Express & Star

Brierley Hill band were Dead Happy to work with Electrix Six - unsigned column

There's a lot of Danger! that one Brierley Hill outfit will be creating some High Voltage! through their music after recently teaming up with a cult American outfit to release a single.

Dead Happy frontman Professor Partorious Photo: Gary Lindsay-Moore Photography

Dead Happy had got in contact with Electric Six via email and together they released My Sex Appeal in January, which they described as "a music baby".

Forged over the internet with a lot of emails flying back and forth, it stands as a testament to the power of the music industry in the age of the World Wide Web. Yet its local roots were strong too. The video - for which, sadly, they couldn't afford to fly Electric Six over to film - was shot at Wolverhampton's The Giffard Arms.

"We had been fans of Electric Six for years so it was insane that we had the opportunity to record a song with them," said frontman Professor Partorius, from Brierley Hill, who provides vocals, programming and keys. "We were able to just send information back and forth by email and get it all done with both of us being on opposite sides of the ocean. The song we wrote is about finding confidence in yourself and expressing that to the world.

"They had an offer available to work with them and we jumped at the chance. They have been absolutely top notch to work with, there has been so many occasions where we needed to ask them for something and felt sure they were going to say 'no', but they've helped every step of the way."

And The Prof was quick to recognise the power the internet harnesses for up-and-coming bands like his own to tap into.

"There is no way we could have done this 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago without some sort of label or management," he admits. "The access is just there now.

WATCH: Dead Happy's video for My Sex Appeal, written with Electric Six, which was filmed at Wolverhampton's The Giffard Arms:

"I speak with Japanese bands quite often now, so much so I've taken up a course in the language to help communication when they tour. In fact we're playing a few dates next month with a Tokyo band, recently appeared in a music video for another Japanese band, and did a remix for them. Again, none of this would be possible for us without the internet.

"The option is always there for more work with Electric Six, and we did consider a full concept EP based around intergalactic detectives. Think Star Wars-meets-The Godfather. But it just depends on the demand or that type of thing."

Professor Partorius is joined in the duo by Wordsley's Harry Sequin, who provides bass. He's been in the band twice officially, after a stop-start beginning that didn't look like it would get this far.

"Me and my friend really got into Enter Shikari back in 2007 and wanted to do a much heavier version, so I bought a cheap laptop with a music program and started writing," The Prof adds. "I was going to supply the electronic elements and he would do the guitars and vocals.

"After a year of writing my end I never got anything from him, so in the end I just went it alone. Another year of writing came and went, but no vocals. I was worried my vocals wouldn't be good enough. But one day I was singing to my friend and went to sing a high pitched bit as a joke. But I actually nailed it.

"We both looked at each other and knew that was going to be the basis for my vocals.

"Harry originally auditioned to be the guitarist but had to drop out due to other commitments. After a year he wanted to get back into music and checked online just at the same time we posted to find a bassist. He can do both so auditioned again and turned out to be an even better bass player."

The pair clearly have chemistry, and an ability to take the pee. Their wacky video for My Sex Appeal was a blast to film in the city, an experience they thoroughly enjoyed.

"It was much more laid back than the first video we did," The Prof says, talking about their track Off Switch. "In our first video we had directors, actors, cameramen, puppeteers. We would get a sheet each day of filming stating everything we were doing that day, which even had sunrise and sunset times. But with this video we literally just showed up to the pub with a camera and a box of props.

"We still had a lot of fun with the first video because we had to get really creative with the shots. We had this robot puppet that we needed to make look like it was trying to break itself in different ways. There was a story that we needed to follow, so it was fun trying to solve that. But with the Electric Six song it was all shot in one day."

The guys play at Percy's Café Bar in Whitchurch and Birmingham's The Sunflower Lounge next month as part of those aforementioned gigs with Tokyo band Psydoll. Given they brand themselves as "Cyberpunk from Tokyo" and Dead Happy have their own shtick, this could be an interesting show.

"Fun, energetic and loud," Partorius says when asked what people can expect. "We try to inject some comedy elements in as well. Psydoll are a Japanese cyber goth band so it should be a pretty different night. Think early Nine Inch Nails if they'd been Japanese.

"We accidentally applied to do Metal to the Masses to perform at Bloodstock too," he says. Their heat was held on Sunday night at Deadwax Digbeth. "Somehow we made it to the next round. Drinks at the venue must be stronger than we thought."

And for those interested in more of their creativity?

"We do videos for our YouTube channel. In the last one I had a shoot-out with some mince pies, so I'm looking forward to doing more of those."

For more on Dead Happy, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, both @DeadHappyBand. Their releases can also be heard on Spotify. For more on the Percy's Café Bar show on April 9, visit the event page on Facebook, and tickets for the gig at The Sunflower Lounge on April 10 can be bought from SeeTickets.