For Toronto band Tusks, it’s all about the music. Lead singer Samir Khan has sung alongside Arcade Fire’s drummer Jeremy Gara in the bands Weights & Measures and Kepler—they even used to be roommates. But Khan and his four-man Tusks crew aren’t concerned with the fame.
“I would like things to be a little more home-spun,” says Khan, who puts value in a less commercial music scene. “A lot of people think that musical communities are important and try to organize that way, but people are doing commercials and stuff now. I get it, you make money and you’re trying to get sales, but there’s something very un-rock-and-roll about a lot of things.”
Before forming in 2004, Tusks has been actively involved in Canada’s indie music scene since the late 90s, belonging to bands such as Kepler, Snailhouse, Weights & Measures and Bruce Peninsula. Their first album, a six-track EP entitled White Whale, was released in 2008. After this, the band’s future was uncertain until original members Khan and Shaw-han Liem were lucky enough to acquire Steven McKay and Jordan Howard to replace their departed drummer and guitarist.
“It’s been a little while since our last record, so there have been some changes and we have some different members in the band,” Khan says. “I’ve known Shaw-han since I lived in Ottawa, he’s played in Tusks from the beginning. Steven and Jordan I just know from playing music in and around Toronto. It’s been really great since they joined.”
Tusks’ new album, Total Entertainment, came out October 23. The tracks range from upbeat to soothing, providing a refreshing range of sounds.
“I’m sure there are consistent things about the record, but it’s not a consistent record. We have a short attention span. I’ll write one song and then try to make something different,” Khan explains.
The band consistently aims to be humble, yet innovative with their sound. “What I would aspire to is this adventurous spirit behind our music. Hopefully, it sounds like somebody with a diverse record collection.”
Their unique name also reflects their down-to-earth vibe. Though inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s album Tusk, Khan explains that there’s more to it.