Words by Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
You can’t turn your back on Perth for a second. Zerodent only started roughly 18 months ago and they already have an LP out through Alien Snatch (the Berlin-based label who have released the likes of The #1’s, Hex Dispensers and Radioactivity), and have lined up a week-long tour of the US that’ll culminate in Memphis at Gonerfest.
Unbelievably Bad catches up guitarist and reluctant Perthonality Predrag ‘Pex’ Delibasic before they head.
Things seemed to have happened pretty fast for Zerodent. When did you start jamming, and what was the catalyst for doing so?
It just seems so, I guess. The first jam was in February/March 2015, so almost two years ago. We recorded the album in July 2015 but it only came out in April this year due to the usual vinyl pressing delay. The catalyst was that I was keen to start a “punk band”. I can remember the exact time I wanted to do so – I was in Japan in early 2015 and had a punk playlist on shuffle on my mp3 player and every single song sounded fuckin’ amazing, and I asked myself, why don’t I play what I love the most? Pretty much straight away I emailed some friends back in Perth and that’s how it all started.
Did you already have a rapport with the people at Alien Snatch and/or Goner?
Not at all. With Alien Snatch I was aware of the label and many great releases they put out, but basically once the album was finished I sent some 20 emails to some labels I like and Alien Snatch was the first label that replied and said YES. As we all know, these days even smaller labels are charging the bands to release their stuff, so I was shocked (in the best way) to find out we won’t have to pay anything. Rather, we got lots of free records to sell ourselves. I tried to get in touch with Goner with my previous band, but never heard back from them. Then once Zerodent did that shitty demo I sent it to everyone and anyone. Some 4-5 weeks later I heard from Eric asking if we wanted to play Gonerfest 2015. We had 2-3 months to sort it out, so we thought it was too soon and decided to do it this year, with the album out and all. So, in short: no, we never dealt with those guys before and now it’s love at first sight.
Have you done jaunts overseas with any of your other bands? Who are you looking forward to seeing/playing with while you’re in the US?
Yes, I toured Japan solo and with a band four times, played some shows in Europe and toured Australia numerous times. Japan is the best! But I was doing experimental music and would love to take Zerodent there soon! I’m looking forward to play with EVERY single band/act in the US! It will be an unique opportunity to see some acts I’ll never get a chance to see, so I’ll make the most of it. Especially at Gonerfest.
Is there a Euro tour in the works?
Not yet, maybe after the second album. We would love to tour more but the reality is we all work, two of us have kids, so it is very hard to sort it out. The only reason we’re going to the ’States is because we got a grant. Otherwise there would be no chance in the world we could afford it.
You’re a large human. How do you go on international flights?
When we came to Melbourne recently I was so cramped in my seat, it was no fun at all. This time I pulled some strings and got myself an exit seat. Now I just hope no couple with baby comes and kicks me out.
You seem like you like to stay creatively occupied. What other projects are you working on?
None at the moment. The last band Smrts is on hold at the moment as both drummers left. Shame as we had another album worth of music left in us. I love Smrts and for those who don’t know we played instrumental surfy stuff with Eastern European music influence. Sad reality is that most people don’t give a flying fuck about instrumental music, so our audience was minimal, although very vocal.
What do you remember about Yugoslavia in the eighties?
I remember great things early on and shit about to happen in the second half of the decade. I saw first ever punk band in June/July 1980 – a Serbian band called Pekinska Patka – and it was a true life-changing experience for me. After that my music world opened in the best possible way, mostly through Yugo punk/new wave bands, and then with similar stuff from around the world. Well, mostly the US and UK. In early 1980 President Tito died and the things got a bit loose back home. Suddenly there was an explosion of cool bands. But that doesn’t mean there were no cool bands before, this was just coincidence in a way. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Lots of new wave bands didn’t know how to last longer than 1-2 albums and if they lasted they turned into more commercial stuff. Other thing I remember is being a teenager and having great time most of the time, even when the shit started happening or was on the horizon. I was young and discovered alcohol and girls, so it was the best time ever!
If someone wanted to get into Yugoslavian disco music, where would you recommend as the best starting point?
Same as with anyone else interested in Yugo music, I would point out to my blog. There you can find some of the Yugo stuff I ripped from my vast record collection, including an amazing Yugo disco compilation.
Punk! Punk! Punk!:
Zerodent US tour dates:
Sept 22: The Township, Chicago
Sept 23: The Small’s, Detroit
Sept 24: Happy Dog, Cleveland
Sept 25: Bourbon Street, Columbus
Sept 26: WFMU recording session, New Jersey
Sept 27: Elvis Guesthouse, New York
Sept 29-Oct 2: Gonerfest, Memphis
Extra! Extra! For Perth punks there’s a farewell gig at The Bird, William Street, on September 17 with Rinehearts and Laurel Fixation.