What is your name and role within Last Dinosaurs?
I’m the main technician and guitar pedal maker for the band. I also sing and play guitar not very well.
You are from Brisbane what is the music scene like there?
Right now, it’s abundant with young bands, a lot of rock/guitar bands going around too. It thrives in waves but right now we are having a big one. When we were starting out the clubs were just popping off which gave us an excellent place to drink free drinks and drunkenly hone our live show. Nowadays that doesn’t happen so much but there are so many bands touring that getting a support slot in a real venue is how it rolls.
Where did you record in Japan, studio / location? How did this come about and why did you choose Japan?
We had access to this amazing studio space built for a Tokyo University doctor of art in a very remote, semi abandoned beautiful town in Japan called Arita. The studio is like a big built in timber mezzanine that overlooks a huge lumber storage warehouse. So, you walk in and instantly you’re greeted with the smell of these huge pine slabs, which to me (hobby woodworker) is absolute heaven. In this warehouse, there are two huge hifi audio speakers gently playing classical and jazz music 24/7 to the wood, because the owner believes the vibrations encourage the wood to stay strong and healthy.
The reason we chose that space was because we enjoyed the isolation of going there on previous trips, and it seemed appropriate to go there to create this album. I guess our music in a way has never really sounded Australian, and that sense of not belonging wasn’t something we wanted to hide. So, feeling like aliens in a rural Japan was the perfect place to create an album that sounded like us. The album artwork reflects this. It’s a surreal illustration of us chilling on the deck of a Japanese garden but the scene is full of cacti. It’s a symbol of how we recorded in a place we don’t belong and we are looking out to the horizon which is a fantastical visualisation of the American landscape. In between two places but always dreaming about the future.
Please tell us about this experience of being in and recording in Japan:
There’s something so special about the studio we were in. Maybe because of the meticulous craftsmanship of its wooden construction, or the plethora of super arty magazines and books neatly piled up everywhere. Walking in everyday was like being put into an immediate meditative state. So comfortable and warm, perfect conditions for making songs.
What programs / instruments did you use?
I started out way back in the day with GarageBand (thank you Apple), which was a great beginners tool. Then I went over to Pro Tools like any normal person would but I found my inspiration getting completely killed by the look of Pro Tools. It sounds silly but the clinical aesthetic wasn’t really helping me, and I’m the kinda guy who loves creating vibey spaces to work in to get in the zone. So after that I went to Logic, which my brother and I used to record the whole album. Turns out Logic is amazing. We got so far in to the process and reached a point where we realised the virtual guitar amps, virtual drums (especially), and synths were sounding totally fine, and in some cases absolutely perfect. We decided to push on through and kind of treat this album like an experiment, to see if we could produce a professional sounding album with not a single real amp, synth, or drum sound.
Would you do it all again?
We definitely will be doing it again, asap! Unless someone like Chris Coady comes along and says let’s record for free. The fact that everything was virtual meant we didn’t have to lug anything around. We just packed a couple of speakers, my interface, a microphone and bingo we are ready to roll. It is so nice to be anywhere in the world and feel comfortable because I have all my essentials with me.
Your new single Eleven is out now and it comes packaged with a radical film clip! I hear that the video was shot and edited by your bassist Michael Sloane with some assistance from the other band members.. Why did you choose to go down this path and how did this concept come into fruition?
It’s funny because in the past we have always recruited a whole bunch of crew and production for videos which is very professional, but for this idea it just didn’t seem so necessary. We really wanted to make a DIY style video because it just suited the style of how we are trying to deliver this album. We recorded this album ourselves, so it feels like the music is coming straight from our hands to the fans so we thought why not take a gamble and make the video ourselves too. It’s definitely my favourite so far. I realised that having a big production and crew forces you to stick to schedules and reduces any time for creativity. Sloane, Lach and I just spent 3 days messing around with a decent enough camera, Chinese food and a Ferrari.
What is Michael’s experience with making music videos?
He has made all of our videos. He studied film after high school and pretty much started making our clips just before he graduated. We were really lucky because we work as a team so well, knowing exactly what vibes to go for because we listened to the same music and watched the same videos etc. He has also done stuff for other bands, mostly local bands. Actually, he even helped direct some Parisian band on his last holiday to Europe recently. He can’t help himself.
How did the filming and editing take place?
3 days of filming, but the vibe was “hmm what should we do today…” every day haha. It worked really well though because we could really take a look around us and think of all the different ways we could shoot and just go for it. After all that was wrapped, Sloane went home and locked himself up to edit for another 3 days straight. Didn’t sleep at all, 72 hours of non-stop editing. That’s how you get a professional video made these days kids.
What are the pro’s and cons of making your own video?
Pros: so much freedom to be more creative. No restrictions. Less self-consciousness. It’s the best.
Cons: someone has to edit, that’s the hard part.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
We have a tour coming up in October, which happens to be going at the same time as our album Yumeno Garden comes out! Then we have big plans for world domination over 2019. Lots of touring, I wanna play all these places our fans keep asking us to go. The guilt of not going is too much. America is a big one for us, we have a burning desire to tour there, maybe even live on the west coast for a little bit.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I work in a record store so I’m listening to different stuff constantly, but the last album that really going me going was Dorothy Asbhy – Dorothy’s Harp. Seriously awesome. Other than that, I went through a huge Garden phase which included the drummers side project called Puzzle. I highly recommend checking them out.
Favourite food and place to hang out?
My favourite restaurant right now is Ca Phe Nam, a small family run Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane. The family are so friendly and the food is amazing. I’m always hanging out at the warehouse where my studio is, it’s in the Gabba which is fairly central. There are many bands who hang out there too so there’s always good company. Otherwise we like to go to the city and play pool, or go to the park and chill.
Last Dinosaurs ‘Eleven’ Tour
w/ Support from Seaside
Wednesday 3rd October: The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD – SOLD OUT
Thursday 4th October: The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW – SOLD OUT
Sat 6th October: Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC – SOLD OUT
Sun 7th October: Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC – SOLD OUT