DURYEA — Progressive metal band Tusko is charging forward. The Pottsville-based five-piece is recording a new album at Conclave Studios in New York City, and the band recently shot a music video in Luzerne County.
On Oct. 1, band members were accompanied by friends, a film director, a group of young martial artists and a slew of extras at a private property on Coxton Road to shoot a short film that will be one component — along with footage from a live Tusko performance — of a music video for the band’s single “Answers To Unasked Questions.”
The band is comprised of guitarists Jim Thomas and Brandon Foti, bassist Sam Grim, drummer Shane Flail and lead vocalist Erin Linderman.
Kingston resident James Callahan is director of business development for Conclave Studios and he sees a bright future for Tusko, a band he said he chased all over Pennsylvania.
“They’re a tremendous force being held in check,” Callahan said of the band. Erin’s “a firestorm, and the boys are a heavy wind behind her.”
Callahan described the band’s sound as a mixture of rock and math metal with psychedelic tendencies.
Guitarist Thomas said “Answers” is a blast of energy with which the band tends to end shows.
“It’s generally just a great song, and we’ve never had a chance to do it justice in the studio,” Thomas said.
The short film will be able to stand on its own as a piece of art, and he described the theme as a “child ‘Fight Club‘“or a “rednecky Thunderdome.”
Callahan said the film explores the concept of hostility in society or the idea of man against man. The story line follows a group of children forced to fight each other while a hoard of adults bets on the combat.
“It’s the kids who realize this is no way to live and leave the adults there to ponder their actions,” Callahan said.
With the help of a few friends and volunteers, Callahan was able to turn an overgrown property into a believable backwoods gladiator pit.
Approximately 15 children from Downtown Dojo Karate Academy, in Wilkes-Barre, volunteered to be among the main actors in the film, and parents and friends prepped the small warriors with makeup before Wilkes-Barre filmmaker Terrell Bobbett took over as director and moulded various scenes.
The Coxton Road property is owned by Tusko fan Rene Burnett who attended the video shoot to do makeup with her youngest daughter.
“James is an old friend,” Burnett said of Callahan. “He (married) me and my husband. He asked if he could use the property and we said ‘absolutely.’”
In all, more than 50 people participated in the effort.
Tusko vocalist Linderman called the turnout “crazy” and “very humbling.”
“This is such a great opportunity for us,” Linderman said. “It’s nice to know people are here supporting us.”
Producer and engineer at Conclave Studios Mitch Cox said the studio is selective with its talent and offers its first class facility to artists it believes have unique talent and sound.
“Tusko’s sound is brutal, rough, but just below the surface there’s a massive amount of complexity,” Cox said. “They’re progressive but they’re not slaves to tempo or time signature. Our job is to make them sound brutal and beautiful at the same time.”
Callahan said Tusko is working “tirelessly” on their new record, and the band and studio hope to have the new music and the video for “Answers to Unasked Questions” ready to release some time in February. To keep up with news on Tusko’s releases, visit the band’s Facebook page at facebook.com/tuskoband or the Conclave Studios website at conclavestudios.com.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts