Emerging independent sextet Dust City Opera are just about to launch their sophomore full-length album, Alien Summer this week. Entwining strands of grunge, gothic country, punk, folk, and rock as the soundtrack to stories steeped in cosmic horror, transformation, and transcendence, the band has taken the lessons that they learned on their debut album, Heaven and are diving headfirst into the weird, wonderful and creative with Alien Summer. The ambitious album, out March 4th, finds the band trying everything and anything that they wanted, and with the album backed by a successful crowdfunding campaign, it’s clear that their fans are excited to hear what’s to come.
With Alien Summer out this week, we caught up with the band’s frontman, Paul Hunton to talk about the excitement of working on the album, the inspiration behind their latest single, “The Unkind” and much more. Read the full interview below and pre-save Alien Summer HERE.
Prelude Press: You guys are getting ready to release your new album, Alien Summer, this Friday! What are you most excited for fans to hear on the album?
Dust City Opera: “Angie” is a killer. Lot of drama on that and “Love of Mine.” The arrangements Clara worked on for “Alien Summer” and the end of “An Okay Way to Go.” That “Alien Summer” outro.
How far the band has come! The songwriting, arrangement, performances and productions have all leveled up since Heaven and that’s evident on almost every song.
Sonically, was there anything in particular that you were excited to try or experiment with on Alien Summer?
Yeah, “The Unkind” and “Alien Summer” itself edge more into rock territory. There’s a little more bite to some of these songs.
I did some sampling on here as well as some more expressive singing, and we had the GRAL Brothers add some cinematic flair to a few of the songs.
The album is the follow-up to your debut album, Heaven. Did you feel any pressure going into Alien Summer to outperform yourselves?
Probably initially but as soon as I started writing I got really excited about “the new stuff.”
I don’t know. Alien Summer is more ambitious but I think that it was a natural progression and us getting better at our jobs.
Is there anything that you didn’t get to do on Heaven that you wanted to incorporate on Alien Summer?
I think Heaven had everything I could imagine at the time. And then with Alien Summer there were moments of like “shit let’s try this!” like the sampled percussion at the end of the title track, the wild harmonies on “Stars,” and the idea to bring in the GRAL Brothers.
Alien Summer was backed by a massively successful crowdfunding campaign that you launched last year! What inspired you to go the crowdfunding route? What was that experience like?
Sydney here. As the manager, I felt a duty to make this happen. It wasn’t a number we pulled out of a hat, it was just a fact that – if we wanted to make this album the way it was meant to be, we needed 20k more dollars than we had. There was a substantial amount of planning beforehand and it was one of the most stressful and rewarding experiences we went through together. It was enormously validating when we hit 20k ahead of schedule and I think our fans feel a deep connection to the album knowing they were a part of the journey.
You also worked with producer Matthew Tobias on this release! What did he bring to the table for Alien Summer?
Matthew talks a lot of shit and I love it. And he’s a boss at keeping the project organized as we send files back and forth. And he played the wild drum stuff on the fog.
You recently released “The Unkind” from the album – can you tell us a little bit about that track?
That’s my Stephen King, Halloween, horror stomp. It and “Alien Summer” feel like sister songs, conceived around the same time with a similar plot and feel. The first is about a murderous plant uprising and the other is about ancient latent alien DNA turning us into insectoid monsters. Similar vibes, lots of fun, aggressive energy. I’m not sure how that happened. Lots of doom eternal and horror movies during lockdown.
What do you hope fans take away from the album?
Catharsis. There’s desperation and anguish as well as peace and transcendence. It’s definitely a journey.
With Alien Summer out soon, could fans expect to see some live shows soon as well?
Fuck yeah! We’ve got some weekend outings already lined up around the southwest later this month.