Video PREMIERE/Interview: Michael Dunstan’s new single ‘An Open Road’ packs your belongings and lets you leave it all behind.
With an ease akin to sitting fireside with close friends, Michael Dunstans latest track 'An Open Road' wanders through golden memories of tranquil south coast Western Australia. Paired with a calming yet thought provoking video that will leave you feeling the urge to pack up the car and head south for a while..
A musing of all things bigger than us, the warm fingerstyle nylon guitar, delicate piano and melodic falsetto vocal harmonies cast a flowing river of calm and content. At 4 minutes 15 seconds, ‘An Open Road’ winds gently through an ever-changing countryside, reminding that in the realisation of our insignificance, is a great sense of freedom.
"Maybe all we ever needed was nothing. Maybe all we ever needed was all around us".
Reading about 'An Open Road' definitely instills a sense of calm, what provoked you to write about this sensation and was it only the south west that inspired this track?
howdy! I was sitting on the front porch of our suburban house in Perth, really longing to be elsewhere. I'm not sure what it is, but every year I promise myself I'll tee something up for winter, whether it be work up north or tour somewhere foreign. But winter always gets me, and I don't think I've managed to spend one away from home yet. 'An Open Road' was written with the tranquility of Denmark in mind. The place is inspiring, and has a natural aura that fills a soul with that little spark that reminds you of your insignificance, and how special the world is. I cherish every moment I get to spend down there in winter, I truly believe it's one of the best kept secrets in the world. It's a place that for me that inspires and reminds me that you do not need a single thing other than your surroundings and good company find content and happiness.
It's definitely not just the south-west that inspired the track, but generally quieter and more natural places, where simplicity helps still the mind and fill the heart.
The release was mastered in the US by the Grammy Award winning Adam Ayan and recorded in Western Australia with Andrew Lawson at Debaser Studios (Riley Pearce, Eskimo Joe). Nestled in bushland in the foothills of Perth, the quiet setting of the studio is perfect for evoking the calm effortlessness that is trademark throughout ‘An Open Road’. With soothing synth-based wind swirls, subtle piano and ambient electric guitar, there is a full experience at hand that feels as if you’re immersed in the ocean staring into a deep blue sky, with nowhere to be.
"Time slows here, we don’t need much"
What can we expect from the music video accompaniment? Does it challenge or calm its viewers?
Bit of both really! It's almost a bit of a parody, but I think it gets the point across well. Basically, old pal Jordy Maxwell followed me down to Denmark with camera in hand, and filmed me in some incredibly scenic locations dressed in a white suit. I don't enjoy the locations, I'm too busy on my phone and laptop, I've got things to do, success to reach, money to make and people to impress. I'm a 21st century legend. Who cares about the scenery?
Sorry that was passive aggressive, basically this film clip makes fun of myself, but more importantly the disconnected world we live in today. It's definitely a blatant suggestion that we have lost the plot a little, whether it's knowingly or unknowingly. Ironically, you'll have to sit on your phone or laptop disconnected to watch the film clip. It might be an exaggeration of real life, but truthfully, it's how the majority of us live our lives now and it saddens me. There's a whole real tangible world out for us all to touch, feel and experience. immerse yourself in it's beauty and calm.
Michael is currently narrowing down a large body of writing ahead of recording his debut album titled ‘In The Grand Scheme’ in October 2019, scheduled for release February 2020.
How is the writing process for the new album going? Does it follow a similar theme to what we've heard from you so far or will it be contrasting to your past releases?
The new album writing process has been steady! As of September I think I had finished 13 new demos for the album, with a couple of half finished songs. It's definitely a different release. It's actually coming from a more positive outlook than the last EP, and for a simple way of putting it, it's definitely a 'better vibe'. Nylon fingerstyle guitar features pretty heavily, and overall I'd say the music in the album is more 'pretty' than the older releases. It's going to be called 'In The Grand Scheme' and for the most part it's written about a journey of the realisation of my insignificance and the associated liberation that comes with it. I have worked with my good friend from Esperance, Joseph Franzone on this record. He will be bringing his magic touch on the drums to the album. There's a good couple songs about a pretty bizarre heartbreak/ unfinished chapter in there too, they mean an immense amount to me and I feel are some of the key tracks in the album.
Venturing far from his quaint regional upbringing in the vast Western Australian Wheatbelt, Michael Dunstan has accomplished a huge amount for being only 23 years old. Touring Australia four times and New Zealand twice in the last 18 months with shows largely sold out.
Up until now, what has been your most memorable musical memory?
Jeez. It all really does blur into one big journey, but there's been a one or two special instances where I've met someone at a show and they've told me a personal story that shakes you to your core. I think the most profound instance was at Blue Smoke in Christchurch on the recent tour. I had a pretty grim chat with a young man for some time about our mental health, and he openly admitted a few things to me that was so incredibly brave, hectic and inspiring for me. I've been touching around the edges on the last few sentences, because it isn't an easy topic, but he was talking about suicide.
I write songs in my room and wherever I travel, mostly as a means for me to try help navigate my way through the puzzle of life's ever-changing ways, to find some respite and peace of mind. To hear that someone has found value, comfort, or even great strength in your music through dark and tough time, in my opinion is the most rewarding thing possible in this musical journey. Connection is the greatest gift of music, and writing music, I am truly grateful for it.
An Open Road’ is available on all digital platforms worldwide from Friday October 11th 2019.