Where will modern rock take us next? Thundering into the New Wave Of Classic Rock scene with enticingly unforgettable riffs, gravel-soaked vocal soul and richly rugged groove, London-based band The Dust Coda have been turning heads since their 2017 self-titled debut album.
Sleek yet hard-hitting rock’n’roll rooted in blues soul, The Dust Coda clutch the echoes of rock’n’roll’s most beloved household names, from the pure, raw poetry of Led Zeppelin to the nasty muscle of Guns ‘N Roses, and bring them kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Having worked tirelessly building their live reputation across some of Britain’s favourite rock festivals such as Planet Rockstock, Winter’s End and Ramblin’ Man Fair, and with a touring schedule that’s seen them share stages with Black Stone Cherry, The Dead Daisies and Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, The Dust Coda are due to release their long-awaited sophomore album Mojo Skyline in 2021.
On the cusp of lighting a new beacon along the trail of the rock revolution that modern music has observed over the past decade, The Dust Coda are continuing the momentum founded in Earache Records’ latest roster of British rock flag-bearers (The Temperance Movement, Massive Wagons, Those Damn Crows).
The Earache Interviews: The Dust Coda
Talk us through the process behind your new album “Mojo Skyline”.
John: “This album was so much fun to write and record, we came in swinging with confidence and a really strong working relationship with our producer, Clint Murphy. We trusted him and he really let us experiment.
The writing tends to be a mixture of approaches… Often Adam will bring a piece of music, kind of like a story that’s pretty much complete. He will take me through the vision, I may augment things, add parts or subtract sections and then I’ll write the melodies and lyrics.
Or I’ll write a song mostly complete, like the verses and chorus’s will be done but I’ll deliberately leave some gaps to see what comes out when we work together. That’s the fun part when you don’t know what’s going to come out of a session.
Recording is fun, but I find it hard work and often stressful, having to complete my guitars, vocals, backing vocals and percussion in 10-12 days, which is usually how long we take to make a record, is a lot to do in a short space of time.
We will track the band live to get a vibe, and then re track our parts over that skeleton removing the foundations as they are completed.
Clint Murphy is one of the fastest guns in the West. Super quick on the pro tools and his knowledge of tones, equipment, styles and genres is exceptional. You genuinely feel like you are in great hands and he instils confidence in the process so you don’t spend your time worrying about the quality of production or schedule. This leaves you free to focus on the performance. As a vocalist, this is paramount. He is also an excellent vocal producer, really knows how to get the best out of you.”
Adam: “I cannot speak highly enough of Clint – working with him is a real pleasure. He truly fulfilled that ‘5th band member’ role in the making of this album. The good thing is we already had a great relationship with Clint so we knew working with him again would be cool, good fun, but also hard working and disciplined.
Most importantly, however, with the relationship already there we knew we wouldn’t get any bullshit with Clint. He was very good at expressing ideas or suggestions on songs that we would otherwise have missed. Having a pair of honest, fresh eyes and ears on things is soimportant at this stage in the process. Sonically, he pushed us when it came to trying new guitar sounds and effects whilst also staying true to the sound of the band. Clint truly invests personally in an album project he takes and it really shows with the work we have done with him.”
Scott: “It’s always a pleasure working with Clint – one of the most hardworking and talented producers around. The great advantage for me in particular is that Clint is also a drummer, so he’s always really keen to get great sounding drums – and he gives the drum recording sessions the time and attention they deserve.”
Adam: “We recorded the album at Modern World Studios in Tetbury, UK. We recorded our debut album there as well so were already prepared for the experience in a good way.
Tetbury is a quaint old market town in Gloucestershire that is very ‘chocolate box England’. The main thing is with the band all living in London, it was a complete escape from normal life so the only thing we had to focus on was recording the album so we could fully invest physically and mentally. The accommodation was on site and the only escape from the studio was a short walk to the local pub for some fresh air in between tracking.
Sadly Modern World Studios has since been sold, but Tetbury will always hold a place in my heart and I like to think we have made 2 little slices of rock history in that little town.”
What was your favourite moment during the recording of “Mojo Skyline”?
John: “When we were finishing “Mojo Skyline” I had to go back to the studio on my own to do final vocals. We were working to a tight deadline and there was still loads to complete so for the final sessions. I spent about two days straight literally at the mic tracking.
As a result, I got really ill. When you sing an album like this and complete it in such a short space of time you force your body to run on adrenaline – but when you’re done you crash.
When I got back to London I couldn’t get out of bed for 3 days, I had a fever, coughs everything, completely wiped out.
