You wouldn’t be able to stop Bristol rockers Turbowolf touring if you took their legs away and hid them behind the fridge. On their latest jaunt around the country we caught up with frontman Chris Georgiadis, bassist Lianna Lee Davies and six-stringer Andy Ghosh to find out more about life on the road, their take on the current UK scene and what we can expect from the band’s hotly anticipated second album.
Daily Dischord: So, second date of the tour so far?
Chris Georgiadis: Yeah first date in Nottingham yesterday, it was a really good one, a great start to the tour. It’s good to get the whole floor moving.
DD: You’ve supported almost too many bands to count, Therapy?, Black Spiders, The Subways and Andrew WK to name but a few, which one has been the most fun or crazy to date?
Andy Ghosh: Pulled Apart By Horses. I think it’s the best fit we’ve had so far and they’re good dudes, they’re our mates. Sometimes you gain a few fans, you know, people will stand there thinking ‘yeah this is alright’ but on that tour it felt like the crowd were there to see them as much as they were there to see us. It just felt good, really good fun. That was my favourite anyway.
Lianna Lee Davies: I wasn’t there but yeah! I like those guys, they’re nice guys.
DD: Royal Blood was your last show up here in Manchester which sold out in about three minutes or so, did you get a good crowd out early for that one?
AG: The crowds were full and really up for it, yeah. I think a lot of those guys haven’t listened to a lot of rock music before, I think Royal Blood have hit a new demographic so the crowd felt like they were really excited to hear this new sort of thing. A bit like ‘wow, what’s this noisy music?’
CG: A whole new world for them to explore.
DD: You always have some good supports yourselves, who’s next on your radar since you seem to be pretty decent indicators of who to look out for?
AG: Dolomite Minor might do something with us at some point. (DD note: Dolomite Minor have just been announced as supports on Turbowolf’s April 2015 tour).
CG: Who else do we like? All our favourite bands have split up!
AG: Vodun are good.
LD: Spit Shake Sisters. I’m a big fan of them.
AG: Idles they’re good too.
LD: Yeah Idles are a great band.
DD: How is your local Bristol scene at the moment?
AG: I don’t really know to be honest, I mean Idles are from there and they’re cool.
LD: I moved to Bristol from London about a year ago and I go to quite a few gigs when I can and it seems there are a lot of people who have a lot of passion for music so you get a lot of good local bands but Idles are definitely at the forefront of it all.
AG: There’s not a lot going on though really. Bristol I think is sometimes a bit lazy in a lot of ways and that sometimes affects the quality of the bands as well. I’ve seen a lot of bands who are quite cool for round there, but if they stepped outside Bristol they wouldn’t really cut it. There’s a great band called ABORT ABORT who don’t play too much but when they do they’re brilliant. They’re a two piece.
LD: There’s another band the ABORT ABORT guys are in. Kind of Pissed Jeans-y. I can’t remember what they’re called now though.
AG: I just feel that a lot of the bands in Bristol need to put in that extra bit of effort to get really good. When you go to Leeds or somewhere, all the bands are so awesome, you’ll get a mate who recommends a band to open up for you and they’re fucking awesome from the first gig. In a lot of places it’s not like that. It might be the competition between the bands maybe that helps to make them really good but Bristol needs to try a bit harder.
DD: Growing up in Bristol, I’d jump at any gigs as bands rarely seemed to play there. Manchester’s probably in-between Leeds and Bristol, the crowds can be a bit stand-offish, but last time you guys headlined up here at Sound Control it was probably the most mental I’ve seen an audience in there.
AG: Roadhouse has always been pretty raucous for us up here too but yeah it was pretty rabid in Sound Control wasn’t it? A little bar with the lights on, it didn’t feel like it was going to go crazy but it did.
DD: The same happened when Feed The Rhino and Baby Godzilla played there recently, it definitely seemed more energetic. Do you think the crowds are getting a bit younger?
CG: Not necessarily. Not for us at least, we always have such a varied audience.
AG: A lot comes down to different factors. I mean if it’s Monday night you’re less likely to take all your clothes off and run around but if it’s Saturday and you’ve been drinking all day then maybe you will. Baby Godzilla are good at inciting all that madness so I imagine it goes crazy for them every night.
DD: Onto your recorded stuff, your first album came out three years ago now, and a lot of the material on it had been around for a while before that too, is there a moment you could pick out where it all started to really take off?
AG: There were a whole bunch of steps. For us it’s been a slow burn because we’re so separate to everything else. A lot of magazines will support bands in a thriving scene because it’s an easy bet for them. I think with us, people have got to stick their necks out a bit more to support it. When we were first kicking around no one else really sounded like us. People laughed and said ‘I like it but I don’t know, can we do a big piece on it in the magazine, what is it?’ I think we had to wait until we’d proven ourselves a bit, almost through word of mouth. Our first album got good reviews but there wasn’t a big promo push, a lot of it was just people passing it around their friends until it got to a stage where there were so many people into it they couldn’t ignore it anymore.
DD: I was going to mention that, whenever I tell people I’m seeing you guys it’s always really tricky to describe what genre you’re in. How would you describe yourselves?
CG: We just don’t. We’re in a place that if people don’t know, they can just look us up and have a listen.
