11 Jun

Interview: Tusks Returns With Sensational New Album ‘Avalanche’

If you’re looking for extraordinary pop music, you don’t have to scan through all the charts, because the best alternative pop acts are often under many people’s radars. Today, we’re introducing you to one our favorite alternative pop acts of the moment; Tusks.

The London-based singer makes music that reminds us of Lykke Li, Lana Del Rey and London Grammar, but definitely knows how to put her own identity in her songs. Two years after the release of her debut album, Dissolve, Emily Underhill is returning with her hauntingly perfect new album Avalanche. In our interview, the singer gave us more context about the album (coming out this friday) and talked about her artistry.

Hi Emily, your second album is finally coming out. How excited are you about the release?

Actually, I’m really excited because the album had a quick turnaround and still feels fresh and exciting to me. The album is quite different compared to the previous album and I’m curious to hear people’s reaction.

Was there a specific difference in the writing process?

It really was a different writing process because I wrote the album more on guitars instead of keyboards. The album is more upbeat and the songs have a different structure. Avalanche has more choruses and riffs and feels like a grown up version of my debut Dissolve. In my early twenties, I was listening to a lot of ambient, electronic music, but in the process of writing the album, I’ve listened to a lot of rock music like for example Wolf Alice.

In January of 2018, you’ve broken your elbow. A nightmare for an artist…

That was a real low point. I smashed my elbow when I was snowboarding and had everything put back together with metal. The surgeon told me that a nerve in my finger might be damaged, so when I play guitar, my finger moves a little bit slower. After a long recovery process, I am able to play guitar again and make new music. I think because of that, I’ve got new energy to write this album and grab my guitar, which is probably one of the main reasons why the album is more guitar-based.

What’s the main concept of the album?

I’m not sure if there’s an overall concept. When I write albums, I don’t have a special concept in my mind, but I write about the things that are happening at the time of the writing. This album covers a lot of mental health issues, sexism and sexual harassment and also a bit of the end of a break up. It really covers these last 18 months since the last album.

You’ve just shot the music video for your latest single “Be Mine”. What can we expect from the video?

The music video is trying to play on the feel of “Be Mine”, where you get these kinds of abstract verses which are a little bit like an intrigue. We’re contrasting it with the chorus, which is really loud and direct. The video was shot in a garden in Blackheath and in a studio, two very different locations to highlight on the contrasts in the song.

What is your favorite track on the album?

I think “Mind” is my favorite track just because it’s a song I always wanted to write. I think musically, I find it quite interesting, because the song has a weird structure and production. I really love that song and am really proud about it.

Will there be a tour following the album release?

Absolutely. We have some dates where we’ll support Algiers in Germany, but we’re definitely planning more shows. We’re currently booking venues and are trying to play as many gigs as possible. I have a big headline show in London in November and we’re planning more dates around that time.

Avalanche will be out this Friday. Make sure you listen to it, because it’s one our favorite albums of the year so far.

Photos by Toby Harvard.

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