Out of the midst of a national lockdown a mysterious new beast has emerged in the form of Surrey grunge rockers Dude Safari. The band fuse catchy melodies with a bit of much-needed humour in a sound they summarise as “an over-inflated whoopie cushion of grungy hooks and earworms.”
The name Dude Safari actually came about seven years before any sign of a band was spotted. Jamie Tipson (guitar and vocals) mentioned the band name to his friend Ben Burroughes (rhythm guitar) at as a festival in 2013 then, after playing in various bands through the years, decided it was time to unleash the beast at the end of 2020. They completed the lineup with bassist Fred Higley and the Safari was given the go-ahead.
As Jamie tells us: “Lockdown made us talk about it, I started demoing some stuff as I was isolating as I had the dreaded C-WORD! It’s all fallen into place really fast, and it feels rad.”
To which Ben adds: “I remember drunkenly talking to Jamie about the idea of starting a band called Dude Safari 7 years ago and it was one of those drunken conversations where we were going to change the world and be the best band ever. Naturally we woke up the next morning with sore heads and got on with life. But the idea sort of stuck around and we would mention it every now and then. Then like Jamie said we started getting some demos together to start the year and it just felt right to kick it up a notch.”
The band have quickly honed a fun, engaging garage rock sound that Jamie describes as: “In the short time of our existence I keep using this quote…by me. ‘We sound like a Weezer flavoured Capri Sun,’ or to the American press I’ve used ‘Slushie.'”
To which, Ben adds: “Or a Weezer flavoured Panda Pop. Who remembers those?” And, to anyone under the age of 30, that’s not a shitty panda themed mobile game… and for what it’s worth, Cherry Panda Pop was the boss.
Anyway, with not a panda in sight, this particular Safari begins with the creepy-crawlies thanks to debut single Bug Hunter, which was recorded from the trio’s homes and released earlier this month.
It opens up with a chugging guitar and light drums with a cool little whistle sound, a cough and spoken vocals “OK, introducing, the insect electrocutioner.” Heavier drums and stabbing guitars kick in with a funky instrumental section that drops into a verse, which flows into a big catchy chorus “I’ll eat your innocence, You’re a carrier of misery my friend, Your existence is a tragedy, An avalanche of average needs.”
The fun stabbing guitars return and drop into another laid-back verse, which continues into a really laid-back section of light vocals and guitars before bursting into another big chorus. That gives way to big stabbing guitar chords over spoken vocals that bring the track to a rocky ending.
On the track, Fred tells us: “I think the initial reception has been really good and inspiring. It makes me really look forward to our future releases. Anyone who hasn’t listened to Bug Hunter yet should expect to get that warm fuzzy feeling inside like when you’ve just drank six espressos or when you’re driving a car through Siberia with state of the art seat warmers.”
While Ben says: “It’s been amazing. We have had such lovely reactions from everyone and it’s just been really nice to create something and get it out there in what are such awful times at the moment.”
Check out Bug Hunter in the lyric video below:
The Dude Safari sound has been heavily influenced by the likes of Weezer, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Foo Fighters and Reuben, who, in particular, Jamie tells us he named his son after! While the likes of The Offspring, Alkaline Trio, Queens of the Stone Age, Audioslave, Red Hot Chili Peppers have all been big influences on the band members.
And on what influences them to write music, Jamie tells us: “I wanted to write songs for Dude Safari with the somewhat principle ‘make feelings catchy.’ Bug Hunter may seem like a song about pest control but its about mental health. The idea that’s its a roach that just keeps bloody annoying you until you go to bed (to keep it short)! There’s actually a part two to Bug Hunter, which is the next single!”
As Jamie alludes to, there’s plenty more Safari action to come. They plan to release regular singles, with the next expected next month (April), and are on the lookout for a final piece to their puzzle with a drummer.
Jamie said: “We’ve already demoed a near album’s worth of material, which is bloody crazy when you think we only decided to start this band in late December… Probably not many gigs as we are still in need of a drummer. We wanted to release music quickly as we had the songs down and it felt right!”
To which Fred adds: “To write, record, release and repeat. Then hopefully when it’s safe to do so, be able to play our songs very loudly in front of other humans. We all share a deep passion for making music and hopefully making people who listen to our music feel good. We also share a dark and witty sense of humour.”