Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Tug
Words by James Lynch
Wednesday 1st June, 2022
Following the release of their new album To Burn Oneself last month, we got in touch with local rockers Tug to dig into the influences behind their latest collection of explosive and zany psychedelic excursions.
A few weeks back, we had the pleasure of premiering Tug’s volatile and fun second album To Burn Oneself. At the time, we commented on the sense of controlled chaos that radiated across the release that was constantly buoyed by the seemingly effortlessness nature of the band - or as we put it, “a joyously freewheeling sense to the group that makes To Burn Oneself sounds so thrillingly eclectic yet just as effortless and natural.”

Now nearly a month on, we caught up with band leader Mitch Peters to look at some key influences, and understandably so, they’re equally left-of-centre but just as deceivingly obvious; touchstones that seem clear as day once they’ve been revealed. There’s something especially rewarding listening back to the record - whether that’s the cosmic grooves of ‘Droid Party’, the down-tempo and seductive lilt of the title track and the spirited classic rock vibe of ‘The Way It Was’, or the completely adventurous and wacko closer ‘Bamboo’ - and acknowledging the influence of things like Rick and Morty, Crowded House or the band’s own unique musicianship.

So to help us journey deeper down the rabbit hole and into their sonic world that seems like it’s only growing more kaleidoscopic on every repeat listen, Mitch very kindly has walked us through some major inspirations on To Burn Oneself.

Rick and Morty

I remember being really inspired when I first was getting into Rick and Morty. I really liked the absurdity, fast changes, and its mind bending concepts, all of which I took inspiration from in the songwriting for Tug. I tend to get pretty bored watching bands that sound like a simulacrum of what they think other people will think is cool and tend to waffle on in lacklustre clichés of their given genre. I like using the deep toolbox of musicianship to craft interesting experiences for the listener and cater for our broad taste, short attention span generation, like the Rick and Morty creators do in their own way for their viewers.

Music Theory

The main source of inspiration for the songwriting of Tug is music theory. Most songs emerge out of learning or fiddling around with interesting harmony and rhythm. I try to craft songs that are unique somehow and that can grab and hold attention, so the building blocks of the music is where I spend most of my focus and gain most inspiration from.

Frank Zappa
I'm definitely not a Zappa nerd, and I've only really briefly skimmed through his extensive back catalogue, but he has definitely been an inspirational figure in my mind. Particularly for the way he can can pull off such absurd musical ideas and make the music the work of art, not the ego.

Paul Kelly & Crowded House
My family had what seemed like only two cassettes on permanent rotation in the car while I was growing up; Paul Kelly and Crowded House best ofs. I think both of these cassettes imprinted on me in big ways. Even though I've broadened my musical horizons since then, I think my roots are in these two albums. Maybe one day I can write an album in the same calibre of these great Australian artists!

The band

The line up of Tug I think really defines and fleshes out the sound that emerges out of the bones of my writing. We all have very different tastes and styles which come together to form our sound. But my songwriting and our tastes and skills as a band are always evolving and we've got a lot in the works at the moment so I'm very excited to see where we end up taking the band in the coming years.
To Burn Oneself is out now via Side Stare Music.