An Inside Look At Costa Mesa’s ‘Bonus Ducks’

(Photo courtesy of the Bonus Ducks bandcamp page)

“Internet music” takes a new turn. 

The music industry is a massive one, one that isn’t always easy to get into. But that doesn’t stop local bands from expressing their craft anyway. This case is one right here in Costa Mesa, in the form of “Bonus Ducks.”

Bonus Ducks could be considered an amalgamation of a bunch of different genres. And according to their bandcamp, it’s “internet music.” 

But what exactly is ‘internet music?’

Well, that and a bunch of other questions I had for the band got answered, in the form of an interview with the founder of the band, Bugg, (also known as Sulphate online) and their self-proclaimed manager and “public nuisance,” Maine. 

Below is an exclusive interview with this new band, their musical process, and everything you can know about the people behind the “internet music.”

“What made you want to start the band?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “Well, the events that eventually led to creating Bonus Ducks started with me finding a Youtube video channel called “Pagefire” and their video “How to make Nintendocore.” I watched it and thought to myself, “Hey, I could do that” and so I did. There’s a lot of little things that happened but that was the catalyst that really began it.”

… “This was early 2021. Moving forward to maybe August, I got put into music tech with Aaron, the only other person to appear in a Bonus Ducks project, and asked him if he wanted to join and maybe make an album. For some reason he said yes. And he and I made 2 albums that school year: ‘Down the Shitter’ and ‘Beverage May Be Hot.’

“Maine, how did you get involved?”

Maine: “Well I met Sulphate back around 2021 in a Discord server, we got to giggle at each other’s dumb jokes and eventually they showed me Bonus Ducks. Then somewhere along the line after Sulphate had me help them with many aspects of the project I eventually came to be their manager.”

“Were there any other main inspirations behind your music?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “In the beginning it was artists like ‘Math the Band’ and just general old video game music, like NES/SNES/Sega Genesis era, but as it went on the inspiration became varied because we were delving into so many genres.

We drew from bands like ‘sElf,’ ‘Slipknot,’ ‘Abandoned Pools,’ ‘Nine Inch Nails,’ ‘Beastie Boys,’ ‘Cumbawamba,’ and a whole bunch of other bands/artists I’m probably forgetting.”

“What would you say is the best track you’ve made?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “Hmm, my favorite track? That’s hard to say. I have favorites from each release, but I don’t have a favorite in general.”

Maine: “Sulphate we both know the answer.”

“How about one you’ve just had fun making/recording?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “In terms of having fun recording, maybe ‘Cholula,’ ‘feedback loop,’ our cover of ‘So Low,’ and maybe ‘Kinda Something.’”

“Now what you say is (debatably) the most popular track? 

Bugg/Sulphate: “‘Cholula in my nutsack.’ You can thank Maine for it being the most listened to track. 100+ times, in one week.” 

Maine: “I listened to it for four hours straight.”

“How would you describe your creative process? Like in your songwriting and such.”

Bugg/Sulphate: “I come up with titles before anything, and that kinda dictates how the song will sound/be structured. Sometimes I have lyrics written too but most of the time after I have a title I’ll dive straight into producing the track.

Generally my production process goes like this:

  • Drums
  • Synth lead
  • Bass
  • Verses
  • Choruses
  • Flesh out everything
  • Add random synths
  • Random samples
  • Maybe live instruments
  • EQ and mastering

But yeah that’s generally my process, at least 75% of the time.”

“Can you give some insight about your recently released demos?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “‘Demos’ is a compilation of unfinished and demo recordings of songs that were intended for the third Bonus Ducks album which is still technically in production, I just have no way of continuing production.”

“What about general song facts for the demos?”

Bugg/Sulphate: “‘Toy Piano’ was an attempt to make a humanistic-era ‘Abandoned Pools’ song, basically just a ripoff of their song ‘The Remedy.’ The lyrics I had written for it were mostly about being used for something you have, in the song’s case a toy piano. 

‘Barcode’ was me experimenting with how much I could mess with the garageband loops and me teaching myself splicing. I don’t remember if I had lyrics for it or not.

‘Headache’ is a bullets-era MCR ripoff song, plain and simple. The lyrics I wrote for the song detail a person being bullied to suicide, and those bullies pretending that they were always friends with the person they essentially tortured. I’ve actually considered using this song for my other band “Audio Poison.”

‘Assasinated Suicide’ was just one of those cases if me mindlessly messing around in garageband and splicing together loops. Nothing too special.

‘Soda’ is another Slipknot ripoff, originally it was a song called “dreamworks” which was slower and had completely different lyrics. I don’t remember much about this song to be honest.

‘Pills’ was originally gonna be a guitar led song, but I liked how the riff sounded better on piano. It was one of the few songs that initially demoed over the summer before I started work on the album. 

‘Second hand Smoke’ is a song, there really isn’t much to say about it.

‘Going home’ is again a song I remember basically nothing about, so I can’t give much info on it.”

From this point, the interview concluded. And the last thing I could be able to share are the links back to ‘Bonus Ducks’ and the previously mentioned ‘Audio Poison’ from earlier. 

I’d recommend Bonus Ducks for anyone who just wants an interesting listening experience. (and I’m not just saying that because I got personally tasked to interview them) The music is definitely interesting in the best way possible.