Interview: Dune Rats

Photo by Nick Parkinson

Photo by Nick Parkinson

Earlier this year, Australian stoner-punks Dune Rats released their second record, The Kids Will Know It's Bullshit. This album topped the Australian charts, and the band will be touring all over in support of the record. Under The Rockies sat down with Danny Beausa, the lead singer of Dune Rats, to talk about the success of this record, working with FIDLAR, and what it's like to run their own label. Check out the full interview below the cut.

Congrats on The Kids Will Know It's Bullshit going #1 in Australia. You said on Facebook that you guys started a band in hopes of getting away from your jobs as telemarketers, so how does it feel to be gaining recognition for something that a lot of people view as a “hobby”?

We don’t think about it too much, to be perfectly honest. We were stoked, we all went down to the Gold Coast and went to some resort and had a bunch of margaritas by the pool. We’re just stoked that every day we get to play shows. A lot of people in the industry probably think it’s just us f---ing around - even though it is - but the Trolls soundtrack came out that [same] week and a bunch of other highly anticipated stuff, so we were stoked.

A lot of bands fear going into their second record that they’ll have sort of a sophomore slump. Did that worry you guys at all, or change your approach to writing and recording the second album?

I think the bands that might feel like that are in it for a shorter term. We’ll probably be writing shitty albums for the next 50 years, we’re like brothers. We don’t want to do normal jobs, so we’ll always be touring and playing shows. When we released our first EP, we were a two piece and had no idea how to really play our instruments, but now we’re really trying to get better at our shit. With writing, we don’t really write about love and whatever, we write about what’s happening with us right now.

What was it like working with Zac Carper from FIDLAR on this album?

It was cool, we’ve been mates for ages - 3 or 4 years. When they first came out here we toured with them. We met them at Splendor in the Grass. We have heaps of stories. We toured with them for 2 months and Zac would drive the RV after shows because we were f---ed up. It was real relaxed. The whole reason we got him was because we wanted his outside opinion of what we should be doing. We wanted a Dune Rats sound on this album. We really liked where they went with their second album. They could have just released the same old shit, but they’re songwriters, so they always want to step it up a little bit. When we toured with him, we’d be doing new songs at soundcheck and he’d make suggestions like, “maybe this could be a little softer.” It was a really chill experience.

You guys run your own record label, Ratbag Records. What’s that experience like?

It’s not as fun as playing in a band, I’ll tell you that! It’s fun for us to have bands we really like, and have them want to be on the label because they like what we’re doing. Our manager is the big work engine behind it, he’s the one that sets release dates and all that stuff. We always check everything, but for us it’s mainly to find sick bands that don’t normally get the backing of a major label. The people at Warner in Australia are epic, and Tony who started the company here really backs local music. It’s cool to get bands cash to do albums.

What’s the music scene like in Australia, specifically where you're from in Brisbane?

It’s f---ing epic, and it has been for ages. Bands just really want to play shows together, rather than compete. We find when we go to other countries and sometimes smaller cities, they sort of compete, whereas we were just wanting to play shows. Not a lot of venues like live music all of the time because they don’t sell as much booze and all that shit. You have to get 3 or 4 bands together with a bit of a following because that way you can get at least 200 people through the door. We all just like playing shows together.

You’re hitting Calgary for the first time on this upcoming tour. Have you guys been to Canada before? What are you most looking forward to?

We’ve been to Vancouver, we were there last year, and then in Toronto. The show sold out in Toronto, and Vancouver was like 500 kids or something. It blew us away. We’re looking forward to the poutine. We like poutine heaps.

The Kids Will Know It's Bullshit is out now via Ratbag Records. Be sure to catch Dune Rats on their upcoming Canadian tour, which is coming through Calgary on April 26th at The Nite Owl.