Abe Dunovits’ tangled tale: From military regime to Music Victoria nominee

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Abe Dunovits’ tangled tale: From military regime to Music Victoria nominee

Words by Tammy Walters

Melbourne musical melange, Abe Dunovits has spent thirty years crafting his unique blend of rock and roll meets pop rock, with an underlying Latin, Spanish and Africa fusion and a dash of experimental to garnish. 

The Argentinian born songwriter lived his early years in an oppressive military regime, fleeing poverty with his family to the then-prosperous Madrid, where he encountered the fiercely ebullient, blossoming social, art and music scene of early 80’s Spain.

Though the Spanish rock scene had long been embedded in the culture, it wasn’t until the rock ‘n’ roll loving Dunovits chanced on Pixies’ Spanish-song cover of Yardbird classic, ‘Evil Hearted You’, that he embraced the Spanish musical cuisine.

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“I was like ‘Oh my god that is such a revelation’ because I wasn’t listening to rock in Spanish at the time, which has been going for as long as rock ‘n’ roll has been around, but I never connected with that expression of music,” Dunovits explains.

He did, however, connect with The Clash and their punk aesthetic which has gone on to influence the majority of his music. This was the blueprint for his 2020 debut solo album, Sigh of the Times. 

“The Clash are 80-100% my biggest influence, although this record is more Sonic Youth. They had that sensibility, especially in the later albums, using music and rhythms from other places. For me it was the desire to have my Latin-American heritage with my other heritage which is rock n roll.”

A current shortlisted candidate for the ‘Best Intercultural Act’ at the Music Victoria Awards for 2021, Dunovits is also a former member of band Amaru Tribe, which have graced the Music Victoria Awards nomination list multiple times in the past.

He’s proud his rich cultural concoction is being embraced on the Australian shores.

“To get that recognition especially after last year – it was a hard year for many people but the product of what I created last year was mostly to do with my personal life. My dad passed away after suffering from dementia amongst other things – so I’m really stoked about that,” he says.

Now back with album number two, Transparent, set for release Thursday 30 September, Dunovits extends from Sigh of the Times which documented his fathers descent into dementia, this time tackling the grieving process. 

“I’ve always used music and writing and the arts in some ways as a healing therapy. Ever since I can remember; when I migrated to Australia I was about 17 and to be uprooted from somewhere is quite traumatic in some ways, but for me it was a cultural shock. I turned that into writing and expressing myself. I think I turned that writing into a more creative outlet like poetry and music and songs. Writing the songs for Transparent was therapeutic – they all came out at the same time which was like giving birth to something.” 

He combines his emotional rollercoaster of 2020 with his punkier past, whilst introducing electronic elements, this time singing only in English.

“This album that I am currently releasing is a bit more in that rock ‘n’ roll/ punk vein but perhaps a bit more electronic than other stuff I’ve done before. It’s more electronic with the beat but I tried to keep that punk aesthetic in the ‘going hard with no solos’. I wanted to do something more raw and primal and not so much to do with guitar technique and scales; I don’t mind that in other types of music but it was what came to me in the moment. It was just letting go and singing anything that came into my head and this is what came out – a stream of consciousness.” 

You can stream Transparent on all trusted streaming platforms.