Individual colors exude a unique mood-altering aura. When used in sync, these affects are amplified, crafting a vibrancy that can deeply affect an onlooker emotionally. Similarly, energetic splashes of funk, alternative, rock, R&B, and psychedelia color the music of Turkuaz, a dynamic nine-piece band looking to light up the Capitol Theatre stage this Friday, October 19.
The Brooklyn-based nonet brings their performances to life with strutting grooves, funk-fueled harmonies, and an electrified wardrobe like splashes of color on a canvas. Each member brings a signature style to the stage that blends into the vivid sound that is Turkuaz. Below, we speak with guitarist David Brandwein for an inside look at this colorful collective.
This show will be your headlining debut at The Capitol Theatre. What are you looking forward to most for that evening?
The Capitol Theatre itself is a beautiful venue. I’ve been there before, but like you mentioned this is our first time ever, not only headlining there but our first time playing that [main] room.
Several years ago we actually played the front room, Garcia’s. So it’s kind of full circle to be able to go back now and headline the actual theater. We’re just super excited about this show.
The new album, Life in the City, is out today. How has this tour welcomed the new influx of music. Any crowd favorites so far?
I think the last single we put out from the record, If I Ever Fall Asleep, is a big fan favorite at our live shows. It has been the last several months as we’ve slowly integrated stuff from the album into the live shows.
We actually just released an in-the-studio video of us performing that song as well. That was the song off this album that we worked with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, he was a co-producer.
How was working with Jerry Harrison?
It was great, it was a really, really amazing opportunity for us. Talking Heads are a huge influence as a band, and the film Stop Making Sense, which Jerry and the engineer he brought on work with us, [Eric] ET Thorngren, mixed that album.
It was kind of surreal to be able to work with the two guys who mixed a record that was such a, maybe the biggest, influence on us in the very very beginnings of the band.
If I Ever Fall Asleep exudes that Talking Heads post-punk feel, while retaining the unique Turkuaz sound. It’s a really cool collaboration in that way.
That’s part of why we took that song to him. It’s cool to find that melding between that CBGB 70s sound and a little bit of a funk thing, because that’s part of what the Talking Heads specialty.
On the topic of Stop Making Sense, didn’t you guys recently do an on-film concert?
We did, we filmed it about three weeks ago. We wanted to at the very least capture this kind of first era of our band, and get that down in a way that people can experience, and get a taste of what we do.
Which is no easy task, you know. It’s a show that involves a lot of people, a lot of visual aspects, a lot of moving parts, so it’s difficult to show in the random things people find on Youtube to really do justice to the show. This is our crack at being able to put something together that does that nicely.
You’re bringing on Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles as an opener for this Friday’s show. Knowing Turkuaz is already this a larger than life, nine-piece outfit, what will Cory Henry’s group be bringing to the table?
I can’t wait to find out myself honestly. Anytime I’ve seen anything of Cory and his band it’s just amazing. In some ways it’s intimidating to play after such great musicians, but it also brings out the best in us. If there’s ever a time for people to come early and make sure they see the whole show, this is definitely one of them.
When did the multi-colored suits become a thing?
We’ve been wearing the colors for quite a while now. It started way back in our very first few shows, our horn players wore jumpsuits. And when it came time to find some more wardrobe for the entire band, my wife, [Turkuaz creative director Dani Brandwein], found a different color jumpsuit for each band member. And people responded really well to that.
After some time went by and the jump suits started to get a little too smelly, we had to find other ways for each person to take their color and find clothing that they liked. We’ve had many iterations of wardrobes over the last several years involving that set color scheme.
What’s in store after this tour? Taking any time for relaxation?
No relaxing! We have plenty of more tour dates coming in 2019. We do have our live concert film being edited. We also recorded a ton of material for this new record which we only used less than half of. So some of the other stuff that remains unfinished or held back from the album will also be trickling out over the course of the next 6 to 12 months.
But there’s plenty more coming. We had a couple years between the last record and this one so now were trying to be cranking stuff out pretty regularly.