Meeting Dune Rats

When Dune Rats' band manager told me to meet them outside a Laundromat in Chinatown, I didn't know what to expect. More importantly, I didn't know where I was. Did I mention it was down pouring? Clearly not an expected chain of events, but the group of musicians I was meeting are to be anything but expected. Only active for about four years, the Aussie three-piece has quickly gained a cult following worldwide, playing packed shows across Europe, the US and even Asia. And there's a good reason behind their ever rapidly-growing fan base – their music is really fucking good. With out-there humour injected into lyrics, guitar riffs that just don't quit, and fist pumping, mosh pit-inducing beats, they’ve got a knack for making tracks that just beckon to be played again.  

So one five-floor ascent later, I found myself in a crammed apartment with two semi-awake Aussies and one passed out on a couch. Eventually Danny Beusa, BC Michaels, and Brett Jansch all woke up and got to talking about their stint at CMJ Music Festival, their in-the-works projects you've been waiting for and all the crazy shit that's happened to them thus far on the road. But mostly just the crazy shit. 

How was the show last night – any great moments?

Danny: We saw a couple of our mates from Australia just sliding up to the front row, so it was pretty sick. We mainly just love being in New York. 

Brett: I slid on this floor in a warehouse in Brooklyn last night and I just woke up with welts all over my back. And look at my fucking eye! I had a Claritin and it seemed to just knock me out and I was really out of it. But look at me! I look really funny. I've got a big hole in my tooth, my knee is really, really clicky and sore, I've got painted toenails with holes in my socks, glasses aren't mine and are broken, with an eye that's fucking swollen. A comedy of errors, guys. 

So how did you guys get togetherI know that Brett, you were a later addition. 

Danny: We met Bretty when we were on the road in Brisbane and he was literally on the street and there were cars around him honking. And we had the band for a year, year and a half then, and Bretty was playing in a different band with his mate and he was just like do you want to come down to a bar and play a show with us? But us being us, we had no money to hire a bass player. And it was a fucking six week tour. Bretty is fucking musical overlord and was playing drums, so we asked if he could play bass for us. He doubled up and played 60 shows and he just smashed it out. And then this is like two years ago, and we had the opportunity to come to CMJ and Bretty's brother decided to buy him a ticket. Then the thought of being apart after that sucked. 

And me and BC met at a band competition when we were both in different bands years earlier when we both lost the comp and the just were bitching about the band that won it later that night.  

Who won it? 

BC: They're called The Rocketsmiths

[screams into voice recorder] Look at me now Dom Miller! 

Danny: They're mates of ours – well, I haven't talked them in years – and I haven't talked to my mum in years, but it happens. Look at me now mum! So we did that, then we got drunk and were jamming and our mate who was in a bigger band than us was walking past and said those are funny tunes and if you want to record, I'll record them for you. So we did that and then put it up on the internet and England, weirdly enough, was the first area where music blogs were catching on to us. 

I was going to bring up the Red Light Green Light video. Who thought of the idea?

BC: We thought that it would be sick to rip off our mates [DZ Deathrays’ 'The Mess Up'] in a harder way – they did Jägermeister.  

Danny: We did a tour with them too and they were just laughing because we smoked just a fuck ton of weed on that tour and they couldn't believe we could smoke that much. 

Is there a way to top it?  

Danny: Yeah, meth video is up next. Video clips are weird for us because it's our take on them, so they end up pretty stupid or DIY that costs zero dollars. We have our new video for ‘Dalai Llama’ coming out soon.

What projects do you have coming up next?  

Danny: This is the first time we have like a solid chunk off. We have a festival we're playing in Australia, which means we can't play other shows while we're there. 

Brett: But it will be the spring/summer period so it's going to be sick – we'll get to surf and see our families.  

Danny: But that also gives us the chill time to write new music. For us it will be three months where we can relax, write some music in a shed and smoke a fuck ton of weed. 

What's your writing process like?

We steal it off of other people. Just change it up two frets from every Maroon 5 song.   

How many shows have you played before in the UK?

Danny: One tour. We did two shows in London and they were sick – completely packed out. There were lots of British people and we thought that there would be a high contingency of Australians, but I swear there were only 20 Aussies out of 180 people. It's sick when we can go to rad countries and the locals come out. Like in Thailand, it was just fuck tons of local punk kids up at the front, knowing the lyrics, throwing their fists in your face. 

