Flipping the blues with timeless sounds
KARL Williams knew he could never venture into psychedelic territory on his own. The local acoustic-blues troubadour played a solo gig at a party when he was approached separately by three guys who wanted to get together and make some music. The four musicians began jamming and Tsun was born. The quartet noticed a ‘‘quick response’’ from music fans after releasing their debut single, Marmalade, earlier this year. ‘‘It’s amazing to see how rapid and positive the reaction has been,’’ Williams says. ‘‘I think it’s partially because our music is really relatable. It does have that blues tone but on the flip side, it has a danceability and that uplifting feel of 1960s rock and psychedelica.’’ Williams says Tsun are not a revival band. ‘‘It can be a bit dangerous to be too backward-looking, although there is an appreciation of that going on,’’ he says. ‘‘Blues is the fundamental part and it’s timeless. It’s not associated with a particular time.’’ Williams says Tsun are influenced by ‘‘the whole musical history to date’’ – with a certain emphasis on the ’60s and ’70s psychedelic period. ‘‘There’s also elements of modern things in there. It’s eclectic,’’ he says. ‘‘We try to make the recording sound unidentifiable. It could be past or present. That way it’s mysterious.’’ Lyrically, Williams looks to universal topics and things he sees as ‘‘fundamental to the state of being human’’. ‘‘ Marmalade has a spiritual feel. It’s about death and going to the next world,’’ he says. ‘‘There’s another song and it discusses that from the viewpoint of my brother’s girlfriend’s grandpa. They moved him out to a nursing home and threw away all his stuff. It’s the saddest thing that at the end of your life your family could do that.’’ Williams says the creative process is collaborative. ‘‘The music part comes naturally once there is a little seed,’’ he says. ‘‘Everyone brings in ideas and little riffs and we jam on those. I can take that away and I have books full of poetry and things, but normally I write something new.’’ Williams says Tsun’s live shows feature projections layered with a kaleidoscopic effect and ‘‘bubbles and balloons flying around’’.
– ROSE SADLEIR
Tsun play Komune Resort, in Coolangatta, on Sunday.