Last Dinosaurs Interview

Last year was a decent one for Brisbane band Last Dinosaurs. They recorded their debut album, played with some huge international bands, watched their songs accrue over a million views on Youtube, and toured a little bit as well. With the aforementioned debut album, ‘In A Million Years’, due for release within a month and a UK tour ahead, 2012 is poised pretty damn nicely for them as well. I had a chat with lead singer Sean Caskey ahead of the album launch tour, but mostly we just ended up talking about the past and the future.

Hey Sean, how’s it going?

Hey I’m good, how are you going?

Yeah pretty good, are you in Brisbane at the moment?

Yeah man I’m just chilling at Dew Process.

How have the interviews been going?

Pretty chilled. This is my fourth for the day so it hasn’t been a very long day yet, it’s been good.

Right then. So your debut album is out pretty soon, any nerves?

I’m not nervous, it’s just excitement really. We’ve been sitting on that bad boy for ages. We recorded it six months ago, we’re just very excited to finally be releasing something that we’ve been working on for so long.

Was there ever a temptation to get it out last year?

Yes, there was actually. We came to a point where we realised we could record now, and I remember at that point thinking that we didn’t even have enough songs yet. We just didn’t have enough songs to begin with. So we decided to hold off and wait another six to twelve months and record when we did. That was the best decision that we’ve ever made because most of the album was written in the six months before recording. So had we not waited and been patient we would have written a completely different album.

There are also a few of your older tracks, have these been re-recorded or changed around at all for the album?

Time And Place wasn’t because that was the exact same arrangement produced by Jean-Paul and mixed by Eliot James, who did Two Door and stuff like that. The sound we had for Time And Place with the piano and everything is kind of the theme for the album anyway, so we kept that one. Honolulu got re-recorded just for continuity in the sound. But yeah there are definitely a couple of old tracks because we’re releasing the album internationally and no-one anywhere else knows the songs, so it made sense to get them out there.

How much attention are you going to pay to reviews when they start coming out?

Ahhh, that’s a good question. Man I have no idea. I generally don’t like to read reviews because I just get really down most of the time with just stupid shit. Especially live reviews, they have some ridiculous stuff that isn’t even about the music. Yeah man I don’t know. I’m open to whatever. I just hope that they judge more on the melodic side of things because I see myself as more a melodic musician than a lyrical musician. It will be interesting. Hopefully people like it.

The concept of ‘time’ seems to be a constant in a lot of the stuff you do, from the album title to your band name to Time And Place, is that something you’re deliberately focused on?

Well not deliberately, I just can’t help it. I’m always thinking of the future, I just really really want to know what’s going to go down. I always love to think of the future. I sometimes wish I was born in the year 3000 or the year 4000, just imagine how stuff would be. But then again it’s pretty cool to be alive now because we have iPhones. I’m always thinking about… not death, but immortality. My idea of immortality is basically to be remembered. I feel that if someone is still thinking of you then technically you’re still there. The song Zoom definitely sums up the whole album lyrically, because it’s about making an impression on someone’s world and on the world in general and not being someone that’s forgotten. It’s about making a mark.

I’ve listened to the album and really like it. The track that really stood out to me was Used To Be Mine because it seems to be a bit of a departure from your typical style, would you say that you branch out a bit on this record?

Haha really? I wrote that song so quickly, that was one of the fastest songs I’ve ever written actually. Lyrically as well it was like one shot on the same day. I’m always fascinated with the idea of melancholy and with the whole bittersweet thing, so the song to me is happy but sad in a weird sort of way. Lyrically it’s just about a sad reality but it’s kind of happy as well. And that song towards the end gets all epic and everything. We haven’t played it live yet, it will be interesting when we do. It’s pretty big and fun to play.

There seems to be a lot of really nice indie pop music coming out of Brisbane lately, is that a coincidence or is there something about the culture up there?

Well I wouldn’t say it’s a coincidence, because all those boys like Dune Rats, Gung Ho, Cairos, Millions, we’ve been friends for years. We’d hang out and smoke weed together every day. We’ve been just dudes who like the same music hanging out together all the time. It’s awesome because they’ve finally figured out the right configuration of bands and all released songs that are doing well and they’re all really good songs. Millions will write a song and everyone else will be like man that’s awesome, I want to beat that. And then Gung Ho have written a new song, and it’s good because everyone is always trying to write a better song. In a friendly sort of way. We’ve got this good tight group of musician friends who are all at varying levels of progress in their musical careers.

Do you see your own music as a bit of a counter to the lofi movement at the moment?

Yeah. Definitely. I mean I actually love lofi music and I listen to it a lot, but the thing is that if we were to do lofi shit, it would just be so deliberate and people would pay us out. It would expire in about a year I reckon. And- it sort of relates to the whole timeless thing- I didn’t want to make this album sound like it was from this decade or whenever, I wanted it to sound like it came from the indeterminable future with the general sound and the Zoom melody, which doesn’t sound like anything I’ve listened to before. Also all the other dudes are really good musicians and come from a jazz background, except for me. And we love challenging each other musically, so sometimes even though the songs may not sound too complicated they’re actually quite intricate. We’ve always tried to play up the whole musicality thing. It’s not really against the whole lofi thing, it’s more just that we’re not really following that wave.