AG: We get asked this a lot and I just think that musical categories are useful but ultimately quite a negative thing. If you go out and say you’re a punk band then all that does is limit the things you can do. I mean, I personally see us as a punk band because it comes from that same spirit, even if it doesn’t always follow that same musical formula, it’s still the spirit of ‘I’m bored of what’s going on, let’s go and fuck it up and do our own thing and not compromise and just push our own path through’. That’s how I see it, but it might not sound like that.
If you say you’re this type of band or that, it just shuts doors to you. It closes musical opportunities that you could otherwise take advantage of. Whereas if you look at a lot of the greatest bands from throughout history I can’t imagine what genre people would have put them in when they first started because it wouldn’t have existed then. I mean what were Rage Against The Machine when they came out? What were Led Zeppelin? What was Jimi Hendrix? Pick anyone and it’s only when other bands start copying them that it gets its own name. Not that I’m saying we’re as great as those bands! I enjoy not having a category.
DD: And yet you’ve been on Radio One a lot in recent weeks. How does that feel?
CG: Yeah it’s great, people have been liking it and it’s such great exposure to people that might not listen to us otherwise or try to find us. They’re going to get that exposure through having the radio on in their workplace or in their kitchen or car and think ‘I like that’ and that’s what it’s all about.
AG: It’s good to bring more people together just to enjoy music and have a good time. Anything that helps out is brilliant and it feels like there’s been a change in the water recently in radio and they’re up for playing more rock bands. I hope in the next few years there are even more heavy bands they give exposure to.
DD: Your new stuff is a lot groovier, a lot dancier, especially on Rabbit’s Foot and Solid Gold. Is it a natural evolution of your sound?
CG: Those two are, they’re not all like that! I’d say it’s quite a natural evolution really. We never really looked at the first album and thought ‘what on Earth are we doing there’, we pretty much just kept on going and kept on writing songs and they happened to turn out as they have. We obviously thought about the album as a whole quite a lot and what sort of songs we should have to try to mould it into a nice listening experience so that it takes you on a bit of a journey.
AG: It’s a mixture of things I think, some of it is just whatever we were into at the time, then other stuff is things that we learnt from doing the first album. We went into that first one without really knowing too much about arranging songs for recording or about equipment or anything really, so we learnt so much doing it that we’re now thinking ‘oh that song would be so much better if we did that’. I’d suddenly think, ‘oh man you can’t hear the riff in that bit’ and it’s because I’ve done it at the same time as the vocal hook. Then I think if I want people to understand it, it needs it’s own spot. It’s all those little lessons that have changed how it is. I think you’re going to have to wait until you hear the whole album though really, there’s some pretty gnarly stuff on it that works as well as the first album. It’s a lot weirder than the first album as well though, it goes in a lot more directions.
DD: There’s a lot of animal and snake references in your music, what’s the obsession?
CG: I don’t know really, when I come to write and I sit down with the music, I normally just go with what comes out first then I’ll tweak it. Other times I’ll have a particular idea that I want to talk about. There’s been a lot of snakes going on, but that’s only something I’m aware of more recently, I wasn’t really aware of it when it was first happening. Snakes are a good metaphor for a lot of things, it sums up a lot of larger things in the world.
DD: Are there any songs you’re sick of from the first album yet?
CG: Not really. It’s a difficult one. When we finished that album I think we were all sick of all of the songs to be honest, we never wanted to hear them again. Then you go out and play them live and that’s such a different experience.
AG: I wouldn’t want to ever hear the recording again but playing it is still fun.
DD: You released a covers EP last year, what would you say is your own personal favourite cover version?
AG: Ooh I’m sure I’ve got one…
LD: Siouxsie and the Banshees doing ‘Dear Prudence’, that’s a great cover.
CG: I wish you’d emailed me that question because I’m sure there’s a great one!
DD: Have you heard anyone cover Turbowolf yet?
CG: On YouTube yeah. I don’t think we’ve had any full bands do it yet, maybe a guitarist and a drummer.
AG: I don’t think I’ve seen anyone totally nail anything yet. Some of them are close but there are a lot of secrets in there.
CG: It’s quite fun to see people doing it though.
DD: You’ve worked hard at touring around the UK over the past few years and you’ve done a few European festivals, but have you got any plans to go even further afield?
CG: Yeah I think so, next year. Hopefully we’re going to get over to the States but nothing is booked yet. We’ve got plans to do that and go to some other places in the world to just get out there once the album is out in April. We just want to play everywhere that people want us to play.
DD: As it’s the festive season, what’s your recommended tipple for Christmas?
CG: For me it’s mulled wine, I’ve been making a lot of it at home.
LD: Mulled cider.
AG: I did quite like eggnog for a while but I think maybe I drank too much of it and now I don’t like it so much.
DD: Any other messages for the readers of Daily Dischord?
AG: Yes. YES. I always say it but you HAVE to support the bands that you love. I don’t mean us, I mean all of them, because they will fucking split up if you don’t and you’ll be gutted. It’s happened to so many bands that we know recently and you hear people say ‘you should support bands because it’s the right thing to do’ but you’ve got to do it for yourself because they will definitely split up if you don’t and then you won’t get any more music out of them. Buy stuff off them, don’t just listen to them on YouTube or Spotify, they won’t get any money out of that.
CG: Yeah go and buy their merch.
AG: Small bands need it more than bigger bands but just go and buy their stuff, otherwise they won’t be able to do it any more. They won’t be able to pay for their van or anything.
DD: A great sentiment to end on, thanks for your time guys!