But when I finally came out of it, I went down to a nice little country pub, near where the girl’s house I was staying with and I just sat there drinking Guinness on my own, worn and battered.
I had this feeling of huge relief and accomplishment like fuck yeah! You have earnt this, you’ve made a classic and it was all worth it. Now we have to take it to the world!”
What’s your favourite song on “Mojo Skyline”?
Scott: “Dream Alight. It’s a sweeping, feel good, rock song. Keeping the dream alight is something we can all relate to and there’s something about this track that captures the optimism and passion involved in striking out and chasing your dreams.”
Tony: “It’s a Jam and Dream Alight. I had far too much fun dropping the bass lines for these songs. I also think that Rolling represents the album perfectly. It just has that wild energy and classic TDC sound amplified to the limit. Everything about it is pure The Dust Coda: guitar riffs, bass lines, powerful vocals, solid drum beats and insane solos of course. I’m looking forward to playing the whole album live as soon as it will be possible.”
Adam: “If I had to, I would go with Rolling – it’s so epic, it came out amazingly, has everything that you want from a rock song in it, and most importantly has a 2 minute guitar solo in it…”
John: “Rolling – it’s an epic rock n roll masterpiece. No one can touch that one.”
Why is your new album called “Mojo Skyline”?
John: “For me it’s when you’re on the road you spend a lot of time staring out into the sky thinking about the life you have chosen, the ups and downs, the people you meet and the crazy shit that happens. For me that’s it, the Mojo Skyline that keeps on going… The artwork represents the chaos of rock’n’roll.”
Adam: “Mojo represents that this album has a bit more soul to it and is a bit of nod to the 70’s influences that sprinkle through the album. Skyline is because the sky is the limit and this band is far from done yet!
Why should people pay attention to The Dust Coda?
John: “I think we shine in both areas [recorded and live], reason being is because it’s real, there isn’t any trickery involved. … I think we have a vibe and that’s of freedom and integrity, living your life on your own terms. We aren’t pastiche, we take all the great sounds, vibes and references from the last 40 years of rock n roll and bring it into the future.”
Scott: “We have a connection and presence on stage which I think makes our live performances particularly compelling. And whenever we are in the studio, we are very meticulous about creating the best possible product. There’s an incredible rock scene in the UK at the moment which we’re grateful to be part of. I think what differentiates us is a slight divergence in style, which encompasses a wider range of musical influences. I think there are elements of Blues, Americana and Soul in our music which, with the rock n roll edge, gives us something unique.”
Tony: “Our purpose is to keep writing and playing our music to the people, being honest to ourselves. Message from us as a band would be: ‘R’n’R was, is and will be the greatest genre of all times!’ I would say that we sound like your favourite band that you just haven’t heard yet.”
Adam: “We don’t play anything unless we as a band are behind it 100% and think it is good enough to carry the The Dust Coda banner. We bring a new fresh sound of the all time greats that gives the rock fans of the world something new to follow, believe and escape in – and also a belief that rock music will live on even stronger after all the greats finally, and sadly, pass on.”
We’re a very sexy cauldron of all the rock greats that sounds fresh, with groove, soul, melody, heaviness, and honesty.”
What has your road into music been like? Where did it begin?
John: “Some kid on the school bus gave me a dubbed cassette tape with a blank label on it. I went home and put it on the deck, it was ‘Appetite For Destruction’. In that very moment, as the first 20 seconds of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ had kicked in I was struck by lighting and that was it, I knew what I wanted to do and it’s been fucking my life up ever since…
It’s the only thing I ever cared about when I was a child, apart from riding motorcycles.”
Adam: “My parents let me learn the Violin when I was 6 – probably because I saw someone else doing it. I was so terrible that the teacher refused to teach me after a while. Fair play to them for putting up with that!
When I was 7 years old my parents took my older brother out and I was left at home with a babysitter. The next day, like any 7 year old, I asked where they had been. They told me they had been to the Royal Albert Hall to see Eric Clapton play – I was like, ‘who is that?’ Later that day when in the car, my parents put on the cassette of The Journey Man album by Eric. I will never forget hearing the opening riff to track 3 ‘Bad Love’ for the first time. Me: ‘what is that??’ Parents: ‘that’s the electric guitar’. And from that point I knew I needed the guitar in my life!
When I first started out many years ago, I did a lot of playing for up and coming RnB artists. Radio 1extra had launched which gave the scene in London a big boost. This mainly involved playing acoustic for lots of wannabe Craig Davids.
