Party Dozen are a 2-piece noise band from Sydney made up of Kirsty Tickle (saxophone) and Jonathan Boulet (percussion and sampler). Since forming in 2017, they have become renowned in Australia for their incendiary live shows, touring and playing with acts such as LIARS, Spiritualized and Viagra Boys. Exactly what Party Dozen are is completely up to the listener. Doom. Jazz. Hardcore. Psychedelic. No-wave. Industrial. Although largely instrumental, their sets are punctuated by Kirsty’s unique “singing” style, screaming into the bell of her saxophone which itself goes through a bevy of effects pedals. Intensely independent in everything they do, the duo write, perform and record everything themselves and have released two acclaimed albums on their own label, GRUPO: The Living Man (2017) and Pray For Party Dozen (2020).
These two albums have seen word of the group slowly spread around the globe. Tracks from Pray For Party Dozen gained early support from the likes of Henry Rollins at KCRW in the US and Tom Ravenscroft at BBC 6 Music in the UK. But like so many other bands, Party Dozen found their plans to tour these places halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown did present other opportunities however, including an incredible performance of album track “Play The Truth”, recorded in an empty Sydney Opera House. Two songs from the album also found themselves remixed: “Auto Loser” and “Scheiße Kunst” by Mogwai and Peaking Lights respectively, something that arguably might not have happened had those musicians been recording and touring as they would in more normal times.
Party Dozen's latest record features some special surprises. Track 2, “Macca The Mutt” is notable for being the first time someone other than Kirsty or Jonathan appears on a Party Dozen track. But for a group so clearly influenced by The Birthday Party, exceptions can be made. During the song’s recording they felt the end section was missing something, specifically Nick Cave ad-libbing. A long-shot cold call email was sent to Cave’s management, almost as a joke and certainly with no expectation. Somehow, one Friday evening two weeks later, they received an email with a phone number for Nick, suggesting they call him. By the time Jonathan got out of bed on Saturday morning, Cave had been to the studio, recorded a bunch of takes and delivered them to the PD inbox. Clearly it’s thrilling for a young band to receive approval and validation from someone whose music has been such an influence on them, but more than anything else it proved they were right; all “Macca The Mutt” had been missing was Nick Cave, and it wasn’t missing him anymore.