Exclusive Interview with Dave Brandwein
written by Elise Olmstead
The funk orchestra known as Turkuaz will be coming to Baltimore on November 8th, and are ready to bring down the house with their unique, powerful noise. Encompassing smooth R&B, psychedelic sounds, and a splash of 80’s pop, Turkuaz treats concert-goers to a dance-happy party heaven. We asked lead singer/guitarist Dave Brandwein some questions before for their show with Subtle Hustle and Mister F this Friday at The 8×10.
First of all, how has tour been going? How has the transition been from festival season to fall/show season? Any highlights so far you would like to share?
This festival season was amazing. Catskill Chill, Strange Creek and Wormtown, Fall Down, Stir Fry, Some Kind of Jam, and Flood City just to name a few, were all great sets for us. Obviously there’s something really special about the spring/summer and being able to play in beautiful outdoor settings for a wide range of people. But transitioning back to playing venues and clubs is no disappointment. Both are a key part of what we love to do, which is play to new and excited listeners as much as possible.
Have you been to Baltimore before, to play or otherwise?
Yes we’ve played the 8X10 a couple times now (once with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong) and we love the crowd. It used to be that we’d only pass through briefly on the way down to play in D.C., but we’ve been very happy to add Baltimore as a regular stop on our tour.
Have you played at The 8×10? If you haven’t, it’s a small but awesome venue that packs a crowd, but I’m wondering how you will fit all 10 people on stage!
Well we’re actually a 9 piece band currently, but it doesn’t make it any easier to fit on stages considering that two of our members now play keys, and we’ve also just added a lighting rig. However, we have played the 8×10 before and we can definitely make it work. Believe it or not, it’s far from the smallest stage we’ve ever fit on.
What is it like touring with a band that has so many members?
I think the common assumption is that it’s really difficult, which of course in some ways is true. But overall, it’s really nice having such a big and diverse group of personalities. It’s hard not to have a really good time when you’re with that many of your friends. And we end up with places to stay and friends or family almost everywhere we go.
The biggest thing is just learning to have some alone time when you need it, and being independent, while still acknowledging that you’re part of a much bigger working machine and you’ve got to do your part.
You’ll be playing with Subtle Hustle, which is a Baltimore band, and Mister F. Have you played with these bands before or seen their music?
We’ve not played with these guys yet but we look forward to it! Part of the fun of being on the road certainly is hearing new music and meeting fellow musicians.
What about your msuic sets you apart from other funk bands that are touring these days?
For the most part I think we try and do what comes naturally to us without too much regard for what other bands are doing. Of course we can’t help but be influenced by what’s around us, and want to borrow some aspects of other artists that we admire. But I think we just have our own style when it comes to playing funk.
We definitely have a heavy affinity towards classic rock and popular music which might help to veer us in a different direction. We are also very vocally and lyrically driven, given that we have multiple vocalists in the band, which provides for a lot of different things to happen in the show in addition to our jams and solo sections.
Lastly, we’re starting to experiment more these days between mixing that classic style of funk and soul, with some more synthy and modern instrumentation.
What plans do you have as a band after this fall tour?
We actually have one month off between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is pretty unheard of for us (having a break that is). But we’re still hard at work preparing more in a series of releases leading up to our big Spring release of Future 86, our next original studio album.
We started with the re-release of our first album, “Turkuaz” remixed and remastered with new bonus tracks at the end of September — followed by our Halloween release of “Covers Vol. 1”, studio recordings of some favorite cover songs from our live show. Next is our new live album slated to come out on New Year’s Eve, which is being compiled from a few different festival performances, as well as our last Brooklyn Bowl residency.
Moving into the new year, we’ll be touring out west for the first couple of months through Colorado, California, the Northwest and all the surrounding areas. With two music video releases upon our return, we’ll finally gear up for the eventual Future 86 album release with an east coast tour to support it in the spring. Then before you know it, it’s festival season again. Time flies!