I then played for many years for a band called Maxfield which was fronted by Valerie Maxfield (couple of garage number one’s back in the day). We got signed to Brownpunk Records, a label set up by Tricky and Chris Blackwell. Being hand picked and complimented by Chris Blackwell himself was a very cool and humbling experience … We toured with the likes of Groove Armada and Freestylers to some of Europe’s biggest and most bizarre festivals.Once that fell apart, I then realised I wanted to start the band I’ve always wanted to be in when I was 14 and The Dust Coda was formed.
For The Dust Coda, it began with the original song writing sessions when John and I met and we recorded song ideas into our mobile phones in my old room in Brixton – even back then it was good enough that we knew this is what we needed to do.”
Scott: “I grew up in a musical family so there was always music playing or an instrument around. As a result I first started learning the piano – it’s a great foundation for developing your overall musicality and eventually it led me to the drums! Whilst learning the piano I was also taking part in amateur theatre productions (in the ensemble). When I was around 9 or 10 I was in the chorus of a musical which had a band led by the drummer – a guy called Paul O’Neil. I became obsessed with his drumming and the music the band were making – and there began my drum journey. Paul became my drum teacher and taught me for many years until I went to university when I was 18.
I’ve been in countless covers and function bands. My first original band was as a teenager with my brother, who is a singer / songwriter.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – as long as I can remember. For me as a child, the dream was just to be able to play music for the rest of my life. Thinking of it as a ‘career’ didn’t come into it. It was just the sheer joy music gave me that I wanted to continue. I can vividly remember being at gigs when I was very young and thinking ‘I want to be up there doing that’. There’s been numerous turning points! A tough decision I made at 18 was to go to university to study Law, rather than go to music school (I was either going to study law, or go to the Academy of Contemporary Music in London). Whilst in theory this held up my music journey I wanted the insurance of a decent education to fall back on! And it worked out well as I have been able to manage a career alongside pursuing the rock n roll dream.”
Tony: “My road to music began in a theatre, where my mother was a ballet dancer. The fact that music is going to be engraved into my life for the rest of my days was a clear thing for me since I turned 6. I always wanted to be a musician.
My parents were not professional musicians, dad played guitar, but was a construction worker and my mother was a ballet dancer, like my grandmother. My aunt use to be a theatrical artist decorator, and at some point, about five people from my family where working in the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, so music has been always around me as the art was as well, generally speaking. My family is happy when I’m doing music, that’s what they all wanted for me since I was a child.”
What has been some of your best and worst life-on-the-road experiences?
John: “Winter’s End 2018 – this was one of the first times when I realised that we were really starting to connect with people and find our audience.
We had been up all night and our show was that morning, so we went straight to the bar, drank a pint and a Jager to level ourselves. We thought it was gonna be one of those miserable morning slots where there’s about 7 people in the audience.
So, Dan Reddick (Planet Rock DJ) does his intro, the curtain rolls back and 1000 people have turned up to see us at 11am in the morning.
Straight away we all turned at looked at each other like ‘Right, let’s do this!’ and we smashed it, it was a killer show, an absolute banger of a crowd and we played like demons.
Straight after the show there was a queue of about 100 people lining up to say hi, sign merch and shoot the shit. I ended up spending a few hours getting fed a lot of booze by some very lovely new The Dust Coda fans.”
Adam: “Planet Rock Radio’s Winter’s End Festival was a stand out moment for the band. We were first on stage on the Sunday so were soundchecking etc by 10.30am, before show time at 12pm. We convinced ourselves that if the venue was half full then that would be a really good turn out for the first act and us. Turns out 100’s of people were queuing in the rain well before doors opened and we filled the room within a couple of songs with people rushing to get in. It was the first time I started to notice fans all over the crowd wearing TDC t-shirts and singing along to our songs, and we ended up spending and hour at the merch stand afterwards. Definitely a milestone for the band.
Scott: “We had a pretty crazy experience playing at Steelhouse Festival in 2018.
The weather is notoriously unpredictable at the site (the top of a mountain in Wales!). We were due to open up the festival on the Sunday morning. Having arrived on Saturday we could see the weather had clearly taken a turn and the site was pretty wet and cold. However, the show went on (and we saw a great set by Glenn Hughes).
Next day we rocked up early doors to get ready for our set and an Atlantic storm had well and truly set in. The rain and the wind were biblical. The crew at Steelhouse are incredible and were doing their best to keep the show on the road… but unfortunately it got so bad that the organisers had to push the whole day back a few hours and cancel our set…..”
