Tunng: Not Your Standard Band


A chat with Sam Genders



For Tunng, it all began five years ago in a studio flat below a clothes shop in Soho. Mike Lindsay was producing electronica and trying to earn a living making music for adverts, when he met Sam Genders, a lovely chap with a penchant for song writing, and Tunng was conceived.

Tunng’s first album, Mother’s Daughter and Other Songs was a testament to that partnership, however they soon realised that this partnership could reach a wider audience. Collaboration has always been key for Tunng, “You can hear the collaboration in our music and we do sound eclectic, Mike’s an incredible producer and brilliant at making different sounds come together in a coherent way that works.”

Over time, Ashley Bates, Phil Winter, Becky Jacobs and Martin Smith all made their way into the band. This vast soundscape fully emerges with Tunng’s second album, Comments Of The Inner Chorus, but it’s with their third album, Good Arrows that the band have come of age.

Described, as having an unorthodox beginning, Tunng creates great music with sensible melodies and diverse instrumentation, which has only been enhanced between Comments Of The Inner Chorus and Good Arrows. “At the time, we didn’t notice any special change happening between the two albums, because we were touring and doing lots of gigs. In fact, Good Arrows is much more of a band record because everybody in the band had a lot of input towards its making.”

The song writing process for such a diverse band, which transcends the label “folktronica” can be daunting, as there is so much sound to produce. Tunng are simply not your standard band with ordinary vocals, guitar, bass and drums. “My song writing process varies, if I am writing on my own, I write chords, then melodies and then I put the lyrics on top of that. We know how to play guitars, the piano, and Martin plays the clarinet as well as percussion, but with all the other instruments and sounds, it’s a case of getting an instrument and experimenting.”

As a band, the six members still continue with their own projects. “Everyone in Tunng does other things, we don’t make a massive amount of money, so it’s important to keep doing other things if you want to make enough to keep doing it. When Mike and I met, we were just interested in making music and wanted to collaborate because it’s fun to do and you always create something that you would not have done on your own. “

With highly emotive lyrics and a wholeness that is sublime, Tunng are rising steadily and fast. Good Arrows is out now on Full Time Hobby. www.tunng.co.uk.

Shirley Stephenson