New Artist Focus: Tuning

Photo: Michael D. Thorn

"When I moved to the Bay Area, I started seeing great shows here and really wanted to do a band and trying and get more involved," says Jeremy D. Smith, guitarist of Tuning. A veteran of such hardcore outfits as Dead Hearts, Halfmast, Modern Problems, and Plagued With Rage, Jeremy is chatting with me about his latest project: Tuning.

"Most of the people I talked to initially were already committed, uninterested, or bailed early on. I met our drummer Murtaza through Israel Branson, who played with us once and at first the band kind of crept along very, very slowly, until this past March at an American Nightmare show, were Murt got to talking to his friend Adrian, who is originally from Oxnard and then we had a guitar player. He brought in his buddy Ben on bass and I knew Matt from going to see Dying for It a bunch of times. Matt just joined up last month and it all just clicked."

In terms of Tuning’s sound and stylistic approach, I ask Jeremy if that was something he and the band had a very clear vision of before they even started writing the material. "I think so. I wanted to do something a little more melodic than my last couple of bands. I made the decision to kind of write lyrics a little differently than Modern Problems, too, more akin to the stuff I wrote for Dead Hearts and the Control. Some of the stuff turned out 'moshier,' and some more melodic."

Since he's been in a ton of bands going back to the ‘90s, I was curious to see if Jeremy is approaching Tuning differently from a non-musical standpoint. "I think it kind of easier to set goals and look at the band from a realistic standpoint. I’m not really someone who is a tastemaker anymore, if I ever really was. I am fine with that, and I’m not going to tell people about the way it was or the way it should be.

"I still feel connected with hardcore and punk and want to nurture that connection to the best of my ability, even if my role as a participant has changed over the years."

Jeremy performing guitar at a Dead Hearts reunion set in 2012. (Photo: MArk X Miller)

As Jeremy stated above, he's taking the Tuning stuff one step at a time. "We’re playing in Santa Cruz on Dec. 30. At practice last night, we kind of talked about what the overall 'plan' is.  The plan is minimum one show a month with a weekend out of town gigs like every 3 months, basically stay active without overdoing it. Matt and Murt both have other bands, and we all have commitments outside of Tuning, so we want to be realistic. We recorded 9 songs, but opted on releasing two because we’d like to do a record in the near future."

As I usually do when interviewing someone from a new band for the site, I get Jeremy's picks from are some other acts from his neck of the woods that people should check out right now. "Well, I like Screaming Fist, Neighborhood Brats, Tørsö, Necrot, Primal Rite, Pity Party, and from a little further up north, Dying for It. I really liked Profile a lot, but the last time I went to see them, they cancelled and I don’t think they’re doing much anymore."


Follow Tuning on Facebook and Bandcamp. The band will be playing on Dec. 30 at Subrosa in Santa Cruz, CA along with Cell Rot, World Peace, and Bottled Up.

Tagged: dead hearts, discourage, dying for it, halfmast, new artist focus, tuning