Interview: Unveiling the Rock n’ Roll Spirit – Inside Danger Den’s ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’

by the partae

Congratulations on the upcoming release of ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’! Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the track and what message or emotion you aim to convey to your listeners?

Thank you very much!

I guess this song is our attempt at writing a classic rock n’ roll song. I think as a band we’ve officially entered our dad rock phase when we started rewriting this song together as a group!

I guess there isn’t really a message for the listeners with this song in particular. I mean the title probably has more meaning and more of a story than the lyrics themselves if I’m being honest. We used to call this song ‘Jeremy’s Song’ because I couldn’t be bothered naming it for so long. Merch guy Mike was actually my ex drummer’s dad who used to help us out with the merch table. I remember we used to have band practice at Morgan’s (ex drummer) house and every time we played that song, Mike (Morgan’s dad) would come downstairs and would have a listen and tell us that that song is his favourite song! So I renamed it after him!”

The single seems to embody your signature high-energy sound. How did you approach the songwriting and production process to capture that raw intensity?

So originally this song was actually supposed to be the final track of our debut album ‘Pull Yourself Together’ but we didn’t finish recording the song on time to release it with the rest of the album so it kinda just sat there. ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’ was recorded the same way as we recorded the rest of the songs from ‘Pull Yourself Together’ by doing everything besides the drums in my home studio. The drum tracks are actually the original drum tracks that my ex drummer Morgan (Lockhart) performed in Masters Studio in Palmerston, Northern Territory back in 2021. As for the vocals, bass and guitar tracks they were all re-recorded by my current bandmates at my home studio in Melbourne.

I started writing this song when I was 14 actually, believe it or not. I’ve played it live with other bands and it’s changed a lot since then. Fast forward to 2023 when I met James (lead guitar / vocals) and I showed it to him, he put his own spin to it and made it sound heavier. At first he started playing it in drop D tuning and I thought that it sounded amazing! James however had another trick up his sleeve… while I was playing the main riff in standard, Liam the other guitarist was playing it in drop D and James started playing it in drop C. So that’s 3 guitars in total with three different tunings!

We noticed some unexpected twists and turns in ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song,’ particularly in the guitar solos and drumline. Can you share a bit about the creative process behind those elements?

I guess I’ve always wanted to write a song with a band where each member had their own moment of glory in the song. I guess you could say this song is more of a jam type of song with a lot more freedom and improvising. Guitar solos are great but bass solos and drum solos are too so why not put all three in one song!

As a band, you’ve been praised for your dynamic performances. How do you envision translating the energy of ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’ to your live shows?

Well I guess in terms of recording we try to capture everything that we would do in our live shows. If we can’t do it live then we don’t record it and put it into our song. We notice a lot of artists or bands these days use backing tracks and click tracks for their live shows, we’re kinda old fashioned in a way and just like to have fun jamming out on stage

With the release date fast approaching, what are your hopes and expectations for how fans will receive this new single?

I just hope they like it as much as we do!

Given the success of your debut album ‘Pull Yourself Together,’ how does ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’ fit into the evolution of Danger Den’s sound and style?

This is probably the heaviest song that Danger Den has ever released but it’s still just as catchy as the other songs from ‘Pull Yourself Together’!

Your influences range from Green Day to Rage Against The Machine. How do you balance paying homage to your inspirations while still carving out a unique sound for Danger Den?

As a band and as songwriters I guess we just write and play what we like and what we think sounds good to us and just try not to overthink it.

Can you walk us through a typical songwriting session for Danger Den? How do you collaborate and refine ideas to ultimately create a cohesive track like ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’?

I used to write all the songs for Danger Den but as of 2023 we’ve started writing songs together as a group. In our songwriting sessions usually it starts off with one of the members bringing in a demo with an idea or a part of a song and then we’d all sit down and try and figure out the parts. Once the structure is all figured out we move onto the lyrics. After that we jam it out and see what works and what doesn’t, so theres lot of trial and error in the process.

For ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’ in particular though, I wrote the song myself and the boys just came up with their own parts around it.”

From Darwin to Melbourne, your journey as a band has been marked by growth and evolution. How has your environment and experiences influenced the music you create?

Since moving from Darwin to Melbourne I guess I have noticed that my mind has been a lot more open these days to listening to different kinds of music that I don’t normally listen to. It’s true what they say here, Melbourne is the live music capital of Australia!

What do you hope listeners take away from ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’ both musically and lyrically?

Honestly I just hope they have a good time listening to it!

As finalists at the Northern Territory Music Awards and winners of the 2022 Territory Sounds Countdown, you’ve already achieved significant recognition. How does this upcoming single contribute to your momentum as a band?

Well one thing that we know for sure is that there’s plenty more where that came from! We don’t plan on slowing down and we still have a lot more to show to the world!

Looking ahead, what’s next for Danger Den? Are there any upcoming projects or milestones fans can look forward to after the release of ‘Merch Guy Mike’s Favourite Song’?

More shows and more music!


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