Skylyne Spotlight: DUUNES

Written By: Chris Arencibia

Photo by Shervin Lanez

Do you ever find yourself grasping for a time when you felt young? Nostalgia is a desire to replay our coming-of-age moments, reliving the core memories that remind us of being young and remind us of a time where life was simple. In my freshman year of college, I took a Megabus to New York with some friends to see a show we saw in the basements of Philly a hundred times. It was my first time in New York as a newly independent teenager and I can’t remember ever feeling so alive, dumb, and full of hope.

When I first listened to the debut single from indie alternative band DUUNES, I was instantly transported back to this feeling - naive bliss and heart-pumping adrenaline. “Fever Dream” is a coming-of-age anthem that somehow perfectly captures the feeling of letting a wild night in the city take you in and let you go - “sliding down the gutter of a Saturday night” and never feeling "so alive".

I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with frontman Harrison Cohen for a long time, but we recently had the opportunity to chat about his band DUUNES, the new single, and what fans can look forward to coming out soon.

SKYLYNE: What’s the meaning behind your artist name? How did you land on it?

DUUNES: I’ve always gravitated towards one word band names like Spoon, Beck, The Killers and The Strokes. When dunes came up while brainstorming, I started to think about what a dune is. A dune is something that weather storms, is resilient by nature and is constantly adapting to it’s environment. These qualities resonate a lot with who I am at my core which led me to name the project DUUNES.

SKYLYNE: How long did it take for you to develop the current sound of your project?

DUUNES: It came together pretty fast. From the start, I knew what direction I wanted to go in and from there it all came together.

SKYLYNE: Your live show is absolutely electric. Can you describe how your stage presence has developed over the years and what kind of preparation leads into a show?

DUUNES: Thank you! I would like to think that it has gotten better over time. As far as show preparation, I don’t have any rituals or do special things before a gig. When I walk on the stage, I feel this indescribable energy that takes over and I run with it.

Photo by Alex Choi

SKYLYNE: I can attest, that energy definitely comes through to everyone in the audience. Switching gears to your debut single “Fever Dream” - it's an undeniable indie rock anthem. What went into the decision to make this your lead single?

DUUNES: Wow, that means a lot! My team and I felt that it was a great introduction to DUUNES and what the project is about.

SKYLYNE: This song makes me want to be a teenager sprinting through the streets of New York at 3am with my best friends. How did you so perfectly capture that feel-good adrenaline-pumping feeling that we all strive for? Did you draw from a certain experience?

DUUNES: When writing “Fever Dream” with my producer Cass Dillon, I knew that I wanted to make a high energy song about surrendering yourself to a Saturday night in NYC. At the time, I was listening to a lot of The Vaccines, Young The Giant, and The Killers and was drawn to the pulsing energy of songs like “Do You Wanna,” “My Body,” and “Caution.” The songwriting process began when I picked up one of Cass’s guitars, laid down a riff, and started free styling a melody over what would become the verse and pre-chorus. Everything started to fall into place from there.

Cass has a large monitor in his studio where we played movies in the background to help bring out the mood of the song. While writing, we had on Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling. Definitely not a feel good movie but it’s filled with killer visuals reminiscent of a fever dream and was a source of inspiration.

As far as capturing that feel-good adrenaline-pumping feeling we all strive for, Cass and I gave it our best shot. His production on this song is transcendent. Lyrically, I drew a lot from my experience going out in NYC in places such as the Lower East Side, Bushwick, and Williamsburg.

SKYLYNE: From a career standpoint, what’s more important to you - the longevity of your music or the constant development of your business and art?

DUUNES: I don’t think like this. I’m just focused on making quality music that I feel proud of, putting my all into my craft, and hoping that people enjoy what I’m doing.

Photo by Shauna Hilferty

SKYLYNE: What’s your personal benchmark for “making it” in music?

DUUNES: That’s a tough question. For me it would be sharing the stage with someone like Britt Daniel of Spoon or Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys.

SKYLYNE: Let's manifest that for your future, I'll 100% be at that show. Now for some fun questions - who was your biggest artist crush when you were younger? Biggest artist crush today?

DUUNES: My biggest artist crush is currently Alana Haim. I’m a big fan of her band Haim. I got to see them at MSG in 2022 and it was one of the best gigs I went to that year. All of them are so talented and are incredible musicians and performers. Growing up it was Feist. I fell in love with her album The Reminder. During her performance on Letterman in 2007, she was accompanied by an indie music fan’s dream lineup. She shared the stage that night with Bahamas, members of Grizzly Bear, and Broken Social Scene (which she was a part of).

SKYLYNE: I’ll never forget the night you performed “My Humps” on top of a pool table at a karaoke dive bar in Philly. What’s your go-to karaoke song these days?

DUUNES: It’s still “My Humps.”

Photo by Alex Choi

SKYLYNE: What’s your biggest beef with today’s music industry?

DUUNES: I don’t have beef. Life is full of obstacles and the music industry has lots of them. I’m just focused on moving forward.

SKYLYNE: Is there a fruit that best describes your vibe?

DUUNES: Blackberries. I eat them almost everyday.

SKYLYNE: Here’s your spotlight - tell us what you have going on and what’s coming up.

DUUNES: A few things: A song will be coming out sometime in the near future, I have a NYC gig at Heaven Can Wait on Friday, 11/17/2023, and more shows will be announced shortly in and out of the NYC area!