Dune Rats on playing hard and working harder
Scroll down to find out how you can win a Dune Rats prize pack!
Dune Rats founding member BC Michaels sounds like he’s still adjusting to being back in work mode as he relays some highlights from his recent holiday.
“I just flew into the country yesterday, I’m back early. I went to Koh Tao in Thailand and stopped through Bali on the way back, so today and last night I’ve just been trying to rehearse with the band because I haven’t picked up a drumstick for a few weeks. I tried to find a drum kit on the island in Koh Tao but there was only one drum kit and they made me try to join a cover band over there and do gigs for the week if I wanted to play their kit. I kinda couldn’t be fucked, I didn’t join them. I just drank cocktails and ate fish on the beach.”
Since being back on home soil, it’s been all systems go – Michaels has been doing interviews all morning in a hotel room which, appropriately, looks over the very Brisbane Laneway festival stage that the band appeared on the first time they performed at the event. The festival holds a certain significance for Dune Rats, who consider Laneway to be the first festival to give them a real go.
“We were playing on one of the smaller stages earlier in the day for most of the tour,” Michaels reflects. “Now, we’re playing the main stage at 5.30, which is fucking crazy, it’s a crazy slot. It just feels like a complete trip-out that we’re playing this festival again, especially at such late notice. It’s gonna be fucking fun.”
It’s going to be a very busy two months for Dune Rats. They were called up to play Laneway at the last minute following the announcement that Young Thug was dropping out, and just weeks after their run of festival shows, the boys will be heading around the country to promote their second full-length album, The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit.
The new record demonstrates a shift in vision for the band, which can be heard in the music and goes as deep as the initial writing process. While the band absolutely flew through their self-titled debut, they decided to take their time on album number two, and that effort is recognised – they’ve shifted gears from lazy surf rock vibes to frenzied guitar work and boozed up vocals, reminiscent of something you might hear on a classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack. All the fun is still there, but as Michaels explains, …Bullshit goes a little deeper than their previous work.
“I feel like the first album was, I mean, we wrote that in like three or four weeks and put it out, hence songs like Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana,” he says. “This time, we tried to make an album we really like and would want to listen to, or put on and show other people at the same time. And we wanted it to sound good, for some of the songs to be about something, and they were. We’re happy with how it’s turned out. In some ways it was harder, but we still had fun. We didn’t struggle creatively, we just put a lot of hours into making it. None of us have worked as hard on anything in our whole lives. Hopefully people enjoy it, but at the same time, it’s fine if they don’t because we’re happy with it.”
This time, we tried to make an album we really like and would want to listen to, or put on and show other people at the same time. And we wanted it to sound good, for some of the songs to be about something, and they were. We’re happy with how it’s turned out.
The band were fortunate enough to work with Zac Carper, frontman for Los Angeles skate-punks FIDLAR, who produced the record. Having that extra person involved proved to be a big help in more ways than one. “[The album] wouldn’t sound the same without Zac because he was there for bits and pieces throughout the year we were doing little bits of writing and recording, and we were bouncing all our ideas off him … [we wanted] to get a general consensus for figuring out if there was a shit song, or whether I was just feeling like that because I’d heard it 40,000 times.”
There’s plenty of struggle involved for bands who deliberately take their time on a new record – Michaels is quick to mention that he and the band would second-guess their decisions often – but it’s the sign of a band constantly maturing as they get older, forcing themselves to make tougher decisions and upholding a higher standard. The next step, Michaels fantasises, is to really develop their songwriting chops to become as confident and productive as possible without compromising quality.
“We wouldn’t do [another album] like we did the first one again – just because we’ve done that, and it’s good to progress, but I’d like to do a combo of the two. If we had the money – and I don’t think we ever will,” he laughs, “I’d just go into the studio and write, record and mix the record over however long it took to make the album that we wanted. We wrote a bunch of tracks when we were on a roll in America where we were smashing out a song every day for five days, and three made it on the album. If we did that instead of just demoing, that would be my dream.”
Dune Rats have always known how to appeal to their audience – you just need to look at their music clip for Red Light Green Light which went viral on YouTube and is still receiving comments daily, or their recent interactive Scott Green music clip which has resulted in a number of fans getting ‘Who’s Scott Green?’ tattooed on themselves. Michaels laughs when we bring it up.
“We’ll go out and see cover bands play and dudes will come up and show us their tattoos and stuff, it’s awesome. People have been doing these big Scott Green ones on their feet, which is apparently the most painful place to get them done. I got a small tattoo on my thumb and that fucking hurt for the whole 30 seconds it took. These guys would’ve been sitting there for fucking ages getting these tattoos done, it’s so silly. They’ll probably fade out as well.”
Dune Rats are currently editing season two of their their Dunies TV series, which gives viewers exclusive insight into the band as they tour around the world.
“I did see the first episode [of season two] a little while ago. This season’s different to the last season, we changed it a bit, and it’s fucking funny. I can’t wait to see what the other stuff’s like, because we filmed a lot. Just the past few years of touring the last album along the way and a bit of the new stuff. It’s mainly just stupid shit. I was saying to other guys today, it’s just us trying to entertain ourselves, and if other people get entertainment out of it, that’s awesome.”
As for the rest of the year, Dune Rats are showing no signs they’ll be taking it easy.
“We spoke yesterday to our booker in the UK and Europe and we’re starting to piece together a tour over there because the last one went pretty well,” Michaels says. “We wanna go back to Canada and New Zealand. And I really wanna try to hit up some regional places in Australia, all the small towns and beach towns for a tour that goes longer than a few weeks, you know, just fucking smash it.”
The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit is out today.
To celebrate the release of Dune Rats’ new album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit, we’re giving away five prize packs including a copy of the album and T-shirt. Enter here for your chance to win!