Brett: Same thing we the South Africa tour, there were so many people. 

Danny: We also adopted someone last time we were in London and his name is Alex. We tend to adopt people on tour, just like kids – this sounds wrong. It just happened that at some shows you meet this super fucking legend who doesn't want the party to stop and we say, "Jump in the RV let's keep going". It's like Almost Famous. 

Brett: And this kid Alex was an absolute legend who we met stranded on the road in Brighton and he wanted to stay for the show but his friend's train had to leave and he couldn't get a train, so he slept on the floor with nothing. And he just came with us. 

Danny: For three or four days he went around with us and started selling our merch by the end.

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What is the weirdest tour moment you ever had?

Brett: Last night when I woke up on the floor of a factory warehouse with a swollen eye and I still haven't gone to bed yet. 

Danny: Where the fuck did you sleep?

Brett: I kind of remember getting there, but I really danced as if there was no sunlight coming at all and I woke up at 10 this morning to some dude screaming "Fuck dude!"  

Danny: One of us had sex with a Thai prostitute while she was lactating.  

Was she pregnant? 

Danny: I think it was post-pregnancy. Oh, and Bretty got caught in Texas with a bunch of weed – that wasn't great.  

Brett: We got arrested in South Africa for smoking a joint and then giving it to a fucking cop who we thought was a kid.  

Danny: He had his hand over his badge and as soon as I handed it to him, he showed me. 

Brett: We were very lucky though. We were doing really stupid things like thinking it was okay to smoke weed on the Parliament steps.  

Brett: I ended up with a motorbike in my possession at like 2 am and it was in fourth gear and I'm cruising. Looking back that's the stupidest thing I've ever done. 

Danny: You name it, we've fucked it and we've done it.

This is a new game – I'll just name something and you have to tell me if you've fucked it.

Both: Yes! 

Did you fuck your motorcycle?

Brett: Fucked it. 

Each other?

All: Done it. 

Danny: Your editor is really going to love the amount of profanity in this.  

Actually we’re pretty liberal so I can leave most stuff in here. 

Danny: Can you write this: "Dune Rats: They Sucked a Dick Out of a Cunt for a Fuck"? 

Yes. Where do you want to play that you haven't played yet?

Danny: South America and Antarctica. 

Has anyone ever played a gig there?

Danny: Fall Out Boy tried to, faggots. But then the weather wasn't permitting. Even god hates Fall Out Boy. They tried to complete a world record for quickest world tour or something. Not that we're big on world records – we come from caravan park families so if you got a world record, you get first chop on the barbie, you know? 

When do you think you will be in London next?

Danny: We're trying to get together a European tour, but we don't know if that's going to go through yet. But our plan is by next year to go through all of Europe and American again. 

Brett: The London show at Shacklewell Arms we did was fucking crazy and the vibe of the place was great.

Danny: A chick pissed herself in our band room. 

How did she get in?

Well that's the question! She was looking for the toilet, found the band room, was so excited and sat down, forgot that she had to use the bathroom and pissed herself – that's how great London was. But yeah, we're going back to London in six months or less.  

Brett: It will be nice because we did RV and we didn't really even get to see the city at all.

Do you normally do RV when you do tours?  

Brett: We like it because for us it’s way more fucking comfortable. 

Danny: We did February and March with our friends in two RV's so it was 11 of us and that just heightened the reasons why we do RV. It was the maddest two months – we were doing some fucked up shit, like paintball guns. 

In the RV? 

Brett: Yeah, boys unleashed. 

Danny: And by the end we ran out of paintballs so we were throwing eggs and maple syrup and we got so fucked up. We set off fireworks in the RV since we had this rule that there's no shitting in the RV and our mates broke into ours to have a shit. We caught him in there so we lit a firework and threw it in. 

How has it been coming back to cities you've played in before?

Brett: Going to cities and making friends kind of snowballs into this excitement when we come back to a city and get to see those people. It makes touring worth it. 

Danny: When you're throwing yourself around getting swollen up eyes and fucked up backs and fucked up everything, it's rough. But then you come back to like Cape Town and the scene has just grown. It's sick getting a bigger name because now you can actually go back to those places and see all the people who have been with you from the start. 

Words by Banu Ibrahim