Interview: Dune Rats, “We’re stepping up and getting bigger with it”

2017 is already shaping up to be the year of the Rat. Specifically the Dune variety, with everybody’s favourite punks Dune Rats about to have arguably their biggest year to date. They’re currently on tour around Australia as part of this year’s Laneway Festival, their sophomore album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit is out tomorrow and they’re ready to embark on a mammoth national headline tour with Skegss and Gooch Palms to celebrate.

We spoke to bassist Brett while the band was in their hometown of Brisbane for the first of the Australian run of Laneway shows:

Getting ready to play the first of your Laneway shows tomorrow Brett, how’s the feeling in the Dunies camp?

Yeah we’re staying across from the site so we’re already having a bit of a peek over at the setup getting psyched.

Got some interesting shoes to fill as last minute replacements for Young Thug.

*Laughs* Yeah maybe we should go out onstage to a Young Thug song.

Either that or maybe you could get Mini Bar Mike (drummer BC’s little known rapping alter-ego) to make an appearance and drop a couple bars?

Yeeeeah fucking oath we could probably get MBM up there *laughs*. How do you know about MBM?

Someone showed me the video on Facebook a while back, it was great.

The plan the whole time behind that was to make the video and then we were going to premiere it on our mate Duncan’s (Bedlam Records) Facebook wall. So we posted it there and didn’t think many people would see it.

Shit went viral.

Yeah. Me and BC played a show once for 800 bucks and that was the seeds for Mini Bar Mike *laughs*

Beautiful. So Laneway, who else on the bill are you looking forward to catching up with or maybe meeting for the first time?

Luca Brasi straight up. A.B. Original as well hosting the whole thing. Trials has been a friend of ours for a while and we’ve bumped into Briggs once or twice before so it’ll be good to spend some time on tour with them. First day is really just a big orientation day so it’s good to have some friends to get straight into it. Especially the Luca Brasi fellas, I’m psyched about that.

Should also stick my head into the Camp Cope dressing room and meet those girls for the first time. I’m looking forward to it man, I love that shit. Everyone’s travelling and tired on a festival tour and funny stuff happens *laughs*

You might even catch up with old mate Nick Murphy, and see if you can get his blessing to change the name Dune Rats to Chet Faker?

*Laughs* Before we even found out we were playing Laneway I had a dream that I was laying in the backstage room doing stretches and Chet Faker came in and strangled me and I’m just there screaming “No man it wasn’t me! It was BC man! *laughs*.

I really hope that doesn’t happen.

Hopefully not a prophetic dream! Last time I spoke to you guys was at The Blurst Of Times in Brisbane at the beginning of last year. A lot’s been happening for Dune Rats in that time, can you think of your favourite moment or a high point from the last year?

It was probably a bunch of different little things I guess. Finishing the record was really rad and recording it was awesome. We had a lot of fun with Zac (Carper, FIDLAR), it was really fun because we’re really fuckin’ good friends and we’d always talked about making music together. The European and North American tour with DZ Deathrays was mental. It was something that had always been an idea and we finally found a window last year to do it and it was just a sick tour with those boys.

The record though, it took up a lot of our last year. It was a very productive year for us and hopefully this year we can put out the record and just tour. For this year and even a couple of years we’d hope.

Well that record is The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit which is out on the 3rd of February. You mention you worked with Zac from FIDLAR on it, what has he brought to the record in terms of sound and overall themes?

I think he kind of opened it up to stuff that we originally thought couldn’t work in a song. Just with Bullshit, he was kind of like “you guys should turn what you all say to each other and how you talk to each other into a song” and we’re kind of just thinking that’s the way we talk but he said “no, there’s something in that”. So yeah, he definitely brought a different perspective to songwriting lyric-wise of what can be a song. I mean, it’s just a joke but it’s still a song and he kind of incubated that in us.

He definitely pushed us as far as making the sounds bigger as well, especially with Danny and the guitar, we’ve changed Danny’s set-up a lot from what it used to be for this record which is awesome. I guess we’re just trying to step up and get bigger with it and Zac got us to the point where it was like, well there’s the sound, now we just have to go and make it work for us.

