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"On the Run" with Turkuaz

Do you think his openness to let your band call the shots stems from him being an artist himself, and knowing what it’s like to be on your side of the recording process?

Both: YES!

Sammi: I think that played a big part, actually. Because he speaks “artist,” but he also speaks “producer.” So he was able to communicate what he wanted on the artist side, with us. But also do his thing on the producer side too and make it sound great.

Shira: Absolutely. I think his experience from doing it for so long, and being on both sides, gives so much wisdom. He had this approach of “let’s just see where this goes,” and not just forcing it to get it done. It was cool to see him sit back and guide the process, without forcefully leading it. If that makes sense. He didn’t meddle in it. He still wanted the song to sound like Turkuaz, you know?

Absolutely. And it sounds amazing! The press release for “On the Run” noted that Jerry Harrison wanted to spend some time drawing out the power of the band’s singing, which at times can become submerged with such a powerful band behind it. Did you do anything different vocally to prepare for this track for this reason?

Shira: These songs were pretty new, and we hadn’t performed them much before. So, we were fine-tuning all the parts as the sessions happened, not just the vocals. But, specifically, he did do one thing for Dave, the lead vocalist…

Sammi: I was just gonna say that, it was so cool!

Shira: Basically it was just not connecting for Jerry in Dave’s lead vocals. He wanted to loosen him up, so he had him run on the spot until he was winded. ‘Til he was fully out of breath. And when he was panting and tired and couldn’t breathe, he’d say-

Both: “Let’s record!!”

Shira: And it turned out awesome! I think it was because he was not in his head, and he was so focused on breathing. He was focused on his body when he started to sing, and not anxious about delivering or focused on anything else. It was a true, real, organic take.

Sammi: I feel like it added this new layer. The in-studio version is different than the live version, you know? It just is. And for me and Shira, and Dave and Josh, and for even the horns, we’re usually all dancing and moving around, and jumping and out of breath on stage. So, this almost added a live element to the song, which fans may recognize.

Shira: I think that’s what Jerry meant when he said he wanted to bring the vocals forward when we were in the studio. He wanted to capture the magic of our live show, but in the studio. There’s just a different energy there, and he wanted to share that.

Do you think you’ll use this tactic again next time you record, if you find yourselves in the same spot?

Shira: Yes, definitely. I don’t want to use the word neuter, but the live recording can kind of, take away the spontaneity of what we can deliver in the live show. Since in the studio, you can take out the imperfections. But, sometimes those are the best parts.

Also, can I just say: …he’s f^&ing Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads. He doesn’t need to be doing this. He obviously cares about the next generation of music. He showed a true interest and genuine care in doing what he could to pass it on to us. To pass the torch. I hope that as we move forward and meet more people and have more success, that we can be that way, and offer that to other bands. It’s cool, and it’s like being part of a legacy.

Sammi: If a young band reaches out to one of us, I hope to do that. He genuinely cared. He wanted to keep it going. I do feel like he was passing the torch a bit, like Shira said.

And have any younger bands reached out to you and Turkuaz for mentorship?

Shira: Sometimes, but it’s more an in-person thing where we connect, like on some of the more recent bills where we’ve had openers. West End Blend is great, who are out of West Hartford, CT. They’re also a big funk band with horns. They’re kind of the next class, as far as time and age. They’re starting to really hoof it on the road, and we’re starting to see things that we’ve hustled for that they’re now doing. I think we have a little mentorship with them.

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