Frank Iero and Travis Stever reflect on the genesis of the project, the creative lifeline it provided and the current honeymoon period that suggests the best is yet to come.

With the entire live music industry shut down in the midst of a global pandemic, starting a band may not have sounded like the best idea back in 2020.

As all touring plans ground to a halt and inspiration became limited to the confines of four walls, for many creatives it would have taken something truly special to defy the stagnation that thrived in such darkness – but as luck would have it, that’s exactly how the story of L.S. Dunes begins.

Starting out life as a group chat between long-term friends during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, L.S. Dunes was born from a sheer desire to create and a refusal to succumb to nature’s obstacles. Over the last year three years though, it’s blossomed into something much more powerful than any of its members could have imagined.

“In the beginning, it was a big lifeline,” guitarist Frank Iero starts.

“Our industry was one of the first ones to go and the last to come back, but this band gave us hope. It gave me the ability to be creative in a world that was virtually void of all creativity, and at a time that we were all struggling. Most of us had tours booked, and we were ready to go when the pandemic happened, so when we came home the darkness began creeping in. This gave us a light at the end of that tunnel.”

Creatively starved and writing remotely with no expectations, it wasn’t long before the five-piece realised this was more than just a lockdown project to stave off their boredom, and by the time the first demo was finished – they knew they had something special. 

Embracing a healthy competitive spirit and challenging one another to step outside their comfort zones whilst adding their own unique mark to each track, the creative freedom saw them venturing into new realms of prog-rock, post-hardcore, and emo. As more and more ideas came together, it wasn’t long before a debut album had formed, and with ‘Past Lives’ – L.S. Dunes was truly born.

“I was so excited for people to hear the record because I loved it so much. However, there were those thoughts creeping in before the release like, ‘Are we crazy? Have we been locked up for too long?’,” Frank laughs.

“I had moments where I’d be tearing up listening to the record because I was so proud, but then I’d stop and be like, ‘Wait a minute, this is insane!’,” guitarist Travis Stever adds.

“We had to remember not to put too much weight on how people would perceive it. If you’re making art, it’s hard not to do that, but we were very lucky in that sense.”

With a star-studded line up also featuring Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin) along with Tucker Rule and Tim Payne (Thursday), after the surprise single drop of ‘Permanent Rebellion’ ignited the internet in late August 2022, anticipation for a debut show was at an all-time high. 

Having only practiced in the same room as one another on two occasions prior, a performance at Chicago’s Riot Fest was a bold move for show number one – especially with Frank pulling double duty with My Chemical Romance headlining the night – but at Douglass Park on September 16th, L.S. Dunes took to the stage for the first time.

“It was beyond what any of us expected. We were getting ready to go out there thinking, ‘If there are a few hundred people out there, that’s cool!’,” Travis laughs.

“All of a sudden, we got on stage, and even though we only had one song out – people knew every fucking word to that song. It was exciting to watch them hang onto every other melody we were playing too. It was pretty mind blowing.”

“It’s certainly the biggest first show I’ve ever played with a band!” Frank smirks.

A mammoth debut show that could arguably have gone one of two ways, L.S. Dunes’ landmark set filled up the tank and left its five members itching for more, rounding out the year with further shows across the US and Canada before hopping across the Atlantic for their first shows in the UK and Europe to celebrate the new year.

A busy schedule triggered by the triumphant return of the live music industry, the last twelve months has seen L.S. Dunes balancing their duties with the responsibilities of their other respective projects, as well as fulfilling their family roles outside of music, a feat that has seemed remarkably natural for the five-piece. 

“When real life came back, and we were able to go back to our respective bands and do other things… that served as testament to how much we love L.S. Dunes. It’s easy to focus your energy and creativity on something when nothing else exists, but when everything else came back we still wanted to be a part of this.” Frank explains.

“It’s like being a dad. You’re never truly prepared to have a kid, or another kid, but somehow you find a way. You find the extra love in your heart, and you find the extra time to dedicate to something that you truly care about, and that’s how it felt with this band. Schedules are difficult, but they’re not insurmountable. Anything worth doing is a little hard to do.”

Touring across the US throughout the summer, they’ve come to realise that whilst they have a deep love for this band and the journey it’s taking them on – there are thousands of strangers who love it too. 

With people across the world connecting to the songs on ‘Past Lives’, as they’ve witnessed people showing up at venue doors hours before they open and shared the artwork sent to them online by talented fans, L.S. Dunes have begun fostering a passionate community of their own unique creation. 

“As artists we often wonder if we’re the only ones who like what we do,” Frank explains.

“When people go out of their way to show their support, it’s a wonderful feeling, but it is a bit shocking. In the beginning, I think there were people who just wanted to see what it was about because they were fans of our other projects, but we’re treading into the territory of people just being L.S. Dunes fans. That’s an incredibly fulfilling feeling.”

It’s how L.S. Dunes have been able to shed the ‘supergroup’ label first plastered on them upon their line-up reveal, having proved the project worthy of its own merit through the spirit of their live shows. 

A constantly growing entity, new ideas have been explored within every rehearsal and practice they’ve had, and whilst finding time to record and release those ideas may be a little harder to schedule – when it happens, it’s magic.

Most recently, they headed to the desert to record two new tracks at the legendary Rancho de la Luna studio in Joshua Tree, California, with producer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta). With filmmakers Pat and Nick Demarais capturing the recording process for a documentary titled ‘Limitless Sky’, it was the first time the five of them had been able to record music whilst in the same room.

“You need to be in the room with one another to be able to hear things and respond immediately. That immediacy is lost when you’re recording remotely, and to be able to react, evolve, and change on a dime is so fun,” Frank recalls.

“The stars aligned for us with that opportunity, and it was such a fun thing to do within a group of friends. When something like that happens, it becomes a milestone within your band. It’s proof of what you can do if you set your mind to it, and I can’t wait for people to hear the other song that we did out in the desert. It’s a night and day scene – ‘Benadryl Subreddit’ is the days in the desert, and ‘Old Wounds’ is the nights spent out there.” 

As the first year of L.S. Dunes draws to a close, the five-piece find themselves in a unique position. 

The product of five extraordinary musicians with extraordinary ambitions, the special qualities of each member can be heard in everything the band creates. Funnelling their individual creative inspirations into a project defined by infinite possibilities, every voice is equal, every idea is valued, and experimentation is the key to forward motion. 

From the passion of their live shows to the sheer joy that radiates when they speak of their future, it’s clear that L.S. Dunes is the favourite band of everyone within its ranks. Proving that greatness can be achieved with the help of hard work, friendship, and a healthy dose of fun, with a second LP already well underway – largely written whilst on the road together – they’re showing no signs of slowing down. 

“We’re working on all this new material, but the other side of it is showing that we’re taking it seriously,” Travis explains.

“You have to consistently be out doing shows and touring, and luckily, we love doing that.

“With all due respect to our other projects, this is one of the funnest bands I’ve ever been in,” Frank finishes. 

“I love the camaraderie within the band, and we’re still in our honeymoon period! You can put in a lot of work with other bands, and although it’s fun, sometimes you need a little vacation – this is a vacation band for me.”

L.S. Dunes finish their summer headlining tour this week with two dates spanning Northern and Southern California before heading to Chicago next month to revisit RIot Fest.

The band then begin an extensive fall run supporting Pierce the Veil on the Jaws of Life Tour along with Dayseeker and Destroy Boys. Dates and cities can be found below.


11/4 — Sacramento, CA — Hard Rock Live
11/5 — Fresno, CA — Fresno Convention Center
11/7 — Phoenix, AZ — Arizona Financial Theatre
11/8 — El Paso, TX — UTEP Don Haskins Center
11/10 — San Antonio, TX — The Espee
11/11 — Edinburg, TX — Bert Ogden Arena
11/12 — Houston, TX — 713 Music Hall
11/14 — Orlando, FL — House of Blues
11/15 — Orlando, FL — House of Blues
11/17 — Myrtle Beach, SC — House of Blues
11/18 — Corbin, KY — The Corbin Arena
11/19 — Macon, GA — Macon City Auditorium
11/21 — Boston, MA — MGM Music Hall at Fenway
11/25 — Reading, PA — Santander Arena
11/26 — Columbus, OH — KEMBA Live!
11/28 — Chesterfield, MO — The Factory
11/30 — Chicago, IL — Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom
12/2 — Des Moines, IA — Vibrant Music Hall
12/3 — Minneapolis, MN — The Armory
12/5 — Oklahoma City, OK — The Criterion
12/7 — Las Vegas, NV — Brooklyn Bowl
12/8 — San Diego, CA — Viejas Arena