It definitely seems to have worked so far, Bullshit and Scott Green have both become massive fan favourites already. Are there any other tracks on the album that you’d say you were most proud of or a personal favourite?

Man, I’d like to think of the album as all one song really. Each song complements the one before and after it and that’s what we were really trying to do when we were putting this together. So yeah, if anyone wants a recommendation of what song to listen to, they should listen to them all *laughs*

After the album comes out you’re heading out on another massive tour with Skegss and Gooch Palms joining in. It’s been selling out just about everywhere, what does that kind of fan response mean to you?

Man it’s mental. Everyone was hoping we could do a second show in some of the cities and then those sold out so quick. It speaks very loudly to how awesome our fans are to want tickets that bad and we were trying to make this tour a really hot ticket with that lineup, you know Skegss and Goochies. It was so sick announcing it and then watching it sell out that quick man, just really cool.

All three of the bands on this tour have a bit of a reputation for enjoying a bit of a party, are there any steps you take to try and make it through a tour as big as this?

I think we’re going to try to take it all in this time and not be plastered up the walls. You wanna do it bigger and better this tour and if that means having a couple of Mangos before the show and taking it easy afterwards then yeah. I think everyone’s taking it all in in now but then again, peer pressure is very easy to give in to just get smokers and go wild these days *laughs*

That’s it. Now Skegss are a part of your record label Ratbag Records, which I think is in its second year off the ground now. How much work goes in to trying to run a record label as well as being a successful writing, recording and touring band in your own right?

We’re definitely always trying to be active in it. Our role is a lot of A&R kind of thing with our artists, always listening to the demos people send us and that sort of thing. That’s really become our role, doing that kind of stuff and all the other management stuff Matty Woo (manager of Dune Rats) the soon-to-be Macro man has been taking on.

We’re extending our little family at Ratbag and we’re not exactly taking a back seat because we really care about it and want the best for the artists that we put out there. It’s a really cool thing to have a label that puts out music, we think it’s awesome. There’s plenty more to come out of it this year.

Excellent to hear. Also coming out this year is the highly anticipated second season of Dunies TV, any spoilers or hints as to what we’re going to see there?

We’ll pick up pretty much where we left off I think with the stupid dumb jokes *laughs*. Man we’ve been filming a lot more. We’ve gotten heaps more footage already to make it and it’s all good stuff like being on tour with DZ, a lot of funny stuff happened and it just needed to be sat down with for a while as it has. It hasn’t fallen away or anything, we’ve just been so busy and been waiting for a time to put it all in and look at the footage and go “oh that’s sick”.

Just trying to make it all killer no filler! We’ve gotta make it punchy and hopefully it’s very… I don’t know, I just wanna watch it you know!

A lot of fans out there sharing that sentiment I’m sure. Once your album comes out and the tour with Skegss and Gooch Palms wraps up, what’s next after that for Dune Rats? Is there another overseas tour in the mix?

Yeah I think we’ll end up overseas, definitely want to get back into Canada after being there with DZ’s, it was sick. We wanna do a sick regional tour though. That’d be mad, just this huge old-school tour of Australia. It’d be great to get back overseas but Australia is just so epic in its own way. We really want to spend most of this year in Australia touring.

There’ll be fans in regional Australia stoked to hear that, they tend to miss out on a lot of touring bands.

Yeah and they’re the ones who go mad too! Where I grew up, someone like Bodyjar would come and play at the RSL and everyone in the town would show up for it. Even if it wasn’t really your style, if there’s a chance for everyone to go and have a good time together they’re gonna do it!

The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit is out tomorrow via Ratbag Records

The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit (w/ Skegss and Gooch Palms) tour dates and venues:

Sat, 11th Mar: Metropolis, Fremantle

Sun, 12th Mar: The Gov, Adelaide

Fri, 17th Mar: The Croxton, Melbourne

Sat, 18th Mar: The Croxton, Melbourne

Thu, 23rd Mar: The Triffid, Brisbane

Fri, 24th Mar: The Triffid, Brisbane

Sat, 25th Mar: The Metro, Sydney

Sun, 26th Mar: The Metro, Sydney

Image: Supplied