“Shoestring“ is an impressive debut single from Melbourne singer-songwriter Dune. This self-written, self-produced track is laced with melodic layers of synths and distorted vocals over driving beats. It’s got afro-beat vibe, electronic influence and Egyptian philosophy on happiness. Danceable yet enigmatic, we asked Dune about her music.
GV: Congratulations on your debut single, “Shoestring”. I really enjoyed the world music influence. Was there a particular source of inspiration for you?
Thanks so much. “Shoestring” was the last song I wrote for the EP, which will be released later this year– by that stage I was really starting to feel comfortable with the direction I was moving in. I’d been listening a lot to Radiohead’s King Of Limbs record and I wanted to experiment with the concept of a washy warm bed of sound with vocals that drift freely, but still with a driving, insistent drum pattern underneath. I’ve also always loved afro-beat music, in particular the music of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen; I guess you could say I borrowed from them a little here.
GV: What is the message behind “Shoestring“?
Lyrically, I had been inspired by some literature I was reading on ancient Egyptian philosophy, basically concerned with following your intuition and tapping into your inner power– woah, cosmic haha! For the last couple of years, I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating my own happiness and I’ve come to the conclusion that accumulating material possessions does not really equate to a happy me. I guess the song is about my realisation that all I need to live a happy life is to follow my instincts and not be concerned with status or wealth.
GV: On Soundcloud, you said the making of “Shoestring” was “all DIY”, which I find really impressive. Can you describe your songwriting and recording process?
I was very lucky to have a long loan of my dad’s Jupiter 8, which is a pretty amazing synthesiser made by Roland in the 80’s– they were considered to be the king of synths at the time and they really do sound incredible. “Shoestring” has Jupiter 8 all over it! I played most of the instrumentation myself and wrote the vocal melodies and lyrics over the bed of synths. A lot of the time, the music comes first followed by the lyrics; I’m often inspired to write lyrics by a harmonic progression or sonic texture. I recorded the vocals through a Roland analogue echo unit which I had totally distorted– probably breaking all sorts of engineering guidelines but it sounded good to me! Once the song was written I had my brother play live drums and my friend and colleague Luke Hodgson put down live bass.
GV: In the past, you had collaborated with many musicians and projects. What prompted you to pursue a solo career?
GV: In the past, you had collaborated with many musicians and projects. What prompted you to pursue a solo career?I love to collaborate. It’s a lot of fun, but ultimately when you collaborate your ideas are always compromised to a certain extent. With Dune I really wanted to see what I would do if left completely to my own devices. I gave myself no boundaries when writing this music– I just wanted to try and find my own true sound.
GV: You have two live sets coming up in Australia. How will you arrange your music for live performance? Where would you like to tour?
The live show is quite a challenge as I’ve got a lot of layers of instruments on the recorded versions of the songs. I have an amazing drummer and bass player in the band and I’ll be playing synths and singing– the drummer and I will also both have samplers that we will use to trigger certain sounds. In an ideal world, I would have a ten piece choir and a string quartet on stage too!! Maybe one day! Also in an ideal world, I’d love to tour Europe and I’ve never travelled the states outside LA and NYC so would love that too! At this stage though, I’m really hoping to get around the whole of Australia sometime soon– if all goes according to plan, hopefully this coming summer.
See Dune live for the first time at:
Thursday 30 August (Single Launch)
The Workers Club, Melbourne
Tickets available via: www.theworkersclub.com.au or (03) 9427 9198
Friday 31 August (Single Launch)
The Beresford Hotel, Sydney
Tickets available via: www.merivale.com.au/upstairsberesford or (02) 8313 5000