RIP Dunes

Biography RIP Dunes

RIP Dunes
When something captures Matthew Iwanusa’s attention, he tends to dive in all the way—whether it’s the city he grew up in (New York), the basketball team he obsesses over (The Knicks), or the indelible images of his youth. The songwriter grew up in Brooklyn, but every summer his family would make the 10-hour drive to a getaway home on Lake Michigan. And for someone whose music has always felt a bit nostalgic, it only makes sense that a new project would be named in honor of the dunes that loomed over his childhood.

Music-making and New York living have always been the fabric of Iwanusa’s life. His father’s a jazz composer, his mother a longtime music teacher in the New York City public school system. He got his first Mickey Mouse drum set at the age of three, and started singing in the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus at the age of six. So it wasn’t long before he started writing songs of his own. After a series of bands, things kicked into a new gear when he formed Caveman in 2010 with a few old friends. The band toured the world alongside artists like The War on Drugs, Weezer, Jeff Tweedy, Built to Spill, Ra Ra Riot, Frightened Rabbit, and Phosphorescent.

As evidenced by his work in Caveman, Iwanusa has always loved synths—but he wanted to move away from that as a driving force this time around. His work on RIP Dunes kicked off right before the pandemic, sparked in part by the purchase of a 12- string guitar. A growing love of a new instrument paired with an inability to leave the house opened up a new avenue into songwriting for him.

He cites Echo and the Bunnymen, The Church, and The Cure as influences on his new songs. “I like the dark elements of that music,” he says.

RIP Dunes has released a collection of singles throughout 2023, with more songs on the way this year ahead of a full album scheduled for early 2024. The self-titled LP paints a lush sonic landscape, featuring effortless melodies and senses of euphoria, accompanied by pangs foreboding mystery and darkness that keep the listener engaged to the album’s sentiment — what does it mean? Who am I? Is it real?

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