Interview: The Dunts talk Council Punk and more at Hit The North 2019
Born out of Glaswegian council schemes with a drive to topple the current political elite, ‘council punks’ The Dunts are one of the fastest rising bands out of Scotland right now.
Johnathan Ramsay caught up with Rab Smith (vocals/guitar), Colin McGachy (guitar/vocals), David McFarlane (bass/vocals) and Kyle McGhee (drums) of The Dunts, before their riotous set at Hit The North 2019…
How are you guys finding Newcastle so far?
Colin McGachy: Aye it’s always good man, the atmosphere’s always really good. We’ve only played here once before, I’ve got family down here so I’ve been a few times.
Do you think there’s much difference between English crowds and Scottish crowds generally?
Rab Smith: It depends where you go, up North it seems to be a bit closer to what we’re used to in Scotland.
CM: London they like to stand there with their arms crossed. They try’n examine yi, they don’t smile, they don’t want to give anything away.
David McFarlane: They’ll maybe just give a wee *nods head*… I’ve noticed as I’ve said that, this is an audio interview and no one’s gonna know what I’m doing…
RS: They make you work for it a wee bit. Colin always says this in interviews, but it’s not that they don’t appreciate it, it’s just that they’ve got different ways of showing it.
A lot of your lyrics are politically charged, if The Dunts were in charge of country what changes would you make?
RS: I’d get everyone out of jail that’s in for non-violent drug charges and I’d put them on some sort of rehabilitation programme. I don’t really think that non-violent crimes that don’t have a victim should be punished like… 5-10 years in HMP for something that’s only hurting yourself.
DM: The 10pm shop-shut rule should be abolished! (You can’t buy alcohol from shops in Scotland after 10pm) Actually, take that even further, bevvy should be tax deductible!
CM: I’d abolish income tax and increase corporation tax. Right now we’re giving the richest tax-breaks and stripping things away from the poorest, it just seems like such a flawed system. For example, I’ve been getting letters from HMRC that I owe £20 for the last year and a half. I keep throwing them in the bin because if they canny go after corporations for tax then why should I pay 20 quid? HMRC can come after me all they want!
RS: Tax man’s gonae kick your door in man… I’d abolish the House of Peers as well, f**k them c****s! It’s too broad a question to pinpoint exactly what I’d do, but I think the whole political system needs a shake up. Army of reptiles man! You kill five of them and another 10 appear from the colleges of Eton and all that, so you canny get rid of them. There’s nae way to really win in the current state, it needs an insurrection or something.
Your latest EP was called ‘Self Proclaimed Council Punk’ – so what is ‘council punk’?
CM: I think it’s an attitude. The main thing for me is that we’re doing this all by ourselves without any real support. I mean when we first started we had next to no equipment and we didn’t really care because we wanted to just get out and do it. Overtime we’ve managed to assemble a full back-line now, we’ve all got decent instruments and we’ve paid a lot of money for recording. So, when people hear how much money we spend on the EP they might be like ‘well that’s not very working class’, but we saved that money, we made that money ourselves, we’ve been working part-time on top of this to pay for it all.
RS: Yeah, it’s not as if money just appeared from someone’s bank account into ours, it accumulative, we’ve worked for it. Blood, sweat and tears – literally. So, the council punk thing, it’s like that’s where we came from and that’s what drives us on to keep doing what we do and everything we achieve. That’s the gist of it.
As you continue to climb to the top of the music industry ladder how will you then keep that same ‘council punk’ mentality intact?
CM: It’s a tough one, because imagine we made like five albums and moved to LA we couldn’t be like ‘aw we’re council punk’ anymore. I think overtime things are going to evolve and we’re gonna stay true to ourselves. You’ve touched on a good subject because there will be a time when that changes.
RS: It does change over time and I think it’s all about just keeping it real and keeping true to yourself. So, I’m sure we as people will do that. Stay true to our roots. I’m sure the music will change and evolve – we’ll just keep it real personality-wise and with how we conduct ourselves. And I think that’s how the council thing will still come across, we’re still going to be the same down to earth people.
CM: Interaction with the fans and stuff as well, I think a lot of bands don’t spend as much time communicating with fans as we do. They don’t drink in the pubs that they play and it’s almost as if they don’t really care for their fans, they’re just taking them as a by-product of the music. Where-as we’ve always been honoured that anyone would come to our gigs, that anyone would like to our songs.
Kyle McGhee: I think it’s one of my favourite parts as well. It’s not just performing the music, it’s meeting the people that’s so special as well.
DM: It makes our day as well, me and Kyle were in Benicassim and somebody recognised him there and he wouldn’t shut up about it for like a week!
Finally then, what do you guys want to achieve by the end of this year?
RS: I’d like the first album to be written… ideally it would also be announced but, I think I would be happy if we got it written and recorded in its entirety. And a few more festivals would be good!
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