"In one of our earliest shows, someone came up to us after our set and told us, 'you guys sound like 2006,' and that remains the sharpest observation anyone has made of Tourist."
That's what Sam Arreola, vocalist of San Diego band Tourist, told No Echo when we asked him about their stylistic approach. "We all got into hardcore as teens in the mid-to-late '00s, so there are elements from that era that seep through our sound. Aside from the demo, I’ve written all the music for Tourist. I can’t write a D-beat or play complex chords to save my life, hence the focus on blast beats and grooves. It keeps Tourist simple and straightforward.
"It’s a duct-taped blend of East Coast power violence referencing Mind Eraser, Scapegoat, Breathing Fire, and Wolf Whistle, that also incorporates the bouncier aspects of bands like Blacklisted and Cold World."
Formed in 2017, Tourist has been developing their sound via a few releases, leading to Take Five, their kickass brand new EP. "I initially wanted to do a straight edge power violence band called X-Force, but as we kept writing the songs that would appear on our 2018 demo, we shed the gimmick and gave the band a more serious approach," Sam told No Echo. "I played drums and sang in the demo, and [guitarist] Gabe did everything else.
"Shortly after it came out, we met our first bass player, Chris, who introduced us to our drummer, Justin. Chris left the band in 2019 and our friend Joseph joined. It’s been me, Gabe, Justin and Joseph since then."
While the tracks on Take Five don't waste time messing around with nuance, Sam told No Echo the lyrics served as a sort of personal cleanse for him. "I quit grad school earlier this year, which, after 7 or so years of nonstop schooling effectively derailed me from the track I intended to remain on for the next decade or two. The initial lyric ideas were very nihilistic as a result.
"There are a couple songs on this new record that still touch on that and speak to the dissatisfaction, frustration, and weariness we’ve all felt after living through these past two years, but as we, both individually and collectively as a band, refocused our time and attention towards more fulfilling endeavors, the theme became forward-thinking: turning that doomed mental ship around before it sinks. Whether that message shines through between the blasts and the feedback is entirely another matter."
Sam tipped his hat to some fellow San Diego-based bands before his conversation with No Echo came to a close. "San Diego has never been more vibrant, especially now that live shows are back. You can look at the upcoming Fear of Noise fest roster to get an idea of the breadth and diversity of local punk acts, including a few bands like Therapy, Headcount, and Violencia that are well-established by now.
"North County-based collective Salsa Verde Fanzine has also kept a finger on the local pulse for a few years, their releases typically fall more on the metalcore side of the spectrum, but it’s worthwhile checking out their catalog.
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