Turkuaz is known for being a high creatively band. Their staggering blend funk, alternative, and R&B wrapped in a fantastical blanket of psychedelia has propelled them to the forefront of the jam scene.
On September 10, the band will unveil their new film — None’s a Ton a live performance documentary the band filmed in 2018 — at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. This is the second location for the screening, as the initial venue sold out so quick, and the demand for seats was so high that they moved to the larger Nitehawk space.
We caught up with Turkuaz frontman Dave Brandwein, who also co-directed and executive produced the documentary, about the film
So you’ve got this film, None’s A Ton, coming out. What can you tell me about that? Why did you want to put the film together, what will the focus be, and most importantly, why was it important for you to connect with the fans in the way you are, with the dinner and movie setting?
I’ve been wanting to make a concert film of the band for a long time. For the past six years, we’ve been touring the country and cultivating a show that I think is both musically, as well as visually stimulating. It occurred to me that we really ought to have some sort of a visual representation that truly captures it beyond the typical YouTube video. The goal was to make a film that feels like you’re at the concert, and I think it’s really proven to be successful.
In addition to our music videos, Dani (my wife, and Creative Director of the band) and I have also worked together on films in the past. With her role over the last several years, it made a lot of sense for her and I to embark on this journey together – to deliver the live Turkuaz experience in a film.
We enlisted the help of Andy LaViolette (who’s work you may know from Snarky Puppy’s acclaimed videos). He served as Director of Photography and was integral in coordinating the entire shoot. He, along with many other people, have worked tirelessly to make this come together and it was no small task. Every single person involved has made a huge impact and we can’t wait to finally share it with our fans. We feel really good about “tying a bow” on this era of the band and having a representation of it that can always be enjoyed and celebrated.
As far as the screening next week, this was the best way we could think of to share it with our fans in our hometown. This is the only chance for people to see the film in the immediate future while we finalize our distribution plans. We may set up screenings in other cities, but to start things off, we can’t think of a better way than at one of our favorite local theaters. Nitehawk serves food and drinks right to your seat and is a beautiful theater overlooking Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We even have some customized Turkuaz menu items available! Myself, Dani and the entire band will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
Can you bring me up to speed on any new material you may have been working on recently?
Let’s just say we have a lot of irons in the fire. Lot’s of plans for upcoming releases, but it would ruin the surprise to say more!
So we’ve talked about the film, but let’s talk about the real meat: the music. What can you tell me about how the music of Turkuaz comes together? Is it sort of a collective inspiration thing or is it more driven by one or two people?
Many band members contribute material in the way of writing and composition. I spend the most time in the studio and write a majority of the lyrical content, but overall, the experience of bringing the music to the stage is a collective effort. Songs are most often written by one or two people, but then at the end of the day, turning it into a Turkuaz song in the live setting (as captured in the film) involves each person making a song their own, and bringing their unique sensibility to their part. That’s why I think each member wearing their own color the last several years has helped to distinguish each musician’s contribution to the sound.
Members of Turkuaz are known for collaborating and sharing the stage with tons of different musicians of all genres. How do you find the group (and yourself) adjusting your role to fit the situation with whichever group of musicians you’re playing with? Also, is there anyone you’d love to jam with but haven’t yet?
To be completely honest, I don’t do a whole ton of on-stage collaborations. I spend pretty much every day in the studio. A lot of the other band members gig a lot, and I know they really love having those unique musical experiences with various peers, as well as mentors who they greatly respect. It’s important to have other musical experiences outside of one’s own band. For me, it happens in the studio, and for many of them, it happens on stage. But in both cases, it gives you new energy to bring back to your own project(s).
What would say you have learned about yourself and the band as musicians (and music at large) and as people in your time together?
Man … there’s no way I can put all that into a concise answer. All I can say about life on the road and life as a musician is that there is no set road map, and no right or wrong answer to anything. It’s just all about doing what feels right, and when things go wrong (not if, but when), the only thing that really matters is how you react. We have much left to learn, but we’ve enjoyed the ride so far!
Tickets are still available for the screening of Turkuaz’s film None’s a Ton at the Nitehawk Cinema. Click here for tickets.
additional writing by bill bodkin