If you have never heard of Dustland Express chances are you are living under the same rock as I did until recently. The 6-man band hails from Cape Town and was formed during a year best known to us as 2008. The music industry is one of the toughest out there with only the truly brave and tenacious ultimately reaping the rewards of their hard work and dedication. Dustland Express is THAT band: the one that survived a bag full of curveballs and rose from the ashes to become the Madhatter in SA music’s wonderland!
The band just released their debut album titled ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why?’ and it is everything you would expect from this group of insanely and slightly off-beat talented guys.
KULTURE recently got chatting to Scott who gave us better insight into the inner workings of the band (and the guys’ heads)
‘Dustland Express’ is an enthralling name for a beguiling group of musicians. What was the inspiration behind the name? Who came up with it?
It was me, Scott. We wanted a name that was evocative, something that you couldn’t quite pin down, something old and apocalyptic. There’s a little bit of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower in there, too.
I recently read a review that compared your sound to that of Meatloaf. I have to, politely, of course, disagree. You guys have a definite Queen vibe, with a tangible and unique substance added to it. It’s a little bit of Freddie and a little bit Rocky Horror. How would you best describe your own sound to those of us who really don’t have a clue?
We’ll take all of those comparisons, thanks! Dustland is obviously really inspired by the theatrical side of things, whether it be film scores, epic stories, or rock operas. There’s just something about going grand – over-the-top – that takes you out of the real world for a time and allows your mind to go wild. Stuff like that has always excited me and made the world a more interesting place.
I am very excited about your future in the South African music industry, despite new bands popping up what feels like daily. Your refreshing sound and insane artistry it something I have personally been looking for in a band for a very long time. Do you have a 5-year plan? A 1-year plan? How are you going to get your music out in the world?
Whoa, thanks so much. I’ll speak for the band by saying comments like yours keep Dustland going and make us believe that our music isn’t falling on deaf ears! As for the future, we want to do a mini-tour of SA early next year to support the album. Hopefully, The Question, Sir, Is Why? gives us some traction and we’re able to get on the festival circuit to get the music out there. And future-future plans: get started on writing stuff for an EP.
I have listened to ‘The Question, Sir, is Why? a good couple of times and have crowned ‘Take the Devil for a Spin’ as my favorite track. Do you guys each have your own favorite tracks from the album or are you pretty much on the same page in where a favorite is concerned.
Hell yeah! That’s definitely the angriest song on there and Zack’s least favorite track on the album (the rest of Dustland loves it, though). I’d say Nemesis and Apocalypse are my songs of choice.
The orchestral touches bring life to your songs. Kudos to Kamil in particular as he holds his own against the immensely talented drummer and strummers in the band. Have you ever thought of incorporating other musical instruments on your tracks for dramatic effect?
He’ll appreciate that, thanks. I really love Kamil’s melodies…they add such a lovely texture to the songs. We’re always looking for ways to change our sound up, making sure things don’t stagnate, so when we start writing again I’m sure some weird elements will begin making their way into our stuff. I quite like the sound of a track called Castles in the Sky from our first EP. It’s got an eastern feel to it that we never really used again.
You guys seem like a tight-knit group. If you had to be stuck on a deserted island for 6 months with one other band member who would it be and why?
Can I combine them into one person like some kind of all-purpose Frankenstein?
Kamil’s chilled, so I’d need his calmness to combat my anxiety. Mike and Brendan are tireless workers, so I reckon they’d be great for getting the coconuts and boiling the water. Zack’s easy to get along with so he’d be perfect if there’s a sinister group of Others in the forest. As for Gareth, well we’d need his Instagram skills to document the time on the island.
Dustland Express Band Members
Scott – Vocals
Kamil – Guitar, keyboard, vocals
Gareth – Guitar, vocals
Zack – Bass, vocals
Mike – Drums
Brendan – Guitar
Be sure to grab your copy of ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why?’ and embark on the sonic journey of a lifetime courtesy of Dustland Express!
Author: Justine Bishop
Untamed, outspoken and just a little bit crazy.