Tony: “And there we were, sitting in a van, driving down the hill in a nearly funeral mood…”
Adam: “… We got about 3 mins down the road when a jeep came racing up beside us …. ‘are you boys The Dust Coda?’ the driver said in a thick Welsh accent, ‘you’re back on, The Quireboys are stuck in Frankfurt so can’t get here!’ Next thing you know we swung the van around, got backstage, unpacked, line checked and plugged in for a bit of live rock n roll in the pouring rain! So itstarted as one of the worst but then ended up as a pretty amazing gig experience….”
Tony: “I think we enjoyed playing on that stage twice as much [as a result]!”
Scott: “Also, we played The Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in London (I think!) a couple of years ago – it was a partnership with Planet Rock, and of course, rock’n’roll and beer is a great mix! Having sampled beers all day the crowd was very enthusiastic and there were loads of people – we also played a really tight set and the stage and sound set up put on by Planet Rock was amazing as always.”
John: “Three days before our debut album launch I’d been to see Metallica at the O2, screamed my ass off all night, ran into a couple of ladies afterwards and we ended up drinking tequila until the wee hours. I woke up the next morning to find that one of them had stolen my brand-new Metallica T – Shirt AND I couldn’t speak.
I could barely whisper a word and singing was completely out of the question.
I spent the next two days in the depths of terror thinking that we would have to cancel our album launch. I was so pissed off at myself, we’d worked so hard to get to this point, completely self-funded everything etc.
There were loads of industry people, radio press etc. turning up to the show. It was going to be a big moment and I genuinely thought I had fucked the whole thing.
I drank nothing but hot water with garlic, lemon, honey for the next 48 hours. Still nothing, I could not sing!
We got to about two hours before show time and I was at half capacity with my voice. I was sitting with Clint Murphy, the producer of the record, stressing my ass off and he said ‘Well, what do you usually do before a show?’
I said ‘Well, I usually have a few beers and a tequila.’
He said ‘Well tonight’s no different.’
So, I ordered two tequilas, drank 3 pints and miraculously my voice returned! We played a banging show, got scouted and signed by our new management that night, got some killer reviews and the rest is history.
It goes to show sometimes it’s all about your state of mind.”
Tony: “My favourite live show was at the Planet Rockstock Festival 2018. I genuinely think it was one of the best live shows played with TDC so far. I was kinda ready for all sorts of trouble during that show, especially as we had a reckless party the night before… But we actually nailed it. And the crowd was just brilliant! One of the most enjoyed shows. Still remember it.
I’ve had dozens of worst/infamous gigs in my life, but I don’t remember them. My brain doesn’t need this data apparently. I take only good memories with me. Don’t remember? Didn’t happen. But every gig is exceptional in its own way.”
Which artists do you consider to be your greatest influences?
Adam: “I’m a massive guitar’aholic so very into genres spanning across rock, metal, blues, jazz, flamenco, classical, blue grass, folk, bossa nova, and more! As a kid I grew up listening to some cool 80’s pop via my parents – Tears for Fears, OMD, Genesis, Simply Red (when they were good!) and Michael Jackson of course. However my main influences growing up musically were the 70s greats – Cream, Led Zep, Hendrix, Rolling Stone, and all the other many wonderful bands of that era.
Guns N Roses – the Once In A Lifetime world tour was, and is, the highest grossing tour in history, proving that rock music IS number 1 in the world! Slash is literally THE man!
Adele makes incredible album after album, her way, on her terms, that always involve incredible musicianship with stunning instruments recorded properly.
Tom Morello’s bands/projects are so powerful in music and message (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage), he is a true pioneer sonically for the guitar, has an incredible understanding of music and is one of the best examples for the ‘less is more’ approach creating some of rocks biggest riffs, alongside coming up with some mental virtuoso stuff when he lets rip! “
John: “Guns N Roses, Soundgarden, lamb of God, NIN, RATM, QOTSA, Metallica, Megadeth, Led Zeppelin, ACDC to Billy Joel, The Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, the stones, the Beatles, Bowie and everyone in between. My old man loved his Doors, Led Zep, Mammas and the Papas, Neil diamond etc. So I think that rubbed off.
Chris Cornell is an artist who I miss every day.
I sing along to female singers for practice and inspiration, it helps me bring out my range and introduce different textures to my voice. [Artists such as] Florence Welch, Adele, Laura Marling, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Tina Turner and all the other soul sisters.
I spend as much time if not more listening to folk, atmospheric artists than I do rock n roll.
Leonard Cohen, Dylan, The War On Drugs, Ray LaMontagne, Grant Lee Buffalo etc.
I think the following are unique artists that I respect and feel grateful are scratching the mainstream and will hopefully keep paving the way for others: Michael Kiwanuka, Laura Marling, Rival Sons.
I am a huge Post Malone fan.”
