Led by Vintage Crop's Jack Cherry, the Melbourne synth-punk band Dragnet has finally ascended to their throne with their forthcoming sophomore album The Accession, out May 12th on Spoilsport and Polaks Records. Today we're premiering the video for its lead cut "Strike," which shows the now six-piece tapping into their manic barrage of hyper-speed riffs and propulsive rhythms that brim with sweet vengeance. Along with the premiere, we caught up with Cherry to discuss the origins of the new single, expanding the band's lineup, and what it was like recording the new album with Anti Fade's own Billy Gardner.
Manufactured with the synergy of past local synth-punk giants like Ausmuteants and Total Control, Melbourne's Dragnet has announced today their upcoming sophomore album, The Accession, out May 12th on Spoilsport Records (AUS) and Polaks Records (EU). Recorded alongside Anti Fade's own Billy Gardner, the new album showcases the band reaching new ground with their incredibly tight burst of harsh guitars, mechanical synths, and manic rhythms — it's everything Dragnet have come to be known for. Led by frontman Jack Cherry's bursting vocals, the band has also become a family of four to six with Dane Brunt (guitar), Tom Woodruff (rhythm guitar), Meaghan Weiley (bass), Alicia Nolan (synths), and Daniel Oke (drums). Today we're premiering the video for the album's lead cut called "Strike," which shows the band at their agitated finest, tapping into their manic barrage of hyper-speed riffs and propulsive rhythms that brim with sweet vengeance. The romantically soaring synth melody drips with irony and buzzes with the same neurotic energy to Bill Nelson's short-lived band Red Noise.
Along with the premiere, we caught up with Cherry to discuss the origins of the new single, expanding the band's lineup, and what it was like recording the new album at Gardner's home studio.
Paperface Zine: Take me through the origins of Dragnet. What was your vision when starting this project?
Jack Cherry: I was at a point where I was beginning to change my songwriting style, and the first Dragnet album was a collection of songs I'd written over a couple of years that all felt cohesive and more interesting than anything else I'd ever written. In searching for a band to play the songs, I was lucky enough to be able to approach a group of friends who I always wanted to play with. It was a great opportunity to finally work with some of my favorite musicians in the scene.
PZ: Back in 2019, you released your debut LP All Rise For Dragnet and then released an expanded version of in Europe in 2021. How has this project grown or developed over the past few years?
JC: That first tape was very carefree; we recorded, mixed and mastered it all in one day. I feel like every band over-complicates their first release and it felt important to us that we didn't do that. Now after playing some shows and selling some records, we have a tiny little footprint as a band, and with the addition of Tom and Alicia. it feels like we really have something good on our hands. This record is us trying to expand the sound that made us famous whilst maintaining our trademark intellectual humor.
PZ: That's right, now Dragnet is a six-piece! Take me through this newer lineup and tell me something special that each member brings to the table?
JC: The guitar work is spearheaded by Dangerous D, he's dangerous because he'll split your head open with his deadly lead riffs. Tom is the TRBLMKR and he's on the rhythm 6, famous for his slicing tone that's sharp enough to cut his way out of any pocket you try to put him in. No one crosses Meags when she's got a loaded four-string in her hand; that's why we call her The Fours of Nature, she's the bass boss. Killer instinct on the beat. Dan is DNA, he's the heartbeat of the group. An expert in every time signature, he's our very own time lord. Our secret weapon is Alicia on the synthesizer, known to most as The Key. She's got the answer to every question, the timbre for every challenge. Tonally impeccable. Toasting on top of this deadly brew is me, The CZA (Chezza); The Spice & Flavor, with a tongue so sharp it's feared around the world.
PZ: When writing, how do you know what's a Dragnet song and what's a Vintage Crop song?
JC: When I'm writing Dragnet songs, they usually come to me very quickly, whereas Vintage Crop songs usually take a lot of work to write. That's not to say that things aren't sometimes the opposite, but I can usually tell a Dragnet song pretty quickly. They're normally less structured and have a lot more room for the band to add their own touches.
PZ: Today we're premiering your new single "Strike," the lead cut to your upcoming sophomore album The Accession. How did this track come about and what did you envision when initially composing it?
JC: "Strike" was actually the very first song we wrote for the album, written in a rehearsal in 2019 and it was the first one to be really shaped by the entire band. I brought the bass riff to the table which became the backbone of the song and the rest of the crew all improvised over it. Lyrically, it's a bit of a love song and I've never really written one of those before.
PZ: As a preview to the album, take us through the recording of the LP. Where did you record it and what was the process like?
JC: The LP recording was very smooth, it took us probably ten hours and we'd tracked the whole thing. We recorded with Billy Gardner at his studio in Thornbury; we did the whole thing live in the room and recorded to tape. I always choose to record live because it really captures the band's energy.
PZ: Were there any tracks that turned out entirely different that you had initially planned?
JC: There were a couple of interesting changes, originally half of the songs were meant to be recorded with a drum machine, but once we heard DNA rip over them with an acoustic kit then we knew that was the right move. We also had everyone singing the lyrics together on the fourth track "Birdman," which actually sounded mad. We ended up scaling it back to just mine, but I think we're gonna release the version with the gang vocals version on a 7" at some point.
PZ: Spoilsport is one of our favorite Melbourne labels. What's it like working with its head honcho Sam Lyons and does he take you guys out to fancy 5 star restaurants?
JC: Working with Sam is great because he's so eager to work with us too which is a blessing. Sam and I had a chat about making this album in 2019 and I told him that we weren't really sure. It wasn’t until he agreed to pay for the recording that we decided to do it, his enthusiasm for the band really encouraged us. He agreed that if we sell out the record before the end of the year then he will take us all out for dinner, poor guy.
PZ: What shows are on the horizon for Dragnet? What's the album release show gonna look like?
JC: We're actually not allowed to talk about the shows we've got coming up, which is sort of funny. We've got a couple of big shows lined up in May and June, world domination type stuff.
The Accession is out May 12th on Spoilsport Records (AUS) and Polaks Records (EU).