theaussieword.com catches up with Brian Dunne.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
I have to say, I love the music in spite of the industry. But basically, when I was a child, I saw this video of Springsteen playing “Rosalita” from 1978 and the crowd was attacking him the whole time. My brain, being mush at the time, was traumatized and I’ve truly never recovered.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
Good question. I really, above all else, want to be great. In sort of a creepy, evil way. I salivate when I think about being great. I believe in it. Other people’s quest for greatness in their art has enriched my life so deeply, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things you can do with your time on Earth. So I try to surround myself with people who I think are on that quest too, and they keep me in check.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I really am shooting for world domination. But I hear that’s a tricky one. To boil it down to its essence, I would like to share this music with as many people as humanly possible.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Yep, I’ll be on tour forever. Never not on tour. The second single comes out in December, with the album coming out in Spring of 2020, and I’ll come play it for you in your kitchen if you want me to.
Tell us a bit about your latest track and how would you best describe your music?
“Harlem River Drive” is a song I wrote about a particularly difficult time in my life. For some odd reason, maybe due to a misguided viewing of The Wonder Years, I always figured our older, wiser selves would be played by different actors — metaphorically speaking. But as I entered my late twenties, I started to understand that I was more than likely going to be stuck with me. And all these problems I had, that I had thought would come out in the wash or be fixed by outside circumstances, would only be mended by my own doing or I’d have to learn to live with them.
Does that make sense? I feel like I probably said it better in the song. That’s why I write songs. You can edit them for like a year. I would best describe my music as that — me, but well-edited.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
I would say, in short, I throw a billion things at the wall and see what sticks. I’m kind of constantly writing, if for nothing then to solidify an insurance policy against my own inherent mediocrity. Of course, hearing a good song always gets things shaking. But also, sometimes I’ll go see a band play a terrible show and that’ll inspire me to write the song I think they should have played or something. Books, film, love, sex, drugs, being alive, having to die. All of the above.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Success, what is the secret to it?
As far as I can tell, a gigantic pile of money to start? Hard to say. When you find out, please let me know!
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
The release of this music is the most excited I’ve ever been about making stuff and putting it into the world. I really hope it’s going to move people. Sharing the stage with notable people or getting a compliment from a hero is nice for a minute, but it falls away. This is what really matters.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
I think Brandi Carlile is making the whole industry a better place right now. She could just rest on her abilities and enjoy this beautiful, well-deserved time in her career, but instead she’s using it to give other artists an opportunity to bring their music to the world. How fucking cool is that?
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Yes, the pipeline is pretty much clogged.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
I would like to be doing the same exact thing I’m doing, but way bigger. But same mechanism.
My favorite part of this job is that, at it’s core, it’s very innocent and beautiful. To share music with humans about the human experience, so we can all feel less alone—- it’s intoxicating. My least favorite part is the bullshit that gets in the way of that.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Ooh, ok. I love Stella Donnelly. Her album “Beware Of The Dogs” is so unique and biting. When I listen to that record and “Thrush Metal”, I really do feel like I know her. I’m sure I don’t. But if I met her, I would feel like I did. That’s sort of a classic indicator that someone is doing really great work.
Kasey Chambers is an artist I have adored since I was 15 and I bought “Barricades And Brickwalls”. I’ve been trying to tour with her forever. We’ve chatted once or twice, but her brother Nash is her manager and he always shuts me down hard. Womp womp.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Ah yes. Social media and the music industry. It’s certainly not my favorite aspect, but it is the proverbial rooftop upon which we shout that we have made art. So I try not to get too hung up, and just try to have fun with it. It’s like how MTV was in the early 80’s — I’m sure many artists thought it was destroying the very foundation of the music industry. But, shit, who cares, right? Make stuff, tell people you made it, so they can hopefully enjoy it. Try not to get too irritated by the way we have to do that. It will always be changing.
How do you plan on cracking the international market?
Swiftly and sensually.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I’m not a great co-writer or anything like that, but if any of the artists I’ve mentioned in this interview want to write a song together, I’ll be there with bells on. And yeah, I mean as far as collaboration goes, I think it’s super important to let people you trust into your creative process. It can be difficult, as most writers I know are control freaks. But it enriches the music to let other viewpoints and voices become part of your work.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Just start. Don’t wait for anyone to give you the nod. Also, you’re gonna need a credit card.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans?
I feel like there are a lot of people looking for connection right now. I don’t always nail it one on one. That’s what the music is for. So I would say my favorite way to interact with people is through my music, because that’s where I feel most honest. At the merch table after the show, or in an Instagram message, I’m sometimes caught off guard and I’m often worried that I didn’t give enough of myself, or the right version of myself. But it doesn’t matter- those are just little awkward moments. If you connected to something I said in a song, we probably are kindred spirits. And I’m down for any clumsy connection, because that’s what I do this for too.
Any last words?
Make a fresh pot of coffee and carry on.