Scott: “As a drummer I was originally inspired by American Big Band Jazz drummers such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Although I’m not a jazz drummer, the skill and dexterity these guys had was unbelievable to watch and listen to. From there I became fascinated with more technical drummers, such as Stuart Copeland (The Police) and Neil Peart (Rush) – they were drummers who almost behaved as band leaders and their parts became integral to the music – they weren’t there just to ‘keep the beat’. It’s something I try to incorporate into my playing with The Dust Coda. As my tastes changed I became hugely influenced by rock drummers such as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Lars Ulrich, Phil Rudd etc.”
Tony: “J. S. BACH, S Rachmaninoff, S Prokofiev, Bon Jovi, Ac Dc, Type O Negative, Pantera, Black Label Society, The Prodigy, Kypck, Dream Theatre, Stained, Pino Palladino, Billy Sheehan, Sharay Reed, Marcus Miller, Maceo Parker, Miles Davis.”
What do you think is important for becoming a successful artist?
Adam: “Rule no.1: Don’t be a dick! Otherwise, a strong belief, hard work, determination, hard work, focus, hard work, and a very good sense of humour.”
Tony: “I believe that the only true thing that needs to be done for an artist to become successful is to make sure he doesn’t get disturbed by the reality too much.”
Scott: “Dedication, persistence and patience… for starters! You obviously need to have the talent, and to have found the right outlet to express that – by which I mean being surrounded by people with a similar goal. Finding that in a band is crucial and is the very first step. The long slog to success begins there – and it takes time and a decent chunk of luck. However, the journey is all part of the fun – and maintaining that enjoyment, whatever the outcome, is just as important. Finally, I would say whatever your set up – be it a band, or a solo artist you have to believe you’re the best in the world at what you do. You need that passion and belief – 100%. The second you doubt yourself, it’s game over.”
John: “Whore yourself with reckless abandon or consistently create truly great work, promote it with dignity and let the right people discover you.”
Outside of music, where does your joy lie?
John: “I love riding off-road motorcycles when I am back in Australia. I have been riding since I was 10. My old man was a motorcycle dealer in the 80s, so I spent my early childhood crawling all over them. We would often disappear into the mountains for a few days with some bikes – ain’t nothing like the open road and a clear night sky. Legend has it that he lent Meat Loaf a Harley Davidson for a day so he could ride it on stage. All he got in return was a signed vinyl copy of ‘Bat out of Hell’, cheap bastard!
I’m also a member of a boxing gym, train several times a week, love it!
I find boxing to be like being on stage, moving your feet, moving your hands, ducking and diving, the audience is your target. Just like being on stage, time doesn’t exist, it’s aggressive mindfulness.
I am a film buff – it’s not uncommon for me to watch the same film 3 times a year, every year.
I love violent, dramatic films about lost souls and criminals.
My favourite directors are Ben Affleck, Clint EastWood, Christopher Nolan, Paul Tomas Anderson, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Copplola.
I was also training to be an actor in Australia before I moved to London.”
Scott: “I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve always been a bit of a runner (having run in clubs etc at school). I now compete quite a lot in distances from 5k to the marathon and am constantly trying to improve my times. Having something to keep me fit also balances the sometimes unhealthy lifestyle of life on the road. The sub 2 hour marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge is a real hero and inspires me in my own marathon endeavours!
I’ve also worked in the drinks industry for a number of years – first in spirits and latterly in beer. So I like a decent whiskey and a good craft beer! I’m a qualified ‘Certified Cicerone’ which is a beer focussed qualification demonstrating knowledge of all things beer, from production and brewing through to beer styles, history and tastings.”
Adam: “I’m a massive shark geek (I dive with them and have a tattoo of one. I love going abroad to exotic places and am very lucky to have travelled far afield over the years. I’m a big Newcastle United fan and I bloody love wine, dumplings, steak, whisky, gin and mezcal!”
What jobs have you had outside of music?
John: “First job in London, I wasa runner/edit assistant in Soho for a TV post production studio. In that job I discovered that peoples’ propensity for self-importance has no bounds.
It was cool though, I worked the night shift on the top floor of a building on Lexington street, it was proper Oliver Twist roof tops and chimneys up there, you’d get all your work done by 1am and you’d have the rest of the evening to get up to all the mischief that a young kid fresh off the boat could with Soho at their disposal…”
Scott: “I’ve worked in commercial roles in drinks businesses for the last 14 years (starting with Bacardi Brown-Forman, then Remy Cointreau, then with BrewDog, and now with Beavertown).
Tony: “Outside of music I’ve been a barman, a manager, a stage technician and a lift installer.”