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New Groove

Published: 2007/09/20
by Chris Clark

Blue Turtle Seduction

Theres so much to say about this months New Groove of the Month, Blue Turtle Seduction. While it may be tough to define their music, the band maintains a vigor for taking it on the road and performing it live. The group also exudes such a positive spirit and sense of humor, so that you cant help but feel good about them. Beyond this, a chance encounter with BTS on a festival stage or at one of the quintets own headlining gigs certainly leads one to conclude that this is a dynamic young group full of promise just waiting at their doorstep.
Jambands had the pleasure to catch up with BTSs five members while on the road traversing the country, doing what they do best. The questions that were asked were answered collectively, apparently thats just how they roll. I also, through the course of this articles preparation, had the honor of speaking with the groups interesting and charismatic manager, Shaun Dolan, who further assisted me in understanding this humorous and quirky young band.
Musically, as much fun as the band provides any audience anywhere, the band themselves, day to day in real life, hilarious, says Dolan. Musically, chapter two, they are beyond original. Nobody is doing and playing and singing anything resembling this music. The band has come nowhere close to defining themselves.
Well, hopefully this interview can help the listening public obtain something of a definition. *CC: Ive read so many attempts to characterize the band’s sound that it now seems daunting. If you all had to
collectively ponder that question and offer a suitable sound
description, what would it be? *
BTS: We like what Frank Zappa said; writing about music is like dancing about
architecture. A thousand monikers later, like Duran Duran meets String
Cheese meets the Clash listening to hip-hop, or Jam Grass Exotica, its
getting convoluted and confusing people. Were trying to simply express
who we are, a hybrid of several kinds of influences— Blue Turtle
Seduction music. You might get a slight idea of the music from the
awkward descriptions, but if you come to the show you might find that its
different for every person. *CC: What led to the band’s creation? Were you all playing in other outfits,
slinging ice cream or teaching English? And where would you be if BTS never
came about? *
BTS: In South Lake Tahoe, CA, theres a backcountry conference center where we
all cleaned toilets, prepped in kitchens, and partied like rock stars.
Really. Wed say it was like Dirty Dancing, except none of us is as
good-looking as Patrick Swayze. We jammed in a cabin called Aspen, in the
Spring of 2001, in a loose collective of musicians. The organization
evolved slowly as folks were running chainsaw crews, traveling the world,
teaching at the community college, and so on. Powder days also make it
difficult to get anything done in Tahoe. However, we took the lifestyle we
all shared and funneled it into practicing hard. If the band never came
about, we would probably be in Ecuador, welding college, lost in the
forest, still running chainsaws, or even law school. *CC: Describe the band’s dynamic live show and how that sound differs from your
two studio recordings. *
BTS: For the most part, weve focused on being as good a live entertaining show
as we can be and have seen a lot of growth. Recently, weve shifted some
emphasis in order to improve our studio skills as we work on our new
album. To compare the two is difficult because we try to adapt to the two
environments, picking appropriate songs, parts, and effects for each. We
dont try to force the live show into the studio or vice versa; its more
fun to appreciate the unique experience each affords. *CC: Ive been hearing some people speak of your sound as becoming ‘polished’ these days. Compared to the band’s inception, how has your sound and style evolved and matured? *
BTS: We dont know who called us polished but we appreciate the compliment.
The band was plain chaos at firstvery rawbut had character and original
material. Weve tried to capture and focus that character into something
that was more refined but didnt lose the originality that people loved. *CC: It appears as though the band has been working extremely hard in 2007,
getting your name and your sound to the people. How’s that been treating
you? *
BTS: Weve been having a great time touring in 2007, traveling from Hawaii to
New York and it feels great to get more [notoriety] across the nation. It
adds to our rollercoaster-like existence because we know that there is
still a long road ahead. All in all, its great to show up to places that
weve never been, meet new people, and drink their tequila; we like
tequila. *CC: How do the crowd responses vary in different parts of the country? Do fans and
shows differ from Hawaii to upstate New York to Georgia? *
BTS: Weve encountered just about every type of fan, but theyre all people
who have a penchant for fun. Theres everything from whirling-dervishes
to mosh-pit rumblers, or stage-divers to booty-thumpers. The diversity of
our show attendees is something we thrive onit changes us for the
better, helps shape us as a band, and once in awhile, gives US some good
entertainment. That includes you, Football Princess. *CC: Tell me a little bit about Las Tortugas. How did the idea come about, what
can your fans expect…? *
BTS: The idea of Las Tortugas Dance of the Dead II arose from our
interstellar manager, Shaun Dolan, and is being propelled by our fantastic
management team, although in a way we inherited this Halloween-timed event
from Hot Buttered Rum and the Evergreen Lodge. Tea Leaf Green, ALO, New
Monsoon, Blue Turtle Seduction, Green Sky Bluegrass, Buffalo Strange,
Izabella, Tracorum, Holiday and the Adventure Pop Collective, the
Trespassers, and Mr. Brown will all be there. Because of the size of the
venue tickets are limited so get em quick! *CC: What about your relationship with the other bands on the bill? I’m
actually currently doing a feature on New Monsoon as well, one always has to
wonder how different bands interact. *
BTS: New Monsoon in particular gave us some great opportunities in 2007 and has
been a great mentor in the business. Well be touring with Tea Leaf Green
in the southeast very soon. (Thanks guys!) Weve learned from and shared
experiences with many of the bands on this bill, and maybe even picked up
some great stage moves from each other. The camaraderie between us and
these bands keeps going, like two buses passing one another on the
highway. *CC: I read this description over the weekend, what are your thoughts on it’s
viability for the band’s live performances, "create a compulsively
danceable, celebratory experience," *
BTS: How do you describe the fact that people get down and bust a bootie at our
shows? Weve tried a number of ways, and theyre usually all awkward.
Maybe we should have said, We might make it easy for you to release
something between bliss and angst. Its hard when you dont know what to
say, but you have to say something: kids, theres a future in band bio
writing. *CC: How do you manage playing over 200 shows a year? Thats a notion I ask many young bands and it always seems to amaze me. What kind of adverse affects does it have on the members personal lives, or are you guys just loving be road warriors? *
BTS: All of the above. We love being road warriors, and its also a stress on
personal lives. Were a blue collar band who has to play shows to stay
alive. In that vein, we owe a tremendous lot to our families, supporters,
girlfriends, and to everyone else who understands what were doing and
helps us stay alive. *CC: Collectively as a group, what are Blue Turtle Seductions primary assets? *
BTS: For one, we pride ourselves on our original material and our takes on
cover songs. Asset number two is our awesome community that supports us.
Three, were road tough. We used to own a Mallard RV that broke down,
caught fire, exploded in various ways, the end of it, we started
to view these episodes not as catastrophes but as a chance to get some
fresh air and go skateboarding. Four, we can handle our liquor. (Sort
of.), lastly, weve got the determination to keep this up and to march to
the beat of our own drummer. *CC: Still being a young band, what are a few qualities that you’d like to
improve on? *
BTS: Weve a compiled a small, hundred-plus-thousand item list. By the time the
sun collides with the earth and engulfs us in a fiery inferno, we may be
halfway through that list. If is still around, lets talk. *Blue Turtle Seduction is: *
Adam Navone: Drums
Stephen Seals: Bass
Glenn Stewart: Harp/Pan Flute/Vocals
Christian Zupancic: Mandolin/Violin/Vocals
Jay Seals: Guitar/Vocals

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