By Mandi Kimes
The songs on Tuskha’s self-titled debut album were not intended for a record release. Previously of Bowerbirds, Phil Moore created Tuskha as a means to find the joy in creativity again. His new project will be touring in support of Tuskha, as well as to showcase his songwriting and performance in a new setting: ditching the pop-folk atmosphere for a soulful R&B touch. Tuskha will be performing at Crescent Ballroom on Monday, July 18th in support of Wye Oak.
MK: “This is a survivor album for everyone who is currently surviving." Explain.
PM: It’s kind of an open-ended statement; it’s a little facetious because everyone is surviving. But I was going through slightly hard times when I wrote the songs and I feel like everyone goes through hard times. I’m not trying to put myself on a different level, but trying to relate to people with similar struggles. The world is kind of a weird place right now, but I think people are all trying to deal. This album is for that.
MK: If the songs were not intended for release, what were they original intended for?
PM: I’ve been in a band called Bowerbirds for the past ten years and toured with that and got into the album cycle where we write an album, then go tour, and repeat. Every song I wrote I had to stay within a certain box and I started writing these songs that were a new train of thought when it comes to songwriting. I felt like I was stagnating. I like all kinds of music and didn’t want to write the same music. These songs were originally just for me to find the joy of being creative again.
MK: Your vocal delivery reminds me of Justin Vernon, who I know you have played alongside in the past. Was he a direct influence to your sound, or was that subconscious?
PM: Not a direct influence on this album, but he continues to inspire me. My old band Ticonderoga moved to North Carolina from Ohio and his band DeYarmond Edison moved from Wisconsin and we played shows together. Both our bands broke up around the same time and he hopped over and joined Ticonderoga for like six months and we began being really creative and tried to figure out what we were going to do next.
MK: After you finish your set and walk off the stage, what do you hope fans take away from your show?
PM: That’s a good question – I guess I would like for the fans to “get it;” when you hear the album over and over, it’s very powerful. But, when we get on stage and you have heard the album in passing as a reference, there are certain things on the album that can be possibly misunderstood. We’re trying to bend the rules a little bit of music archetypes. I’d like people to “get it,” whatever that means. Enjoy it on a fun level, especially at a live setting.
MK: What are you currently listening to?
PM: I don’t have a lot of references that I listen to. I listened to Mount Moriah’s record; they’re some buddies of ours from North Carolina. We toured with Made of Oak and I listened to them a lot.