It's rare that you meet a band so ready to fuck around with their sound and are comfortable doing it. Brightons , TUSKS, are all over it. I caught them at one of their first London shows and was headbanging away in a matter of seconds. It's easy to say that their sound is reminiscent of the likes of Soundgarden, Smashing pumpkins, Tame Impala, etc. It's what they do with their influences , it's what makes them so great to watch and listen to. Unintentionally, having started with a heavy grunge sound they have been able to work in 60's psychedelic sounds. With that said, this burgeoning trio is ready to kick off and take all you psych heads on a trip.
Where are you guys from and how did you meet?
Tom: Nick (Drums) and I are both from Essex and were at the same college, we jammed a few times but never really started a proper band until we moved down to Brighton and met George, who's from Tonbridge. We met each other through some mutual friends, wanted to start a band, and it's just taken off from there.
George: I’m from Tonbridge (not Tunbridge Wells) and I met these guys through my mate Jack who plays with me and Nick in Birdskulls. Nick joined on drums and I met Tom through that really.
Brighton is home to amazing music acts i.e. The Wytches, what is it about the place that sprouts so much talent?
Tom: It really is, there's an unnatural abundance of freakishly good musicians and bands around Brighton at the moment, and I love it. It's like a musical melting pot, full of all these different bands and genres, just bubbling away. And I think most musicians appreciate being a part of something like that, and thrive off of it.
George: I think there’s a great sense of community and openness for a relatively big place. Plus there’s loads of arts students and opportunities to express yourself, it’s a really cool place to live.
Tusks are still a relatively new band, how have you developed on your sound?
Tom: Well there's been various stages of the band, Nick and I originally planned to be a two piece, but decided that the sort of music we were going to make wouldn't really work with just 2 people, so we became a 4 piece briefly, and that's how we did our first show. But after that we became a 3 piece, with George moving from guitar to bass, and we've never looked back really. I think we're heavier than we originally planned to be, and being a 3 piece has definitely added a more 'grungey' element to our music.
George: I mean, originally I played guitar and we had another Essex lad on bass but that didn’t work out so i jumped onto the bass. I still think we are developing so I don’t feel like I can really pin it down at this point in time.
When I saw you guys play at the Lock Tavern for one of the Bad Vibrations events, I was blown away to how tight you are as a band, what is that makes you guys so raw and captivating?
George: It’s probably because there’s only three of us and we make a lot of noise, like what you see is what you get. It’s quite nice for us because it gives us more space to fuck around with our parts which makes it more interesting to watch and listen to.
Tom: Being a 3 piece definitely helps, Nick and George lock in really well together which gives me the freedom to just go a bit mad and make lots of noise really. We also jam quite a lot of our songs out live, so there's always a slight element of uncertainty to it all, which probably helps draw people in.
Who has been an influence on your music?
George: So many different things really, for me the biggest influences on my playing in Tusks are probably Radiohead and Nirvana- and they’re pretty far apart from each other! Loads more as well but there’s too many to list.
Tom: As George said, there's been a lot of bands that have had an influence on our sound, but mainly it seems to be a mix between 90's bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins etc etc, and a lot of bands from the 60's like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. As well as a bunch of more modern artists such as Tame Impala, Temples and Pond. Oh and Jeff Buckley, can't forget Jeff. But the list is endless, so I'll stop now.
Your recent track 'Eyesaw' caught the eye of many and put you on a list of buzz bands, is this the kind of track we can expect on a future record?
George: There isn't really a uniform type of Tusks song I don’t think, we have quieter ones, louder ones and more poppy ones… We don’t even know what will come next.
Any plans on releasing a record?
Tom: Yeah we've got plans to put out a 7" later this year with a new label that's is currently in the process of being set up, which is exciting. Then from there, I'm not really sure, hopefully we can get an EP of some sort out early next year.
What are the next few months looking like for Tusks?
George: Just gigging really, and writing new songs. We want to try and get some more stuff recorded as well and will hopefully be putting out a single and some other stuff really soon!
Favourite gig to play so far?
Tom: Ermm that's quite a tough one, they've been a few, but the show we've done with Autobahn in Brighton recently is definitely up there, as well as one we played with Tigercub back in May. And of course the BV show we played at the Lock Tavern was a lot of fun.
George: Probably at The Hope when we played at Autobahn’s EP launch for Acid Box (Brighton promoter). The sound guy came up to us before we played and said he really liked us which was cool, but then when we were playing he was adding all these crazy effects to all our instruments and voices… it sounded amazing!
And finally, whats been the best thing about being in TUSKS?
George: Definitely the hunnies.