BY GARETH ENDEAN
Interviewed By: Naomi Jeremiah & David Lydiard
Photo Credits: Morag Farley Photography © *
“I saw David Bowie years ago, probably 15 years ago, in Brisbane, where I'm from, and the audience were funny; they literally would stand up for the chorus of songs and then sit down,” John Drake, lead singer for one of rock music’s hottest new acts, The Dust Coda, is reminiscing, “and you're just like, dudes what are you doing, just stand up for the song would you? Don’t sit down when the chorus isn't on! It's not a fucking Smarties commercial…”
This bizarre crowd behaviour obviously imprinted itself onto the young John’s mind, luckily fans sitting down during a Dust Coda gig isn’t something he need worry about. Fresh from the 11am slot at the Winter’s End festival, a performance fuelled by “not much sleep” and “a lot of whiskey,” their storming performance was heralded as one of the highlights of the weekend and is another big step on the path to success for the London based rockers. Sitting is not an option.
The line-up, completed by Adam Mackie, Scott Miller and Tony Ho, certainly haven’t sat still in the short time they’ve been together. In fact they have come a remarkable distance since John and Adam were sat in a flat in Brixton writing songs and dreaming of getting a rock ‘n’ roll band together.
“One of the first songs we ever wrote was 'Sweet Love Is Gone' and then, when we did that, we looked at each other and were like 'this is pretty cool! There's something here'. And we just kept on going, kept on writing these songs, and to go from that point, two guys writing songs together, to putting this band together and to making a record, it's just - and I hate the word journey - but it literally is a bit of a journey.”
For the growing legion of fans The Dust Coda’s music is more than just pretty cool, and there are plenty of people in the industry who agree. Their album has received rave reviews and they were nominated for Best New Band in the Planet Rock awards last year. In a burgeoning British rock scene they stand out as one of the few bands that can combine a classic sound with a thoroughly modern feel. The Dust Coda are no mere retro-revivalists, and while the singer’s humility shines through he is also supremely proud of his band and their self-titled debut album.
“We know it's good, we're confident, we love the songs, we worked really hard on it, I'm not going to pretend to be self-deprecating, but I think it's one of the greatest rock n roll albums to be released in the last decade. But I think that. The fact that other people connect with it is amazing. The fact that those people, who drive from different parts of the UK to see us at shows, and come and see us time and time again, is really exciting. ‘Cos they actually want to hear the music performed again and again. It’s amazing.”
There is a an obvious and burning desire within the band to ensure they achieve the maximum amount possible and it is a desire fuelled by the fans response, “it makes you want to deliver and that’s the ethos we adopt, and I think we've adopted that from seeing other great bands who've been around for 30 years.” John then recounts a story about seeing Metallica recently, “at the end of their gig they stood around for like 20 minutes on stage, walking around talking to people, their fans, walking up to the stage. You know, this is Metallica, the biggest heavy metal band that ever existed and they're still out there, walking around, talking and thanking their fans, cos they know that their fans keep coming back cos they wanna see these classic songs performed.”
And while no one is comparing The Dust Coda to Metallica – yet – they do share the same passion and desire to give it all for the crowds who have come to see them, “I actually don’t see a difference between selling 30 million records or selling 10 records,” says John, “if 10 people have bought your record they've invested in the music you make, you want to do that justice.”
And if there’s one thing you can guarantee with The Dust Coda they will give it their all.
“We rehearse the shit out of it, we work on the material, we refine it and refine it, we make sure that we do the work in the rehearsal studio so we can get drunk! We can stay up til 4 in the morning beforehand and have a great time because we've done the work. When we get on stage, that's the fun time.”
And therein lies the crux of what The Dust Coda do so well, on record their music is honest and sincere but they never lose sight of the fact that music is meant to be enjoyable too. In a business which has become increasingly sterile and sterilised The Dust Coda embody the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Their singer agrees:
“I think fundamentally that's what rock ‘n’ roll is about - you don’t know what you're gonna get, you don’t want it to be polished, sometimes you're going to fuck things up. Sometimes we do. That's alright. If you want a perfect Celine Dion in Las Vegas residency performance, go see that. If you want this raw performance of a collection of songs then you go and see a rock n roll band. I think that gets lost a lot these days. We craft our sets and we craft what we're doing but when you get on stage you just have to let it roll and see how it works out.”
And right now for The Dust Coda it’s working out pretty damn well. Just don’t sit down during the verses.
To hear the interview in full, listen to our podcast here:
Follow the band here: https://www.facebook.com/TheDustCoda/
You can catch The Dust Coda live at:
Steelhouse Festival: https://www.steelhousefestival.com/
Rambling Main Fair: www.ramblinmanfair.com/
Hard Rock Hell: https://www.hardrockhell.com/
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