Marielle Foster of WACTAC recently interviewed Mike Lindsay, one of the founding members of the band Tunng, based out of London. Tunng will be performing tomorrow, Saturday May 7th at the McGuire Theater.
M= Mike Lindsay, one of the band’s founding members.
W: The extremely reliable Wikipedia calls you “an experimental folk band.” What sort of things (musically) do you experiment with?
M: Well, it’s a very broad term “experimental” and it can mean different things to different people. I guess in the early Tunng days we experimented with glitch electronica and unusual percussion (sea shells , bears toe nails, bells, bits of wood, keys) and we still very much use these elements. However, now we have expanded our sound with live drums and vintage synths which to other bands are perhaps the more usual line up. To us and to me as a producer it felt more experimental to be using electric guitars and synths because we never really had before.
W: What would you classify as “epic folk disco”?
M: Actually my friend coined that term the first time he heard the new album and I kind of liked it. I think its fairly self-explanatory, although I’m not sure any other bands are taking up the genre.
W: Snooping on your cover art and website I couldn’t help but notice the prevalence of sea horses… Is that your band mascot/an inside joke?
M: Hmmm. Well it’s only on this album and a single I think. The album is called “And Then We Saw Land” so there’s a nautical theme running through the record. And sea horses are amazing!! Especially the child-bearing men.
W: Where do you find inspiration for lyrics, tunes, etc?
M: Places we’ve been, people we’ve met, journeys accomplished, relationships failed, books read, drinks drunk with escapades to follow in the early hours. Hmmm well at least that’s where I get inspiration for lyrics. Everyone has their own method. I find with the music side of things that sitting in an armchair late at night with the TV on whilst playing guitar gives me “chordal inspiration” and then a dark basement studio lets me jigsaw puzzle it all together.
W: Have you ever been to Minneapolis (or Minnesota) before?
M: Yes, we came in 2007
W: If so, what was your impression? (fun fact: we had snow on Tuesday morning and by 4 o’clock it was all gone and about 15 degrees Celsius. I’m sure by the time mid-May rolls around the April snow will not be bringing May woe, no worries.)
M: It was cold!! I think it was March, so I’m sure we got a fairly good deal weather-wise, but I remember seeing overground tunnels between buildings so that in the winter people don’t need to step outside. Very cool. Also an amazing record shop with a huge sign saying “applause.” Actually my desktop photo was me outside that shop in an “arms in the air” pose.
W: Where is the most exotic/unusual place you have played?
M: Tiranna island in the Arctic circle in the far north of Norway. 24 hour sunlight…whale meat… bands playing in caves. Some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.
W: Any funny stories about audience members?
M: We just played in Melbourne Australia in February and there were two girls about 18 years old right at the front of the stage singing along to every song SOOO loudly and out of tune that we could barely hear ourselves. The rest of the audience hated them. Then they did a mini stage invasion which was a little scary because they were kind of crazy. But man, we never have stage invasions so hats off to the Aussie young hot crazies. Afterwards they wanted us to write something on their arms and they said, “whatever you write we will get tattooed”!! This was worrying because my writing looks like a 3 year olds. I wrote something crap like “happy tunng night” and drew a dodgy face of a woodcat. There’s no way they got that tattooed
W: People always talk about what they look for in performing bands. What do you look for in audiences?
M: Well I guess enthusiasm is always great, fast nodding heads, true smiles. I guess it’s a two way thing. If we are sounding sweet and really feeing the wonky epic folk disco, then so will an audience. So then they should be head nodding and bouncing/beaming back at us. Oh, and loud applause when we come on stage is always a welcome feeling.
W: What are you looking forward to about the Twin Cities?
M: Well hopefully our old sound engineer from the 2007 tour called Matt Freedman will come and say hi. He lives in Minneapolis.
W: Thank you!
Tunng play Saturday, May 7th at 8:00 pm in the McGuire Theater, with special guests Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt of Sea and Cake