Turkuaz are very much a current part of the jam scene. Yet, stylistically, you’re set apart from a lot of other bands.
Well thank you. That makes me happy to hear—not for any reason of not liking that music, but I do hope that comes across for the exact reason we just talked about, the Talking Heads thing. Early on, when we were just playing in clubs and doing what we do, the jam scene wasn’t the main thing on my radar at all. I was like, “Let’s just go out and play.”
As we started realizing that this is where the music fans are and this is where the community is—and that’s what’s so special about the jam scene— we realized that it made a whole lot of sense. Along with that came extending the arrangements, adding more jam sections. We definitely fell into the jam scene, and happily so.
I think we still try to expand and attract fans from outside it. I think our music has some crossover potential. But those fans and that jam community are really strong. That’s where the greatest love of live music that I’ve seen today exists, for sure. We’re very happy to be a part of that.
Tell me a little about life on the road with a nine-piece band. What strategies or techniques do you guys use to stay on the same page remain in fighting shape?
I think we’ve all luckily learned over all these years how to get along on the road, how to keep ourselves in shape playing, and it’s been a learning process. We stay organized. We have a great team of people that run the show for us off the stage. Everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and when.
It’s also really important for each person to find your own time. If you have a two or three hour window one day where you can do something, take it and go for a walk. If you just get in and out of the bus and play I think mentally that can do some damage.
And when you multiply that times nine in a band like this, it’s important that each of the nine people is doing the things that are gonna keep them feeling positive and happy on a daily basis.
You played Red Rocks with Greensky Bluegrass a couple of weeks ago. What were the personal highlights for you?
Just the venue itself, obviously, is quite an experience to play. It was nice because this was our second time going there; we played there with Lettuce last year. So that was really overwhelming, going back a second time to play. By the time we were there setting up, I was able to take it in a little bit more. Last time seemed like a whirlwind. This time I found myself really comfortable the whole time; I got to really soak in the beauty of that venue and how great it sounds.
The horn section, as well as myself, Sammi [Garett] and Shira [Elias], sat in with Greensky too. We closed out the night with a version of “Rocket Man” by Elton John.
There’s a Turkuaz concert film in the works. Any details you’d like to share?
It will probably come out some time next year. We’re waiting to see how it all comes together. I’d been thinking about doing something like this for a couple years, so finally having Jerry and picking his brain about concert films—I took the opportunity while we were working with him a year and a half ago to start to plan it. Now we’re moving on to the post-production and what the release plans could look like.
Is the next Turkuaz album already in the works?
Definitely. The first order of business is finishing all the songs for some sort of follow-up release that’ll be associated with Life in the City. Between that and the live film, we certainly have our work cut out for us. But I am trying to always be ready to move on to the next album.
You guys tour all over the place, but you’re still a Brooklyn band. Even the title of the album, Life in the City, nods to that. Is it nice to have a creative surrounding that you can call home?
For better or worse, the city environment inspires a lot of creativity. I know it’s not for everybody, but I think it does give the music a certain feeling. And that’s never more evident than with this record. It gives some edge. There’ll perhaps be other phases of life where the city won’t be the right environment, but for now I really enjoy being here. New York City is the city. It’s the place where things happen, and I’m definitely proud that we’re a New York band.