L.S. Dunes Embrace Artistic Freedom

Supergroup L.S. Dunes Embrace Artistic Freedom: Read Robert Duguay's in depth interview with member Tucker Rule
L.S Dunes photo by Mark Beemer

Back during the crazy & uncertain times of 2020, the isolation and social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door for new avenues for the music industry. Drive-in theaters became the prime way for people to see live music while being in their cars and in designated spaces. Records were being made remotely with emails and Zoom chats being primary vehicles for communication and collaboration. From this new way of creating.

L.S. Dunes was formed consisting of Thursday drummer & bassist Tucker Rule and Tim Payne, My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero, Coheed and Cambria guitarist Travis Stever and vocalist Anthony Green from Circa Survive, Saosin & The Sound Of Animals Fighting. Their debut album “Past Lives”, which came out via Fantasy Records on November 11, is one of the most refreshing releases of the year while being highlighted by tracks such as “2022”, “Grey Veins”, “Bombsquad” and “Permanent Rebellion”.

Rule and I had a talk about the making of the album, coming up with substantial drum parts on the fly, what he hopes people take from “Past Lives” and hoping to keep the band as much of a presence as the other bands that everyone else are involved in.

Northern Transmissions: L.S. Dunes was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020 with each member individually recording their parts for “Past Lives” before Anthony Green even knew what the entire lineup of the band was. How did the other members go about revealing themselves and what was it like collaborating remotely when L.S. Dunes was first starting to become a legit band?

Tucker Rule: Basically, I had a conversation with my manager about people I wanted to play with and definitely Frank [Iero], definitely Tim [Payne] who plays bass in Thursday. I’ve known him forever and we get along really well, I’ve also known Travis [Stever] since Coheed [and Cambria] and Thursday did our first tours together back in the day. I’ve always wanted to make music with Travis, I love the way he plays and in the back of our minds when we started writing songs we had Anthony [Green] on mind. Anthony is a really busy guy, he’s the hardest working dude in showbiz so we wanted to present the band to him without any pressure so that’s why I was like “Hey, man. A few friends and I wrote these songs together, would you mind singing on them?”. Coincidentally, the first song that the band wrote, which is now called “Antibodies” and also off of “Past Lives”, was the one he first sang on so we knew we were on the write track because he chose the song that we wrote first.

As soon as he sent it back I was like “Dude, I love it. This sounds so great, I’m super stoked and by the way, your buddies are in the band.” I told him it was Frank, Tim and Travis and he was like “Oh dude, I can’t believe it. This is amazing, I love this so much”, so it came together really organically and there was definitely a plan behind it to trick Anthony into being in the band.

NT: How would you describe the making of ‘Past Lives” at Studio 4 in Philadelphia with Will Yip (Nothing, La Dispute, Bartees Strange) during the end of 2021? Is there anything about the songwriting and recording process that stands out to you compared to other records you’ve been a part of?

TR: Absolutely, man. I think you nailed it before in the first question, this was completely done remote and all of the writing was done remote. We got together once at Frank’s house to do a little bit of pre-production and fix up any loose ends that we had. Then we did another pre-production day at a studio called SST in New Jersey where we wrote a couple more songs. What’s unique about it is that it’s not only the fact we wrote and recorded separately, but when we went in with Will I just did the drums myself and Frank came with me to be the angel & devil on my shoulder.

Will is a great musician and obviously a great producer so I had two people with very good drum minds helping me out with the recording process. Frank also recorded with Will but the thing that’s the most unique is that Travis and Tim both recorded at home. They both sent their tracks to Will and Will re-amped them, which means that he took what they did, played them through cabinets at his studio and re-miced them. It was a very interesting process because not a whole lot of it was done together.

NT: When it comes to making music with L.S. Dunes and making music as part of Thursday, what would you say are the biggest differences and similarities between both bands for you as a drummer?

TR: Obviously Thursday is my first baby and I love playing in Thursday so much. I feel like Thursday is a heavier band and I think the difference is when writing remotely you kind of have to capture this energy in a bottle. Instead of being in a room together and feeding off of each other you have to really go with your gut so when I got sent a guitar track I’d try to put drums to it as fast as possible. The most simple, the most cohesive and intelligent drum track I could come up with just so I could get it to the next person in line to write over, so I feel like we captured some of that youthful energy in the speed in which we kind of got the files to one
another. We wanted to keep everybody in the band interested and we wanted to make parts that made people want to write so when I got a guitar track, I would put down a drum track as fast as possible.

Then I would send it to Tim to play bass and then he would send it to Frank for his guitar part and so on. Whoever wrote what part, we tried to do it with some speed while going with our gut & instincts rather than scrutinizing over notes and what sounds perfect, some things would be a little sloppy but they’re workable. A lot of it was trying to capture that lightning in a bottle.

NT: “Past Lives” has been out for over a month now, so what do you hope people take from it after plugging in and pressing play? Is there any sort of messaging within the album that you guys are aiming to get across to the listener?

TR: I want people to know that you can be inspired by your friends. You can be inspired by these creative minds that you’re with every day. Every person that’s in this band I’ve been inspired by in my life, whether it’s because I love their guitar playing or bass playing or I love their band. All these people have been in my life for a reason and I want people to know that this band has no ego, we’ve put our egos aside to write this music because there was nobody really helping us at the start. We were alone in our own studios, so we each kind of had to put the ego aside and write the best & most easily digestible parts for each other to put our own tracks on.

We love one another, we love to play music together, we’re very hard-working and we just want this to be a full-time thing. We want people to connect with it, I think so far people have and it’s really incredible because we didn’t expect to make a record and we have no expectations with this band. We just wanted to have fun and dust the cobwebs off after the pandemic because we thought our industry wasn’t coming back.

NT: It’s cool that you were able to put your egos aside and I think it reflects in the music as well, there’s definitely a genuine & pure vibe within the songs that you don’t get with a lot of records.

TR: Thanks, man.

NT: No problem. What are L.S. Dunes’ plans going forward into next year? I know you guys have a run of shows in Europe happening in January and February but are there any other plans to intertwine it with each of your primary bands in the future?

TR: Our strongest part in this band is our writing while our achilles heel is everyone being busy with their own projects and their own bands. We are very much looking to make L.S. Dunes a priority just as much as our other bands so we’re going to take advantage of any time off to go on tour and bring this record to wherever people want to hear it. Also, we are writing and we do have a ton of songs so even as we speak there’s stuff being passed around and we are in the writing process yet again. We’re definitely looking to be full-time while playing as much as we can and I really feel with all my heart that this record will take us where we need to go, where we need to be and when we need to be there. There’s no ceiling for this band, we don’t want to have a cap to anything, we just want to play and do things just the way we want them.

That’s how “Past Lives” came about. Everything that we did was through us and it was our choice, we had our hands in every single part of making this record. From the rollout to the album artwork to the social media, everything was done by us.

order Past Lives by L.S. Dunnes HERE


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