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Dune Rats

Dune Rats

Dune Rats

Tours And Tribulations

A three piece stoner-punk band out of Brisbane, Dune Rats have rapidly risen from humble beginnings to make a real name for themselves via the simple expedient of constant touring and constant recording. Of course, winning the Triple J Unearthed competition didn’t hurt, either. TRAVIS JOHNSON caught up with drummer and vocalist, BC Michaels.

BC Michaels is getting ready for the road again. Well, that’s not exactly true. He knows he has a tour in the very near future, but at the moment he’s just making guacamole (“I’m just mashing up avocado with a fork,” he says.) His attitude to packing is fairly laissez-faire – almost zen, in fact.

“Just go with the flow,” he muses. “I still haven’t packed for the tour yet. I’m leaving for Sydney on Saturday morning, so in less than 48 hours. I don’t know – I do a last minute pack bring the snare drum and cymbals and hope that I haven’t left anything behind.”

Is there anything he couldn’t leave behind? “Nah, not really. Sometimes I’ve been on tour and just taken a backpack with, like, a couple of shirts and shorts in there and just pick everything else up on the way. I’m pretty sweet.”

In the near future, Dune Rats will be returning  to South Africa, something he’s looking forward to. “Yeah, dude,” he enthuses. “We toured there last year. It was fucking awesome! There were so many people at the shows, between three hundred and three thousand people would turn up at all of the gigs and it was sweet! I thought it was gonna be heaps more dangerous than what it was but it was actually fun. As long as you’re walking around at night with a friend, you were usually pretty sweet.”

In retrospect, Michaels feels South Africa’s rep for danger is overstated – at least in his personal experience – “Everyone was talking it up heaps, but it’s not too bad. I guess it’s like Kings Cross – it’s easy to get into trouble but it’s easy to stay out of it.” – and culturally, finds the country close enough to Australia. “They’ve got a pretty similar set up with the beach, but they don’t have as much money there – or some people don’t. It’s pretty chilled. It’s pretty laid back and regular. Some of the bands play pretty similar music to us and (fellow Brisbane outfit) Last Dinosaurs – they toured there as well, through the same guys who book our shows.”

Having someone book shows is something he’s still getting used to. Dune rats started out as a down and dirty DIY duo, but recent successes have added not only a third member, with bassist Brett Jansh joining Michaels and partner Danny Beusa, but the beginnings of what sounds like an entourage.

“We are pretty in charge of what we’re doing,” Michaels maintains. “We signed to Warner, but we release on our own label. It’s a print and distro deal and we have all the creative control there. We got a manager to help us out with all that kind of stuff because it just got too hectic doing it all ourselves. But we still have all the say in what we do, but we just have more people on board helping us out.”

Even with those extra bodies on board, Michaels insists that the music, at least, will remain theirs. “When we wrote the album,” he says of their upcoming self-titled LP, due out on June 1. “We didn’t really talk about it – we just played our instruments together in a room and then what came out was what the album is. Whatever comes naturally is what we’ll release in the future.”

Dune Rats play Mojos Bar on Thursday, June 12, and Amplifier Bar on Friday, June 13. For tickets, go to oztix.com.au.

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