Making it big
Up-and-coming British rock band The Tunics will make its St. Petersburg debut at A2 club on Sunday.
By Sergey Chernov
The press say The Tunics are “Catchier than those chilly primates” (The Fly) or “like the Arctic Monkeys with extra oomph” (Vanguard Online), but the British trio that neatly combines thrilling rock and roll and smart lyrics is still working toward a big breakthrough in their homeland.
Timothy Cochrane / Manta Ray Music
The Tunics, who originally hail from Croydon, cite The Who and Led Zeppelin among their influences.
However, it has happened to some extent in Germany, where the band members, who hail from Croydon, say they are “being pushed at the moment.” The Tunics finished their most recent German tour last week.
“There’s no particular reason, it’s just the way it seems to have worked out,” Joe Costello, The Tunics’ singer and guitarist, said in a recent phone interview. “The German market has picked up on a lot of our music a bit quicker.”
“But we’ve had a lot of exposure in the U.K. It’s just it’s a bit of a tough nut to crack, and we’re just in the middle of doing that at the moment.”
The Tunics spoke to The St. Petersburg Times from a studio in Stafford in the West Midlands region of England, where they were working on some new material. Some of it might end up on the follow-up to “Somewhere in Somebody’s Heart,” the band’s debut album produced by James Lewis (Cajun Dance Party, Wombats, Arctic Monkeys.)
“We’re recording new demos, just for fun really, we’re writing at quite a brilliant rate at the moment,” Costello said.
“We’re looking forward to putting together our second album, but that’s all for the future, really.”
Along with Costello, The Tunics features bassist Scott Shepherd and drummer Joe Blanks. Costello and Shepherd met at school, while Blanks replaced the band’s original drummer Max Karpinski.
“Scott and I went to the same high school together,” Costello said.
“We knew that we both played instruments and so on, but when I was offered a chance to play a gig and accepted it, even though I didn’t have a band or any songs really, I had to think fast on my feet, and this idea that had been going through our minds for a long time about forming a band — this was the catalyst for it.
“Our drummer, Joe, is a fairly recent addition to the band. Scott and I saw him play live on the south coast of England — at a rave, strangely enough — and we were looking for a drummer anyway, and luckily Joe Blanks was happy to join.”
The members say they all listen to different music. Bassist Shepherd likes The Who and Led Zeppelin, while Costello is more interested in singer/songwriters.
“Personally, I’m very interested in lyricists, poets and things like that,” Costello said.
“I’m a big Leonard Cohen fan, and I really like John Lennon and lots of people like that. But I mean that’s just my personal influence on the band, and luckily the other two listen to quite different music to me, so we sort of amalgamate all these influences into one.”
But it is when traveling that the musicians listen to the music that the other members like.
“If we’re in the car, we’ll take it in turns, so I’ll play what I like and the guys will listen, and then Scott will play what he likes, and we’ll listen,” drummer Blanks said.
“We get a feel for the different styles of music we all listen to. So that has a great influence on how we write.”
Rufus Wainwright, Thom Yorke, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles and Pete Doherty are all listed as influences on The Tunics’ MySpace page.
The band feels relaxed about comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys, according to Costello.
“Well, the comparison lies in the fact that we are a rock and roll band with a young singer who’s got multiple lyrics,” he joked.
“To be fair, we have a similar sound,” he said. “The thing is that Arctic Monkeys is obviously a big thing in the U.K. at the moment, and any rock and roll band that comes out is immediately going to be compared to them. I think it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be compared to them, but I think it’s slightly inaccurate.”
Now is not an age of great new things, but The Tunics believe they can change that.
“I think just before bands like Nirvana — like really, really important bands broke — there was dead air for a period of time,” Costello said.
“So because of that, people were desperate for something new and interesting, and that’s exactly what happened with the Britpop thing after Kurt Cobain died. And obviously with The Beatles — it’s a similar situation, it was a breath of fresh air.
“In my opinion, a lot of music that exists right now is fantastic, but it’s not groundbreaking, and I think that what we’re doing IS groundbreaking, and it’s just a matter of time before people realize that.”
The Tunics will perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday at A2. Razyezzhaya Ulitsa 12. Metro Vladimirskaya. Tel.: 922 4510.