• Tiana Speter

INTERVIEW: Jordan McQuitty (DREGG)


Outlandish, eccentric and lively as all hell are just some pale words that attempt to sum up the superlative ringleaders of kooky hardcore, aka DREGG. Combining thought-provoking narratives with divergent hardcore stylings, the Melbourne quintet are certainly no wallflowers in the music world - and with new tracks already erupting in 2019, these boys have started the year armed with singles and ready to mingle.

While the warpaint, masks and offbeat fashion may, at a glance, portray a puffed-up gimmick, the truth beneath the surface of this boisterous bunch is one of pure, unadulterated passion and precision. Hurling an arsenal of riffs and spitfire vocals across a wide range of tongue-in-cheek social and political issues, there's a vigilant authenticity lurking behind the scorching ferocity that is made all the more memorable for the extravagant physicality that accompanies a live Dregg show or one of their accompanying clips.

Fresh off releasing their latest rager 'HYPERBOLE' (which I will never be able to pronounce correctly ever again thanks to DREGG), the lads are currently also on the road with fellow hardcore legends Hellions. But in between ripping up stages on the east coast, we grabbed axe-man Jordan McQuitty to chat writing, fave bands and getting trapped in airports with comedians. Interview below.

TIANA SPETER: Greetings! Well, 2019 certainly hasn’t been quiet for Dregg, unveiling some brand-new tunes, one of the most memorable music videos I’ve seen in a long while, and some love from triple j, Spotify and beyond. How’s life going over at Team Dregg right now, are you all just loving life right now?

  • JORDAN MCQUITTY: Yo! Things are going as well as they can I guess! Couldn’t be more grateful for some of the insane opportunities we’ve already had this year. Got plenty more in the pipeline but for now just trying to stop and smell the roses as they grow.

TIANA: You’re notorious for your head-turning tunes, and most recently we’ve been gifted with ‘RETURN OF THE DREGG’ AND ‘HYPERBOLE’, both absolute cracker tracks, and a pretty tasty continuation of your love affair with chunky riffs and heaving hardcore. Can you talk me a bit through how these new tracks came to life? How does a Dregg song normally come to life from a creative and technical standpoint?

  • JORDAN: Usually someone will write one riff that is an absolute head turner then we try to build on the song from there musically. We also try to write the lyrics as the song is coming together. Chris lives in the studio where Sam records our music so it’s quite easy for him to pop his head in and throw a new line in whenever it comes to mind. We just like good old fashioned group writing, it seems to help us create something that isn’t just from the brain of one person.

TIANA: You’re notorious for your head-turning tunes, and most recently we’ve been gifted with ‘RETURN OF THE DREGG’ AND ‘HYPERBOLE’, both absolute cracker tracks, and a pretty tasty continuation of your love affair with chunky riffs and heaving hardcore. Can you talk me a bit through how these new tracks came to life? How does a Dregg song normally come to life from a creative and technical standpoint?

  • JORDAN: I guess with these 2 tracks we just wanted to outline very clearly that there’s gonna be a lot of variety in everything we put out after this. Everything we release will always have that DREGG spice in there, just with something fresh.

TIANA: And are these new tracks pretty indicative of where DREGG are headed stylistically as a band for any future releases?

  • JORDAN: Yeah 100%. We’ve always pushed a very philosophical stand point lyrically. This doesn’t just come from Chris though. The band as a whole is obsessed with the idea of personal growth and understanding what being here is all about. Every song we try to ‘level up’ so to speak, and keep our fans in the loop of where our heads are at politically, socially and spiritually.

TIANA: And as I touched on briefly earlier, there’s also an accompanying music video for ‘HYPERBOLE’ which I watched while on my lunchbreak at my day job and drew many, many stares (I assume all the stares were those of admiration and wonderment). Talk me through the concept a bit here, was it as much fun to make as it was to watch?

  • JORDAN: We don’t like to touch on concepts too much, as we like to leave it all open for interpretation. But it was definitely (like every other DREGG video) a look into the way we see the world and how we make sense of it. They’re always fun to film though. Always using bloopers in final cuts and making do with what goes wrong. That’s kind the DREGG way. If you take yourself too serious it makes it way harder for people to get on your level.

