Surrealistic Tuna [Surfcoast Column]

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Surrealistic Tuna [Surfcoast Column]

The music industry has changed greatly over the past twenty years or so. Gone are the days when you needed a record label to release your stuff. There are now so many different online channels musicians can use to publish their material and broaden their fanbase. Lorne lad Achyuta Ellis is currently using social media to release his music into the world under the stage name Surrealistic Tuna.
“It helps a lot,” he says of the effect the internet has had for young musicians. “I feel bad for the kids in the ’90s struggling to get their names out in local pubs and that kind of thing. But in the digital age you’ve got musicians at the click of a button and in terms of promotion it’s just so easy to get your name out there. Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a small little following.”
Achyuta, who’s just released his first album, The City, says his music is hard to describe, calling it “kind of ambient, soundtrack, psychedelic, soundscapey”. He gets his inspiration from a variety of different artists, including Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and Country Joe & The Fish but says, “Really, I kind of just jam out until I find something that I like. I usually head in with a predisposed idea of what I want to do. But I kind of just make it up.”
He’s currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT University, majoring in sound. Once the degree is completed he’s hoping to start performing his material in public, a stage he says he’s not quite up to yet.
“I just want to pursue as many avenues that interest me as possible,” he says. “I really just want to get to gigging, that’s the main thing. I’ve started my own band – I’m just waiting for a friend to get back from the states. So over the next couple of years I’ve got my table full, so to speak. It’s not about fame or income or anything like that. It’s about having fun for me.”
His interest in music began on the Surf Coast, with his family and the culture in Lorne fostering his initial interest in playing, specifically, surf music. “Growing up on the ocean has certainly, no pun intended, amplified my love of surf music. Actually, what got me playing guitar [in the first place] was surf music, so there’s a subconscious link there somewhere. But mainly it would be my dad always having musical instruments around the house, forcing me to listen to hillbilly music.”
And why Surrealistic Tuna? “I really don’t know. It’s one of those names that just comes to you and you think ‘that’ll do’. Tuna’s my nickname. A good friend of mine from Geelong, a long time ago, she actually misheard my name and thought it was Tuna.”
Over the next year or so Achyuta is hoping to expand his online presence and engage more with his audience, even incorporating their ideas and suggestions into his music.
You can look up Surrealistic Tuna on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify and Facebook where you can purchase The City and his other compositions. And there’s lots more stuff on the way. “There’s plenty more projects in the pipeline,” he says.
By Daniel Waight