Juggling gigs and lectures: Meet the UEA boys with a record deal

‘I like the idea of surprising people that a guy in a rock band has a PhD’

For most, uni life is made up of lectures, the library and the LCR.  

But not so for Norwich-based alt rock band Tsunami Jets.

Two members of the fourpiece, Matt Surman and Simon West, are students at UEA and celebrating the bands’ recent signing to Ashwood Records.

The boys said: “We had only played half a song before the studio manager decided he liked our sound.”

Matt is studying Chemistry in his third year, and perhaps more impressively Simon is an Environmental Science fresher.

Tsunami Jets 1

The band celebrate their recent success


The other half of the band is made up by full-time musician Mitch Hill and Michael Stoker, a fencing contractor.

Bassist and back-up vocalist Mitch said: “We have eclectic influences- oriental, punk, metal and alternative rock, to name just a few. We bridge genres with our music.

“Now it’s a waiting game- we just have to see how the music is received.”

Lead singer and guitarist Michael added: “It would be really cool to be able to travel and get the tracks out there.

“We just want to see people enjoying the music.”

But this isn’t the first recognition the boys have received.

To date, they have been played on BBC Introducing twice, and are also set to feature in a UEA:TV documentary released later this year.

The boys in their attention grabbing stage-wear

The boys in their attention grabbing stage-wear


The band puts their success down to hard work and their unique image.

“Operation Skyhook”, the first song on their upcoming EP, took six months to write.

Mitch said: “We never say “that’ll do”- it’s always about finding what else we could do to improve a track.

“A lot of what we do is about being fun and silly, though.

“The fluorescent get-up we wear is part of that. It is also a means of catching the audience’s attention- you could be the best band in the world, but if people aren’t engaged, you’re not going to please them with your music.

“When we play with metal bands, we do get a few weird looks, though.”

While the guys have gained recognition in the musical world, third year Matt admits that it can be a struggle to maintain a good balance between the band and his degree.

“In an ideal world, I’d be able to combine Chemistry and the music.

“I like the idea of being able to surprise people with the fact that a guy in a rock band has a PhD.”

Fresher Simon who plays lead guitar is less concerned about juggling the workload as he progresses in his degree.

“I’m sure I’ll be able to handle it better than Matt!”

The band’s EP will be released in late April.