joe zorzi sits down with Stu Samuels, lead singer of the rock/reggae/punk band Tsunami Rising …
Tsunami Rising has been spreading their own breed of punk and reggae throughout the local New Jersey and Philly scenes since early 2003. With eight years under their belts, this group is far from amateur. Tsunami Rising sat down with us to discuss the record they’re currently working on and the state of the Jersey scene as a whole.
JZ: Hey Stu, how’s it going? Can you name the members of the band and their respective roles?
SS: Jerry Callahan: bass guitar, movies, movies and films. Dale Becky: shred guitar, floral arrangements and Justin Bieber impersonations. Stu Samuels: voice, and talent buyer for Jubilee Entertainment Worldwide. Tim McNamara: beatin’ up the drums like scabs, throwing up drywall, American lagers.
JZ: You guys have a very original and diverse sound. Who are some of your influences?
SS: As far as musical influences go, we’ve mostly grown up on punk rock, reggae, hip hop, classic rock, but by no means do our listening habits or influences stop there. Anything can inspire a musical thought, from the sound of telephone poles passing by when you drive down the highway, or skateboard wheels over the cracks of a sidewalk to a book to a conversation to a rainy day and I’d say we sound just like that — our music is a direct result of everything we do, encounter, hear, feel, like, hate, ignore and so on. As far as other musicians, we take a lot from The Police, Led Zeppelin, Hall & Oates, NOFX, Rancid, RX Bandits, King Harvest, Bob Marley, Sizzla, Worse Than Heroin, Incubus, The Roots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pure Moods, early Goldfinger, KidNapKin, Solillaquists of Sound, Bright Eyes, At The Drive In, Ace of Base and so many more. We’ve been compared to way more bands than we’d prefer to mention.
JZ: Your new songs sound a lot more mature and aggressive. Was this conscious decision, or was it more of a natural progression?
SS: It’s like the natural progression of the band led us to be more conscious of the music we are writing. The songs have been much more carefully arranged and rearranged, to the point of frustration many times over. But in the end, it’s been worth all the fighting and cursing at each other because it makes for the best songs we can write. We’re all making sure we are leaving each song something we are all totally proud of and enjoy playing/listening to ourselves.
JZ: How do you feel about the New Jersey music scene these days? Is it dead, or is there still hope?
SS: Soulless, egomaniacal cover bands have infiltrated a lot of the good music venues over the years, but there are still seedlings growing out of basements, halls, independent radio shows and bars throughout the state. True art and its supporters will never die, no matter how far underground they have to dig.
JZ: The vocals, especially in the newer songs, have a very strong presence that reminds me of Envy On The Coast. Are they a band you guys are influenced by, or is it just a coincidence?
SS: Never heard of them, but going to have to check them out now just to make sure they don’t totally suck.
JZ: Are you guys touring anytime soon?
SS: We’re doing a lot of regional shows throughout the Winter, touring Ireland and the U.K. in spring and running the coast all summer. We try pretty hard to keep our sites updated with tour dates.
JZ: What has been your favorite place to play?
SS: Philly, Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia Beach and Jersey have all been pretty amazing to us and super-responsive to the new music. We are really excited to be working on a new record and have everyone hear it.
JZ: You should have a new album coming out soon. What are the details?
SS: Forget what you know about Tsunami …The Sound Before The Storm is going to be it.