INTERVIEW: Dune Rats
From what started as two dudes making tunes, to packing them into a suitcase and playing them around the world (bearing witness to their band name branded into the skin of many a fan along the way), Brissy [now] three piece, DUNE RATS, have definitely proven that anything is attainable if you really, really want it.
The past twelve months saw Dune Rats follow up their three EPs with their debut eponymous record; featuring favourites, ‘Funny Guy‘, ‘Superman’ and the nonsensical ‘Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana’. On top of pushing out this crazy fun release, the boys were given the opportunity to tour all the corners of the globe, as well as play some amazing shows and festivals back at home; including Splendour In The Grass, Yours & Owls’ 4th Birthday and Festival Of The Sun.
Gearing up to tour the country as part of the Laneway Festival circuit before gallivanting around Europe and the UK with English band, The Subways, we were super thrilled to share many laughs with Dunies legend, Brett Jansch, where we discussed touring, bong nicknames and Dune Rats TV jingles [he may have even belted one out mid-interview]!
When did you meet Danny and BC and how did you become the third Dunie?
I met them across from the street in Brisbane like the same time that they had just started playing. I had a house in Byron and we chucked a party down there and we all became friends from there. I played drums in Bleeding Knees [Club] and then when Bleeding Knees were on their album tour, Dunies were the support band so I played bass for them like halfway through the tour, and yeah kinda just kept on playing bass from there.
You were also playing with Alex Wall in Wax Witches. What other bands have you worked with over the years?
I think me and Alex only played as Wax Witches a few times in different ways; I think I played guitar once and he sung, and then I’d play drums and he’d play guitar, but it was pretty much just that. That’s the only other person that I’ve really played with. Me and my friends have a band and some other shit, but yeah.
You guys released your debut record earlier this year. What was the songwriting process like? Did anything in particular inspire any of the songs on the record?
It was pretty fucking relaxed hey. It was really like a conscious effort to try and make some sort of fucking thing. We kinda just got baked and just played when we wanted and just whatever songs came out. It definitely wasn’t laboured over or anything like that. It was always just like if we just sit around on our asses and end up actually playing, we just went, “okay 1, 2, 3 go” and then like riffs or whatever would happen and then turn into songs from there.
So it was never really like, “Oh I’ve written a song! Let’s fucking figure that out and play that.” It doesn’t really work that way for us, we just do it on the spot; and if it’s shit, it’s shit, and if it’s good then maybe keep playing it.
I guess it’s a lot more organic that way
Yeah I guess so, like we’re always in the same mindset, so we basically can’t be bothered to write anything [laughs], but when we want to make stuff it’s like, yeah sick!
A little off topic, do you guys have names for your bongs?
Aw yeah so we’ve got Kasey Chambers [laughs]. Ah man there was another sick one, Billy Connolly. Yeah there are heaps of names, but I just like Kasey Chambers cause that’s wicked hey [laughs].
What was it like working with Woody Annison?
Yeah it was sick, Woody’s like our fucking uncle. He knows how to tell us to get fucked in a really good way. He’s such a legend, he takes no shit and knows how to deliver it out but we kind of are the same so together it’s really, really fun.
I think everyone thought we were just going to get on drugs and not even record [laughs] but we fully did it good. It was like, fuck man, Woody’s like extended family, you know? He just gave it 100%, it’s really sick to work with him.
I know how good of a sound dude he is live. He was mixing Bad//Dreems in New York recently and it’s just so loud, he knows how to knock you the fuck out and just make it super fucking loud by the way that he likes to hear it, which is like punchy and shit. So he did a good job on the sound of the record, and it was just a really good teamwork thing where we went in there with old Uncle Woody and just made this thing, you know?
You recently released the clip to ‘Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana’, which kind of reminds me of an X-rated Adventure Time. How would you explain that clip to someone who is yet to view it?
It’s a stupid cartoon with no meaning behind it, like a plot line – I don’t know what the plot line is but like looking for Dalai Lama or something? It’s just the perfect accompaniment to the song. Cause I mean, what is the song? [Laughs] Like what the fuck is that shit. So yeah it’s a trip-out animation.
It makes sense by not making sense
Yeah I think that’s the only way it could make sense is by not making sense [laughs]. But nah, stoked to get it out. I feel like it’s well received, I’m seeing friends share it and shit which is sick!
Aw maybe but I kinda hope not! [Laughs] It’s not like our pinnacle point of songwriting. If dudes want to sing it that’d be sick, because then we don’t have to sing it [laughs].
Speaking of live shows, what’s the crazy sort of things that’s happened to you guys on tour in the past few months?
