“Fast as fuck, stupid energies fuelled by beer, DRESS CODE from Beijing, will feed you some fastcore-hardcore-power-violence down your throats.” Whilst wading through the weekly stream of gig listings, I let this opening sentence sink in; and I couldn't help but think to myself, 'that's a pretty bold statement.'. “With members from USA, Canada and Australia and a history of past bands longer than our bassist's history of ex-girlfriends, DRESS CODE will leave you sweat-stained, covered in beer, (maybe some blood), and mostly with a good fuckin' time.” Now I really had an idea of who these guys were, -ish. I was sold. I thought, 'They must be a multi-cultural collective of like minded talent, utilising years of past musical experience to craft a unique experience.' With hints at audience participation, potential bouts of intense cardiovascular activity and an element of danger juxtaposed against prospects of joy, I had to check it out.
Their high-octane performance does indeed involve glamour, gore and a whole lot of beer. As probably one of the most exciting bands on the scene, one genuinely can't be sure of what's likely to happen during their show... through DRESS CODE, I've seen drum-kits dismantled, people flying into said dismantled drum-kits, people flying into other people.
What's for sure is that after all this chaos, a contemplative breath of fresh-air is welcome as the echoes of the sonic assault slowly fade.
Loreli caught up with the guys to talk about their upcoming three month hiatus, other projects and most recent tour around China.
Posted November 16, 2016
Oliver – Vocals
Nevin – Guitar
Alfie – Bass
Aaron – Drums
A: Alright so this Beijing tour... basically, “Dress Code” is going to be taking a break for a little while, and we're not going to be playing for about three months; so we wanted to try and get in as many shows as we could before we broke up. Oh my God! Wait a second! Letting it slip! I got a secret! I'm pregnant, my bad.
Anyway, so we wanted to get as many shows in as possible before people were gonna leave, and we just got some shirts made too, so we're stoked trying to get some people in some fun “Dress Code” merch... it's got a really nice ass on it... So, represent the finest ass that Beijing has to offer!
**Kim Kardashian eat your heart out!**
A: Tonight we're playing “Dress Code”, and then, also Nevin and I play in another project called “MAI”, a cool d-beat band, just listened to Tumour Boy in the jam space yesterday, they are getting good man. They're a cool band and they have a new record out too, so if anybody's interested check that out! Then the night after that is Dress Code as well, and apparently we're playing with two cool, new punk bands on the scene – “Hind Brain” and “Hang Nail”, and then we're gonna do our Misfits KTV after that so it's gonna be one weekend of just awesome music.
O: First show we played was “Rock Against Jams”, I guess we were trying to think of names - I was just thinking of like, punk-rock-girl band names? One was like “Sludge Bitches” or something, like, I was just thinking of funny... like, if I was in a punk-girl band what would I name my band? Then I guess the one that stuck out was “Dress Code”, so we chose that. I was like “That's kinda dumb I think.”, and then everyone was like “....well, it describes how in Hardcore there's like, attire, you don't fit that dress code.” So it was just like, alright, fuck it. And then they got me drunk enough that I was just like “Alright, whatever, fine, this chuan'r is good. Whatever. That's fine. Yeah, we were eating chuan'r. I was like 'Alright, whatever', that's how they got me: they got me drunk, and they fed me chuan'r and I was like 'whatever, fine'. It was good.
**Clothes are for losers**
Al: “No clothes is the best clothes!”
A: Exactly, to quote “Die Chiwawa, Die!”, no clothes is the best clothes. Yeah, it just gets fucking hot man! Way too fucking hot! And also, we want to make it hot (temperature wise) with all these hot bods we got over here, we gotta fucking show off that SHIIIIIT!
Al: I dunno, with my last band... well my Australian band Scrotal-Vice, last time we were on tour I took one pair of pants and we were playing every night, so I sort of got used to taking off my pants otherwise I'd be too fucking sweaty, and bullshit, every night...
Al: Again, my Scrotal-Vice Ozzy band, we played in “Black Wire Records”, and like there's fucking record cases around and like cases full of tapes. So everyone's going nuts during the show, fucking blah blah blah moshing around, one cunt gets thrown and ends up like fucking diving right into this glass record case, smashing straight through the glass case; gets a massive shard of glass right through his arm, in the middle of our show and at this point we're still just playing, like, “Sick, sick sick! Fucking go for it!”... end up at the end of the song, everyone's like “Fucking Stop! What are you doing?” - This cunt's like bleeding everywhere, got fucking glass all through his arm, he was a really good mate of ours as well... he ends up having to go to hospital, fucking arm sliced up; he's a chef so he couldn't work for fucking weeks but you know, that's fucking punk rock.
A: Growing up playing in hardcore bands in Toronto and stuff like that, there were so many times where like...one show we ended up playing with, well, we didn't play WITH, but we played a show and then Negative Approach played a fucking after-party in a kitchen, so there was just like, kids jumping off the refrigerator, and trying to mosh. So like... we used to own, like, a punk house where we just had crazy shows where we'd jam a hundred and fifty people into a basement maybe like, you know, the size of School Bar (about), and it just turned into people like jumping down the stairs, and trying to crowd-surf their way in to see the band, so like, if we can jam a bunch of people in a small place and have a nuts time, then like, that would be awesome.
