By Zach Schepis
Photo courtesy of Dune Rats
How many Australian stoners does it take to form a successful band?
[Insert witty punch-line here.]
One debut album and a thousand bong rips later and viola! We have the Australian surf-punkers, Dune Rats. Just don’t dismiss them as another far-out regurgitation suggesting more of the same, man. These blokes have stirred up quite the following back home, and are drawing larger and larger audiences in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They’ve officially invaded America and no one will be spared (from a good time).
The trio is coming down from an all-time high, with two CMJ performances marking another festive conquest on their musical roadmap. But hey let’s be honest, do these guys ever really “come down?” They’re a hell of a lot fun to listen to, and with their self-titled release dropped earlier this year they’re firing on all cylinders.
BTR catches up with them outside of Pianos bar, on the frantic streets of downtown Manhattan.
So you were one of the band’s to kick start this year’s CMJ. How was the show last night?
Danny Beusa: It was such a sick show man, so many people there.
BC Michaels: Hands down the best show we’ve ever played.
Brett Jansch: That was actually two nights ago, we just partied really hard last night.
Geez, well I guess that makes me a shitty journalist…
DB: Well that’s okay, because we’re really shitty musicians!
(Laughs all around).
What’s the biggest difference between playing here and playing back in Australia?
BJ: More people.
BC: Different accents.
BJ: Yeah, they really don’t understand what we’re saying. Our accents are a bit much for them.
DB: The cocaine is cheaper here too.
Well then. Tell me a little bit about how you guys first started.
BJ: Smacked right into one another crossing the street.
BC: Yep, crossing the street. Just like that.
DB: Yeah, it was a three-way intersection roundabout. We were all walking and ran into one another and thought, “Hey, you look like a real rag cunt. Let’s form a band.”
BC: It was a real small neighborhood where we’re all from. Real hard fucking nox!
DB: Brett had a floral green cast on his arm when we intersected.
How about some of your biggest creative influences, musical or otherwise?
DB: Just… fuckin’ drugs.
BJ: Smoked heaps of bongs before making the record.
BC: Movies too. Bob’s Burgers.
What’s your songwriting process like? Is it a collaborative effort or mostly one person at a time?
DB: We all just bashed it out like sex. You go in hard, give it a solid two minutes, and then hope that something good comes out of it.
Album artwork for Dune Rats.
You released a great self-titled album earlier this year. What was your favorite part about working on it?
BC: Just being around Brett’s mom.
DB: Being able to cook heaps of food too.
BJ: Oh and that guy we just ran into, he recorded our album.
You mean the guy that was ingesting questionable substances in the street?
DB: Yeah that guy (laughs). Dan ‘Cas’ Caswell. He did a real bang-up job. And you can probably imagine how crazy it was working on the whole thing with him…
BJ: It was all done over the course of a week too, which made everything even crazier.
The opening track, “Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana” is fucking hilarious. How did you come up with the lyrics?
BC: Oh shit.
BJ: You just made us realize that the rhyme doesn’t really work for an American.
DB: Say it one more time for us.
Da-Lai La-ma, Big Ba-na-na…
DB: Ahhh we’re fucked!
It’s okay though, it works as an off-rhyme which is pretty cool!
BJ: You do have a point, but it is funnier when it rhymes.
BC: That song is about Danny’s life.
DB: It’s really pathetic, but you can sum yourself up in three fuckin’ words.
BJ: Well, four actually…
DB: I grew up inside a big banana.
You don’t say. What was that like?
DB: It was sick. Lots of old cunts. It was near a nude beach.
BJ: There’s a big banana statue on this beach that Danny comes from.
DB: People want to get their picture taken in front of it apparently. Ask the Dalai Lama a question, as you do. Smoke a bunch of marijuana.
BC: You know, just a bunch of stuff you have to do when you’re in a band.
Your video for “Red Light, Green Light” features you guys smoking an endless passing of bongs. How much weed do you guys actually smoke?
BJ: Well, as you can see the first song on our record has marijuana in the title, so I’m sure you can gather…
DB: It’s honestly just what we do to relax.
BJ: BC doesn’t smoke bongs anymore though.
BC: It aggravates my psychosis.
DB: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
BJ: The reason why we did the video is because so many cunts smoke. Everyone does it but nobody even talks about it.
BC: No one puts it out there, so you just kind of see what happens when someone finally does. I mean if people don’t do it then they’ve at least tried it.
DB: Winners never quitting, quitters never win!
What was the feedback like from that?
DB: Our mothers called us “shit cunts.”
What are your plans for next year?
BC: We’re taking a couple months off for the first time in a while.
DB: Cruising the Australian summer, playing festivals.
BC: Hopefully Europe and then back here in America!
BJ: We hit up South Africa once a year too!
No kidding, South Africa?
DB: We’ve done it twice now and it’s so fucking awesome.
BC: The people there are so rad; it really is an amazing place to go.
BJ: We made the most generic email ever, threw up some pictures of pussy boots on the internet, and just started asking people online if they wanted to pay for us to travel and make music.
BC: That recipe cooked up into a trip. Eventually we had people paying for us to play in China!
DB: 600 people were there for the first show. Usually we only get a couple hundred people.
BJ: Also, they cook this stuff in South Africa called Braai. It’s pretty much just a fire with a grill, they throw this weird meat on it and it’s like a big barbeque.
DB: Fucking delicious.