Band Profile: Musical Q&A with Turin Brakes

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©Photo Courtesy of Turin Brakes

Band Profile: Musical Q&A with Turin Brakes

 

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Band line up:

Olly Knights
Gale Paridjanian
Eddie Myer
Rob Allum

 

 

First formed in 1999 UK band, Turin Brakes full-length debut album, “The Optimist”, was released in 2001, spawning success with tracks like Mind Over Money and Underdog. Following up in 2003, with the “Ether Song” brought the group more recognition and was followed by the more polished Jackinabox two years later. Jumping forward to 2016 Turin Brakes released their latest gorgeous  offering ‘Lost Property’ and are enjoying a busy tour schedule during 2016.

 

I was lucky enough to see them perform in Edinburgh in March of this year. The concert was fantastic, a mix of old favourites and brand new material. The sound system was really nice and the band was exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

I managed to pin down two members of Turin Brakes for a Q&A on the music that is important to them and how the band found their name.

© Photo Courtesy of Turin Brakes

© Photo Courtesy of Turin Brakes

 

First up we have lead singer Olly Knights:

PC: Can you tell us the story behind the band name?

OK: We plucked it out of the air. We liked it because it sounded warm and exotic and like the music we were making.

 

PC: Tell us a bit about your personal and musical background?

OK: I sang in a cathedral choir with Gale for five years as a child, the harmonies made a big impact on my musical brain. Other than that I just loved bands, especially from America and I always aped them in my mind. Eventually some of our home made teenage demos were discovered and we got a record deal.

 

PC: What process does your song writing follow?

OK: It’s very natural, I wait for songs to come, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, when I collect a few good ones I show then to the rest of the guys and we play around with them until they feel correct.

 

PC: Can you tell me more about the first album or single you bought and do you remember where you bought it from?

OK: My first album was “Love Sexy” by Prince, I think it was from Woolworth’s.

 

PC: My guilty pleasure would be some 80’s soft rock what would be yours?

OK: The Carpenters, I love them, she had so much flavour and soul and sadness.

 

PC: Which song do you just have to play at full volume?

OK: 96 from our new album, Lost Property, it still totally buzzes me up to hear that bass line LOUD….

 

PC: Which song or album soothes your troubled mind or heart?

OK: Hejira by Joni Mitchell, it’s like a time machine for me, it takes me back to being at art school when I was 18.

 

PC: Which Movie soundtrack do you never get tired of listening to?

OK: Paris,Texas by Ry Cooder.

 

 PC: Three pieces of music you adore or three styles of music you are partial to?

OK: Midnight Cowboy, you only live twice and the theme from the film Zulu… All incredible.

 

PC: What was the last concert you attended and which concert was the best you have ever been to?

OK: Jim Callahan was the last one I think, I saw Radiohead at Shepherd’s Bush empire back in 2002-ish, that’s up there with the best.

 

PC: What would be your most frequently worn band t-shirt and is it an original?

OK: Rage Against the Machine from ’92 and it is original as I got it from Brixton Academy when I saw them.

 

PC: Which song would you like played at your funeral?

OK: Happy Days.

 

PC: Many TV series are using different songs  to compliment each episode and creating Spotify playlists, is there a series that you have watched that you’d like your music to be part of?

OK: “Better Call Saul”, so much flavour.

 

PC: How would you describe your perfect day?

OK: Waking up on a warm spring day, looking at my diary and seeing nothing in it, hanging out with my wife and kids.

 

PC: Finish this sentence I cannot possibly live without….

OK: Peanut butter.

 

 

Drummer Rob Allum talks us through his music choices:

 

PC: Can you tell us the story behind the band name?

RA: I believe it was keyboard player Little Phil Marten who did a load of William Burroughs style cut up words and placed them in random order that came out with Turin Brakes. The band was looking for a name in a hurry… I think that was it. My Dad thought it meant the river brakes (where the rushes will slow your boat down) near Turin. Sounds more romantic to me!

 

PC: Tell us a bit about your personal and musical background? 