Ummm, I had to wear a condom on [laughs] for the show? And then like halfway through, I threw it at Danny [Beus] but it didn’t get him, and then he threw it back at me, and then he spat all over me and shit. I dunno, there’s always stupid stuff happening, just trying to make each other really, really gross I guess [laughs] – and I always seem to get the worst of it.
Can we expect any more video tour diaries anytime soon?
Yeah we’ve got a TV show in the works. We should have the first episode up pretty soon. It’s pretty much going to be an up to date thing, like we’re going to have a dude with us from now on filming shit, so hopefully it’s going to pump out something pretty on the reg. Because with our last one, we kind of just fucked around with it and it just didn’t go anywhere [laughs], but this one’s going to be fully Dunies TV. We’re in the recording studio right now recording the theme song for the show, and it sounds stupid man [laughs].
Just making jingles
Yeah, there’s some fucking dumbass songs [laughs].
Any sneak previews?
There’s this one that goes, “Nowwww you knowww sheee’s a gronkkkkk” [laughs] and fuck, I can’t even remember the words to them all now, but yeah heaps of stupid ones.
You toured overseas last year. How did your international crowd respond to your set?
Yeah that year was fucking gnarly man, I can’t believe where we went [laughs], like literally we went around all the fucking world; all through Europe and the UK, South Africa and China, all these places, and everywhere we went was fucking amazing. It doesn’t matter if there’s not a big crowd or whatever, it’s more just like sick hanging out with the dudes that live in those places, playing a show and having a big party and it’s all really good fun. America just then was good because we’ve been to America like four or five times now, so we’re starting to play with our friend’s bands who are pretty good, and are playing to a bigger audience now which is sick. It’s fucking rad going overseas, I really like meeting so many awesome people, and you meet them at your shows, which is the best thing.
You’re playing Laneway 2015. What excites you most about being a part of one of Australia’s best festivals?
We’ve never been on a touring festival, so it’s going to be fucking rad to do that, I can’t wait! Like there’s one point where it’s Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle all in like three consecutive days, and they’re my favourite tours where you have to stay up, you know, it’s a good party, so I’m super excited about that. Like Mac DeMarco’s playing too and his manager or booking agency is our booker as well, so it’s going to be good to have a bit of a team for the festival.
I can’t believe we’re playing Laneway. Laneway’s a festival where good bands play, and we’re on it? [Laughs]
Are you going to find a way to get people up on stage with you?
Aw definitely! Somehow we’ll make it work. We’ve started collecting a party box of all funny, stupid shit, and hopefully there’s some costumes in there so we can have dudes like be on stage wearing them. I watched this Nirvana thing where at the Paramount they had these two weird girls on the stage the whole time dancing, and they must’ve been fucking exhausted but they still just kept going. So it’d be cool if we had dudes just constantly on there. Because I guess if it’s a festival, you can’t get everyone on the stage, like dudes get cut. We’ll find a way, no doubt.
Do you think you guys will go back to releasing EPs or are you working on a second full length?
It’s crossed our minds to do an EP, but I think our idea at the moment is to just whenever we can go into rooms and just play a heap amount so we have a really, really big collection of songs; and then choose from that for another LP. Because with the last album, I think there was only two more songs that we came up with that didn’t make the record. So I think this time we’re going to put a lot more work into it. Taking it with no rush, but definitely being active with like writing the songs for sure. I’d definitely like to record it by like the middle of this year at least.
Will there be new songs that you’ll be playing by Laneway?
Maybe by Laneway, yeah. Depends how long the set is I guess. Like I really enjoy some of the new ones we’ve written, I think getting them up and happening and playing them would be a good thing. We’ll see how it goes.
Especially this new song about this chick being a gronk
Aw yeah but that’s just like a little thing for if we ever get footage of me being a gronk, like falling over? It can just be the video of me in slow motion falling over, and then the song goes, “Nowww you knoww shee’s a gronkkk” [laughs].
Plans for the near future?
I guess we’ve just been working on this TV show, just doing heaps of shit like that, just stupid, fucking dumb movies. Like this character that I made up, and his name is Daniel Hassaway. He’s this real big bogan, and he says to everyone, “Aw Hassaway mate!” As in ‘that’s the way mate’, and just introducing himself as, “Daniel Hassaway mate!” So I’m just making some movies of Dan Hassaway [laughs].
Catch Dune Rats as well as a bunch of other legends at this year’s Laneway Festival. The festival tour launches in Brisbane on Saturday, 31st January and will power on until its Fremantle date on Sunday, 8th February. Head over to the Laneway WEBSITE for info on set times, maps and tickets.