// Who now?
We are Tucan, a six-piece, sometimes seven-piece, sometimes eight-piece, rarely four-piece band from Sligo, Dublin and Derry – though we often have an Austrian with us.
// Listen How?
// Tucan are known for your re-imaginings of well known records. They always sound so different from the originals and fresh in their own right. How do you decide what tracks to pick to record?
When we recorded The Factory Sessions, the idea behind it was to pick banging dance tunes from the late 90’s and early 00’s, that we all loved, and re-imagine them in an acoustic context. It turned out that a lot of our audience back then had spent quite a bit of time raving to those tunes so they went down really well. For our latest record we picked ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack, which is a daunting tune to take on.
We wanted to pick something that we all loved, and that would be recognisable, but still left a lot of room to manoeuvre, musically. I’m pretty happy with the result on that tune, though it’s a very different vibe to our earlier cover versions.
// You have used different directors for Túcan’s videos but the common theme seems to be understated, and artistic imagery that compliments the musicality of the piece. How do you decide on video concepts or do you leave that up to the directors?
When deciding on an approach for music videos for this record we had a few things in mind, namely that we didn’t want to be in the videos, they had to have a very distinct visual style, and lastly that we wanted to give control over to someone exterior to the band so that the finished articles would be artistic collaborations as opposed to promo videos.
We approached directors that we knew and trusted, allowed them to pitch a few ideas for the tunes, and once we decided on a pitch, handed over the reigns to them and waited to see what they came back with. It’s a very liberating, and interesting, way to work, though it only works if you have total trust in the directors.
// Who are your favourite Irish artists at the moment?
Jennifer Evans, The Gloaming, Meltybrains?, This is How We Fly, Tongue Bundle, Interskalactic, I am The Cosmos, the Olllam, Leo Drezden, Booka Brass Band, Old Hannah, This Side Up, to name but a few. There are so many amazing Irish bands around these days. We’re blessed.
// You guys are well known for your festival appearances. Do you have a favourite festival or festival moment you’d like to share?
Closing out the Body and Soul arena on the Sunday night at The Electric Picnic ’07, back when we were just a two-piece, in front of a few thousand people, and we had to go on after a bangin DJ. It was our first year on the festival scene too, so that’s hard to beat.
// The last text message you sent is your next album title. What is it?
‘Lourdes is great for camping I hear ;)’
// Send us a photo and explain…
Here is a photo of our bass player, Graham Heaney, doing his thing with another band at The Electric Picnic last year. I have included this as the world needs to know about the very strong vibe that this guy puts out.
// What’s the plan for Túcan for the rest of 2015?
World domination, of course! Which starts with a bunch of Irish festivals in July, including Knockanstockan, Killarney Festival of Music and Food, Groove Festival, Daytripper Festival, plus a few big ones that we can’t announce yet. After that we’ll be touring again in Sept/Oct, so lots of plans afoot.
// You can only hear one song for the rest of your life – what is it?
‘My Favourite Things’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein – the sound of music version is amazing, but if it was for the rest of my life then a John Coltrane version, as they went on for hours. Apparently some of his gigs comprised of single, two hour improvisation on that tune.
// The one song that you always bust out at a house party?
For a house party, ‘Ain’t Nobody’, Chaka Khan, always works (that drum groove), but lately ‘Controversy’ by Prince is my go-to guy.