storming album from the finest rockers around.” –
“High School Hoodlums is like any song about school done
by 30-somethings: amazing. Best of all is Eye Of The Needle, an epic
Doors-y mood piece with a storming outro. It’s like finding
a roast beef dinner inside a bag of popcorn.” -
“This self-produced album is something of a return to form
– the best one they’ve cut since their debut. It’s
raw and they’ve got really good at doing longer wig-outs full
of class A shredding.” – The Stool Pigeon
“Head Stunts stands alone as a pretty fine effort; enough
melody and rhythm (‘Ready, Set, Go!’) to avoid total hearing
decay, but some super fine prog moments too (‘Eye Of The Needle’)
and of course, countless crouch-grinding, ’70s guitar solos.”
“The riffs are thunderous, teetering between punk and metal
like early Motorhead, Human Error and So Long are powerful enough
to rearrange the atoms in your head.” -
To coincide with the single release, the band will also
be doing 3 Irish shows as part of their 2009 European Tour:
Wed 4th Feb '09 - DUBLIN - Think Tank
(formerly The Hub) - www.mcd.ie
Thurs 5th Feb '09- GALWAY - Roisin Dubh
Fri 6th Feb '09 - BELFAST - Spring And Airbrake
will be releasing a new digital single, So Long,
on Monday 16th February. Taken from their recently
released acclaimed album, Head Stunts, the track
is described by singer Dolf as “catchy power pop: it’s
more Cheap Trick than AC/DC, even though we’re meant to sound
like Deep Purple. Maybe we’re heavier than we think. It’s
very much based on that pop aesthetic, with lots of hooks.”
The single will also include a new track, What’s Happening
Featuring 12 new tracks, “Head Stunts” was
recorded in early 2008 in Sweden, and is self-produced. From the
full-throttle opener Human Error, to the dirtbike
guitars and frenzied pummelling of Yeah, Yeah,
Just Another Mistake and the 70’s stomp rock
of Highschool Hoodlums, the album finds the band
unleashing their finest work to date. Of the album, singer Dolf
says, “Lyrically it’s about mind games really, ‘Head
Stunts’ is an anagram of The Datsuns. We were aware of it
all along but we didn’t want to make it too obvious. We got
a new member of the band on drums, Ben Cole, so it was like making
our first record again, with new influences and new abilities. With
a new person, we were able to feed off each other in different ways,
and also revive some old ideas that did not click before. Taking
those ideas, and then flipping them around, just like you do with
an anagram. So I suppose there is some kind of clumsy poetry there.”
DATSUNS ~ A conversation with Dolf de Borst (vocals, bass) about the fourth
Datsuns album, "Head Stunts"
HEAD STUNTS - Lyrically it’s about mind games really,
“Head Stunts” is an anagram of The Datsuns.
We were aware of it all along but we didn’t want to make it too
obvious, I suppose that’s out the window now…
We got a new member of the band on drums, Ben Cole, so it was like making
our first record again, with new influences and new abilities. With a
new person, we were able to feed off each other in different ways, and
also revive some old ideas that did not click before. Taking those ideas,
and then flipping them around, just like you do with an anagram. So I
suppose there is some kind of clumsy poetry there.
I’ve known Ben since we were kids– he comes from the same
town, Cambridge in New Zealand, as us. So it’s useful to have someone
else with the same reference points but also someone who is fresh to the
touring and recording process.
We produced the album ourselves - by the time you make your fourth record
you’re pretty comfortable in your own skin as a unit, and it doesn’t
matter about people’s preconceptions or what they expect of you.
It’s like, ‘This is what I am and the kind of music I make.’
You’re less self-conscious.
When we started making this album we played a lot together, and we were
doing long, drawn out songs, but we ended up making a power pop record:
it’s a lot more pop than anything else we’ve done, but it
still sounds heavy. It began as a series of meandering instrumental jams
but the songs got shorter and shorter. Maybe we’ll leave the stoner
album for next time. We like messing around in the studio with long playing
but that punk rock thing naturally comes to the fore. We’ve got
short attention spans. Are we a jam band in punk clothing or vice versa?
I’m not sure.
When we rehearse we mess around a lot and swap instruments. I play some
guitar on this record, Phil (Buscke, guitar) plays some drums, Christian
(Livingstone, guitar) plays Hammond organ, piano, Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes
and Mellotron - I associate the Mellotron mainly with The Beatles, but
yeah also with progressive groups. They say it’s the postmodern
age, you take pieces of what you like, and it doesn’t matter what
movement or time it’s associated with, you can cut and paste small
bites of what inspires you.
Maybe it’s a failing of my generation that we want to romanticise
periods of time we haven’t lived in but I think every generation
has done that. And maybe there is a sense of homage in what we do. You
can sit and debate that; it’s a perfect Head Stunt. We just do what
comes naturally when the four of us sit behind our instruments; it’s
a spontaneous development. Certain parts are calculated but most of them
are instinctual. It’s honest.
Lyrically, this album is far less personal and more general in its themes.
Is it the best Datsuns album? It’s the album I can listen to without
cringing or being fucked-off! I’m like one of those filmmakers who
make a film then can’t bear to watch it or go to the premiere. This
time I’m more comfortable about who we are and what we do and who
I am as a singer – although even saying that out loud makes me feel
uncomfortable, thinking of myself as a musician or singer. But I’ve
been doing this for over a decade – three of us have been together
for 12 years, and we’ve been making records since 2002 – so
it’s obviously what I do. We’ve made four records in six years,
which is pretty fast. The gaps between albums have been 18 months, 18
months, two years and two years. I’d like to do another one next
I’m really bad with hyperbole. I can’t sell myself well: “it’s
bigger-faster-harder-stronger-but-also-sweeter”. Some people can
pull it off. It must be nice to be able to give complete sound bites.
