Since releasing the album in October 2015, the band have taken some serious strides. “Since it came out, we’ve toured a lot,” says guitarist Ben Andrews. “We’ve done Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and some little bits and pieces in between. Now we’re doing Australia and Southeast Asia again up until March. That will almost conclude the Severe touring with the exception of America, which we’ll do later on in the year.”
The forthcoming tour follows the release of Severe Remixes – a two track EP featuring significantly reworked versions of ‘Our Decade’, by Regis, and ‘1991’, by Lustmord.
“The remix album’s really good because we worked with two guys who we really, really love and have for a long time,” Andrews says. “It was one of those things where we almost had to pinch ourselves and be like, ‘I can’t believe we’re working with these guys on this label.’”
The two remixes are uniquely gripping, with both producers taking hold of the original recordings and pushing their respective songs into novel territory. There’s no need to release remixes, but they can unlock additional emotional potential when executed well. This is certainly the case with the tracks featured on Severe Remixes, which was instigated via mutual fandom.
“Karl [O’Connor] – Regis – approached us and was like, ‘I want to do a record on Downwards [Records]. Can I remix some of your stuff?’ I think we met each other through the Quietus connection, who always promote our London shows. [They’ve] been big fans for a while and always support us, which is great – they’re really good dudes” Andrews says.
“I’ve been speaking with Brian [Williams] – Lustmord – for a few years. I had a hand in him coming out and doing Dark Mofo this year.” Working with a couple of producers who they have great respect for is a sign of My Disco’s career advancement in the wake of Severe.
“It was really good that both those artists wanted to work with us, but also [that they] – especially Karl – were big fans for many years,” Andrews says. “It showed us that we’ve progressed not only in a musical way, but also career-wise. We’re sitting in a place where we’re quite well respected and revered not just in rock circles [but also within] electronic stuff and the industrial side of things. Those sort of people are paying attention to us, which is really good because we’ve never thought about it like that.
“We still put on shows and play shows wondering if anyone will come. And often they do, so that’s always a plus.” For the last 18 months or so, My Disco live shows have exclusively consisted of material from Severe. They’ve largely performed in complete onstage darkness accompanied by somewhat unsettling visual projections either to the left and right of the stage or above the stage.
The songs on Severe are very finely sculpted, an impression that’s underlined by the way they’re presented live. Understandably, performing in such a precise manner requires ultra concentration from the three band members.
“We don’t rehearse in complete darkness so sometimes we realise, ‘uh oh – I can’t see some cues,’ so we have to really concentrate. The cues, even though minimal, are quite important, especially for certain songs. The ones where we have to really be playing unison, it can get difficult with nerves and the pitch blackness and the way a specific stage or room’s set up.
“It’s super exhausting. [It takes] a lot of attention and I notice how hard I’m gripping my hands on the fret board in the moments where I’m waiting. I’m really on edge, which is important because that’s how I want it to sound so that’s how you should feel playing it as well. If it was easy and relaxing then it probably wouldn’t sound how we want it.”
Some audience members will inevitably be put off by music that’s so dark and emotionally affecting, and also quite physically affecting. On the whole, however, Andrews says audiences around the world have been able to come along for the ride.
“The last Europe tour was really good. We played a mixture between small club shows, festivals, Southeast Europe stuff. Especially in Poland we were playing some very underground festivals that people of all ages were at, from young to old – which is something I love about European audiences.
“I would say 85-90% we’re really happy with. Japan and Taiwan were really great. Australia, people know us more than the rest of the world so people know what to expect. Pretty much it’s all been really good.”
My Disco will be touring nationally later this month. For more information visit mydisco.com.au. Severe is out now on Temporary Residence.