I saw Tuft* by accident. I’d had a shitty day and I was tired, but some lovely friends managed to coax me out reluctantly into the warm LA night. So I found myself in a rough little bar that looked like it had been slapped together by some lazy carpenters that afternoon, sipping an overpriced beer and feeling decidedly grouchy. Tuft bravely took to the stage under the glare of my sour frown. Something about them made me feel that, despite my gruff demeanour, they were genuinely happy that I’d made it there that night to see them. I wasn’t expecting that. Most bands are too cool for such warmth. Despite my best efforts, I could feel my grouchiness levels begin to drop. They launched into their set.
All remaining grumpiness was swept away on a sea of the juiciest harmonies, intriguing lyrics and layered, mature, gorgeous songwriting. I completely forgot my troubles in the wake of their uplifting, sparkling, colourful and earnest creations. Every soaring arrangement felt intricately crafted and delivered with refreshing precision, without losing any of the raw exuberance the individual members brought to the stage.
DSM’s Daryl Jones chased down Tuft frontman Casey Trela after the show to get the full story behind the glorious noises they make.
*Formerly known as Hi Ho Silver Oh.
DSM: I couldn’t stop grinning and dancing through your whole set; it felt like one big exciting ear-hug. What’s the secret to Tuft having that kind of effect on audiences?
: We take a lot of notes from the comedy world in the sense that we address the room and the situation we’re in from the start. We play all sorts of spaces and for all sorts of people, so we try to make sure everyone in the room knows we’re all in the same place together. It’s easy for the musicians to feel like they’re in a totally different world because they’re up on a stage and amplified to be louder than everyone in the room.
“The music we play comes from a genuine place, so we want to be just as genuine between songs. Hopefully people feel that and get on board.”
DSM: It looks like you really legitimately enjoy creating music together?
CT: We really do. I started Tuft as a solo project with the intent of bringing in friends to help fill things out. That has worked out really well- Kevin, Roxy, Chris and I actually enjoy playing music together AND non-musical hanging out.
DSM: And those harmonies! Explain how Tuft goes about writing such gorgeously layered songs…
: Normally I’ll flesh out the structure of the song. Sometimes that will be a fully thought out idea with harmonies demoed out, and other times I’ll have my part and know the general vibe of the song.
“We play it and beat it up until it feels right. Everyone brings their own personality to the way they play. Our personalities harmonize, and I think that translates into the music.”
DSM: Being in a band ain’t easy, especially before you’re super rich and famous. What motivates you all to keep pouring time, effort and money into this creative project, instead of being sensible and working in an office or whatever?
CT: We were all into music and performance before we knew you could get any money from it.
“The main motivation is to scratch that itch we’ve all got in us to make something and share it.”
We get feedback, both from strangers and from people we trust, that helps us feel more secure that we’re on the right track, but the joy we get from playing music is the thing that drives the band (away from being safe and sensible).
DSM: What’s the master plan for Tuft? What’s cracking in your world at the moment? I’m an Aussie and I reckon our audiences back home would love your stuff. Any chance of getting y’all out to Australia any time soon?
: The long term goal is pretty general: to continue making music we care about and to get it/us in front of more people. Right now, we’re working on a big chunk of music and putting it out a little at a time. We’re always playing shows and trying to figure out the best ways to use the Internet. People can follow us on all their favorite social media sites, and shows pop up on http://hihosilveroh.com/shows
– we are pretty good at responding to all comments both on the net and in real life. We should have a new EP available on floppy disc in the new year. PLEASE BRING US TO AUSTRALIA!!!
Tuft are Casey Trela, Kevin Manwarren, Roxy Radulescu and Chris Dunn.
Hit these linkages now to listen to Tuft, and go follow/like them right this second. Now. Go. That’s an order:
Instagram and Twitter: @tuftmusic
Photo’s courtesy oh Tuft.