Interview With Tunic's David Schellenberg

Updated: May 10, 2021


2021 band press image of Manitoba's noise punk trio Tunic.
Photo courtesy of Adam Kelly.

On April 9th, Winnipeg’s very own noise-punk trio Tunic released their second album, Exhaling, though Artoffact Records. Approximately two weeks before the release of Exhaling, I spoke with vocalist and guitarist David Schellenberg to discuss the band’s new album, why they included their previous album, Complexion, on the record, the band’s sound, influences, touring, and much more.

 

You three release your new album Exhaling on April 9th, via Artoffact Records. How do you compare this album to any of your previous releases? Did you do anything differently this time around? Exhaling is new and old songs bundled together for the first time, compiling sold-out releases, random digital singles, and brand new tracks. Its job is to punish the listener with the abrasive songs.

Regarding the second half of the album, particularly tracks fourteen through twenty-three, which were featured on your previous release, Complexion. Are these re-recordings of those songs? Why include them in this release? These tracks are remastered and included because the label who released Complexion fell apart right when we released the record and was really shitty to their employees. They would take payment for records and never ship them so people would reach out to me, and I’d have to send them some of our copies. I mailed my personal copy to someone because of this. So we included those songs so we could put them in the hands of a label we trust.

What does the band name of Tunic mean as a name to you? It’s just a name. We had started the band, and we needed a name, so I was looking at my records trying to think of something, and I wanted us to sound more like Sonic Youth at the time, so I went with Tunic.

How would you describe your music to anybody who may have never heard of Tunic before? You’ll probably hate it.

Some of the band’s main influences include Quicksand, Converge, and Botch, but what makes Tunic stand out among these artists? I guess the thing that makes us stand out more is I’m a far worse guitar player than any of the folks in these bands, so I make up a lot of weird chords and embrace some more feedback-based passages instead of more conventional songwriting.

If you could book a dream tour with Tunic in the lineup, what would it look like? Dream tour eh? It’d be great to tour with Daughters, Kowloon Walled City, Show Me the Body, or Wax Chattels. Hell, that’d be one wild night of music. I wouldn’t even want to play it. I’d just like to attend.

You three have found quite the success over the years and have performed many tours around the globe now. Do you have any funny, interesting, or just any rememberable story from touring? Or even from a Winnipeg performance? So many! Here are some highlights: One time, we slept in a shipping container in Slovenia in February, and we left the heater on and woke up drenched in sweat, panting for air. Dan played two shows in one afternoon at SXSW with terrible food poisoning and drank Pepto Bismol between every song. They crushed both sets. We played a former Nazi prison turned all-ages punk community centre in Germany.

As a fellow Winnipegger, if you could perform in the most unconventional place in Winnipeg at this current second, where would it be and why? Probably The Children’s Museum. Mostly because I would love the juxtaposition of our terrible music being played, surrounded by a bunch of kids exhibits, etc.

When did it first begin to feel like Tunic was becoming larger than anticipated? Oh God, I don’t know. This band was never supposed to go on tour or make a record, so I guess when those happened or when complete strangers started coming to shows and knowing the words, that’s always a cool one.

Are there any plans to celebrate the release of Exhaling virtually? Or you just going to wait it out until you can get back out there with a full crowd? I didn’t even think of celebrating virtually. Realistically I’ll probably have a non-alcoholic beer and start planning out the next release. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

Finally, I’m sure it’s stressful trying to release any new music during these unprecedented times. Has it impacted the process of putting Exhaling out to the world in any way? Well, it’s a bit of a new process for us really because this is our first release on a real label and with a full team of people working the record, so that’s been cool. But really, the coolest thing is that we actually have fans who are stoked to hear the new stuff and get the record. It’s just too bad we can’t climb into the van and play 100+ shows on the road and bring the music to the fans.

 

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