This gritty Melbourne four-piece band takes it cues from fragments of blues, rock, metal R&B and garage rock with the exciting unpredictability of frontwoman Estelle Artois, who sings with fervor and purposeful soul. Interestingly, like all good rock stories, Estelle (lead vocals/guitar), Brendan Forward (guitar), Mick Quee (bass) and Joshua Potter on drums came together after leaving their old bands (for various reasons) and found they had something in common – an unquenchable drive or passion and yearning to still create great music. That said, come next month, ‘after a year on the bench’ spending time writing new material and jamming together, they will be finally returning to the stage playing what guitarist Brendan Forward refers to as their inspired “guitar-driven soul rock.”
It’s absolutely nuts to think we are going to discover everything there is to know about Echo Del Tusker of the back of their debut single Can’t Keep Your Man. In time we will unearth a lot more about them. But for now I hope you will stick around and listen to their gutsy new track. Importantly, Estelle and Brendan were also on hand to briefly chat with me about their new endeavour. Here is some of what we talked about.
Echo Del Tusker’s single launch and live debut is coming up very soon. What do you think the reaction will be like from fans who previously followed you from your own respective old bands?
Estelle: We released our first ever single yesterday and have had a lot of followers from our previous bands reach out and jump on board to support our new project. It’s been very humbling as it’s a bit of a different vibe for all of us and we’re glad they’re still interested in what we’re going – haha.
Brendan: My shoes are in better condition these days so maybe that’ll be a bit of a surprise for people – haha.
Estelle, what specifically drew you back into music after not actively working as a musician for a while?
Estelle: I always knew I wasn’t done, I just needed time off to recuperate and give myself a break, you know? Brendan and I really felt it too, coming off bands that were touring non-stop to doing absolutely nothing musically so we naturally gravitated towards writing songs in our living room once we’d settled back into real life. We’ve been playing cover gigs around Melbourne together to tide us over, but nothing really compares to playing songs live and I’m so glad to be back sharing music around once more.
Are you the kind of band that really bonded over your influences?
Brendan: It’s funny, ’cause Estelle and I both knew the other members before we started the band and we bonded over a lot of the same bands we loved as mates, but none of those bands overly sound like Echo Del Tusker. It wasn’t ’til we got in a room together that we realised that we all really love lots of soul, blues and southern rock.
Estelle: Yeah, it actually surprised me that Josh, who plays metal, and Mick who has a history of playing in heavy, heavy bands both liked the stuff me and Brendan were coming out with. Mick has since penned some songs for the band too and it’s all sounding killer!
The band’s new song Can’t Keep Your Man has an old school rock feel to it. I can also hear a bit of a Black Keys vibe to it. How did it come about?
Estelle: Brendan has a hard-drive of demos and he showed me his demo of the music, which had no lyrics at the time. He wanted to do something with it though, and I heard a Black Keys vibe to it too, but also felt that a Martha and the Vandellas/Supremes vein of gospel, preachy, empowering lyrics would work so well. The lyrics came really quickly, and Josh was feeling ‘experimental’, shall we say, at rehearsal one day and started clicking his sticks in a different tempo half way through the song and the whole middle section was written in about five minutes. It pays to be a dick sometimes.
Brendan: Yeah I had a demo to that song from years ago and I actually nearly got rid of it ’cause I thought it would never get used, but when I showed it to Estelle she loved it and wrote a song around it. I’m sure I would have been listening to a lot of The Black Keys when I came up with the music, and if I remember rightly, we wanted a really simple one-word chorus like the 4 non blonds song ‘What’s up’, so we changed the “Hey hey hey” to “No No No” – haha.
I understand, there is definitely an EP on the horizon? Can you divulge any secrets about it?
Estelle: This is news to me! Definitely, you say? I would love to do an EP. Or an album. Let’s see what happens… There will be more tunes though, we’re constantly writing at the moment and all of us have lots of ideas which is an awesome position to be in.
Brendan: I thought we were doing a double-album next with a bonus live disc.
Estelle: I think it’s time for your nap.
Finally, and I say this a little tongue-in-cheek, which band member tells the worst jokes? What have you had to suffer through so far?
Estelle: Wow… I don’t know how to answer that. I feel like we all try to out-do each other. There’s too many examples to count. Josh is probably the dirtiest and Brendan will laugh at his jokes even if no one else does – a painful mix.
Brendan: Quee’s a dad, so he’s got the dad humour pretty much sorted, but we’re all pretty awful to be honest.
Echo Del Tusker will take to the stage for the very first time at Melbourne’s iconic venue, Max Watt’s House of Music as part of an incredible lineup for the first ever Rebirth Festival alongside some of Melbourne’s hardest working bands on September 8th. Booking is essential so get your tickets HERE.
You can also connect with Echo Del Tusker via their Facebook page and twitter feed @EchoDelTusker. Their debut single Can’t Keep Your Man is available on iTunes and Spotify and all other major streaming platforms.
Photo Credit: The header image is courtesy of Echo Del Tusker and supplied by Gregg Bell of Wanted Management. I am not the uploader of You Tube clip embedded here.