WTBU DJ Kiran Galani spoke to Austin Getz, the vocalist of Turnover about the band’s music, tours, and plans for the future. The Virginia-based band made a stop at the Royale on Nov. 19 to tour their newest album, Good Nature.
Kiran Galani: You’re currently touring your latest album, Good Nature, which was released earlier this year. Would you like to talk about the album and what influenced it?
Austin Getz: I think that in Peripheral Vision I had a lot of things that I was talking about, a lot of questions as far as my own belief system and personality profiles were concerned. I think I was challenging a lot of things I grew up thinking and then Good Nature was kind of the answer and the result of two years of reflecting. I was also listening to a lot of music from the ‘60s, a lot of Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, more kinda like folk inspired stuff that I think naturally has a bit of a warmer feeling sometimes. And then also Bossa Nova, kind of on the brink of jazz music for that record. I guess it was just a wider group of influences and the album was the result I guess.
KG: Your music has changed a lot over time from more louder, heavier pop punk rock music to a softer more indie/dream pop style. Has that changed the way the band performs live a lot?
AG: I think the vibe is a lot different, yeah. It used to just be less about the performance as far as the musical quality went and more about the energy when we were a younger band–which is important, and I think it’s gotten us to where we are. And I think it’s a unique thing about Turnover that we have changed so much as a band, and I think a lot of people still remember that energy and can still feel it in some of the songs. It has been a challenge growing up and singing strictly with energy and making it really have a lot of feeling. And I would always be like, “Uhh, I don’t think my voice sounds really good,” and now it’s kinda toned back to where I’m actually singing rather than yelling. So, there has obviously been changes that come with the style, there have been learning curves, but it’s awesome.
KG: Your guitarist, Eric Soucy, recently parted ways with the band. How has that impacted the band and the tour?
AG: We still play with four people. It’s our friend Nick; he’s been touring with us for a really long time. He’s from Virginia Beach and he played in bands with us when we were just coming up, so he’s a musician himself. He’s been doing our merch for two and a half to three years now, and he’s a great guitar player, so he just naturally felt like the right person to have play. As of now he’s just playing with us live but we haven’t really started writing too much new music as a group yet. I mean I’ve been writing some guitar parts and jotting down lyrical ideas but nothing too intense. So, I don’t think we’re too concerned with figuring out if it’s permanent or temporary, we’re just taking it as it comes.
KG: Going off of that, what plans do you have for the near future? I hear you’re going to be touring abroad soon after this show?
AG: Yeah, so we’ll go home for about two weeks and then we’ll go to Brazil. It’s our first time ever in South America, so that’ll be wonderful! And then we’re home for like two or three months. We’ll probably do a tour after again after that in the spring, nothing solid yet though.
KG: Is performing overseas much different from performing in America?
AG: Yeah, it’s different in some ways, it’s similar in some ways. I think I like playing abroad more, just because I’m less used to it maybe–I never know what to expect. It can be a little more tiring, but especially at places we’ve never played before, it can just be such an eyeopening experience, you know? Like seeing so much cultural difference, but at the same time, having that common denominator of music and caring about music. It’s a really cool thing to see how it can be a universal language; it’s awesome!
KG: That sounds amazing! Do you get to look around and do touristy stuff on the tours or is it just stop to stop?
AG: It’s kind of just stop to stop unfortunately. It depends. In America, honestly, it’s kinda the most tiring just because the drives are so long. It used to just be like we’d be touring in a van, and it’d be like “Alright cool, play this show, sleep, wake up, drive six hours to the next show, play,” but abroad it can be a little cooler, like in the UK the drives are really really short, so we get to see some cool stuff. And we’ve always been the type of band who–even if it means driving overnight and not getting any sleep–if there’s something cool on the way, we’ll always go over and check it out because it’s rare to get the opportunity to travel like we do, and we just try to seize the moment. But I really hope we have some time in Brazil. I really don’t know what to expect because it’s such a big country, but usually the people that are our point of contact will let us know what it’s possible to see in the time we have. Even if you don’t get to see too much, just playing in the cities is such an interesting thing. Like we were playing in the Philippines and driving through the city of Manila, and all that stuff is just awesome, so, it’s awesome regardless of what happens!
KG: During the process of writing and producing the songs, what comes first for you, the lyrics or the music?
AG: I used to always write the music first, and even now I rarely ever write the lyrics and then say I want to write the music to this song. But now I always have a backlog of ideas. It might just be one line that I think is cool or poetic or maybe just a general idea, “I want to write a song about this,” and so I’ll have notes written about random lyrical ideas. I’ll also have random riffs, and so if I think a song sounds like the theme of a certain lyric, then I’ll try to piece them together and work on it like that. I guess it all kind of exists independently and then I’ll try to piece them together at the end.
KG: And what are your lyrics usually inspired by?
AG: It’s really all different stuff, some of it just like my own personal experiences and just having things that I’m struggling with and want to talk about. Some other things maybe aren’t things that have happened to me personally, but something I’ve seen around me, or I think is an interesting idea to write about. Kind of from a director’s or writer’s point of view, just something that makes a good story or a problem that I may not have personally but someone close to me has had or something like that. So really, it can come from anywhere, random stuff. I’ll just get an idea in my head for like one line, and then the whole song will be built off that; some other times it will be like I want write about this whole idea, but it’ll be hard to write even one line, so it’s just random really.
KG: Are there any tracks in particular that you, individually or as a band, really enjoy performing live?
AG: Yeah, I really, really like to play, on the new record, “Pure Devotion.” I really like to play “Supernatural,” I really like to play Bonnie. On Peripheral Vision I really really like to play “New Scream” and I really like “Humming Bird;” those are probably my favourite ones.
KG: What would your dream performance venue be if you could choose any place?
AG: Honestly, it’s hard to say. We played a couple of really, really beautiful venues on this tour; this venue is incredibly beautiful. We played a place in Chicago called Thalia Hall, that was like a really, really old venue that was absolutely gorgeous! Then we just played Bowery Ballroom in New York which is legendary, and I love that place. Really, like these sized rooms [The Royale] are my favourite things, like I don’t think I’d ever be really into playing arenas or anything. I don’t know if that would ever happen, but I think at that point you’re just so removed from being intimate and personal and I think a show like this, it’s like, big and beautiful. And you’re not playing a DIY show, but kids are still right up front, you can still feel people interacting. So, my dream thing is just to have a really nice venue. Bowery Ballroom, where we just played, had analog outboard consoles with analog reverbs and stuff, so for our in-house engineer, that’s like a dream for him cause so many consoles nowadays are digital. So as long as it has an awesome sound system and the room’s built really well and it’s kind of an intimate feeling show still, that’s hitting all the marks for me–which a lot of these shows have been. It’s been an incredible tour; I could play rooms like this forever. It’s awesome!