To celebrate dust's debut EP, we caught up with the band to learn all about the making behind et cetera, etc.
(Pic by Charlie Hardy)
Newcastle rockers dust are chameleons. They channel the idiosyncratic rhythms of post-punk bands Shame or The Fall, make free-flowing tunes as engaging as Burial, and punk rock bangers as thrilling as The Chats.
Today, they release their ambitious debut EP, et cetera, etc. Formed in 2020 in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dust’s creativity is unwavering. Born as the project of dual guitarist-vocalists Gabriel Stove and Justin Teale, bassist Liam Smith, guitarist and saxophonist Adam Ridgway, and drummer Kye Cherry, the EP showcases that Australian post-punk is shining alongside the blooming international scenes.
et cetera, etc. includes the previous releases Ward 52, a confrontation of one's mortality and The Gutter, a direct observation of class and the myriad of power imbalances that ravage society today; new single Joy (Guilt) rounds out et cetera, etc’s themes of mortality, family and social commentary with a hypnotic look inward that reflects the catharsis of aimless driving.
To celebrate the release, we caught up with Dust to learn all about the making behind the new EP.
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A slow crescendo of abstract and ambiguous messages on top of a building wave of synth swells and arpeggiations. Intro introduces the theme of the voices and the soundscape of birds welcomes the listener to the farm imagery.
The Gutter is a door kicked in, an intense start depicting dark and gritty skylines and cityscapes in which we reside in. Gabe articulates social commentaries and observations and expresses his frustrations with societal constraints and constructs, and unjust social structures.
It is easy to feel but hard to keep up with.
Driving drums, electric riffs and a soaring bass line lay a foundation for the track's main lyrical content while leaving room for a gritty ambience and engaging thematic development.
The abrupt ending leaves the listener surprised but the next track begins before any time to process what you heard.
Gabe’s The Gutter notes: “The Gutter is a social commentary on classism and injustice that humans inherently face as a result of the social set-up. The hook was designed to come across as a repetitive slogan, highlighting what has been said many times before. Although it’s not a new opinion, it’s a necessary one that often gets overlooked and stigmatised as left-wing or unproductive. The song is structured quite chaotically and further represents the same message.”
The bouncing riff picks the listener up from where The Gutter left off and propels them straight back into a chaotic syncopated groove. The wailing saxophone gives an eerie and unexpected edge.
Justin's vocals are introduced, offering a contrast to the vocal tone of The Gutter.
Growing and wailing vocals detail a story of a broken down car the morning after a show a 10-hour drive away from home. The tense and frustrated instrumentation reflects how the situation felt.
The breakdown halfway through releases the built-up tension and eases into the soothing resolution, and fades into the Interlude.
Justin’s Alternator notes: “I wrote the lyrics to Alternator right after we had an incident with a car. We were in Brisbane playing shows and had to travel to Maitland for a hometown show and the alternator in the car broke and caused this massive drama.
"We had the song already and were playing it at shows, but I used to mumble lyrics. Then, that situation happened and I thought, why not sing about that? It’s nice being able to break up being expressive and intricate to having a randomness, silliness in lyrics.”
The Interlude track shows a softer and more calming contrast to the songs before It. The improvised saxophone solo, the lone melodic feature, illustrates a beautiful morning and luscious scenery.
Displaying tasteful and experimental musicianship.
The Interlude gives the listeners time to catch their breath and cleanse their palette while subtly ushering in and setting up the next track.
Justin Interlude Notes: “I think as a band, we all see the Interlude as a part of Ward 52. When we are playing that song live, we start with Adam playing the sax over the loop and bass line. Recording this, we really wanted to make that a significant section of the EP. Listening to Adam from the control room was a pretty special moment for us.”
Building seamlessly out of the Interlude, Ward 52 falls into a steady rhythmic groove.
Ward 52 lyrically details Justin's experience in the hospital getting treatment for an autoimmune condition. Overlapping with bandmate Kyle’s second regime of chemotherapy results in thoughts and feelings of mortality and fate and acceptance.
Ward 52 ends in a euphoric outburst and its consistent driving rhythm will keep the listener engaged and moving.
The beginning, marked with another voice recording, ties the link between the beginning of the EP as it draws to a close. False Narrative’s jagged and pumping rhythm under delayed and drawn-out vocals adds an eerie sound to the track.
Constantly developing and changing while still maintaining a familiar and comfortable structure.
Consistent driving kick and pulse push the song along.
Beginning with a drum machine and soaring euphoric guitar riff setting the tone for introspective lyrics and slowly developing musical ideas.
Space deliberately left shines a stark contrast to the busy earlier songs on the EP.
This final song is a reflection of the EP as a whole and of our lives until now.
Gabe's vocals have been absent since The Gutter, and by utilising vulnerable lyrics, personal and raw delivery are striking and interesting on the ears.
Triumphant euphoric ending.
Abstract and saturated, the Outro briefly tails the ending of Joy (Guilt), letting it fade and settle. Ending with a final voice recording of reassurance from Margo, and the roll end, signifying the end of the EP.
Justin’s Notes on Intro/Outro: “I have always loved when artists have small sections of transitions or interludes on albums; even though this is an EP, we still wanted to make it a journey more so than a collection of songs/singles.
"I had been using synths/samplers and wanted to incorporate that into the EP, Wade was able to expand that idea with everything he would bring to the table. The voice recordings have a sentimental connection as they were found on a tape recorder at the Edwardsville; all the voice recordings were messages left from Adam's family over the years, with one recording saying 'et cetera etc,' which happened to already be a possible name for the EP”.
The et cetera, etc. EP is out now. Listen to it here.