London-based duo TUSKA have just dropped their first official single ‘Da Da Da’ - a swirling psychedelic soundscape that demonstrates the intricate songwriting and experimental musicianship of Richard Sturges and Rob Weaver.
We caught up with Rob to discuss the new tune, and find out what they’ve been up to!
HI ROB! FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, WHAT’S THE TUSKA STORY SO FAR?
“Rich and I met at Guildford University. After a year of living together we decided to start writing music as a casual thing, realised we work quite well together and liked what we were making… so thought let’s give it a go and see what we can do with it!”
WE HEAR YOU’VE SPENT THE PAST SIX MONTHS LOCKED AWAY IN A STUDIO EXPERIMENTING AND REFINING YOUR SOUND - WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU FOUND CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR FIRST PROPER STINT IN A STUDIO?
“We’ve been in our little home studio back in my house in Bournemouth. We found it pretty useful as we had a great little set-up there and could really experiment with stuff. We had lots of peace and quiet outside of London so it was a nice escape. There weren’t too many complications!”
SIX MONTHS IS QUITE A LONG TIME TO SPEND IN THE SAME COMPANY – DID IT TEST YOUR BOND AT ALL?
“No! Me and Rich have a really good working relationship within music. I wouldn’t say either of us are particularly egotistical so we don’t get on top of each other… we always take in each other’s views. We’ve been told by quite a few people – producers, recording engineers and even the guys who come in session with us about how good our teamwork is and how we balance each other out!”
DIY MAGAZINE DESCRIBED YOUR SOUND AS “TAKING FAMILIAR PSYCHEDELIC ROCK INFLUENCES IN QUIETLY SURPRISING, DISSONANT NEW DIRECTIONS”. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS SHAPED YOUR SOUND?
“We have a variety of older bands that we listen to… that goes right back to jazz! At the moment me and Rich have been listening to a bit of Chet Baker, Aldour RH, and a big production influence on me is Toro Y Moi. For Rich, he’s a big David Bowie and YES fan, and both of us are massive Beatles and Beach Boys fans. We love that variety, and one thing with all those bands is they’ve all done their big commercial ‘poppy’ tracks which everyone knows, but they also go a bit off-centre and create something for their own enjoyment and experiment a bit - that’s what we love about those artists and that’s what we try and include in our own sound. We don’t want people to feel disconnected, but we want to experiment at the same time and see if people are open to that.”
YOU’RE OFTEN COMPARED TO THE LIKES OF TAME IMPALA AND TEMPLES. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THAT?
“There’s no doubt we’ve got a similar sound to those bands. The thing I’ve noticed is when it comes to any form of psychedelia, because the only real forefront runners are Temples and Tame Impala we find we get compared to them quite quickly because it’s the quickest thing to reference us to.”
SO YOU’VE JUST DROPPED YOUR FIRST OFFICIAL SINGLE ‘DA DA DA’ TODAY! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS TRACK?
“I think it was because of the response of crowds at live gigs! We kept having people coming up to us saying “we loved that song”, “that song’s so catchy” and we found that people were leaving shows singing that song. So we thought, we’ll do a song we know everyone can sing back to, but then we can really play around with the production side of things. It’s also got a bit of a personal meaning to Rich as well… at the time of writing and recording it meant a fair bit to him.”
SO TALKING ABOUT LIVE SHOWS – YOUR RECORDED SOUND IS VERY LAYERED WITH A LOT GOING ON. HOW DOES THAT WORK IN A LIVE SHOW?
“It’s definitely a challenge! It takes a lot of practice. We’re not too keen on playing to backing tracks. We like to keep it a bit more genuine so it doesn’t feel artificial - we want to perform them live, like how we wrote them. We like the fact that when we record something it can be different, so people get two sides of TUSKA and how we work. We’ve been told in a live situation we’re a lot rockier and a bigger show. People always come out saying “we heard your recording and we loved that and then we heard you live and you really brought it to life and it was more hard-hitting”. I think that’s because me and Rich really like rock music and our favourite type of gigs are the ones that really get people moving and are a bit more hard-hitting.”
We can’t wait to hear more from these guys! Get your ears on their new single ‘Da Da Da’: