DZ Deathrays drummer Simon Ridley is finding it hard to be overly confident of touring his band's latest album Positive Rising: Part 2 as scheduled in September, and for good reason.
The Brisbane resident is stuck in Launceston after a brief family holiday became a long-term affair due to Queensland forcing anyone who'd recently visited Sydney into two-week hotel quarantine.
"It was either stay here longer or go into hotel quarantine in Brisbane," Ridley says. "I took the cheaper option."
The past two weeks have been exceptionally melancholy for the Australian music industry as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spread around the country just as national touring was regaining momentum.
DZ Deathrays were one of those acts who had decided it was finally viable to release an album and schedule an tour after enduring several postponements.
"You're just rolling the dice, man," Ridley says. "The odds are just more against you now."
Positive Rising: Part 2 was recorded almost two years ago at The Grove studios on the Central Coast just prior to the release of Part 1. It was born from a fruitful period of creativity for the Brisbane thrash-punk band, who had expanded to a three-piece with the edition of lead guitarist Lachlan Ewbank.
There were so many songs percolating within DZs after their hit 2018 record Blood Lovely that they decided on splitting Positive Rising in two parts. As Ridley is quick to emphasise, Part 2 isn't second-rate.
Tracks like All Or Nothing, Fired Up and the apt Riff City sit comfortably among their finest material.
"We had this big pool of songs that we were working on," Ridley says. "We still had to separate each to where we thought it worked well, because you want it to have its own arc and dynamics.
"For Part 2 it was kind of what we had left and it wasn't quite up to speed yet. We knew the songs were gonna be awesome, but we needed more time on them."
Ridley admits it's strange talking about Part 2 because he's mentally moved on. DZ Deathrays have almost completed a sixth album, which he describes as a party record in the vein of Bloody Lovely.
Positive Rising: Part 1 and 2 were influenced by the division in the world created by Donald Trump, but Ridley says the next album won't be a commentary on any particular issue, especially COVID.
"You want to have a bit of social commentary in your music, but we don't want to get bogged down and dated in that thing," he says.
"When people release a COVID record, do you really wanna tie songs, that don't necessarily have to be, to such dire circumstances? Do you wanna date it to such shitty events?
"Especially with the record we're doing now, we're trying to stay away from it and try and make something people will want to hear as an escape. That's why we do music, escapism."
Positive Rising: Part 2 is released on Friday.
DZ Deathrays play Kambri, Canberra (September 22); Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (September 23) and Wollongong Uni (September 25).