HYPERBOLE (DREGG)

TIANA: And you guys are currently also on the road with Hellions, also marking possibly the last time we’ll see Matt Gravolin performing with the boys. A pretty perfect match pairing you guys up with Hellions for a bunch of these shows, and no doubt some excellent live shenanigans still to come. Do you guys enjoy the inevitable touring aspect that comes with the territory? And is there a particular live show standout (whether good, bad or hilarious) for you from over the years, considering you’ve played an insane amount of shows throughout your career…

  • JORDAN: Yeah, we really couldn’t be more stoked to be on this run. These are the largest venues we’ve played around the country so we’re over the moon. That’s definitely a plus that we get to watch Matt kill it every night of this tour! Well I guess one good story would be exactly what happened last night on this run. We were flying to Perth for the 2nd show of tour and our plane had to make an emergency stop in Kalgoorlie. The middle of nowhere haha. We were stranded there for about 4 hours and ended up completely missing the show. However, we got to kick it with the hilarious comedian Shooter Williamson who was on the plane too, trapped in the airport terminal with us so all wasn’t to bad.

TIANA: Since you’re currently on the road, I may as well ask – what’s your absolute must-have essential item you can’t live without when you’re on the road, and why?

  • JORDAN: Toothbrush. Sounds silly but when you can’t shower for a whole day or you’re just feeling grubby after a drive nothing gets you feeling fresh for the show like a good scrub of the gums. Floss too!

JORDAN ONSTAGE WITH DREGG//pic by Nick Hargans

TIANA: I’ve previously read that you and Christopher are in fact from the Gold Coast (as am I), but escaped to Melbourne for musical pursuits (I mistakenly ended up in Sydney). Obviously it worked out for you guys as the band is still based there. From your personal perspective, do you feel like heavy music is supported and thriving in Melbourne? How important is your homebase when it comes to traversing the music industry?

  • JORDAN: There definitely is a difference, and that’s not to shit on the GC hardcore scene. It’s more that there’s access to more venues, more bands to play with and just more people. Sam and Chris played in a band on the Gold Coast for years that had some small success, but always had to travel interstate for larger opportunities to be presented. I guess it’s like that everywhere though, a larger city will have a larger scene.

TIANA: And this may seem like a potentially loaded or broad question, but what are your thoughts on the Aussie heavy/alternative scene as a whole right now?

  • JORDAN: Change is definitely coming. What that change is I don’t know. But I do know that the industry with new technologies is stepping into new worlds and artists are becoming the kings and queens of their own domain with social media and YouTube platforms. There’s heaps of good music that people love and a lot of crap people hate. It’s up to ones own interpretation for what they choose to listen to.

TIANA: The influences behind DREGG are no secret or surprise, and System of a Down obviously has had a lot of mention throughout your career as a band. But what music did you actually grow up listening to, did you have the usual slippery slope that led into these heavier waters? And possibly any unexpected artists you may still have a soft spot for after all these years?

  • JORDAN: We’re all big fans of Eminem. For reasons beyond music as well. Without sitting here and naming a bunch of artists like every band does, I’ll try and outline what it is about artists we enjoy. We like music that can be absolutely fucking hilarious in one section, and then heart hitting the next. The perfect flow between satire to social commentary to personal growth to the ups and downs of life. Tyler The Creator, System of a Down, Killswitch Engage, Hopsin, Limp Bizkit, Trash Talk. Damn I ended up listing bands like I said I wouldn’t haha. But you get the vibe. Serious and funny, at the same time.

TIANA: To wrap things up, it may be a greedy question, considering we’ve had so many new shiny things from Dregg already this year. But casting your eye slightly beyond the near future, are there any secrets you can reveal about what might be next for the band?

  • JORDAN: If we told you it wouldn’t be DREGG. It’s all hype. It’s all hype. It’s all hype. It’s all hype.

DREGG ARE CURRENTLY ON THE ROAD WITH HELLIONS, WITH THEIR LATEST TRACK 'HYPERBOLE' OUT AND ABOUT TO BRIGHTEN UP YOUR EARDRUMS. FOR MORE DREGG INFO, HEAD HERE.

BY TIANA SPETER

#interview #dregg #jordanmcquitty #hardcore #melbourne