Formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1987 by guitarists Michael Morley and Bruce Russell, and drummer Robbie Yeats, The Dead C have released nearly 20 albums and overcome geographical isolation to connect with and inspire a legion of fans and like-minded operators, becoming in the process little short of a legendary presence. They have influenced a broad range of bands, from the drifting post-rock of Flying Saucer Attack and Labradford to the neo-psychedelia of Bardo Pond to lo-fi indie-rockers like Pavement and Sebadoh (with whom they collaborated on a 7” in 1993). Cited as one of Sonic Youth’s favourite bands, their own highly distinctive take on improvised free noise / experimental rock is an ever-mutating explosion / implosion of blissful guitar / electronic noise chunks and splatter-rhythms.
The Dead C have always had an honest and critical attitude to recording, viewing multitrack recording as ‘technical fakery’: “Music’s primarily instrumental, human beings actually play music in a room together and you record it. I can’t see why, in order to make an audible record of that, you would want to have the human beings do their bits separately and then patch them together to make a representation of what it might have sounded like if they’d all been playing together in a room at the same time. I profoundly find that a weird way to go… The sound that people make together in a room playing, to me that’s what recording ought to be about.” (Bruce Russell). Yet this approach has often wrongly been described as lo-fi, whereas Russell explains “my amp makes a storm of noise even at rest. People mistake that for a hissy recording. No, it’s a very clear recording of a very hissy sound and that’s something people have trouble grasping. There’s no reason why the kind of strategy I’m talking about needs to be lo-fi, it’s not about trying to record badly, on the contrary, I’m very interested in recording sounds faithfully…”
Besides playing in The Dead C, Bruce Russell has also run his own labels, Xpressway and Corpus Hermeticum, has played alongside Alastair Galbraith in A Handful Of Dust, and has released 3 solo albums. Michael Morley also plays in Gate – another seminal NZ outfit, whilst Robbie Yeats was a former member of 1980’s Dunedin pop band, The Verlaines.