A Big Bang
Tussle brings Kling Klang to Big Sur.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
“How would you describe the sound of Tussle?” I ask Alex Georgopoulos, the band’s bassist and one of its two percussionists. “How would you describe us?” he counters, turning the tables.
“Um,” I say after 30 seconds of silence. “I would say that you guys have a stripped down drum and bass sound, but that you also do a New Wave thing. You have a lot of different sounds, but most of the time you are very danceable.”
“Yes, I think that’s right,” Georgopoulos says, making me proud of my analysis. “We don’t want to be put in any place. We feel trapped when people define us in a specific way.”
Georgopoulos says the San Francisco band formed back in 2002, when the group members noticed that people were no longer dancing at parties, except to DJs. As a reaction against the lack of danceable bands, the four Mission District residents started playing together after getting high.
“We didn’t start with the intention of forming a band,” Georgopoulos says. “We were just having fun.”
But after a highly successful first gig at an art opening in an Ethiopian restaurant and other shows in the Bay Area, the group recorded their debut album, 2004’s Kling Klang. Georgopoulos says that the tunes came about from an organic songwriting process.
“All of the songs originate by improvising or jamming,” he says.
Since the release of Kling Klang, the band has received a pile of accolades in publications from Playboy to the ultra-hip music Web site Pitchfork Media. The band even made DJ culture magazine URB’s “Next 100” list.
Georgopoulos says the group is now in the final mixing stages for an as-of-yet-untitled sophomore CD due out this spring. The bassist says the album finds the band moving into two divergent directions. Songs like “Warning Sign” are dance songs with throbbing beats reminiscent of the New Order hit “Blue Monday,” while more experimental pieces, including “Interlude 4,” sound like part of a score to an edgy sci-fi movie.
The band’s experimental moments are partially spurred by its unorthodox lineup. The quartet features Georgopoulos, electronics/effects man Nathan Burazer, drummer Big Warren and percussionist Jonathon Holland. In addition to playing two drum sets onstage, Holland also makes music by striking welded metal, bells and plastic buckets.
“He plays sound sculptures,” Georgopoulos says.
Besides Tussle, each of the bandmembers has other ongoing music projects. Burazer has gotten some help from Holland for an electronic music act titled Huts, while Warren plays with a wide array of artists from alt country crooner Paula Frazer to Damo Suzuki of the legendary electronic group Can. Georgopoulos also moonlights with a psychedelic folk band titled The Alps and a trio called A Tension.
TUSSLE WILL BE PERFORMING WITH THE DRIFT AND BROOKHAVEN AT FERNWOOD, LOCATED 24 MILES SOUTH OF CARMEL ON HIGHWAY 1 IN BIG SUR, SATURDAY AT 9PM. $8.50. 667-2422.