Interview: The Dandys Talk Up Their Debut EP, ‘Sex and Feuds’
Brisbane’s thriving alternative rock scene has been set ablaze by the electrifying debut EP, ‘Sex and Feuds,’ from the city’s rising stars, The Dandys. Bursting onto the music scene with an irresistible blend of raw energy and haunting melodies, this EP has been eagerly anticipated by fans and critics alike. In full bloom, The Dandys are poised to take their place as the new alt-rock darlings of Brisbane/Meanjin, leaving an indelible mark on the musical landscape with their powerful sound and compelling storytelling.
After delivering an electrifying showcase at BIGSOUND 2023 and leaving audiences in awe with a standout performance at Splendour In The Grass, it’s clear that this band is leaving an indelible mark wherever they tread. Their magnetic stage presence and musical prowess have ignited a buzz that’s impossible to ignore. We sat down with the band to have a chat about the new EP and catch up on all the hype.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of your debut EP ‘Sex and Feuds’. Can you share some insights into the EP?
Thank you so much! We’re stoked that it’s finally out hahaha. Honestly, Sex and Feuds could just about have a doco made about it.
We finished it in January and unfortunately, our producer’s computer just died out of no where and so did his hard drive. Mads got a call breaking the news that our EP had been lost as we were boarding a plane to go on tour so it was crazy timing. Schedules all clashed with tours, distribution, PR and all the other moving parts that go into releasing a record, so we pushed it back 3 or 4 times BUT, we’ve made it In all honesty though, it was a blessing in disguise. We got to play some huge shows alongside WAAX, The Grogans, Splendour in the Grass and Bigsound which gave us a much stronger platform to share our work and get it heard. The new versions of the songs are just a million times better than what we had originally too. It’s not often you get the gift of hindsight handed to you and it was kind of this reminder that everything happens for a reason and to trust the process. It was a huge team effort from everyone around us to get this out and we’re really proud of it. It’s a great reflection of our short time as a band and we’re really excited to see what comes next.
Are there particular themes or messages that you aim to communicate through the EP?
Conceptually, the EP is the journey you go on when you lose someone who was really integral to your own identity. It’s the process of finding out who you are after that person or that thing you built yourself around is gone. It dives into themes around grief, mental health and relationships as well as the chaos that surrounds those things. It’s retrospective and heavy at times but will bring you right back up when you need it.
What is your favourite track on the EP and why?
Mads: State Mind – As a song, I think it’s the most mature. The chords are interesting, it’s so dynamic and we worked really hard to get the music to really match the atmosphere of the lyrics. The prosody of it all just really tickles me.
Henry: Broke Me Down – I think because it’s something different to our usual stuff. It’s fun to have to be restrained for a lot of the song and working on the more intense sections with Nick was a good challenge. It really came together in the studio too so it was cool to sort of watch it develop.
Felix: Gums – It’s just the most fun to play, I get to use weird guitar tones and it’s so sick how regardless of what state we’re in, we somehow always hit the tempo changes bang on.
Did these songs evolve while you were in the studio, or were they set and done before recording?
We definitely thought they were done before recording but naturally, you get in the studio and everything changes a bit. Our main focus was bolstering the original arrangements with textures and soundscapey stuff without it taking away from the songs. It’s always a bit of an experiment finding tones and re-writing parts you thought were cool then decide kinda suck. There’s a lot of changing chord inversions and adding countermelodies to sort of give the tracks that extra push… it’s just knowing when to leave it alone that’s the hard bit.
How do you think your music has evolved since your debut release in 2021?
We’re definitely moving in a slightly heavier direction particularly with some of the new stuff you guys haven’t heard yet. It’s constantly changing and developing but we’re all much better musicians now, we’re more confident with our writing process and I think we’re more open to experimenting whether that be with writing in general or in the studio. I think the main thing we’ve all noticed is we take a lot more care when we’re creating parts and making sure they’re doing what’s best for the song. Attention to detail I guess.
Since debuting, you’ve ticked off a heap of milestones, like most recently playing Splendour and showcasing at BIGSOUND. Tell us what that has meant for you as a band and as individuals.
As a band, it was obviously a huge privilege to be given these opportunities. You meet so many people and you get to share your music with huge crowds and just get yourself out there.
Mads: It sounds a bit corny but it made me stop and look at what we’ve done over our 2 years and really take it all in. It’s so easy to just keep pushing for the next ‘thing’ in this industry without acknowledging how far you’ve come. Playing these particular events is a huge deal for any artist and it was just so reassuring to see people turn up to all the shows, get around it and leave the sets absolutely stoked.
Felix: Playing Splendour was a bit of a redemption moment. After breaking my arm last year at the festival, thinking I would possibly never play guitar again, to being on the lineup the following year was insane.
Henry: Being able to play on the same lineup as some of my favourite acts is a really cool experience. I tackled Splendour 2022 without gumboots so it was a huge comeback
In the aftermath of BIGSOUND, were there any standout lessons or experiences that left an impression on you?
Mads: Just because the beer is free, doesn’t mean you have to drink it Felix: Don’t have a day job Henry: Zheani
From your perspective, what’s the most formidable challenge of being a musician in today’s industry?
Mads: Burnout Felix: Everything except making music Henry: Tik Tok
Lastly, we know you are early in your careers, but do you have any words of advice you’d offer to aspiring musicians striving to make a similar mark in the industry?
Mads: Play every gig as if the room is packed. Felix: Lean into your niche. Henry: Be nice to people 🙂
The Dandys debut EP, ‘Sex and Feuds’ is available now, everywhere.