When I first heard you guys I thought you sounded a bit like Phoenix, is that a fair comparison?

I think so. I mean when you start up a band you’re always going to sound like bands that you’re inspired by, and Phoenix were a massive inspiration for us. They’re just so fucking cool. They are just the coolest dudes. Think about it, just rich bastards in Paris writing cool songs. Just everything about them is sick. Musically they have a really cool sound. I think a combination of Phoenix and The Strokes is a very core influence.We’re not going to hide that fact, we’re sort of proud of it.

I remember seeing you live back in 2009 opening for Cloud Control in front of about twenty people, does it seem strange to look back on those smaller shows now?

It’s strange, it doesn’t even feel that long ago. Far out. That was a pretty fun tour, with a bunch of really fun people. I like those days, because they were the first tours we ever did. It was just awesome, we were ecstatic that we were going to different cities to play music to twenty people. It’s funny looking back, it’s not like it’s massively different now, I’m sure we’ll be playing to not that many more people, but I hope that within two years I’ll be looking at now and thinking wow that’s strange. If that does happen then that would be pretty cool.

Since then you’ve played some pretty massive support slots, for the likes of Matt And Kim and Foster The People, are there any moments that stand out?

Foals. They’re probably the biggest single influence on us, because they’ve got the whole musicianship thing down. Man, you should see them live, they’re just so good. Their drummer is the most insane drummer. But anyway that was a massive inspiration, touring with them and just watching them play, just like holy crap you guys are real musicians. And they were so humble as well. Foster The People were sick as well, but they’re so famous that they just exist in their own universe of fame. I imagine that they’re just so busy they don’t have time for us, and I can understand that. Not that I have any disrespect for them, they probably do interviews every two seconds. But Foals had the time of day for us, we’d have a chat and I spoke to Yannis about songwriting and live performance and it helped a lot.

I also saw you at Splendour In The Grass where it seems like you won over a lot of new fans, just how important was that set?

Fucking hell. It’s so funny actually, because that day was Sam’s 21st and everyone was really pumped. The night before we kind of had a big one, and on the day it was Boy And Bear then Cloud Control, and they had huge crowds of course, so we were like holy shit this is going to be insane. We were all super pumped, and then just before we walked on I looked through the curtains and there was no joke probably like fifty people there. And that was such a massive blow to the ego. And then we went on thinking just oh well, fuck. I didn’t even realise, but by halfway through the set the tent was completely full, it was insane. I couldn’t believe it, there was probably upwards of 2,000 people. It was literally the best and the worst moments of my life in the same half hour. That was the best though, it was such fun.

I still remember the stage invasion at the Yves Klein Blue gig at the Corner Hotel that you guys started- was that planned or a spur of the moment thing?

I don’t even know. I remember sort of vaguely- I must have been sort of drunk- all of a sudden everyone was on the stage and shit was everywhere and I lost my hat, it was so much fun. That Corner show was the best. I love that venue.

Haha yeah I’m friends with the guy that stole your pirate hat, he wanted me to tell you thanks and that he still has it.

That’s funny because I bought that hat on that street from a shitty two dollar shop and I was just there a couple of weeks ago and I bought another one, because I thought it was mad. Do you remember on that day we walked out onto stage with moustaches? It was because we were copping a bit of heat because we were all kids and they were all twenty-something. So we decided to walk out with moustaches and act like we were really mature. It was just so stupid. But yeah he should wear the pirate hat out sometime I think.

Yves Klein Blue were label mates with you at the time, were you as surprised as everyone else when they broke up?

I was just sad, I just thought why don’t you keep trying? I don’t understand why they broke up. I mean I can imagine how people start to grow sick of each other. I don’t even really know what the reason was. It’s just sad, because they were a really cool band, they were an inspiration for us. I still talk to a couple of them. I hope that they do other stuff. I know that Charles has Babaganoüj, it’s kind of cool. Kind of like Yuck; 90s grungy rock.

And finally, what does the rest of the year hold in store for you after the album release?

Well we’ll do the launch shows, release the album, and then hopefully we’ll tour the rest of Australia. Then we’re going to the UK in May for like three months, and that’s going to be fucking crazy. I’ve never been there before, and it will be really cool because Millions may be going there as well, and maybe Cairos. I have a bunch of friends there as well so it’s going to be insane. We recently got a booking agent called Natasha Bent and she’s the booking agent for Foster The People, Foals, Darwin Deez, and Passion Pit. Just the thought that we’re on that roster blows our mind in the first place, but she’s also going to be able to pull some crazy shows so we’re extremely excited for that. On the way back from the UK the biggest dream would be to do Fuji Rock. If we did that then it would seriously make my life.

Sounds like it’s going to be amazing, thanks a lot for your time.

Yeah no problems Lachy. Cya later.

‘In A Million Years’ is out March 2nd on Dew Process, you can preorder it from iTunes, JB Hifi, or Dew Process itself. The band are about to embark on a series of album launch shows including a gig in Melbourne, all the details are available here.

One Response to “Last Dinosaurs Interview”

  1. Great read as always. Looking forward to their debut.

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