of Rage. “I was shitting myself man. Public speaking is one of my greatest fears. We were watching all these people give their acceptance speeches throughout the night and all I can remember thinking was, thank f##k that’s not us.”
Imagine the band’s surprise, when at the QLD music awards this month, their name was read out as the winners for the heavy album award.  “We went in there with no expectation at all and were just glad to get nominated. When they read out our name, we went up onto the stage and had nothing prepared to say. Luke our drummer gets the microphone and throws me under the bus saying let’s hear from Kim. I’m trying to think of something cool to say and all I could think to myself was, don’t thank mum”.
The award was of course, completely justified. Getting their big break after having only played a handful of shows, they were offered a support slot from Australian Prog royalty Cog on their 2007 east coast tour. “We were playing to a bunch of mates each night, learning our way and next minute, we were playing to crowds of up to a thousand people night after night. Talk about trial by fire. It was a wild experience and a real eye opener for me personally. I was such an introvert and to go from where we were to these big crowds, singing along to our songs was a really great experience. I feel being in this band and meeting all these amazing people each night, it really trained me to be less of an introvert and it provided me with much better social skills. We always make sure when we’re on tour to meet the people after our shows and it’s one of my favourite things. It’s great just meeting all these really cool different people”
Going from being a shy introvert playing to a bunch of their mates, it sure was a massive step just a few years later when the band were announced as support act for international mega stars Muse and soon after Linkin Park. Asking Kim about his thoughts around Chester’s suicide, he goes on to say, “He was such a beautiful dude. Chester was the only one we really met in the band. He’d come to all of our sound checks and hang out with the band after the shows.”
I’d been fortunate enough at that point to of never had anyone really close to me, go down that road. The first to really hit me was Robin Williams. Just growing up watching all his movies, that really rattled me at the time. But then Chris Cornell, when he went. I mean the darkness was so apparent in his work, it was obvious, and it was always there and I related to him with that. He was one of my biggest influences, so that one especially hurt. I’ve always felt that music has been my ladder to that depressive world and that’s the beautiful thing about music. You can use it to get all that stuff out. When the news of Chris broke, it hit me really hard. My girl told me to just go and make something of it and that’s where I wrote the first half of ‘We own the light’.
The song he is referring to, remained half finished until a few months later when his old touring buddy, Chester Bennington, took his own life too. “It was weird, I finished that song the same day Chester took his life. I guess a lot of the themes of my lyrics in the past and on this album deal with matters like depression and anxiety. They just start as raw bare stories in my head, and they just kind of come out and it’s these themes I keep coming back to.”
Having toured through all the big cities off the back of their highly acclaimed self-titled album, the band then turned their sights to an extensive regional tour once again. Praising the singer for the bands consistent approach to touring the smaller regions like Cairns, he offers “I grew up in the country man. To me, that’s where the people are. We live in such a beautiful country and we’ve been driving around on this tour and it gives us a chance to see so many amazing sights and meet so many cool people. We honestly wish we could do it more and I can not wait to come back to Cairns. It’s been like 3 years!”
Dead Letter Circus are playing at Tanks Art Centre this Friday April 5th before embarking on a massive, yet to be announced tour later in the year. If you like your music, melodic, heavy, intricate and progressive, get yourself a ticket and support what is sure to be one the best gigs of the year.

Tickets available through Ticketlink
Andy Parkinson

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