TUNS is the mighty new Halifax/Toronto supergroup featuring Chris Murphy, Matt Murphy, and Mike O’Neill. Chris Murphy has ushered some excellent music into this world, both as the co-curator/co-founder of the murderecords label and as a quarter of one of the world’s finest and most successful rock bands, Sloan. Matt Murphy is an accomplished journalist who has worked for CBC and Vice Canada and is one of the most dynamic musicians and showman anywhere, who’s likely best known for his work in the Super Friendz. Mike O’Neill is a busy and gifted screenwriter and sound engineer for Trailer Park Boys and Black Jesus who has released criminally under-appreciated solo records since disbanding the wonderful indie-rock duo, the Inbreds. So, if it’s not clear already, when it comes to thoughtful pop and rock music trios, this TUNS configuration couldn’t possibly be more top shelf. The band’s self-titled debut record will be out August 26 via Royal Mountain Records and they’ve been playing select shows of late, including an upcoming performance at the Hillside Festival in Guelph on Sunday July 24. I met up with TUNS at the Pho Asian 21 restaurant in Toronto recently and we had a revealing conversation about Mike’s desire for Vietnamese food in Toronto, working with Trailer Park Boys co-creator Mike Clattenburg on a new TV show about a guy who re-locates raccoons, the song “Back Among Friends” and what it captures about TUNS, Zeppelin covers and joy, positive pressure, recycling things and writing new songs, Mike’s inventive bass playing, the writing process and its progress in TUNS, Chris’ songwriting, giving the singer some, the song “Look Who’s Back in Town Again” and various TUNS Easter eggs, the song “Lonely Life” that Mike sings, whomever sings generally wrote it, Mrs. Claus, lyric collaboration, wisdom and experience and democracy, magical harmonies, being in Sloan for 25 years, “Gimme the Keys” and the extreme rarity of Sloan members’ doing solo work, Eric’s Trip and Elevator to Hell, realistic TUNS, being perceived as ‘Halifax Pop’ artists, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the lawn jam, why Halifax people seem to get along so well, footloose and fancy free, friendly competition, strength and talent, an influence like the Police on a song like “Mind Your Manners,” talking about the band U2, also R.E.M., The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, the “Sunday Bloody Sunday” drum beat, Larry Mullen’s parts, filling and leaving space, scrutinizing Chris’ lyrics in TUNS and also in Sloan, self-awareness and self-consciousness, entitlement, purposeful pronouns, new stuff by TUNS will be more like TUNS, thinking about time and relationships, not a throwback, a Golden Girls analogy, too much like Sloan, hits, making music for fun, Royal Mountain Records and the self-titled TUNS LP is out August 26, a world premiere of the song “Back Among Friends,” and then Chris got the cheque.
Related links: tunsmusic.com royalmountainrecords.com vishkhanna.com