But I definitely feel more comfortable with this one compared to the other
three. This time, I didn’t go, “That part sucks” or
“I hate the production on this part!” There were still the
same questions: is the Datsuns a collaboration, a four-way democracy or
a four-way dictatorship? It’s hard to define whose perspective is
biggest. Even if I write the song or the melody it bears the influence
of the others in the band; we’re very collaborative, and it would
be wrong to say it’s Dolf’s band or Christian’s band.
It’s a collective. If it was just me, or just Phil, it would be
What are we? We’re just a rock’n’roll band playing music
the way we want to do it. It can be too light for people into heavy metal,
and too heavy for people into straight garage – we purposefully
make it so it doesn’t fit into one place. That can alienate people.
Prog, punk, rock – I like them all; I don’t see them as conflicting.
Rock music can be very snobby. Some people only listen to rock music from
between 1956 and 1966, or between 1975 and 1980. That seems very narrow-minded
This is about artificial intelligence and the idea that you can get so
close to the human model in terms of emulation when you design a robot
that they turn out really dumb because they’re so close to human
beings. They always make robots in the image of humans, which I find strange.
Human beings are amazing but they’re also pretty stupid at times.
HEY! PARANOID PEOPLE
This is like a confession, about conspiracy theories, and delusional voices
in your head. Sometimes with songs you get jumbles and juxtapositions
that may not make grammatical sense but sound and flow great together.
This and Human Error are linked. If they sound like episodes from some
science-fact documentary about the human condition and our mental processes,
well, I did my degree in sociology and psychology.
Christian wrote this after coming home at 5am after messing about on the
guitar. It was like an earworm that wouldn’t go away, a riff that
stuck in the head. He wrote it really quickly in the studio. Lyrically
it’s about the power of an amazing-looking person you can’t
take your eyes off, the power they have over you.
READY, SET, GO!
I guess, considering the title, this track should have gone first. We’ve
had the song for about three years and we tried to record it for the last
album [2006’s Smoke & Mirrors], but it took a long time to come
to fruition. So we decided to give it another go and it felt right now.
YEAH, YEAH, JUST ANOTHER MISTAKE
This is a good example of a song that I really fucking hated - we literally
did it in 10 minutes - and I hated it because it was so Datsuns! It was,
“Write me a Datsuns song.” “Ok, there you go.”
We always try to do things a little bit differently, and we sometimes
want to push the boundaries of what The Datsuns can be, but I ended up
loving this one for all the opposite reasons. The lyrics come from me
thinking it was a mistake to do this song. But now I’m glad we did.
EYE OF THE NEEDLE
This is a good example of things developing spontaneously, being in a
room together and just playing; coming up with something and recording
it. How good are we as players? It varies. Christian and Ben are pretty
amazing - Christian plays some amazing slide guitar here – whereas
Phil and I come from a more garage or punk school of plugging in and playing.
Christian is very learned and Phil and I are… not. Are we like two
bands in one? Well, that’s always been a difficult - and interesting
- thing about the band. The Pink Floyd One Of These Days bassline? We
take our influences from so many places, from different historical contexts
and opposing camps, but we try and throw it all together.
This is catchy power pop: it’s more Cheap Trick than AC/DC, even
though we’re meant to sound like Deep Purple. Maybe we’re
heavier than we think. It’s very much based on that pop aesthetic,
with lots of hooks. I loved Cheap Trick’s image, and they exploited
it really well, with the hunks at the front on their Harleys, and the
geeks at the back on their trikes. What’s the Datsuns image? Don’t
get me started on that! It’s not something we have ever sat down
and tried to shape . I’ve always been in two minds about that kind
of thing though. It can be amazingly successful, marketing-wise, and it
can be an interesting framework for art. For a while I thought it might
be nice to put on a costume or a superhero outfit before hitting the stage
or going into an interview, where everything becomes a bit more cartoon-y
and exaggerated. Almost like stepping into character. But we haven’t
given ourselves the luxury of that so it’s not so clear cut, we
change opinions on things and we all have conflicting viewpoints to each
other, which is much more human I suppose.
CRUEL CRUEL FATE
I wanted this to sound like Motown meets Datsuns, but our engineer Kalle
(also bass player in Soundtrack Of Our Lives) was pleased because he reckons
it’s got that Status Quo boogie. I wasn’t that impressed to
hear that. Its about a couple who’ve been together for a long time
and they’re exhaustively trying to make their relationship work
when obviously it’s not going to, but it’s a shame when they’re
both good people.
This is about moral panic, about society persecuting, vilifying and being
jealous of youth. I wrote it a couple of years ago when I was living in
England. There was a lot of talk about ASBOs and a lot of screeching about
these so-called hoodies and the general moral decay of society while at
the same time the country was in a war that has killed thousands of people.
So we thought it would be fun to send up the headlines.
CRY CRY BABY
This song is quite linked with Cruel Cruel Fate, thematically –
it’s about relationships. We’re exorcising demons that have
been around for a while. This is a straight-up ‘60s garage song.
PITY PITY PLEASE
This is almost like a ‘90s throwback: we wanted it to sound like
Dinosaur Jr, or Rocket From The Crypt’s spinoff band Hot Snakes,
who were really abrasive. This is from the Christian school of songwriting:
he likes a lot of fuzz on the guitar, psychedelic breakdowns and feedback
a la Sonic Youth.
This started out as an average Who-esque pop-rock song, but we got really
bored after not being able to nail it, so I sat down with an acoustic
guitar in the studio with our engineer, and he said, “Play it like
The Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Five minutes later we played it more like
[The Beatles’] Tomorrow Never Knows and recorded it in one take.
It’s a little psychedelic, spontaneous and instinctive.