Music / Features
One Of Our Best Punts -
A chat with Dumb Punts
Words by James Lynch
Interview by Conor Lochrie
Friday 9th October, 2020
To celebrate the release of their long-awaited sophomore album, out today through Pissfart Records, we caught up with local garage-punks Dumb Punts to dig into The Big One Two.
Although Dumb Punts’ music has always felt manic and reckless, The Big One Two instantly feels all the more urgent. Perhaps that’s just due to the context of its release; the full nine-track album barrelling into us seemingly from nowhere, amidst the band’s longest stretch of silence in years. It’s quick to pick up the pace, and after some bright guitar chimes that introduce the opening track ‘Breaking My Brain’, we’re back in the thick of it with all three members spitting razor sharp hooks at us over a heaving rhythm section.

From beginning to end, The Big One Two refuses to let up. Early highlight ‘Indents’ is frantic and propulsive, an atmosphere that crops up again moments later on ‘54 and 9’ with its driving pace and all-in vocals, or with the nervy stomp of ‘Didn’t Say Anything to Anyone’. There’s still plenty of classic Dumb Punts to sink your teeth into though - whether that’s the jangling guitar and sunny hooks of ‘Up All Night’, or the pub-rock swagger of closing track ‘I Gotta Fix’, with its rich garage-rock chords, sturdy backbeat and shout-along melodies.

Playing a little like the sonic equivalent to your first pint back at your favourite pub or a long-overdue hug from a best bud, it’s a real treat to have some more Dumb Punts back in our lives, especially when the world is as uncertain as this. To celebrate the release, we caught up with guitarist/drummer/vocalist Jimmy Gallagher to get the low-down on the new album and how Dumb Punts have been holding up at the moment.
TJ: Hey Dumb Punts, wanna introduce yourselves?

DP: We are Dumb Punts, there is three of us, Brent and Seattle have been best friends forever, Jimmy and Seattle met when their mutual mother introduced them at the hospital and Brent and Jimmy have the same birthday which isn't how they know each other.

It’s been two years since your last release - how has the band changed since The Big One?

Well, we haven’t aged a day which is rare, but being the smart punts we are, we took a bit of a 12-month hiatus before the 2020 global hiatus which was, of course, one of our best punts.

But apart from going away for the weekend to record these songs we’ve just been working on the rest of the bits we missed and the mixing and shit as well as just life stuff. Short answer is probably fuck-all like everyone else, trying to not lose our minds in this shit-show of a year.

The new album seems to share similarities with some of the nervy punk coming out of Melbourne than your earlier music did - is there anything in that?

I’m not too sure there’s anything in it, I feel like some of our other songs could be described as nervy punk as well? I dunno, we’ve always had a few different sounding songs but yeah we didn’t make any conscious effort to make it sound like that. It’s probably more just a reflection of the world we’re in at the moment, it’s enough to make anyone a little anxious. If this is sounding nervy and we recorded it out in a farmers' shed the next record that we're writing for now is gonna sound like a fucking nightmare haha.

How much has Melbourne and its music scene influenced you?

Heaps I reckon, all of our friends play in bands and once upon a time we use to go and see them at pubs - it was so much fun.

This pandemic sure has shone a light, if not politically, certainly personally, on the importance of live music scenes to our communities. I mean right now Melbourne sucks arse, why would anyone live here when you can't go to a pub and watch a gig or go watch the footy? Everyone is just jerking off and whinging on their socials, the world needs us dickheads, even if it's only to give 'em an excuse to spend ten hours in the one pub without feeling guilty. That's essential right?

Do you think you would have formed Dumb Punts if you had all remained in Bonny Hills?

Nuh Brent was working at the top shop and putting in some solid hours, there would’ve been no time. But we probably weren’t sticking round there forever - it makes sense we ended up here. But that’s the case for most of the Melbourne population down here - I swear there’s like five fucking people actually born here.

Any other key influences that informed the writing and recording of the new album?

Trying to remember some of the records I was listening to when we recorded is hard but listening to a lot of Steely Dan’s first record I think, probably Betty Wright but you can’t really hear that in the album, that and probably anything from the Geelong crew … and according to my Shazbotify app around that time some of the stuff I was listening to was:

‘Mas Que Nada’ - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, ‘Rise’ - Public Image, ‘When My Baby’s Beside Me’ - Big Star, ‘Freebird II’ - Parquet Courts, ‘Amen’ - Spaceman 3, ‘Together Again’ - Janet Jackson, ‘2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ - 2Pac, ‘Soul Time’ - Shirley Ellis s/o ya boi Vince Peach, ‘Whips And Furs’ - The Vibrators, ‘Brothers On The Slide’ - Cymande, ‘Dance Hall Days’ - Wang Chung, ‘Bert’s Apple Crumble’ - The Quik.

Your songs discuss the everyday - do you feel that this is a strong suit as songwriters?

Yes. Fuck these questions are hard, um I think if you write what you know I guess it’s at least honest and you can hear that, or at least I can cause my ears are really smart. The only good pretenders are the band - and they’ve already taken that name so don’t do it kids, stay in pools. But to answer the actual question its way easier to like a song when it is somewhat relatable I guess… pretty sure there ain’t no punks screaming about having too much money or how risky it is to buy a second investment property in the current market.

With all three of you writing for the band, is it easier or harder making themes feel cohesive?

Well for this one it was kind’ve rushed in that we just went away and tried to record what we came up with, or had at the time, we probably should’ve spent a bit more time in pre-production or whatever they call it. It took a long time to sort the tracklisting and that after but I think the last record was a bit all over the place theme-wise and just in general so we did want to create something a bit more cohesive this time round.

Pub rock has been rising in the last decade but some people have called it a cultural regression - do you counter this?

Well at least we can’t regress any further. I don’t know, maybe it is but who cares? What even is pub rock? Is it just bands in pubs cause that’s a good thing. If the option is having something regressive over just shit music I’m going with the former, it goes back to the whole honesty thing though. You’d like to think most people are smart enough to understand or know if people are just ripping shit off cause its cool or the hot thing at the time. Again, the other two probably have a better idea, if I want to listen to something that sounds like Ramones, I’m just gonna listen to Ramones.

For a band known for their raucous gigs, does any particular one stick in the mind?

No, way too many to even think of, that’s half the bummer about this pandemic, we don’t have anywhere to go but then there’s no-one coming to visit either. You definitely don’t realise until it’s taken away how much fun going to shows and watching gigs is, I mean the drinking helps but it’s not for nothing, good things happen at rock ’n’ roll shows.

Being such prolific giggers must be difficult in the age of COVID-19 - how have the past few months been for the band?

Shithouse really, now there’s no gigs all of a sudden there’s nothing to do - anywhere. It was good to have a break cause we were torching it pretty hard but now it’s just like forever until we can go back out on the road and it's a bummer but whatever, shit happens, we'll be touring as soon as we can for sure, no doubt.

And what’s keeping you all excited heading forwards?

Well Brent’s been working on his other new project Glue Eater and Seattle has got Smooch that she’s been working on so apart from that not much, we've all moved this year and just been stuck in pergotory so when we can all be in the same room together we're just gonna throw our fuckin instruments at each other we'll be so excited/confused.

The Big One Two is out today through Pissfart Records - head to Bandcamp to nab the album on limited vinyl.