The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2012

All Issues
MAR 2012 Issue

Tour Diary of Das Racist’s 2012 Australia/New Zealand Relax Tour, January 19–February 5, 2012

Thursday, January 19

Packing our bags into the van after arriving in New Zealand.

I woke up the morning of January 17, 2012, and met with the Greedhead (our label) intern and began packing shirts, CDs, and vinyl to bring on tour with us. The touring party arrived one after another, consisting of Aleksey Weintraub (rapper Lakutis) and bandmates Himanshu and Victor. We flew JFK to LAX. I spent that flight worried that I’d broken a fisheye lens I’d packed in a bag I was kicking around the security line. It was not broken. We then flew a 13-hour flight from LAX to Auckland International Airport. The last three hours of the flight, I watched the film Puss in Boots on mute. I like watching movies on mute during flights so I can read at the same time. I mostly like to pretend it makes me more sensitive to nonverbal communication between human beings. I hope this is true.

We landed and met our tour manager, Paul. None of us had ever been to New Zealand (or Australia). We had only spoken through e-mails involving visa paperwork, merchandise, and phone and e-mail interviews. We expected Paul to be a long-haired, late-20s/early-30s metal fan. We expected to laugh at his accent. He was a short-haired, mustached man who appeared to be in his late 30s/early 40s. His accent wasn’t strong enough to laugh at.

At night we DJ’d a party for money at a nearby (walking-distance) venue. Victor was set to DJ but disappeared once it took too long, so me and Himanshu did it on his computer. During this time I drank slightly less than two glasses of a dry apple cider, which made me slightly drunk (on account of my not drinking very much anymore). Then I wrote this. Tomorrow is our first show (and festival show) of the tour. It is Big Day Out: New Zealand. It is the last Big Day Out they’re having in New Zealand due to, I believe, poor ticket sales.

Friday, January 20

We had a show at 1:45, so we woke up early enough to get to Mt. Smart Stadium in time. The security team were “All Blacks,” which is what the Maori rugby team is called as well. I proceeded to set up the two pedals and laptop for the linecheck before we went on, and also set up projections for the show. The show went alright, although there was a giant table in front of the stage that separated us from the audience, and halfway through our set the DJ and a tech got on stage and started setting up turntables, which felt “disrespectful,” although we didn’t particularly mind.

Immediately after stepping off stage I felt weird, like I was coming up on acid, although I hadn’t been drinking or doing drugs. The feeling wouldn’t go away, so I started walking around with Aleksey Weintraub and ran into a friend of a friend from the U.S. and a girl who was dancing alone by a parked van. We shared our beers with them and went to see Best Coast for a few minutes before I went backstage again and started eating MDMA out of boredom, and also in an attempt to feel less “weird” or a different kind of “weird” instead of the strange, coming-up-on-acid feeling. We lingered around till around nine, when we went back to the hotel to sleep. I couldn’t sleep, and ended up drinking Jim Beam (which I rarely do) and ranting in caps-lock on Twitter. Then I went with Paul back to the stadium to get our remaining merch and the money we made selling the rest. Then we went to the house of the mutual friend–haver and hung out till 7 a.m. drinking feijoa cider, doing MDMA, and listening to music. I exchanged “contact information” with a Maori model/modeling agency–owner and told her she could crash at our house in New York next time she was there. I always say this to people outside of New York. No one has ever taken me up on it, and my girlfriend would most likely object if they tried to, but I’m going to continue saying it because I feel it buys me a lot of “good will.” I had been babbling and screaming the entire night, and at one point I think I offended some of the people there with a comment about the multiculturalism of New Zealand that involved the word “cracker.” We ended up “talking it out” and doing more MDMA, and eventually we left and went to sleep. We had a flight the next day.

Image of Gold Coast from hotel balcony.

Saturday, January 21

We woke up at noon and began packing our things and gathering our bags together in the lobby. I felt extremely bored almost immediately after waking up, and the feeling lasted the whole day. We headed to the Auckland airport and did the usual getting-on-an-airplane things. We got to Brisbane around 4 p.m. and began our drive to the Gold Coast, which lasted a little longer than an hour. While waiting in the lobby of the hotel we saw two dudes from Odd Future and talked to them for a bit. Then I started stealing and eating decorative jelly beans from giant glass containers in the lobby. We ate at the Maharani Malaysian Restaurant a few blocks away, which I highly recommend.

Sunday, January 22

Today we played our first show in Australia. I spent the morning before that sitting around with some of Kanye West’s dancers in the lobby of our hotel. There were only around a hundred kids waiting for us at our sidestage but a few hundred more poured in right as the music began. Afterwards was an incredibly boring five hours we spent sitting around the backstage area with the other bands and crew. I ate three meals out of boredom, which was good since I forgot to eat the day I ate all the MDMA in New Zealand, and I’m trying to get fat this winter. We also filmed a short music video of Aleksey in front of all these promotional illuminated cubes. John Stanier from Battles helped direct. I went to sleep watching an Australian nature show where a man and his children caught crayfish and barramundi. Afterwards, their wife/mother cooked them on a fire and they ate them.

