The End: Duncan Wallis and Robin Richards of Dutch Uncles | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  

The End: Duncan Wallis and Robin Richards of Dutch Uncles

Puppet Love

Mar 24, 2023 Photography by Oliver Sangster Web Exclusive
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To end the week, we ask Duncan Wallis and Robin Richards of Dutch Uncles some questions about endings and death.

Dutch Uncles formed in 2008 in Marple, England, in the Greater Manchester area, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2009 on Tapete. From their 2011-released sophomore album, Cadenza, onwards they’ve been signed to Memphis Industries. That includes their new album, the recently released True Entertainment. The album follows 2017’s Big Balloon and was announced via its title track, shared via a video featuring singer Wallis performing the song live as karaoke. Anna Prior of Metronomy features on the album. On release day, Dutch Uncles celebrated by putting out a limited edition True Entertainment Pizza, sold at The Beagle in Chorlton for one night only. It was a pizza that featured chips (or French fries for U.S. readers) on top, since Dutch Uncles have a podcast called Chips of Chorlton.

Wallis had this to say about True Entertainment in a press release announcing the album: “True Entertainment is a soundtrack for the pursuit of anonymity within ever-changing societal norms, and the trappings that come with it. Those trappings are presented in a series of life-changing scenarios and epiphanies that include: abandoning one’s identity and accepting one’s generation as a useless vessel; to suffering for betterment and dealing with challenges from other generations.”

Richards plays bass in Dutch Uncles and the band also features guitarist Pete Broadhead and drummer Andy Proudfoot.

Read on as Wallis and Richards discuss how they’d like to die, their favorite endings (to books, films, albums, and TV shows), the animal Richards would like to be reincarnated as, and why puppet love makes Wallis cry.

Duncan Wallis:

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

Bonking, probably, if a willing partner (and my pants department) will let me.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

Discussed many times and it’s always the same answer—the theme tune from the “children’s” TV show Tugs. A better sax solo you will not find.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

See above, but with Interpol playing it.

What’s your favorite ending to a movie?

Well, the “serious” entry that springs to mind is Tommy Lee Jones’ monologue in No Country For Old Men. As much as it could be analyzed, it’s essentially a haunting reality of dealing with one’s own failure, and has a very unsettling bleakness to it.

On another haunting vibe, the ending to Vertigo actually made me yelp in the cinema on first view.

Ultimately though, these all pale in comparison to the ending of Muppets Take Manhattan. Piggy and Kermy finally tying the knot in Broadway musical fashion has me balling every goddamn time.

What’s your favorite last line in a book?

“Passerine spread his arms in a gesture that seemed to belong to the priesthood of some remote culture; perhaps to a descending angel. The auctioneer cleared his throat. Oedipa settled back, to await the crying of lot 49.”

There’s a lot of noise (on the internet, as I look for it right now) about what this means, especially concerning the theory that The Crying of Lot 49 is a fable regarding the lack of answers within succumbing to the world of conspiracy theories, but at the time I personally felt that this line meant that she was surrounded by the secret society she had been attempting to unravel and was probably about to be killed or made their Queen, but you tell me—that is, if you can get through the completely fictionalized Jacobean play half way through the book.

What’s your favorite series finale last ever episode of a TV show?

Sopranos, every time. In fact, on the rare occasion I find myself DJing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” I always make a point of cutting it off in the exact same fashion as the show does with the dramatic silence afterward, before playing “Mambo Number 5” or some shit.

What’s your favorite last song on an album?

So many different reasons and choices to go with on this (the inner skinny jeans in me are crying out for “Yesterday Never Tomorrows” by The Stills as I type) but in the face of a blunt or dramatic expectation, I will go with a warm rejoice and for that feeling there really is no better song than Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Forget” at the end of their experimental opus Tusk.

I was utterly devastated at the news of Christine McVie’s passing last year, and felt I’d actually lost a mother I’d never met. I think it’s the person she laid out in song; such an unbelievably vulnerable voice that knew their worth and would never pretend if things weren’t okay, and yet could still shrug all that off with a smile if you ever got to tell her how much it had meant to you. Heart and soul personified, and the bookend songs “Over and Over” and “Never Forget” on Tusk are some of her finest contributions to the band and the world.


What’s your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

I’d like to say Marvin Gaye’s “Midnight Love,” but he wasn’t a band, and he didn’t so much break up with music as he did life by getting brutally shot by his dad, so with that in mind I’ll probably just have to say the self-titled one album wonder that was Clor. Never ceases to amaze me how they tested all their material out for it during DJ sets at the Brixton Windmill of all places.

Robin Richards:

What’s your favorite way a band broke up?

I remember when the band Million Dead split up (I’m pretty sure they were mid-tour…) and in the press release they said “this isn’t musical differences, it’s just differences.” I quite liked the honesty there.

Whose passing has most affected you?

I think Prince’s death in 2016 still hits me every so often. He was still making amazing music right up until he passed, there was so much more magic he had up his purple sleeves.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

Poppadums, chili paneer, makhan fish, peshwari naan, mushroom rice, chicken shaslik—from Namaste in Didsbury. So unbelievably full every time we go there, so maybe I would just ask for enough food so I could just eat myself to death.

What’s your concept of the afterlife?

I like to think there is some kind of afterlife. An alternate reality where we can live on—enjoying the things we enjoyed in life with the ones we loved and lost.

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

Without sounding too smug, as I write this I’m currently lying on a sun lounger in Lanzarote with a beautiful view of the sea in front of me. If heaven is anything like this current scene, I’d be happy.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

A diet of only goat cheese, and that creepy Tik Tok father and sons group The Famileigh dancing in front of me for eternity.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

A cat. They lead a pretty cushy life, and even when they’re being dickheads they get away with it because they’re adorable.

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

For my work as bass player and composer in Dutch Uncles would probably be the obvious thing to say. However, I’ll go with this time I kicked a basketball off the ground straight through the hoop at the other end of the court. Nobody saw me do it and few people believe I did it. But it did happen, so yeah, that.

What would you like your last words to be?

“I once kicked a basket ball from the ground straight through the hoop at the other end of the court.”

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