Tuff Sunshine is the indie/rock/acoustic/garage/non-genre-restricted musical vehicle helmed by Brooklyn musician and songwriter Johnny Leitera.

They will release their latest ‘Dig Deeper, Peanut’ album on October 25th through Brooklyn boutique label Declared Goods. Influenced by a range of music genres and eras (‘80s/‘90s punk and postpunk; ’60s/‘70s Stax recordings), they have just released new single ‘Two Kids In The City, and we goy frontman Jonny to answer some Gig Soup questions …

How did you come up with the name Tuff Sunshine?

My first rule of band names: always make sure it’s the only thing that comes up when you Google it. It’s forever a wonder for me why bands choose names like “Adjective” or “Stapler”…if I’m searching for you and you don’t come up on the first page of results, I’m out. There’s just too much happening out there for me to put that much effort into finding you, and it’s a shame, because you might be fantastic.

I liked the hard/soft/rough/bright element of it as well. “Tough” didn’t work in print for me, so thus the alternative spelling (it’s not a nod to Tuff Gong or Tuff Darts or various cleaning products).

What artists have influenced your sound?

John Denver, Eddie Arnold, Fred Rogers, Tim Rogers, Stax Records, Starday Records, Billy Bragg, Billie Holiday, Wilco(s)(both the band and Wilko Johnson), Thin Lizzy, The Kinks, Ted Leo, George Jones, Phoenix Foundation, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Kool Keith, The Replacements…to name a few off the top of my head. Everything you hear influences you, including traffic, machinery, the weather…

What was the inspiration behind ’Two Kids In The City ’?

Traffic, machinery and the weather! Im only half joking, as it’s a song about being “trapped” in the “golden cage” of NYC, and how things have changed, but also how they have not…how “it’s not easy” living here.

What are your plans and hopes for 2019?

Well, there’s only a few months left at this point…most of my hopes and plans for 2019 have come to fruition (finding a label for the new record, doing a month in the UK solo, playing some Mid-West full band gigs) but looking forward to more full-band touring in 2020 (as much as our schedules will allow) as well as solo shows in the UK and on the West Coast here in the States.

What have been your favourite records of 2019?

Aldous Harding’s “Designer” has been by far my favorite release this year. It’s brilliant. Also enjoying the new New Pornographers (such a great band) and someone sent me the new Metronomy which I really liked. I’m always years behind on this stuff… was the most recent Courtney Barnett record 2019? I loved that one as well…

If you could give one tip to any aspiring bands what would it be?

Make sure your band name is the only thing that comes up when you Google it, of course!

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