Weird “Indian Sambo” image on restaurant awning at BDO.

Monday, January 23

We had an off day. I woke up after having a weird series of dreams that I was flying through a hotel’s electrical system as a “Japanese animal spirit.” I spent most of the day worrying about a story I had to write for the Guggenheim. I ended up allotting time for it in my head and not actually writing anything. I ate noodle soup with a guy named Noodle Pete, and mediocre, overpriced Indian food in the evening. I ended up making a vague and useless outline for the story and asking for an extension.

Hanging out backstage in Melbourne.

Tuesday, January 24 to Monday, January 30

I forgot about the tour diary for a week. I just remembered about it backstage in Melbourne. This last week has been more of the same except Victor and Aleksey have been going out at night to drink more and coming back in the wee hours of the morning. At one point they both smoked DMT next to me on the roof of a Sydney warehouse and I wigged myself out so hard trying to remember the feeling that I became really scared for two days. We also shot a promo video for Aleksey that’s pretty weird.

Most of the bands at the festival are older than us and none of us have very much in common. We’ve mostly buddied up with Battles (especially the homie John Stanier), Best Coast, and Kanye West’s dancers (a few of them). All the bands play sideshows between festival dates, which makes everything feel like a circus. This has been a fairly easy tour.

Tuesday, January 31

Today was a day off. I had been drinking the night before out of boredom and ended up eating several Tim Tam cookies and Nobby brand peanuts in the middle of the night. I walked around Melbourne’s Chinatown repeatedly. At night I started feeling crazy and laughing at almost anything even vaguely funny anyone said. It was a good way to pass the time. Went to sleep watching infomercials on the sofa for something zalled Zumba fitness. Its spokesman/inventor was a strange man named Beto Perez who can help you lose the weight.

Wednesday, February 1

We flew to Adelaide in the morning. Our tour manager had to go to a funeral, so our engineer ended up driving us to the airport and checking us in. We’re staying in the Hilton that most of the Big Day Out bands are going to stay in, but we’re a day early. We’re once again a block away from the city’s Chinatown. Me and Lex went to an Asian food court and ate slightly sub-par Korean food, then went to soundcheck. I ended up hanging out backstage for six hours afterwards and didn’t leave the premises until after the show. The audience was our smallest yet in Australia, but they were all pretty diehard fans. The rest of the group went to hang out at a bar named Sugar; I ended up going back to the hotel to read Philip K. Dick stories on a Kindle Hima found underneath a sofa cushion at our last hotel. I’ve become obsessed with it (the Kindle and Philip K. Dick).

Thursday, February 2

We were walking around the park in Adelaide looking at birds when we met a large group of teenagers hanging out and drinking beer. Bored, we decided to talk to them and have a beer. It was three Sudanese kids and their two white friends who they kept cracking on. We went with them to go buy beer (for them) and they kept messing everything up by following us too closely, making it obvious the beer was for them. Eventually, we prevailed and spent the next several hours hanging out in the park while the kids hit on girls and argued over stupid shit. We went back to Chinatown to eat and I kept reading Philip K. Dick on the Kindle. Hoping to nail a Kindle sponsorship soon.

The chef from the venue where we played the gig the night before came out with his friend. I was walking around with a camera and a jumpsuit so drunk kids constantly harassed me about taking photos of them.

Friday, February 3

We played a very poorly attended show in Adelaide and went back to the hotel soon after. Later on, we had to DJ the official afterparty downstairs. We had a late slot so I ended up eating some ecstasy I was supposed to give to Hima. I got high, and me and Victor played a bunch of “dance” music and rap. Then I went to sleep after chain-smoking cigarettes.

Saturday, February 4

Hanging with our new friends, 2/3rds of DAMP VAMP. My lens was broken so the image is off/cool.

We had to fly to Sydney early the next morning. I woke up still high on ecstasy and barely remember going through security at the airport. I ended up sleeping for a few hours when we got in. Me and Lex went to the venue to do soundcheck and decided to go back to the hotel so he could pick up swim trunks to go to the beach. Right after we left the hotel a group of teenagers (maybe ten of them) came running down the street after us, screaming and swinging. Lex started yelling after them, and they tried to grab his bag he had put down in order to fight. They ended up picking up some wooden boards that were lying around. Lex managed to get ahold of one of the boards and hit a kid with it, but he waited too long and he didn’t have enough leverage and took a few punches. The police ended up coming and we told them we didn’t care and not to press charges and they didn’t catch the kids, etc. Lex ended up not going to the beach and we ended up hanging out with Damp Vamp and friends at some wine bar nearby before going back and doing the show. We ended up staying up all night. Some of us smoked DMT again, but it wasn’t as powerful as the first time. We walked around looking at paper bark trees before going to sleep for two hours before our 20 hours of flying the next day.


Ashok Kondabolu AKA Dapwell


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2012

All Issues