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  • Interview: The Color Turning

    Tue, 24 Nov 2009 14:59:09

    The Color Turning are ready for the zombie apocalypse when it happens.

    "Some parts on Good Hands Bad Blood sound like zombie music," laughs frontman Steve Scavo.

    Good Hands certainly could serve as the soundtrack for impending zombie doom, but it's much more than that. Steve and his cohorts create ethereal, hypnotic rock that covers all kinds of dynamic soundscapes: from the soothing to the psychedelic and everything in between. Forging instrumental experimentation to strangely catchy hooks, there's a thought provoking darkness inside of The Color Turning's songs that feels utterly alive and extremely real. Good Hands Bad Blood is the best kind of thinking man's rock—it's got heart.

    Steve sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Good Hands Bad Blood and much more…

    Good Hands Bad Blood has a cinematic feel. Do you watch a lot of movies or listen to film scores regularly?

    We're all really into that. We have a lot of influences like M83 and Sigur Ros—stuff that's pretty big. I think that translates into the music a lot. Good Hands was this weird fusion between our natural tendency to make everything big and grandiose and then our version of a pop arrangement. It has this weird mix of those two styles fighting against each other, but I think it works.

    It works really well! The sound is almost like a cross between Neurosis and Sigur Ros. There are some heavy moments on there.

    [Laughs] It can get pretty thick at times, but we don't have anything in "Drop-D" tuning and we don't play with real big gain. We always liked what The Flaming Lips did. They wrote these really big, powerful songs, but they never had a ton of distortion. They achieved the sound through huge, pounding drums and the arrangements versus how the instruments sound. Those are the things that we all key on when we're writing songs.

    Would you say you're channeling emotional influences more than musical?

    Right! We let the arrangements do more than the tone of the instruments. In our minds, we're not at the place where we're playing "Drop-D" through 800 Marshall heads. There was a point when we were writing our first batch of new songs and we had some of that happening. At this point, it's more about the rhythm and melody.

    You've definitely created your own sound.

    People don't really know how to classify it. In music, I look for something that moves me, aside from just thinking, "Oh yeah, that was cool. I had a beer and watched a band!" We sound how we sound, and that's all we can do really.

    What's the story behind "Me Versus Me?"

    It's where our headspace is at now. There are songs that are a little older, but "Me Versus Me" is one of the more recent tracks that we wrote for the record. It started off as this E-Bow guitar loop and we wrote a few basic chords around it. We were talking about the loop and how to play it write. We jammed on it for an hour, and we decided to build it more like an electronic song—adding a lot of percussion to separate the verses and instrumental breaks. We didn't even define a true chorus. We built it as instrumental, vocals and then instrumental, vocals. It's really the same loop throughout the song, but we had different things come in and out. At the end of the song, I switch up the vocal line, and there's this massive dub-bass passage! We left the live rock instrumentation in, but we built the track like an electronic song.

    Where are you typically coming from lyrically? Are there any themes that are pervasive in your writing overall?

    It varies at different parts of the album actually. Sometimes, I'll take an analogy or story to make one point in a song like "Phantom Parade" or "Where the Sky Ends." Those songs are more story-driven. Other times, the songs are very personal. "Sweet Talker" and "Porcelain" are more straight-up, introspective life stories. Sometimes, they're about a girl situation. It varies. I don't get really political. The music is more about my life.

    Scott Weiland's such a genius and a true artist. It must be great to be on artist-run label like Soft Drive Records.

    It is! Scott's a great guy! We signed to his label because he really connected to us musically—more so than other label or A&R people. Soft Drive's A&R rep Eric had been following us for a while, and then he came to a show. He always thought that we were signed to some label, but we weren't. We were just doing one-off EPs. Eric and Doug Grean [Producer] gave our CD to Scott. The story goes that he had it in his car, and he pulled over to the side of the road and told Doug and Eric, "We have to get these guys down to the studio! We've got to work with them!" So we went down there and met with him. He was super humble and he knew nuances and guitar lines from our songs. Scott connected with the vocal melodies and he was talking to us about specific parts, what he appreciated about the music and different influences that he was hearing. We couldn't believe it! No one else had done that. It's hard to get your friends to do that! Scott's been really supportive of the band.

    Rick Florino

    Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here

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