Photo by Daniel Crump

If there’s a more quintessential origin story than TUSK’s, it would be tough to find it.

Brothers Tyler and Brett Hesford met Eric Jaworski and Colton Unruh through music supply shop Long & McQuade. Jaworski was trying out some guitars when Brett overheard him, came over and invited him to jam. 

“It was pretty spontaneous,” Jaworski recalls. 

Since that first jam in March 2016, the foursome has been committed to making music and have managed to hit up most of Winnipeg’s smaller music venues with their brand of shoegaze psychedelic grunge. 

“We’ve gotten a lot closer in the last year of having played together,” Unruh says. 

The Hesfords come from Morris, Man., while Jaworski and Unruh hail most rec-
ently from Brandon. Despite everyone’s full-time jobs, the group has been working on an EP that will hopefully be released on the band’s first anniversary this March.

“A lot of our songs are written in jams, and we record everything and go back and pick our favourite parts, so with doing it that way everything starts from an organic place,” Unruh says of their process. 

“It’s all feelings and how you feel the time,” Brett adds. 

Tyler says that while shoegaze is the genre that seems to describe them best, there’s too much variety in their songs to really nail it down.

“We’ve got punk. Some of our songs are more grunge-y, alt-rock,” he says. “I think my favourite is progressive post-grunge.”

“But most things that are post-(grunge) are dialled down, and we’re heavier than some grunge,” Jaworski adds. 

Regardless of the labels, TUSK brings forward a mix of moody, evocative melodies that play off of their favourite bands – Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Radiohead and Marcy’s Playground.

“It’s that singing under the mix and coming out to a scream and then going back, and that was kind of the thing in the ’90s,” Unruh says.

“The biggest thing within our music is delivering emotion,” Tyler adds.

They say they’ve been lucky in that their hard work has been met with plenty of enthusiasm from Winnipeg audiences.

“I think the scene now is so vibrant,” Brett says. “I used to go to the Zoo a few years ago, and there would be 10 people there.”

They say they’ve had great turnout for their shows so far and are excited to be playing alongside the city’s other up-and-coming acts.

“I used to geek out over the Winnipeg music scene when I was in Brandon,” Jaworski admits.

“This whole experience has given me a lot of faith in the Winnipeg music scene,” Unruh says. 

As for the name? 

“I think a name has to do with a kind of imagery that it sets in your mind,” Brett says. “I feel that this imagery is very strong and it’s moving forward, travelling. It can be powerful.” 

Judging by the band’s forward momentum so far, they hit the nail on the head.

Connect with Tusk at facebook.com/realtusk.

Published in Volume 71, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 19, 2017)

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