Incendiary interview Tunng

Well it's going to interesting with our next record because we are a six piece band now and it's going to mean a new way of working.

Incendiary interview Tunng.


It's not often that you get alt-folk wizards on your doorstep. Tunng's LP Comments of the Inner Chorus was one of the highlights of the previous twelvemonth. Incendiary tracked Tunng's Mike & Sam down in Rotown's cafe and asked some questions about the rise of this most intriguing of acts.


IN: The last LP was splendid. Would you say that the LP falls into the category of folktronica that seems to get banded about a lot? You seem to be wilfully perverse in your musical statements. Do you get annoyed by being labelled?


Mike: Not really! I mean, err I guess when we started working on the first record (We Are Tunng) together we didn't really know there was a scene developing, or that there were any specific labels around dealing with that stuff... We just ended up in the studio playing round with ideas that just interested ourselves and seemingly no-one else. It wasn't until the record got released that people started to pick up on this folktronica thing. I mean I can't see what the link is between us and say Four Tet.



IN: Misplaced journalism?


Mike: Maybe. In fairness this labelling has kind of helped us. Got us noticed by a lot of people who might have missed us, got us gigs, you know!


Sam: I don't think it's a problem. People will listen to it and make their own minds up.


IN: I think you're quite psychedelic, harking back to the likes of Amon Duul 2... 


Mike: No, maybe... I think there's all kinds of different things involved in our music, I wouldn't just say just that, Sam's lyrics are quite way out at times.


IN: I thought there were nods in the lyrics to Lewis Carroll in there, a sort of warped pastoral psychedelia.


Mike: Absolutely, I would go along with that!


IN: So who's the raver? There's obviously a second summer of love raver in your gang.


Mike: I think that's more down to the sounds Sam's using, they are quite electronic in intention, and there's certainly some heavy 4/4 beats in there.


Sam: Especially in the live show. Phil who does our electronics and lights live, he's definitely an old raver who's been gadding about for a good 20 years.


IN: Is this disparity between your live sound and your recorded sound deliberate? Do you have to set things up in a different manner live?


Mike: Well, I dunno, I think initially we didn't have a clue how to play live at all, and we had all these samples and didn't really know how to replicate that. All our trickery was done on the basis of it not leaving the studio... We actually became a band through meeting all these people who could play and we liked and we took it from there. There wasn't a big crisis about it. To be honest with you, there's a lot of 4/4 beats live but that doesn't mean we're actually playing them! (laughs heartily) But yes there is a big, big difference with Tunng playing live when compared to the record.


IN: Talking of the LP, the way you've produced it is very crystalline, almost poppy, Barrett-esque. Take the song Jenny for instance.


Sam: I don't think we ever really thought about it like that, we certainly didn't set out to do that but I will say that there is a very definite sound that is produced when you combine what Mike does with what I do.


Mike: He comes up with melodies that are very beautiful and quite pop in orientation and I can see a relevance to that point.


IN: So do you work separately?


Sam: Bit of both really, sometimes Mike will have pretty much written the entire song and I'll just come in and put some lyrics or vocals on it, sometimes we bring in a song in that we're both working on and we take it from there, sometimes we just hug and dance and they're usually the best ones to be honest!


Mike: Well it's going to interesting with our next record because we are a six piece band now and it's going to mean a new way of working where we are just going to have to pitch ideas into the middle and see what happens. It's going to be very interesting to see how it works as I certainly haven't worked that way for years.


IN: Are you contemplating a new sound for the new release?


Mike: I personally think there'll be differences, yeah, but I don't really want to make a record that sounds like the last two records anyway, I hope it will obviously be incorporating the live band vibe we have. I mean the fact is that we've been playing as a six piece for about two years and it's definitely a family group now and everyone deserves their chance to be heard, and they are all talented people.


IN: When's it out?


Sam: Well, we haven't written it yet (laughs) we're just assuming it's going to be there.


IN: Finally, we on Incendiary are always interested about the culinary habits of bands we meet, and we'd just like to ask you, Tunng, what you're favourite soup is?


Sam: Oh well, my mate has a great recipe. A tin of kidney beans, a tin of baked beans, fresh coriander, chilli sauce a tin of chopped tomatoes, throw it all together and serve with tacos or Doritos, and then you need an avocado with lime butter, it's dead easy you can't go wrong. I'll find it out properly for you.


Mike: I know a good one for chives and broccoli soup but I'll have to dig out the recipe.


IN: I'll email you for that!


Words: Richard Foster.