RA: I was born in and grew up in East London/Essex. I became obsessed with music and showbiz when I was about 9 I think… Used to sing along to records and the radio and play drums on an old Dundee Cake tin amongst other things. Eventually my dad bought me my first drum (a blue Premier mother of pearl snare drum) that I wouldn’t stop staring at in a music shop window when we were on holiday in Taunton Somerset about a year later. My mum was a jazz singer (worked with Bowie, Cliff Richard, Ken Dodd!) and my Brother is a drummer who plays in some very cool bands so I guess it’s in the blood. I’ve played with loads of great people before I met O&G in 2000. Slab!, Billy Bragg, Add N to X, Lee Hazlewood etc and I’m still a founder High Llama along with Sean O’Hagan and the gang.

 

PC: What process does your song writing follow?

RA: In Turin Brakes I largely follow Olly’s songwriting and, along with Gale and Ed, add my own compositional ideas for arrangements and various other parts into the mix. We usually end up with some pretty great songs and recordings that way and it allows for them to work very well live too. My own songs are a bit stylistically all over the place, sounding like anything ranging from King Crimson to The Smiths, Long Ryders to Ice T or Richard Thompson…. I did make a couple of albums under the name Bubonique too as one of the main writers… Dark stuff indeed. I co-wrote a lot of the Add N to X stuff as well.

 

PC:  Can you tell me more about the first album or single you bought and do you remember where you bought it from?

RA: It was a single: Honaloochie Boogie by Mott The Hoople and I asked my Grandma to go to the shops to get it for me. She thought I was making all the names up to embarrass her in the record shop!

 

PC: My guilty pleasure would be some 80’s soft rock what would be yours?

RA: Pop Radio and Gangsta Rap around the Dre, Snoop Dog, Ice-T period. And David Essex greatest hits.. but I’m not guilty about that :-p

 

 PC: Which song do you just have to play at full volume? 

RA: Riff Raff by AC/DC from the live album If You Want Blood. They were the best hard rock band of their time with Bon Scott at the front.

 

PC: Which song or album soothes your troubled mind or heart? 

RA: It’s Just The Motion by Richard & Linda Thompson. They may have been all a bit Sufi-tastic at this point but they came out with some great music here and there… Shoot Out The Lights album is one of my faves.

 

PC: Three pieces of music you adore or three styles of music you are partial to? 

RA: I’m partial to some hard rock – AC/DC, Black Sabbath. I also love folk-rock – Fairport Convention are one of my favourite bands of all time.. not the modern line-up though. Anything post Dave Mattacks involvement isn’t my cup of tea… I could make them great again if they let me join. Come on guys! I also love Prog (anyone who knows me would tell you I’ve liked it since WAY before you hipster sheep!) King Crimson being my number one Prog outfit.. Red is one of the big albums in my life.

 

PC: Which Movie soundtrack do you never get tired of listening to? 

RA: 2001 A Space Odyssey. Check it. And the film.

 

PC: What was the last concert you attended and which concert was the best you have ever been to?

RA:Last Concert I attended was Chester Live Rooms on the Turin Brakes Lost Property Tour. It was a nice way to end that leg of the tour with 3 separate encores.. we have lovely supporters 🙂   I think the Smiths at Brixton Academy on The Queen Is Dead tour was possibly the greatest show I’ve been to. The whole experience was like seeing the Beatles or something…

 

PC: What would be your most frequently worn band t-shirt and is it an original? 

RA: My most frequently worn band t shirt would be Pavement – Sir Talkalot. It is original, green and a charming and humorous drawing on a slightly rough feeling Fruit of the Loom shirt… very worn out now. I got it when I toured with them in Europe and we shared a tour bus sometimes. Good guys.

 

PC: Which song would you like played at your funeral? 

RA: Meet On the Ledge by Fairport Convention …or possibly Ace Of Spades.

 

PC: Many TV series are using different songs  to compliment each episode and creating Spotify playlists is there a series that you have watched that you’d like your music to be part of? 

RA: I would have loved our music to have been used on the Singing Detective by Dennis Potter – the finest hospital psychosis song & dance detective noir drama ever!! Failing that Breaking Bad or Luther would be cool 😉

 

PC: How would you describe your perfect day? 

RA: My perfect day would be any day when I can feel truly happy and useful and love and be loved by all the people I care about.

 

PC: Finish this sentence I cannot possibly live without….

RA: www.chigwellcricketclub.com

 

 

To learn more about Turin Brakes, or follow along on their journey, be sure to check out their website for the latest on dates, albums and more!

One Comment:

  1. Pingback: Press Round-Up EU tour and after | Turin Brakes = Ether SiteTurin Brakes = Ether Site

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