Q. Firstly, why the name, Turtle Island?
A.“Turtle Island” comes from an island at Ben’s Lakehouse. We’ve spent lots of summers swimming and boating there, and we decided that the name Turtle Island sounded pretty cool and fitting and fortunately it means a lot to us as a band—and as friends.
Q. How did you all meet? What’s the story?
A. Ben and I (Dallin) met first before anyone else. We’d always wanted to make music together, knowing that we had the same taste; but it wasn’t until after at least a few months—almost a year, maybe—that we started getting together and doing some writing. I don’t think any of what we wrote back then ever got developed into actual songs, but it was cool to get a feel for each other musically. After a while, we got Nick to come in on drums; he had played with Ben in a previous musical endeavor, and I had played with our ex-bassist/guitarist, Alex, in an old band of mine. Alex moved to Chicago to go to school, and Nick was really good friends with Sean, who came in to replace Alex.
Q. For each of you, what is your past history with music? Any previous bands? How similar were they to yours today?
A. We had each been in a band before Turtle Island, except for Sean. Our old bands were more of a Punk Rock/Alternative sound, which led to an indie sound in the early stages of Turtle Island (which at the time was called The Lion the Squirrel and the Man with a Moustache)
Q. Who handles the beats, guitar, vocals, etc.? What would you say each of you brings to the table?
A. Until recently, there was never a set lineup for who played what, other than Nick on drums, save for our song Astronauts, where I play drums for the first half while nick sang, but we don’t play that one very often anymore. We usually would just start writing new material, and whoever was closest to whatever instrument played that or wrote that part, which meant Ben, Sean and I would all rotate on bass and guitars. We decided that it would be best to stick to one instrument to get a consistent live sound, so we now have Ben on bass, and Sean and myself on guitars. Sean and I both sing, doing some harmonies and switching up lead vocals.
Q. Describe your genre, your sound.
A. We typically identify ourselves as psychedelic rock, but that is not in any way exclusively what we do. We draw influences from everywhere: indie rock, blues, jazz, garage rock, doom metal, shoegaze, surf rock, grunge, post-rock—the list goes on. In the span of one song, you could experience all of these sounds, as well as from song to song. It’s kind of spastic but we feel like it works for us. It makes it fun and interesting because we can write in any style we want instead of being confined to one genre.
Q. Has your sound evolved or pretty much stayed the same since you started? Do you think it will hold over time?
A. When we first started playing we had an indie pop/rock kinda sound, and we have evolved heavily from there, while still keeping our roots pretty strong. I think now we just have a lot wider array of sounds. I think we’ll just constantly keep piling new sounds on top of what we have until it’s piled so high nobody really understands what it is.
Q. Who are your big influences? Would you compare your sound to any of them?
A. Some stuff we dig unanimously as a band would bestuff like Led Zeppelin. Nick is in love with Bonham and is really heavily influenced by him and Nick Mason from the Floyd. We all like good stuff from the 60’s psychedelic underground, the Velvet Underground. Progressive 70’s stuff like King Crimson. We like good 90’s shoegaze like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride. Stuff going on now that we think is cool, too: Radiohead, Tame Impala, MGMT, Foxygen, Modest Mouse, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens. The list could start getting a lot bigger, we’re all really avid music listeners. I think you could definitely notice a little bit of all of this in our sound.
Q. Every musician has a certain way of using their instrument. What do you consider to be your unique musical techniques?
A. I personally have always liked guitar pedals, and what they can do to alter the sound. I like to use a lot of effects, and I find it fascinating that there are endless sounds to be made from just a few pedals. I can really only speak for myself, I’m not sure what the others would say… Sean has been getting really into jazz guitar recently and has been doing some funky stuff with that. Ben has always written extremely poppy McCartney-esque that add so much to our music. Nick is always trying to be progressive with his drumming, he seldom is content doing simple beats and always tries to make his beats unique and fresh.
Q. Are you signed with any record labels?
A. Right now we’re on Flowerpot Records. It’s a small label that our friend runs. He does a great job with it. We love saying we’re a part of the label.
Q. Are there certain underlying themes within your lyrics?
A. I often find myself writing about space or love or a combination of the two. Our recent album has a pretty heavy love/space theme underneath it all. Probably cause we don’t understand much about either of those things so writing about it helps us pretend we do.
Q. Is there a particular song of yours that sticks out to you as unique from the rest?
A. Not really. I don’t know; this is a hard question to answer. We like them all and they’re all pretty different.
Q. Who handles your artwork?
A. I have done all the album artwork for all of our stuff so far.
Q. Where have you performed? Any favorite venues, cities? Most memorable experiences?
A. Comfest a while back was super cool! I think that’s always been one of our favorite shows as well as when we played Newport. We really like Scarlet and Grey Cafe and play there a good deal. We played Kobo for the first time not too long ago and that was an awesome venue!
Q. What’s the ultimate goal for your band?
A. It’s hard to say right now, we’re all still young. We’d definitely love to have it be something that could support us, as well as something that could be appreciated as truly unique and special. Surely everyone wants these things, but only time will really tell what’s gonna happen.
Q. What shows and tours are you planning in the near future?
A. Right now we’ve just got the Festival of Sound on August 16th, at Scioto Park in Dublin, and a Show at Ruby Tuesday on August 31st for the Cordial Sins’ EP release! We plan on writing and recording our next album this and next month.
Q. What’s the best way to access your music?