So, a lot of the interviews from the early stage of my so-called career I have next to no recollection of. For whatever reason, however, I seem to remember this one specifically – I guess because it was in such unique circumstances. I was at a guitar warehouse in St. Peters, where I was reviewing a model for one of the places I write for. My interview with JJ Peters (no relation) was scheduled for around the same time, so I got in the room with the guitars, took the interview, and then played the guitar. I even remember what album I was listening to (Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator)) and the gig I went to after I left the warehouse (Cub Sport at the Standard). Strange times!
I’m not a Deez Nuts fan by any stretch of the imagination, so I have no idea why I remember this specific one. The interview itself isn’t much to write home about, either, but there you go.
Whether he’s drumming for I Killed the Prom Queen or fronting the hugely popular and entertaining DEEZ NUTS, it’s safe to say that J.J. PETERS is one of the busiest men in Australian hardcore. He took time out of his schedule – literally a day before flying to Europe – to chat to DAVID JAMES YOUNG about watching the scene grow, making fun of himself and his upcoming DVD.
Speaking to Australian Hysteria Magazine from his home in Melbourne, J.J. Peters is laughing, talkative and engaging. Not normally the personality traits one associates with a hangover. “Yeah, I’m pretty gone, man,” Peters croaks with a spluttered laugh. ‘I had a very good night, I will say that much.” He doesn’t really need to explain further than that, and that alone is strangely reflective of the music he makes under the Deez Nuts moniker. If you’re looking for subtlety, nuances and sweeping arrangements of delicate instrumentation, then look as far away from Deez Nuts as possible. It’s hip-hop flavoured hardcore punk that’s big, dumb and brash – and doesn’t care who knows it.
“I guess the Deez Nuts stuff was me basically trying to be a bit more…me,” says Peters, who is the lead vocalist and lyricist of Deez Nuts, the central focus of a revolving-door line-up. “A lot of people see me as a very hardcore-centric kind of dude, but I had a major obsession with hip-hop growing up. I still love it – hip-hop honestly means as much to me as hardcore does, and I get just as much out of my favourite acts from both genres.” In the early stages of the Deez Nuts project, Peters would often find himself surrounded by “bitches,” smoking cigars and gambling in his photo shoots. He’s quick to point out, however, that it’s by no means a mockery of what hip-hop stars do.
“That kind of living, that kind of braggadocio that they portray – it’s legit, y’know, that’s the way they’re living,” he says. “Dudes like Snoop and Dre and whatever can totally do that sort of stuff in their shoots because it reflects on them as people and as musicians. I didn’t do that sort of stuff because I think I’m anything like that. It’s a send-up of myself more than anything – anyone who knows me knows I’m not like that at all, so it was kind of a way to poke a bit of fun at myself, not at anyone else’s expense.”
Although Deez Nuts have been extensively touring across the globe in the past twelve months – and will continue to do so for the rest of this year – the band have not found themselves performing on Australian turf since May of 2011, in which they performed as a part of the Destroy Music tour alongside The Amity Affliction, Of Mice and Men and Peters’ original band, I Killed the Prom Queen, of which he is the drummer and a founding member. “It was a pretty great experience for everyone that was involved,” recalls Peters, “but it was especially interesting for me to go out, do my thing as Deez Nuts, grab a ciggie and then start playing drums about 20 minutes later.”
“In a way,” he continues, “it kind of helped me appreciate a perspective where I know where I’ve come from and I’ve got a pretty clear idea of where I’m headed when it comes to my music. I just saw the whole thing as a really positive experience.” The tour was not without its controversy, with some fans up in arms over The Amity Affliction’s top billing over the reunited Prom Queen. For the record, however, Peters himself can’t stop from laughing when the subject comes up.
“I’ll be totally honest with you,” he begins. “I’ve got no ego, really. If I can play a show, then within reason I’ll do it, y’know? A gig’s a gig. I never felt offended in any way that Amity were playing above us. I never thought that my band was being insulted or whatever. We got to do our thing and then Amity got to do theirs. Watching them every night was just amazing. I remembered seeing them at nightclubs and smaller gigs and stuff like that and seeing the potential to become something massive. They’ve gone above and beyond everyone’s expectations, and that was just as much their tour as it was ours.”
With IKTPQ returning to the back-burner for the time being, Peters has turned his focus back to Deez Nuts and the imminent release of Fuck the World, a package containing the band’s Rep Your Hood EP and their debut album Stay True, both of which have been out of print for quite some time. “Putting them out together is good for a few reasons,” explains Peters. “It’s good for some of the older fans who might not have copies of them, and the newer fans who are trying to figure out what we’re all about.” It also comes with a forty minute DVD, documenting how Deez Nuts came to formation – and, despite not particularly enjoying watching footage of himself, Peters still describes it as “pretty good.” With a knowing laugh, of course.