Tunks « Julio’s Walls Shake » album enregistré & mixé par Yaël « Grave Clave » Mothes
TUNKS is an instrumental, heavy rock band from Bordeaux, France that recently released it’s debut album ‘Julio’s Walls Shake’ (read a few words about it here) so we took the chance to have a little chat with them and specifically with Bertrand the drummer of the band. Here is the mini interview that we prepared for you.
01.-Hello and welcome to Downtuned. First of all, give us some info about the band’s background just to let people know you better. Where did you get started? How did you meet?
First of all, thank you for doing this interview. The band started 5 years ago: Bruce (guitar) and Nico (bass), were already friends and played together. They were looking for a drummer… so they put an ad in which I answered, I played 2 songs with them and here we are!
02.-Did the members of the band participate in other projects or bands in the past and what kind of music did they play? Bruce and Nico played in an alternative rock band; I played in several bands: punk rock, blues rock, and some cover bands… For all of us it was a good school.
03.-How did you come up with the name « TUNKS »? Does it mean something particular for you? Well, we are fans of the Blues culture, the Delta of the Mississippi, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf and all those fabulous musicians. Nico was reading some lines about the juke-joints, the honky-tonks… and he found that some of them were called tonks or tunks. He talked to us about it and the deal was done!
04.-How would you describe your music to someone who doesn’t know you yet? Is that the style that defines « TUNKS » or is there room for further experimentation? To answer to this question I will use the words of a friend of Bruce who’s not in the stoner world. She came to our show and she said to us: I left myself go and I took a trip… ‘Music for your inner trip’, that’s a good definition. The stoner is the heart of it but not the whole thing…We listen to lots of different things from jazz to metal, blues, soul music, funk. So we try to put some pieces of all we love in our music.
05.-Your music is instrumental and you chose to name your tracks with numbers. The whole concept obviously would remind ‘Karma to Burn’ to someone. Is this one of your influences? What were the main reasons and influences that made you adopt this style in your music? We name our tracks with number because it’s simple. That’s the main reason. We love Karma to Burn (the best band’s name in rock history for me) it’s a real badass band! Their music is direct, without compromise and if there’s something we tried to ‘steal’ from them it’s that! Our main influences are Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Buffalo, Blue Oyster Cult, the in-your-face rock of the MC5, the Stooges and Nirvana and I should add ZZ Top and guys like Buddy Guy.
06.-What kind of music do you mostly listen to and what is currently in your daily playlist? We are 3 dads so currently our playlist is Christmas songs! 😊 But we still find some time to listen to Nirvana, All them Witches for Nico who is also a punk rock fan. Bruce is a Deep Purple addict. He also likes 1000mods, Pink Floyd, the Re-stoned, Earthless, the Black Rainbows. Currently I listen to Villagers of Ioannina City, Bruce Springsteen, Clutch and Gary Moore. Julio’s wall shake
07.-A few months ago you released your debut album « Julio’s Walls Shake ». Is there a story behind this name? How did you decide to name it that way? Well, the name of the owner of the studio where we rehearse every Friday is Julio. At the begining we played in a tiny wood studio, which were also Julio’s home at this time. One day he came to us to say ‘Hey guys calm down please! You are too loud! Walls are shaking!’ We kept these words in mind, knowing we’ll do something with it.
08.-Is there a story behind the photo in the cover of the album? The photo has been taken by my wife in the Bardenas desert in Spain. We spent a weekend there for my birthday. The pic was cool. I proposed it to the band with ‘Julio’s Walls Shake’ on it as the tittle. And it worked for all of us.
09.-Are you satisfied with the result or there are things you would have done differently under different circumstances? The result presents the band like it was at this specific moment. It’s a particularly honest job, I think. At the beginning we thought we would be able to record maybe 5 songs. But Yael, the producer/sound engineer made the things so easy, we recorded 6, 7 and then 10 songs. We recorded live in the studio, 2 or 3 takes of songs. No more. It was easy, quick, and very pleasant.
10.-What were the biggest difficulties that you encountered in producing and releasing your debut? Are those difficulties going to affect the way you’ll handle your future releases? In fact, there were no difficulties. The way we live is ‘things happen… or not; if it happens it’s cool; if not who cares!’. We met the right people at the right moment. The culture service of the city where Bruce lives have a program to help bands to record. We put together a file and they gave us this opportunity.
11.-What is the strongest memory you have from the recording process of your debut? The strongest moment… I mean the worst was the coffee… worst thing ever. The best was when you listen to your songs for the first time… it gave us chills. It was like: it’s me playing? It’s so loud, is it us? Like children in a toy store !
12.-Are there any special people that helped you in any way in the whole process and you’d like to mention or thank? Yes! Julio of course because if you have no studio to play then you have no band! Etienne, a friend of mine, a drummer in band called Sour Eyes and he introduced us to Yaël « Grave Clave » Mothes of Flower Power Prod’Action who recorded the album. Yaël is a brilliant sound engineer and a talented producer but first of all he loves music and working with musicians and he really listens to what you want and he respects who you are.
13.-How does the whole songwriting process work for you? What are the emotions you want people to receive when they hear your music? Most of the songs were born like this: Bruce, or Nico or me play something; the others start to follow. It’s mostly jam… After that, we talk about structure, intro, outro, bridge… all the things we should keep, and the things we shoudn’t. And of course we give a number to it.
14.-During a gig, is the communication with the crowd important for you? Does the positive feedback from the crowd motivate you to perform with more passion? Communication is important. The way we see it is to create a mood with people and make them come into our ‘experience’. We are not ‘Hey! Are you with me tonight?’ and that kind of things. And mostly we play in tiny bars or cellars sometimes, because of the lights, we don’t even see the people so we wonder if they’re really there! 😊
15.-Are there any « special » bands that you dream to share the stage with? We are fans of the Greek stoner scene so every band from 1000mods to Tuber…. And maybe the Re-stoned, Earth, and jam with Billy Gibbons, Bob Balch or Matt Pike!
16.-What are your plans for this year and how do you plan to promote your brand new album? Have you scheduled any live appearances or a release party? Is it a priority for you to try and participate in gigs outside France? We already made a release party in May with 2 bands; our friends Sour Eyes and Skunk and Noises. People response was great. For the promotion of the album, we try to contact as many web radios, or rock blogs as we can. We are currently trying to arrange some live appearances for spring. We hope one day we’ll be lucky enough to play in a Greek festival. There are so many good bands in your country; we’ll be happy to share the stage with them.
17.-How do you imagine « TUNKS » in 2029? Well, TUNKS in 2029? Three old guys that play stoner and have fun. This band is a real cool project that was made to last. We have time, this band is built for comfort not for speed like Howlin’ Wolf said.