Tussle's Nathan Burazer Says the Band's Music is Like a Spider Goat

Categories: Behind the Beat

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Winni Wintermeyer
As one of the founding members of San Francisco's krauty, dubby, polyrhythm-toting Tussle, Nathan Burazer has seen his fair share of musical trends and scenes come and go. And while the expansive instrumental jams his band has continued to write for almost a decade have never been touted as "über-hip," there has always been something inherently cool about Tussle's steady footing within its vintage style. Many acts may claim to be influenced by Can, Neu, Liquid Liquid, or other such artists, but this now-three-piece act is more or less a reincarnation of those bands.

Before taking off for some European tour dates, Tussle is playing a show tonight at Milk Bar in the Upper Haight. Behind the Beat asked Burazer if he wouldn't mind answering a few questions before his performance tonight, and he was kind enough to consent. Unexpectedly, he let loose with many secrets, including which Glaswegian producer will be helping to record and mix Tussle's new album, the origins of the mysterious "Spider Goat," and which of his bandmates is most likely to break your heart.


If you could compare Tussle's music to any animal, which would it be and why?

The Spider Goat is a natural, yet unnatural experiment, like Tussle. The spider gene was mixed with the egg of the goat, and the lamb born of it -- when grown to an adult goat -- produces milk from which spider's silk is produced. The milk is produced to create an amazingly strong silk fabric. The fabric is called "bio-steel" because it's five times stronger than steel.

The band has been around for a long time with different members. How long have you been in Tussle, and who else is in the current lineup?

I have been here since the band's inception in 2001. The current lineup is myself on electronics, Tomo Yasuda on bass guitar, Micro Korg, and cowbell, and Kevin Woodruff on drums and occasionally trombone. As often as possible, we've got Daniel Jay doing live video feedback projections, and we still sometimes double up on the drums when we're joined by Warren Huegel.

When working on new material, how does it come about? Is there a lot of jamming involved, does someone bring an idea to the table, or what?

Usually, jamming is involved. If we think it sounds good, we hit the record button and come back to it later to see if we can re-create it or grow it into something interesting.

Tussle released its last album, Cream Cuts, about two years ago, but I've heard new recordings are in the works. What can you tell us about that?

We are working on our fourth album. We have been working on it for a couple years now, passing the songs around between Tomo and myself. As of this past week, we passed our recordings over to JD Twitch of Optimo in Glasgow to mix. The plan is to record more with him in Glasgow in a few months.

What are some bands/producers you and the band are really into lately?

Angkorwat from Dublin, Pantha du Prince from Germany, Omar Souleyman from Syria, and Publicist, who is Seb from Trans Am.

So you're responsible for a lot of the electronic sounds in Tussle's music. What kind of gear do you use?

It changes from time to time, because shit breaks. Right now, I use a Yamaha AN-200, Electribe ES-1, Boss sampler, an MPC, a Space Echo, and the trusty Kaos Pad.

Do you ever work with much with samples? If so, what are some you've used?

Yeah, I have always worked with samples. I love the process of sampling. It's so fun. I usually sample whatever music I am into at a certain time, like Ethiopiques, T. P. Orchestre, Tchaikovsky, Gary Numan, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Mort Garson, Moondog...

Outside of Tussle, what keeps you and your bandmates busy?

I am usually, designing or working on animation. Tomo plays in a few other bands, so I am pretty sure that he is usually working or at the studio playing music with Ingot Rot, Coconut, Boyfriend Search, Walt Disney or as Mango. Kevin is a social butterfly. Outside of Tussle, I am pretty sure he is fluttering around town, breaking hearts and blowing minds.

What's on the horizon for Tussle?

We've got a handful of local shows coming up, then we are headed to Europe for some shows in a few months. Very excited to play with Neu! and Steve Reich at NuMusic Festival in Stavager, Norwary.

Any advice for kids looking to start their own band?

Don't get hung up on one thing for too long. Make mistakes. Take chances. Dedicate yourself to your music, practice as much as you can, and don't break up.

Follow this blog @SFAllShookDown and the writer @PatricFallon

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