Last month, The Dunts were picked as one of our 25 bands to watch in 2019, and for a good reason. Fusing together the punk spirit of The Clash and The Sex Pistols with the feverous garage rock of The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, the Scottish quartet have quickly built a reputation for delivering explosive live shows and frantic urgency across two EP’s.
2019 has all the makings of being a breakout year for The Dunts. With a trip over to Austin, Texas for South By Southwest 2019 alongside appearances at Live at Leeds and Hit The North Festival lined up, you can expect to hear a lot from this Glaswegian four-piece over the coming months.
As their EP titles (‘Self Proclaimed Council Punk’ and ‘Not Working Is Class’) suggests, The Dunts‘ music has a politically inspired tone yet its combined with tongue-in-cheek sensibilities. From finding out about their backstory, it’s easy to see why they’ve taken such an approach. Rab Smith, David McFarlane, Colin McGachy and Kyle McGhee are four school friends who grew up on tough council estates, motivated by a headstrong determination to get out there and share a message that has clearly resonated amongst the city’s music scene. With several sold-out hometown shows under their belt, they’re part of a thriving punk scene in Glasgow.
As the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, it’s no surprise that Glasgow has a strong historical and cultural background. From its time being one of the leaders in shipbuilding to being home to several of Scotland’s national arts organisations along with numerous music venues (including King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, the Barrowland, The Garage, the O2 ABC, the O2 Academy and Broadcast). And then there’s its sporting history with the Old Firm rivalry between Rangers and Celtic being one of the most fierce derbies in football, highlighting the political, social, and religious division in the city.
To learn more about life in Glasgow, we spoke to The Dunts‘ Rab Smith.
We are from Glasgow, up here in Scotland. There’s a lot of things that make me proud about Glasgow, but I think the amount of complete patter that comes from the city is something to be proud of. Everyone’s always having a laugh in Glasgow and if you’re on Facebook/Twitter, you can find all sorts of funny shit in terms of Glasgow.
Its People and Culture:
I’m not really sure what the most distinguished thing the city is famous for is but certainly has a past. You’ve got things like shipbuilding on the Clyde, which meant Glasgow was one of the maritime hubs of the UK – there were a lot of industrial labour workers in the city at the time.
I guess that generation is our great-grandparents and grandparents, so a lot of the character traits that Glaswegians display today came directly from that industrial generation that lived here before us and their offspring. I’d say a lot of Glaswegians are hardy and robust with a no-nonsense kind of attitude, but very warm and friendly unless you’re being annoying as fuck. Like I said before, it feels like everyone in Glasgow is always up for a laugh so that’s one more character trait.
The Music it Inspires and Genres it’s Associated With:
It’s hard to comment really, we know what influence it has had on us and some other bands we’re friends with but there’s a lot of bands where we know their songs and we know them as people but we don’t really know much about what their upbringing was like or how it’s contributed or mattered, if at all, to their musical output.
With us, it’s very clear though, we all came from council schemes and we’ve experienced things like school and childhood from a very Glaswegian perspective – growing up is sometimes tough and especially in Glasgow, you have to fight through it, keep your head straight and focus on the greater goal. So that has hardened us, that kind of resilience we have developed shows in our tunes and a lot of the lyrics are first-hand accounts of situations we’ve been in.
I’m bias but I’d say punk is one of the main genres associated with the scene going on just now but there’s just so many different types of artists here it’s impossible to pin it to just one.
Its Most Famous Musical Sons and Daughters:
They’re from East Kilbride so not sure but because a lot of their gigs were in Glasgow, I’d say The Lapelles are the best band to have come from here. Not the most well-known, and I know a lot of people would probably say an older band but if I’m honest I’m more familiar with recent bands. I also prefer a lot of the more recent bands to the bands from back in the day. I remember before we even had thought about starting a band, I’d be fuckin buzzing about going to see The Lapelles, just out of this world talent. Baby Strange and The Lapelles at St Luke’s a few years back, [that was] some gig!
Its Unsung Heroes:
The Bands To Watch Out For:
Pretty much everyone in Glasgow. On rotation, at the moment I’ve got Heavy Rapids, Rascalton, Voodoos, Shredd, Pleasure Heads, Baby Strange, The Vanities, genuinely so many more that I’ll eventually pick up and start listening to again at some point in the very near future.
The Venues We Visited:
I was kind of late to the party I guess in terms of the local venue stuff. I just didn’t have any friends at school who were into it until I met the rest of the band when I was about 17/18. The venues that I ended up attending gigs at were the same ones that we would have been playing when we started the band. Venues like Priory, Broadcast, Tuts, ABC2 and then bigger venues like Barras etc. I think everyone knows the magic feeling you get when you’re at a good gig and as it happens I love it and I always wished I could do it. Watching all these different gigs of different scales and moods kept it in my head that I wanted to do to play music and so, because of that, I started properly learning to play guitar about 4 years ago when I bought a Telecaster on a whim with my student loan money, ha! I’m sure students know exactly the kind of buy I’m talking about…
The Venues We’ve Played:
I’d say Broadcast is probably our most frequented venue. It’s shaped our band because we’ve played gigs with and watched gigs with a lot of our pals and I think the scene has always done a good job of being in a constant progression – the standards are continually improving and tunes are getting better and better from all angles. So like I said, we’ve played gigs at these venues and watched other gigs of our friends at these venues and witnessed moments where the bar gets raised and it never stops getting raised. Broadcast is probably our #1 most played venue but other venues like Priory, King Tuts, Sleazys aren’t far behind and are equally as important to the scene.
The Influence Home Has on Our Songs
See sometimes when I’m in Glasgow, I see something happen or someone in the street and I wonder what the story is or what their story is, so I’d probably write a tune based loosely on one of these characters. The message would just be to show what a day in the life of your average intriguing Glaswegian looks like! That’s how I’d do it. I think it’s too big of a city to decide on one topic for one song about the whole entire place… songs name-dropping an entire city are usually beige shite about fuck-all meaningful. I’d rather write a tune that meant something but was a bit more specific than just ‘Glasgow’. It’s like ‘Right cool you’ve written a song that uses the name of the city in it but it means fuck all haha’.
‘Hampden Cabs’ is written specifically about something that happened in Glasgow, for example… A taxi driver in Glasgow talking utter shite. Weirdly specific, not too serious of a topic but at least it’s not beige.
You can The Dunts playing on the following dates:
28th The Shacklewell Arms, London
11th – 17th SXSW, Austin Texas
4th Live At Leeds Festival, Leeds
5th Hit The North Festival, Newcastle
‘Self Proclaimed Council Punk’ EP by The Dunts is out now.