Last Dinosaurs Interview - I Live For Punk Juice

Meet Sean Caskey from Brissy's Last Dinosaurs. The pop-punk band have created serious waves over the years, and now they're back with an outstanding single, 'Eleven' off their forthcoming album Yumeno Garden. We had a chat to Sean about 'Eleven', the accompanying music video, and Last Dinosaur's third album.

Futuremag Music: Hey Sean! What's happening in your end of the woods?

Sean Caskey: Hey! We have been pretty busy these days. We’ve spent the last few months piecing together and polishing this new album that we just produced. In my own life though I’ve been making some more guitar pedals, mainly focusing on making some super special limited edition extremity painted pedals for giveaways to our fans. I call it operation S-S-L-E-E-P-P and I can confirm that the ‘extremity’ portion of the project will be my hand. Hand painted.

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Futuremag Music: Jumping straight into it, rumour has it you have a new music video out for your hit single 'Eleven'! Can you talk us through the creative process of writing the track and how you translated the vibe into a music video? What's your favourite part of the music video?

Sean Caskey: The track Eleven was written some time ago, one of the first songs to get written that actually made the cut. It came from a sudden burst of inspiration I felt after watching Stranger Things twice in a row. The depression I felt from having no more Stranger Things in my life was too strong, so I just watched it all over again within a couple of days ha-ha. After watching it the second time I just hit my studio and got all that emotion out with my axe, plugged straight in, no effects. Just banged it out. Normally songs don’t come to me so quickly to be honest.

To me 'Eleven' was just another song, but I kept getting random compliments from the dudes chilling outside my studio, so I thought alright mustn’t be bad then. They are like my barometer because mine is totally worn out, all the numbers have rubbed off it and I don’t know what’s what anymore. I should’ve trusted them a little more though because the song started and ended almost the exact same. The journey in between was very lengthy. I re-recorded that song maybe thousands of times, lots of different versions but funnily ended up right back at the start, in the final moments before mixing. It felt like I had created a nice wooden sculpture and then spent two years painstakingly painting intricate patterns and features all over it, to finally end up grabbing the gerni (pressure hose) and blasting all that BS clean off it. 

Eleven was recorded like just a demo, so all programmed drums, bass, no guitar amps just plugged straight in. I did have a whole bunch of synth tracks, and a real bass track that I recorded but ended up realising I wanted it extra raw. So, all of that got sent to the bin which I reckon was the best call. Having no synth is kinda satisfying when you forget about the fact that there is no synth. 

Our bass player Sloane has directed all of our videos which always works well and when it came to 'Eleven' he suggested ditching the whole crew and production and just going out ourselves and taking turns holding the camera. Lach and I were very much on board since we were heavily inspired at the time by an American band (The Garden) who have a very DIY approach to their music and videos. So, the thinking was; we recorded the music ourselves, why not make the videos ourselves too!

In total, we spent 3 days filming, and to be honest each day consisted of meeting up mid-morning and asking, “so what should we do todayyyy”. Lots of mental thumb twiddling at the start, but it gave us time to really assess the environment and think up from scratch the more creative things. We weren’t bound to a schedule with 20 people standing around looking at us. It was very relaxed and fun just messing around, getting any shot that came to mind at that moment.

My favourite parts about the video were driving that Ferarri around, that was obnoxious and fun. Having Sloane in the passenger seat playing bass must have been a sight for sore eyes. My favourite shot that makes me laugh all the time is when Lach was wincing after spraying the punk juice in his eyes at the start, haha. I totally forgot to explain why I stole a Ferrari and why we have a Punk Juice endorsement. There isn’t enough room on the internet for all this nonsense. P.S I don’t actually know the reason why I stole a Ferrari. 

Futuremag Music: In addition to the music video you guys have your third album, Yumeno Garden set to come out on October 5? What's the journey when writing been like? What can fans expect from Yumeno Garden?

Sean Caskey: I have so much I wanna say about it but I’m gonna try and keep it simple. The story kind of starts when I was a kid, I realised on GarageBand that you could actually move the notes around on the pre-made loops which changed the sounds. I still remember the moment and it jump started my musical curiosity, since I never received any musical education at any stage. Anyway, from there Lach and I have been honing our recording process with not the highest degree of skill, but it eventually turned into a sound. These demo sounds or vibes we have been getting are in a way totally unique to us, and when you go to a studio to rerecord and reproduce you kind of lose some of that original magic in the recreation of it. 

For that reason, we decided to go all of the way ourselves. A kind of experiment to prove to ourselves that we could create something real and professional without hitting a studio. When you look at the other side of things, the people listening are hearing exactly what came from our hearts and our hands. There was no external influence or cookie cutter involved. Just us and our songs. It’s something Lach and I really appreciate in other people’s music and this can be found especially on SoundCloud. It’s just refreshing to hear something raw and authentic even if it is rough around the edges at times.

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It was a long journey writing this album, we went over to Japan to write a bunch of it. That was mainly to focus and feel alien in a totally isolated town. Otherwise Lach and I recorded in our own little studios (Ryusuke Love Hotel and Kyohei Beat Loft). Japan did have have a very special role in the creation of the album because it sort of cemented the theory behind our music at this time in our lives. It’s also reflected in the album cover - we are sitting on the balcony of a Japanese garden, in a way that suggests we don’t belong there. That was exactly how we felt in Japan, and is symbolic of our lack of feeling at home musically in Australia. We don’t feel like a Brissie rock band, but we still call it home cause we love it. Anyway, the flora in the landscape are all cacti because it’s representing our dreams and desires to tour the USA. To briefly sum all that up we are stuck between two other-worldly places and we are optimistically looking out to the American horizon. Wow, this turned into a huge ramble-fest.

People at this stage have only heard 'Dominos' and 'Eleven', which to me are very similar sounding songs, I’m so excited, same with the other boys to get the rest of this album out though. Because behind these two tracks is a whole other dimension of warm and cold synth and rock tracks. Some of it is super sweet and Ghibli-esque, other songs make you wanna march down the street with your chin up in the air with tears rolling down your cheeks. It’s not a rollercoaster that’ll make you nauseous, but if you wanna analyse it and dig deep then it travels far in different directions. By the way I’m mainly referring to Lach’s tracks here which have never featured on a dinos album before. That’s another thing I almost forgot to mention, this will be Lach’s debut for having his fully formed songs on an album. Fans haven’t even heard his voice yet. 

Futuremag Music: A sort of funny one to wrap things up. If 'Last Dinosaurs' was a cocktail what would be in it to best describe yourself and your music?

Sean Caskey: It’d be clear, maybe it’d have a Sicilian green olive on a tooth pick for no reason and all that it would consist of would be Punk Juice and distilled water. Because you don’t wanna be mixing that Punk Juice with no alcohol let me tell you. It’s some dangerous fluid. It’s beyond flammable, it’s inflammable. It’s insane. It makes absinthe taste like flippin' milk. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then it’s your lucky day. Please refer to the Eleven promotional video for Punk Juice. Thank you.