This year at DUSK, there are some incredible local artists joining the line-up. Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, are both Sur Block and Mother Tierra.
Sur Block is a six person band of Tucson natives. The six members are Alyssa, the lead singer, Peter “Pops”, plays the guitar, the synthesizer, and writes most of the lyrics for the band. Nick plays the bass, Riley is on the drums, Ricardo plays the guitar, and Cruz plays the synthesizer as well. The band originally started with Alyssa and Pops coming together to sing songs, and everyone fell into place from there. Nick actually noticed the band did not have a bassist and approached them after a show to see about becoming a part of the team.
Sur Block is in their fourth year as a band together, and are incredibly passionate about their live performances. The band played live for a full year before they decided to record anything. Originally, the band had a much more electronic sound, but realized that they would rather have a more natural, organic sound that used more real instruments and didn’t rely on a computer. Now, they really bring everything they have to the live shows. They talk about how a song can be recoded one way, but then takes on a completely new vibe when it hits the stage. It’s almost as if the song has completely transformed. Pops says, “No song is safe,” that they’re always trying to enhance and improve upon what they already have.
The band works extremely hard to create a very unique sound. They do not really fit into any one category. They have made songs that are soulful and songs that sound very hard-rock. Sometimes they have an Arcade Fire vibe, and sometimes they sound more like Phantogram. “Eclectic” seems like a fitting word to describe the band and the music they produce. They are collectively very energy driven, and again, it comes back to the live shows. They really leave it all out on the stage.
Sur Block’s songs are all very inspired. They believe the melody is the most important part of their songs. The emotion that is evoked through the melody of the song is how the lyrics come about. More often than not in their song writing process, the lyrics are the very last contribution to the final product. It also isn’t always clear when a song is finished. The band prefers to let the song develop over a few months time and see what comes of it.
Sur Block is especially excited to play for fresh ears at DUSK. This will be their biggest show to date, and they’re actively challenging themselves to find a way to awe their audience. Fans can listen to Sur Block on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, YouTube, Apple Music, and their website, surblockmusic.com. Check out their most recent music video, “Hex”, and stay tuned for the release of their next music video, “Space and Time”, to be released just before DUSK Music Festival.
Tierra Owens, fondly known by her DJ name, “Mother Tierra”, is a self described, “Tuc girl desert rat”. She started DJing when she was 17. Believe it or not, she felt too shy to join a band, so she picked up DJing because she liked playing other people’s music.
Around age 19 or 20, she was trying to come up with a DJ name for herself. She wanted something confident and something bold. She didn’t want a girly name, she wanted a dominant name. She cites artists like Grandmaster Flash and Big Daddy Kane as a sort of inspiration in her search. One day she thought of Mother Teresa, and she figured because of her love for all types of music and her love of seeing people happy and enjoying themselves that it was a winner. Also, “Tierra” in Spanish means “Earth”, and she liked the worldly nature of her new name.
Currently, Tierra is influenced by Kaytranada, Sango, and Nick Hook. She loves the unique beats that these artists create. She loves beats in general, “Anything I can bob my head to or close my eyes and escape”, she says she loves. She is also finds inspiration watching other DJs on YouTube, and seeing up close what they’re doing. Her personal sound fits into the categories of Deep House, Electronica, Vogue House and Baltimore Club. She loves many of the House genres and “anything groovy can keep [her] on the dance floor forever”. Baltimore Club music is describes as “booty-dancing oriented”, which is something that Mother Tierra loves to get her fans to do. With the right crowd, she’ll also play dancehall reggae.
Tierra’s dream is to perform at large venues like she will be this year at DUSK. She is excited to be able to show an audience who she is really is as an artist instead of just catering to what a specific crowd wants to hear.
Tierra is in the process of learning how to make beats and use other music-making techniques to better her craft. She is curious about playing outside of Tucson and exploring other cities. Listen to Mother Tierra on SoundCloud and follow her Instagram for updates about when her website will launch at the end of the year.