The Dust Coda released their third studio album, Loco Paradise, on 7 July 2023 via Earache Records. With the solid critical acclaim that followed their last album, it was more than just an eye-brow raise interest as to what they had in store for us this next. After listening to the album, it can only be described as unmissable in all its hard rock essence.
The Dust Coda – Loco Paradise
Release Date: Out Now
Interview: Monty Sewell
To hear the rock-edged hype in their own words, I sat down with frontman vocalist/guitarist John Drake and lead guitarist Adam Mackie just hours before their performance at this year’s BST Hyde Park festival.
Supporting Guns N’ Roses, The Dust Coda could quote this as their biggest show to date. Backstage there was nothing but a feet-on-their-balls kind of simmering as the lineup got ready to bring their all.
Sitting down with the guys, all huge grins and beer sips, the obvious question had to be asked first. So, how excited are they both to perform at this year’s BST Hyde Park festival?
John leans back in his rockstar leather, “I am probably 10%, 15% nervous. Because it is a big gig, it is a historic gig, playing Hyde Park, you know, so many legends attached to it. But the other part of me is just really excited to have a few beers, have a great time and just rock out. Bring out a special form of rock ‘n’ roll to the park.”
Adam is on the same wave of special rock ‘n’ roll. “I definitely bring the special.” The guitarist chuckles as the guys share an exchange. “No, absolutely. I mean, it ticks all the boxes in terms of bucket list stuff for us. We’re a London-based band, so to get a gig here is mental. Then there’s also Guns N’ Roses, who are one of our biggest influences. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to hear their influence in our music. We were both super fans as kids. So it is just massive for us.”
Sharing the same big, anthemic composing values as their headliners, getting that kind of call must have been unbelievably memorable. “Do you know Jerry Maguire?” John shoots in. “You know, in those scenes where all that sort of shit goes on, the ‘show me the money’ scenes, kind of like that? Like, no way, way, no way, way! It was like that. Just amazing stuff.”
Following their second album, Mojo Skyline release, TDC were launched into the industry eye with a signing from Earache Records and a substantial playlist and radio play. As a musician, you’re always considering what the next big thing is and how you might top what came before.
“Well, Mojo came out in 2021 after we recorded in 2019. Then right after that, when we met Earache Records and agreed to release it, Covid hit,” Adam says. “So when we were in the studio last summer, it had been a good four years since we were there. So actually writing it and getting it out, we were so pumped.”
The guys came into the studio with that big chunk of time, countless jams and riffs just begging to be laid down. Listening to the album, it is a constant rise and dive journey filled with crescendo breakdowns and such a versatile collection of tracks.
“We don’t know where it’s going half the time,” John says, stating that they like to steer clear from the typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle break, outro format. “It somehow just ends up being this experimentation that combusts, and you don’t ever want to end game what you’re doing. Each song is this new entity, and we just keep rolling.”
Commenting on tracks like Since You’ve Been Gone, Adam says, “We call those the epic ones. It’s a bit of a journey. You’ve got to fully indulge and immerse yourself in it because if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it properly. So, you know, the clean bit is there, it’s beautiful, and then it’s like, let’s put the fucking thunder in. And it gives the album texture.
“You take the listener on this journey, and it keeps them on their toes. There’s a slow bluesy one, then comes this fire like in Free All The Dancers. But we’re our own biggest fans with this record. We buzz off it, so we’ve got to fully embrace it.”
Ain’t nothing wrong with getting high on your own supply of rock’ n’ roll. “Hell no.”
“You know, you’ve got to be excited about it before you put it out there. You don’t want to be like, oh, OK, it’s all right, here you go. We’re like, nah, fuck yeah. When we get over to our label, we’re like, this is it, guys. Read it and weep. Motherfuckers. Here you go. Because how else are you going to do it? You’ve got to throw what you love out in the world.”
Recording Loco Paradise was a different process this time due to the band (with fellow band-mates Tony Ho on bass and Scott Miller on drums) all being in the studio together. Their decision to capture the music in this way, rather than tracking separately, made quite an impact on the final piece as a whole.
John spoke highly of their producer Charlie Russell. “He creates such a vibe in the studio, and it just makes you really relaxed. We’re not making a record in that moment; we’re just fucking re-cording shit and seeing where it goes. But we do a lot of work before, and then we go into the studio, and we just enjoy it because we do so much rehearsal.”
A good time then, as well as a productive one? “Oh yeah, it was so much fun every day,” John says. “Everyone was taking their turns, and everyone was having a drink. Yeah, it was just kind of a bit of a piss-up, actually. With some music thrown in. And a lot of preparation.”
“This time, it was down to us all being there together.” Adam takes a swig of his beer and speaks with obvious adoration for his rock ‘n’ roll family. “That camaraderie, pushing each other for those tapes, celebrating everyone’s amazingness, being able to laugh at the obvious mistake here and there. It was amazing, you know. An amazing capture.”
Will the next recording session be a similar one?
“I mean, next time, if we can do it in Barbados or somewhere, that would be great,” Adam says, and the guys laugh. “AC/DC did Black In Black in Bermuda. Fuck it. We’ll find a place. On Monday, we’ll go to Barbados.”
“Yeah. Barbados, perfect, perfect.” John strongly agrees as the mental satisfaction of a casual recording trip to Barbados ripples through our small circle with toothy grins.
Loco Paradise has just hit the shelves (with some killer, animated artwork, this album is one you’ll need in your collection), their Hyde Park performance would be just the start of a promotional run before their UK tour later this year.
After releasing their last record during the pandemic, it has to feel like such an open door with the restrictions long gone.
“It is actually really cool because Mojo came out during Covid, so we were restricted with what we could do. So this time around, we’re going full-on, trying to get out and see the fans and hang out properly.” Adam eagerly eggs on.
“On release day, we start an independent record store tour, so we’re going to go around about nine of them where John and I will play some acoustic, sign vinyl and hang out with fans. Then we have a launch event on Saturday, 15 July, at the Beavertown Brewery Tap Room in London. It’s like a live Q&A in the evening. Hear the stories behind the songs and our recording experience. Be a bit more intimate with the fans.”
“And also, the best bloody fresh beer on the planet is there, so there’s no downside to it,” John adds. “Then we hit the road to tour the album in October for 11 dates, starting in Southampton and ending on 28 October in Camden.”
Meeting fans, mingling with music lovers, and just being able to get out and promote this brilliant piece of work, The Dust Coda are nothing if not quite rightfully buzzing to be in the passionate mix of things.
Finally, what can we expect from The Dust Coda in their BST Hyde Park festival set? Adam and John exchange a look that I can only describe as being in the know of something spectacular about to happen. “Well, we’ve got 30 minutes on stage, so we’re just going to go out full throttle. But, you know, it’s a Guns N’ Roses show. We’ve gotta get people in the mood for some rock and roll, right?”
After a few more laughs and a beer, we leave the guys and head out to their set on The Rainbow Stage. Thirty minutes was too damn short, but in that time, they powered through a few tracks from Mojo Skyline and a few knee stompers from Loco Paradise.
Sensationally rock ‘n’ roll, they stuck true to their word, lifting the entire festival into an unwavering state of head-banging, fist-pumping jubilation. The album drop couldn’t come soon enough, and it’s only a matter of time before The Dust Coda will be writhing in their own crowned glory as the leather-clad guitar heroes of our time.
Loco Paradise has hit #11 in the UK Midweek Album Chart!