You’d be forgiven for thinking that The D4 are just another lo-fi punk act, riding off the success of bands such as The Hives and The White Stripes. But they are different to the rest. There are no gimmicks with The D4; these guys, by their own admission, are “ just four boys from New Zealand who play music.”
The band is not too bothered about the endless comparisons to other bands, and is willing to acknowledge that their music is not completely original. However, guitarist and vocalist Dion is completely baffled by any comparisons to The Jam that they have received. “One reviewer said that we had obviously been listening to The Jam a lot when writing the album. Which was just bizarre, we don’t even own any of their records.” Speaking of being grouped with this new wave of lo-fi punk bands Dion admits “ Hopefully it will die off soon, once we’ve got a bit more of a name for ourselves”.
One of the greatest mysteries about the band is what ‘The D4’ actually means. In various interviews explanations have included that The D4 is a gear stick, a drum machine, a receptor in the brain or even an enzyme. Can they clarify which is the right answer? “ They are all true” begins Dion, “It just depends. It’s a sound. A combination. I don’t know; it’s just A, B, C or D really. I just depends how you feel. The D4 is probably a way we think” It becomes clear that the band make up the answer as they go along. The band’s other guitarist and vocalist Jimmy adds, “Maybe it’s just like Four Four, y’know, it’s like D is the fourth letter of the alphabet and four…it’s rock’n’roll.” Hmmm, I'm sure it is. The band list their influences as “The Saints, Tony Wilson, Sparkles, Chesney Hawkes and… Kylie” Jimmy explains,“Kylie is a goddess, she’s all class, she’s shorter than us.”
I am meeting the band in the middle of their UK tour; they are here to promote their debut album 6Twenty and their new single Party. Giving that they are a relatively unheard of band from New Zealand, were they surprised to be able to tour the UK so early on in their career? “ It’s always been one of our main goals to go overseas and tour the UK. You read so many things; it just seems so exciting. There wasn’t much of a scene where we were so we always knew that we would have to travel elsewhere,” explains Dion “ I think we’re very lucky, I guess. Everyone’s being very welcoming and accommodating.”
We are sitting in what can only be described as a disused kitchen full of patio chairs. The walls are bare, the floors are dirty, yet something makes you feel that the band have seen far worse backstage areas throughout their years of touring. The D4 have played plenty of gigs in their time, touring with the likes of Guitar Wolf and Fu Manchu, and have built up a reputation for exhilarating live shows.
Dion describes a typical D4 live show as “ Energetic… Loud… Exciting… Good fun…” Jimmy adds: “We never try to plan it too much. The thing the crowd like about the shows, and the thing we like about the shows is that it looks like we are having fun. We really love doing it. If you see people having a good time it’s a bit infectious” The band also admit that they prefer to play seedier, smaller venues “With an intense, sweaty atmosphere, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone. It increases the effect of The D4 Experience.”
Jimmy and Dion both seem like very laid back and controlled individuals. Looking slightly run down by their recent gigs, they still manage to ooze a sense of coolness as they discuss which member of the band they would eat, should their plane ever crash over the Andes. Dion decides that he would eat Vaughn, with the reason “He is skinny but he’s got smooth skin.” Jimmy is also keen on eating Vaughn “I think if we ate Vaughn we’d probably get high from all the stuff in his body,” But would he be willing to sacrifice his flesh for the sake of the band? “ Only, if I were already dead, I’d be quite honoured.”
At the end of their UK tour The D4 will be returning to New Zealand before heading back over here again for Reading and Leeds. So what next after that? “Probably more touring. Lots more touring, constantly, as far as we know we are busy up until Christmas... And a little more recording. We love touring, we have such a good time, and it’s an amazing experience. We feel that we get a lot back from touring.”
The D4 are currently just on their rise up to success, but how would they like it to end? Jimmy seems to have it all planned out in his head. “It would definitely end explosively on stage. We rate our shows, about 80-85% is an amazing show, and 100% is death. 100% would be the way to end it. Or perhaps on a 95% where everyone has to be dragged out because the experience was too much for them to handle, we have to be carried out on stretchers and not a bone in our body is in place. Yeah, 100% is how we want to end it.”
The album 6Twenty and the single Party are both out in shops now. Find out more about the band at their website.