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Dinosaur Sanctuary

Dinosaur Sanctuary

Interviewed by
Greg Pearce
Thursday 29th August, 2013 9:06AM

Dinosaur Sanctuary is a collective of vibrant Dunedin musicians who release their debut album A Public Toilet Told Me Nothing Gets Better next week via The Attic.   We caught up with guitarist/vocalist Kane Strang, who you may know for his solo work,  about the band's beginnings and he talks us through a couple of tracks from the album including latest single 'Mother Manuka and the Watercolor Wind Farm' and unreleased 'Tim Strucks'....

How did you form and how long have you been together?

Isaac, Rass, Josh and I slowly began to meet each other by playing in various bands at different places around Dunedin. I went through school with Josh (guitar) but somehow we didn't really become friends until after we'd left, not long after that deciding we wanted to start a new thing together. He organised our first gig with an amazing noise rock band called TFF before we even had any songs so the first few were written really, really quickly. I think it's been almost a year now.

What inspired each of you to make music?

It's just fun and the best way to meet interesting and creative people.

What were some of your influences on this record?

We all like bands like Of Montreal, The Strokes and Snoop Dogg. We used to do a cover of The Next Episode sometimes. Oh and Breaking Bad.

What is the significance of the album art?

The gimp on the single cover was something funky Josh was working on at art school. We knew people would either love it or hate it but either way it would catch your eye I guess. We probably could've used it for the full record too but decided to go with a photo that made a little more sense.

Tell me about the recording process at The Attic...

The whole album was recorded a few months ago in one day by Lee Nicholson who is a total wizard. It was a pretty hectic morning of begging for gear but everything sorted itself out. I don't think many of us left the building the whole day. It's such a nice space up there to make any kind of music. A little hide away in the middle of town.

Can we expect a tour?

Rassani and I are in Europe until the end of this year but it's something we've always talked about and will do as soon as we can. I came here before I'd even really seen the north island at all so it'd be nice to head up there as soon as possible. There are lots of amazing bands around the country at the moment that we'd love to try and play with and lots of bands from Dunedin that'd be sweet to tour with too.

Tell me about the albums name and how does it relate to the album content?

It's called A Public Toilet Told Me Nothing Gets Better. We saw "nothing gets better" spray painted on a public toilet by the wharf, thinking at the time that it would be an OK album name and it just kind of stuck. I'm not too sure how it relates to the songs. I guess a lot of them are a little pessimistic so it fits in that sense.

Let's talk about a few tracks....

'She Goes for Egos'

This was one from the very early days of the Dinosaurs so it's strange for me to talk about it now. We never really 'jammed' so much but if i remember correctly sometime in winter last year we set up in Josh's lounge to do so and ended up with this moody number.

'Mother Manuka and the Watercolor Wind Farm'

For some reason this title entered my head while passing a wind farm on a drive to central Otago earlier this year, months and months before the song existed. Lyrically it all sounds a bit schizophrenic to me now. I was clearly a little confused at the time.. like I still don't know if it's a sad song or a happy song. It was the last one we wrote before our little hiatus and will be the first song on A Public Toilet Told Me Nothing Gets Better.

'Tim Strucks'

Most of us in the band know a certain German social butterfly very well and his name is Tim Strucks. It was at house parties of his that our old bands would play and the idea of dinosaur sanctuary was first mentioned at one of these. Now he's the reason that Rass and I are visiting Germany. So he brought us together only to steal us away really. When we wrote it we were completely taking the piss, like 'ok now lets write the most obnoxious song we can think of'.

What are Dinosaur Sanctuary's plans for the rest of the year?

We are away for the rest of this year so, aside from doing what we can to get the album out there, sadly not much together at all really. The first single 'She Goes for Egos' has a music video of sorts in the works and I know Josh and Isaac are working on a new project together. Hopefully we all just build up a little collection of ideas to start working on as soon as we're back in the country. It'd be super nice to record at the Attic again without the pressure of us having to fly away in a few days.

Dinosaur Sanctuary:

Isaac Hickey - Drums
Josh Hunter - Guitar/Organ
Rassani Tolovaa - Bass/Rapper
Kane Strang - Guitar/Vocals


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