DUNE RATS FEATURE
"I’ve just poured a fresh beer, and BC farted in his hands and put them over my beer..."
By Hannah Valmadre
It’s midnight in Dublin and Brissy trio Dune Rats have the night off from their hectic international tour schedule. Naturally, beers are being poured and pranks are being pulled. “I’ve just poured a fresh beer, and (Dune Rats dummer) BC farted in his hands and put them over my beer, and now I don’t want to drink my beer because I’m afraid it’s got poo all over it! What a fucker.”
Brett Jansch, who together with Danny Beus and BC Michaels make the unholy triumvirate that is Dune Rats, quickly and enthusiastically explains the antics that occur while on tour, “It’s a game we’ve been playing. We have this tally with who can cupcake each other more times, and I swear to god BC’s tally must be like, fucking, 35 on me, and I’m at like, two. I’m gonna shit in his mouth. That would be worth like 15 points.”
As you can imagine, hygiene tends to go a bit by the wayside when you have three rock'n'roll/punk boys jumping from country to country. Opportunities to wash your clothes, and yourselves, can be few and far between. “I actually woke up at a truck stop this morning, walked in and saw they had a shower, so I had a shower at a truck stop toilet. It was fucking disgusting, but still so good!”
Being the good sport that he is, Jansch tried to rally the others to take advantage of this unusual situation. “I walked out and thought, 'I’ve gotta get BC up, because if he doesn’t shower now that’s like, 4-5 days without showering.' I was like, 'Bro, c’mon man, it’s time to go in there', and he rolled over in his bed and was like, 'Man, I can’t be fucked'. So he’s added one more day to the tally.”
Dune Rats are currently on an international tour promoting their self-titled debut album. At the time of this interview they had just finished up their South African leg of the tour, which is the second time in a year they have come over for shows. “South Africa was fucking off the hook, man! It was just some chill-arse shit hey, it was so sick, and we have such good friends there, it’s really mind blowing out there.”
Dune Rats' self-titled debut LP, an explosion of surf-pop and punk-rock swagger, was recorded in a bit over a week with Woody Anderson, sound engineer and tour manager of Children Collide. While the short time frame was partially to do with Woody’s availability, the Dunies were determined not to waste any time. “We didn’t want to go in there and do weeks worth of bullshit,” explains Brett, “I think fucking around over a longer period would have been the downfall.”
After touring for most of 2013, the boys wanted to settle somewhere for a month and write the album, but didn’t know where to do it. They eventually headed to Byron Bay and stayed at Brett’s mother’s house, surfed, got stoned until about 3 o’clock everyday, and banged out new songs on the spot. This unplanned approach proved useful in the creation of Brett’s favourite track on the album, Good Seeds. “When it came to the point of recording it was pretty unfinished. BC and I went for a walk one day and Danny did the vocals for it, we came back and it just… I don’t know. There’s something about it, I feel like it’s the most honest, best song of the whole album, there’s something super fucking real about it.”
Working within that timeframe meant that the energy levels stayed high; that liveliness is an essential part of the Dunies' off-the-cuff sound. Sure, they may smoke their fair share of weed, but it would be a sad mistake to consider Dune Rats lazy or unfocussed. “Procrastination just leads to more procrastination really. A week was good. A week was almost too much time.” Brett is extremely happy with the end result. “I’m actually psyched with all of the songs, I’m so proud, it’s easily the best accomplishment of all of our lives I think.”
Dune Rats undoubtedly live life on their own terms, and everyone is welcome to join in. There’s only two rules; no kooks and no gutties. While surfer-poseur kooks are clearly unwanted, we had to ask, what the hell is a guttie? “A guttie is like a gutful,” Brett explains, “It can only happen when like it's an unreasonable time to be having a guttie. Like the other morning I left the keys in the ignition and I flattened the battery of the car, and everyone was super hungover. We weren’t going to drive anywhere, but everyone was like 'What the fuck man!? The fucking car’s dead and shit.’ That is a guttie.”
Thankfully gutties are few and far between, and Dune Rats' inquisitive and playful nature is what makes them refreshingly up front and genuine. This is perfectly demonstrated by how they wound up in South Africa last year for the first time. BC uploaded a photo of Puss In Boots (you know, cute cat with the big eyes from Shrek) to Facebook, asking if anyone wants them to play anywhere far away. Sure enough, someone was willing to pay for their flights to South Africa. BC then shot off an e-mail to Vice to see if they could help set up a tour over there, and that came through as well.
Bottom line, according to Brett, is that absolutely anything possible. “As if you’d ever not talk to someone. As if you’d ever not reach out, because just asking a simple question can get you so many things. The worst thing you could ever do is be scared to ask someone something. If it’s a yes or no answer, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just alright sweet, we’ll try again.”
It’s been a big couple of months for the Dunies, and it’s only going to get bigger when the album drops on June 1st and the national tour begins almost immediately after this international one ends. Of course, Brett and co. are just taking it all in their stride. “Fuck life’s cool man. There’s no reason why anything could hold anyone back ever.”
Thanks to Slice Of Life photography for the rad photo album, click the tour poster above for tickets and to pre-order their album, and enjoy an old classic below: