The Turns are a rock and roll band from LA who talk the talk, as you’ll soon find out, but does it mean that they walk the walk too?
3rd: The Turns tell us about the band and your first EP Gone?
Michael: The Turns represent a musical journey as reflected in the name. The line up consists of Danny Winebarger on vocals and lead guitar, Marco Cortes on bass, Johnny “Sleeper” Toomey on drums and, myself, Michael Eng on vocals and rhythm guitar.
We have gone by a few different names over the past few years but arrived at the final solution when we were faced with a “do or die” name change. I used to play under The Turns some years back as an acoustic project before all of us got together and started playing music. When we had to change the name, Danny said 'why don’t we just go by The Turns?' Well, that’s what did it and it’s here to stay.
The Gone EP was recorded about two years ago with producer Nic Jodoin who did BRMC’s last album and The Nightbeats upcoming release. It was at a time when everyone in LA was doing the Lo-Fi thing. When we wrote Gone a lot of us had already done the Lo-Fi thing. We decided it was more important for us to be different and turn the tables and record the EP as it sounds rather than try and sound Lo-Fi or whatever. We already had been there and done that. Guess what? Shoegaze, dream pop, and 80/90's indie music seems to be high fashion these days. That doesn't mean we won’t turn the tables once again.
3rd: Your first EP is quite psychedelic. Are you going to keep the same sound for the LP? How would you describe your sound?
Michael: In terms of the LP, the short answer is that it’s going to be different than what you hear on the EP. That’s for sure. I think the single is going to throw people a curve ball and the LP will also do the same. Every song is also going to yield a different psychedelic experience. In terms of our sound, the nature of psychedelic music is never constant and always changing, just like the psychedelic experience. Nobody asked the psychedelic pioneers to remain the same, but for some reason people today feel you should either sound a certain kind of psychedelic and nothing in between. I think our upcoming single and subsequent LP will bridge that gap. We don’t care about people who can’t understand us because the whole reason why we’re doing this is because they don’t. .
Johnny: Having an upcoming single like our new one Window/Believe Me with two different approaches and two different lead singers adds dimensions for the listener. It's like you're getting another spin of the same band. Take a look at the single for The Beatles I am the Walrus; the B side to that was Hello Goodbye. Or Strawberry Fields, the other side to that single was Penny Lane. Two different songs. Two different singers, same band, and a different insight into the same group. Or the entire White Album. Each song is different. It’s like seeing all sides or getting something in 3D.
Oh and I know that someone reading this is saying 'oh so you're comparing yourself to The Beatles are you?' My answer to that is 'YES, you're damn right I am!' The Beatles are THEE fucking gold standard! If you're not going to stand up and aspire for that even in your own personal way, then stay in your practice space, only play to yourself and stop bothering people. Another band that was multi dimensional was The Clash. Listening to their albums was always like this huge bonus because you got two different singers and all these different songs that came from the same place. Those two bands were the biggest influences on me when I was younger.
I have always held bands in high regard that are able to change their sound with each album while being themselves. Its like they are giving a huge piece of themselves to the listener each and every song and every album. They want the experience to be different each time…they want to go beyond the comfortable…beyond the expectations. I have little respect for bands that play the same song or same sound on everything they do
Marco: We're definitely very influenced by what was happening musically in LA and the UK (then and now). Bands like Love, The Byrds, Donovan and Cream – just to name a few, have influenced what my approach to bass nowadays and that all will be heard on the LP and unreleased single. Strong rhythm, hypnotizing bass lines with a lot of groove, and the right touch of melody are what I always seem to come up with.
Danny: The guitar styles and vocal melodies on this upcoming LP compared to what's displayed on the EP are far more evolved. We've basically taken a step back here and reworked everything to be more cohesive while also introducing different guitar styles as well. You can obviously hear our British influence but we're still obviously very rooted here in LA, that goes for guitar and vocals. I think it's come a long way since we started the band but even more so with us writing this record. Our sound may have sounded like those Brit bands because we could, but now I feel we’re leaning in a Cream, Love, Buffalo Springfield, Donovan, The Animals, Mamas & Papas, direction.
3rd: Regardless of what psych is it still seems to be a good time to play psych music. Have you always played this kind of music. How did it start?
Danny: It’s a great time to play psych music! I've been friends with Mike and Johnny for many years just by going to local parties and shows. We also share musical interests. Mike and I had jammed a bit in the past and wanted to start a band for years. Additionally, I also play guitar from time to time in a space/glitter rock outfit called The Fancy Space People with Don Bolles [The Germs, Ariel Pink]. We actually were able to tour the U.S. with The Smashing Pumpkins back in 2012. High moment for me. I learned quite a lot on that tour. Not even necessarily about music but just how a mainstream beast like that works in general. It's insane! You actually have people that do everything for you.
Michael: Prior to The Turns, Johnny and I were in psychedelic garage band which pre-dated a lot of what started happening with neo-garage and psych bands in LA. It was before Burger Records sprang up and a much, much smaller scene that has grown exponentially. I'm also originally from Orange County, CA, they call it the Orange Curtain, and used to play music in my R&B band with bands like The Intelligista [Nick Waterhouse’s garage/R&B band] and The Epsilons [Ty Segall’s garage band] but that scene died because everyone moved up to San Francisco and started new bands. Now they’re back in LA and it's awesome.
Johnny: I guess I've been involved with the music scene in California for quite a bit. I was involved in a couple bands including, The Stitches from Orange County and then The SuperBees who were more MC5/Stooges. After that I wanted something more Stone Roses/Echo & the Bunnymen and got involved with The Clean Prophets. It was also around this time that I started a weekly DJ night with Anton Newcombe along with Jason "Plucky" of The Warlocks. We would play whatever we wanted. Anton actually turned me onto Jazz flute music during that time, that’s how far out we got. Regardless of what I was up to, I always wanted to share the different sides of music that were important to me. I guess that's why I always loved someone like Bobby Gillespie; he is always evolving, always sharing with all of us what he found in music.
Marco: Growing up in Mexico City, my parents experienced what was happening around the world during the late 60's. There were massive student movements, a musical revolution and the fight for human rights in Mexico City during that time. A lot of bands would play covers or adaptations of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in Spanish, and there were lots of other bands that then developed their own style, I was exposed to that type of music because of them.
After recording it, it started sounding more as you describe above. It gets categorized like the Jesus & Mary Chain because of the electric rhythm guitar chord progression but if you look beyond that, its more complex than a Jesus & Mary Chain rip off. They probably wouldn’t do vocals as we did them. The lead guitar is also really Velvet Underground and I've never heard a lead tone like that from the JAMC. You’ll See reminds of Tommy James and The Shondelles meets Spacemen 3 with a modern twist.
The age old question. I think British and US music continues to have a crazy, love/hate, long distance relationship where everyone’s invited to the party and then the cops break it up because of all the noise. In other words, Norwegian Wood would probably sound much different without The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. They would probably sound a lot more like Bob Dylan if there were no Beatles. You catch my drift? Cross pollination of musical ideas.
3rd: Same goes for Gone. Now that does scream House Of Love for instance?
Michael: No, Gone is about the state of the world’s problems and possibly contributing to that problem by one’s state of consciousness or lack of self-awareness. Basically, not giving a fuck and what the world’s view of that is from an outside perspective.
Danny: Basically we were having a lot of really late nights and very, very, blurry mornings at the time when we wrote the lyrics of this song. The driving guitar riff of this is very reminiscent of The Beatles Paperback Writer and Traffic's Paper Sun. When I originally wrote the guitar riff it was quite different. But through “progress” the some came along. Essentially, the song just needed a driving element to grab your attention and take you along for the ride. It finally reached that moment with a nice contrast between the chimey guitars in the verses and the brilliant counter guitar work in the choruses