O: I really like School a lot because it's just this really compact space, and you pack it up enough you can just jump on kids, and everyone's covered in sweat. At some point people get pushy with each other and if you get later on in the night, people get drunk enough and everyone's having a good time. I think in bigger venue spaces, people are more reserved, and they're sitting out all the way in the back, you know, just having a drink with their friends, just watching, but I think in smaller venue spaces there's not really a choice for that, so you can just get in people's faces. You can get more into it you know? But even if they do, I buy an extra long cable so I can just like yell at people, even if they're sitting behind some bar hiding from us. That's always good.
A: Shout out to Temple Bar as well for always taking really good care of us, they are awesome. You know, that place is just so much fun to play, and the staff are awesome, and everybody has a good time there. Talking about that invitation to Natooke? Is that what it's called? I don't even know how to say it, but it sounds like a fun idea.
Al: There was a couple of good years of DMC madness out in TongZhou – sadly the venue is no more, closed up last year? Little tiny fucking place out there, sadly no more.
N: They actually, they have their own silk screening workshop, so they do shirts for a bunch of bands – touring bands and local bands in China.
Al: DMC Records represent!
N: And, if you buy one of our shirts, the actual tag has the DMC label on it!
Al: Anyway, we're fucking playing our show, whatever, rocking out, fucking getting our clothes off as we do, anyway, fucking halfway through some song, see Nevin, well the guitar stops and starts ringing out, and I see him fucking spider-man-like-climbing up this balcony, to the rapturous applause of the crowd there.
Al: Well, the twenty of them that were there, yeah.
O: There was a show in Wuhan at 'Vox', I think two days later, and I was very inspired by his climbing abilities, so, I had to do it. I followed in his footsteps, but I almost fucking fell off, and then this guy like pushed me up, while I was dangling off, and I was like “Thanks, guy.”.
N: I will say, I did spy the Vox one too, but it was much higher.
A: One of my favourite parts about playing in this band is that like yeah, music's good, and drums are super fun, but like I can just like sit there on the drums being like “What the fuck is that leopard pants man doing right now! Why is Oliver hanging off a roof?”. The thing is I can't move! All these guys get to climb up on shit but I'm stuck behind this drum set and I have to like play like that. When I play bass in another band, then I'm the one that gets to go nuts, but like I try and be as crazy as I can behind the drum set.
N: Yeah well we did the tour together with the kids from “Die! Chiwawa Die!, well with “Die! Chiwawa Die!”, with that band. Well they used to be involved in “Full Label” and now their new record label is called “Qiii Snacks”. Best DIY scene in the whole country - really amazing kids, they've been involved in old hardcore bands like “Smog Town” and “CO2”, tons of stuff throughout the years, “Your Boyfriend Sucks”, stuff like that, and they were the best people to tour with. They took really good care of us, we had a lot of fun together. I'll speak for myself, but that's why I do this kind of stuff and that's why I tour, or that's why I play music; and playing with them was the highlight of the whole thing.
O: And I just want to make a quick shout out to Jinbo's panda pants, that she wore for five days straight – that was disgusting but awesome, so thank you.
Al: We played in this little jam room in a fucking music store in a fucking mall, there was little kids hanging out...
O: We scared away a really nice girl...
Al: I was playing all these love songs on the piano and she's like “You play so nice!”, anyway. She saw about one song of us playing Dress Code, and then fucked right off. Anyway, we were playing this sick show and Oliver's climbing off the fucking pipes on the roof, and everyone's going nuts and pushing cunts around, but then of course we're in a fucking music store, so Nevin like opens the door and rushes off into the music store... He fucking disappears, going “Oh yeah, whatever”
N: With my guitar.
A: With his guitar,
A: Still playing the song.
A: Anyway, like a minute later, as the song ends, another bloke who's definitely not Nevin walks back into the room holding Nevin's guitar... Like SICK YES RANDOM MUSIC STORE DUDE! YOU'RE TOTALLY THE NEW DRESS CODE GUITARIST! Anyways, he tests the sound, it's all good, we went straight into our chart-topping-classic “Keen”, as this random bloke is playing guitar... I tell you what, I don't think he'd ever picked up a guitar in his life, but he shredded man. I reckon he's the real fucking dress code guitarist.
N: I'm easily replaced, but I had to take a piss, what can you do man?
A: I don't know this bloke's name, but if you're listening, random music shop in FoShan bloke, come up to Beijing, we've got a gig for you, Nevin can go take your place down there in FoShan.
N: I'll be selling guitars to cute girls...
*** - All music in this recording was written and performed by Dress Code, apart from this section. This was some members of “The Paramecia” having a jam. The recording fit, and you know what? I think you're cooler now for having listened to both fastcore-hardcore-power-violence and free-jazz within the last ten minutes. High five you!