Unwrapped: Anto Dust – Sinners Sing

We had a chat with Anto Dust to find out a bit more about their captivating latest single ‘Sinners Sing’

At the start of the month, Anto Dust released their stunning and ethereal new single ‘Sinners Sing’, an intoxicatingly gripping, cinematic new release that we lauded on the site and have been listening to, captivated ever since.

The alluring soundscape of the track and its enchanting emotional depth have led us to want to find out more about the way that it was conceived and some of the concepts and ideas behind it. The track is packed full of intrigue and has such a beguiling charm and sense of magic to it, so we wanted to pull back the curtain and find out everything that there is to know. We had a chat with Anto Dust and discussed the track, their signature sound, and what else they have planned in their exciting future.

Hey! We love your new single ‘Sinners Sing’, what more can you tell us about it?

It’s incredible to see how well the song has been received by the press and the audience. We are incredibly humbled by the support and the kind words we have been reading on magazines and blogs. When we first started working on ‘Sinners Sing’ we knew we had something special and wanted to give it the best possible treatment and production. For this reason we contacted Robert L Smith, Oscar and Grammy winner, producer of Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and David Bowie. We weren’t expecting such warm, enthusiastic reaction from him and he’s been amazing throughout the mixing and mastering process. He really helped us elevate the song and gave us a super professional, polished, modern sound. He’s been an incredible help and supported the band with his mentorship and knowledge of mainstream music. Working with Robert has been an eye-opening experience for all of us and challenged us to write better, produce better, while encouraging us to believe in who we are and in what we do. Having someone like him on board has worked wonders for our confidence and also our creativity.

What was the process of putting together?

Antonio: I remember arriving at Anto’s house (at the time she and Dave were living together) as we were working on a couple of different songs. I clearly remember sitting on the sofa together and she had her little acoustic guitar (a mini martin) and I had my semi-acoustic, and we were messing about and she says something like “listen to this” and she played Sinners Sing. I distinctively remember the chorus just bringing a smile to my face as it was so powerful, it managed to be both cheerful and melancholic at the same time, and I guess one of those that you find yourself whistling to straight away. It all developed from there. We obviously enriched it a bit, adding some colour, some different picking and strumming. But the song was there from the beginning and a few cuppas later we had pretty much a finished product.

Anto: I was going through the biggest hangover of my life and I remember re-emerging from my room after sleeping for days, I picked up the guitar and the words just flew out of me, almost unchanged to what they are now. The melody just was there from the start, I can’t explain it, it was always there somewhere inside my head. We started to play it live straight after and the audience responded very well to it. After our break, due to the pandemic, we just picked it back up and I worked with Joe Donaldson on the initial score of the music. He added so much to the song in terms of soundscapes and later on Antonio’s guitars were able to add that little extra dreamy touch we love. Eleanor and our friend Maddy helped with backing vocals, giving the song depth and emotion, while Dave recorded and engineered the vocals at his studio in Shepherds Bush. When Robert L Smith heard the rough mix, he loved it and he was amazing throughout the mixing process, very helpful in reining me in and stopping me from adding too much reverb everywhere!

Dave: Anto and I were living in the same flat a while back and there were a few days where I barely saw her because she was just sort of hibernating in her room. Then one evening she walked into the lounge with her acoustic guitar and said, “can I play you this new song I wrote?” and it was Sinners Sing. I was blown away and knew we had to do something with it.

What was the biggest influence when creating the track?

Anto: I adore Lana Del Rey. I try to imagine what it would be like if she sang the song, and I draw a lot of inspiration from her when it comes the singing style and harmonies. David Bowie is also a constant source of inspiration to me. I was listening to The National and M83 a lot when writing the music for this song.

Antonio: I always try to think of what best serves the song, both in terms of guitar parts and also sound. I have a pretty bluesy/rock background, so most of my riffs are inspired by that. I am a sucker for simple and catchy riffs that can help set the tone for the entire song, but sinners sing is one of those songs that didn’t need any of that. It was just great the way it was. The main thing for me was getting the sound right, like for example I don’t want a long delay in the arpeggio, I want a bright sound but I also want depth and mood. For Sinners Sing I genuinely was just inspired by the song and the meaning of it.

Eleanor: We’ve always loved harmonies of any kind, from 60s girl groups to folk songs. Anto and I wanted to create backing vocals that gave the song a celestial and dreamy quality while adding real emotion! There is something just magical when you sing a harmony together and it just clicks!

We love the cinematic ethereal quality of your sound. Where do you draw inspiration for that from?

Antonio: I love it too! When Anto and I were working on a song called Traitors Gate (old catalogue!) I kept thinking how awesome it would be to have an orchestra behind, and that thought stuck for ages. When she played A Larkin to me, our first single, I was over the moon that it had such a clear and powerful cinematic backdrop. From there I think we all became pretty obsessed with the idea of having dreamy, almost psychedelic (David Gilmour-y?) sounds against a more cinematic, orchestral backdrop. I think it’s such an interesting experience both for us as musicians but also for the listeners.

Anto: Oh I just want to be in the movies! In fact, I always try to imagine what a song would sound like in a film, it helps me visualise it. Everything I’ve ever written started off with a thought: can this be in a David Lynch film? If the answer was yes, then I would be satisfied. More recently we started working with Joe Donaldson and he just brought us that extra layer of magic we were missing. He does music for documentaries and when he told me he was up for working together I was simply over the moon. His vision met mine on all accounts and the band loves the new direction as much as I do.

What else do you have planned for the future?

Antonio: We are very excited about what we are doing now. We are working really well together, and hopefully this comes across clearly in the songs and the production. We are also incredibly humbled by the support we have been receiving from people in the industry, who are really giving us a huge boost in confidence. The album will be ready in spring 2024 and we are putting pen to paper to write another one already!

Anto: Come see us play at The Lexington in London on the 1st of December, we will bring you a very dreamy show!