PLAYLIST: Turnover’s Grooves That Inspired “Altogether”
Along with a playlist curated by the band, Austin Getz goes deep on his newfound love of jazz.
With their latest record, Altogether, Turnover took a new direction: they decided to play music that inspired them in the moment. Moving away from the fuzzed-out indie-rock-turned-punk feelings on 2015’s Peripheral Vision and 2017’s Good Nature, Altogether drives a new type of rhythm with more succinct, synthesized instrumentation and an emphasis on allowing for mistakes to happen.
Songwriter Austin Getz is no stranger to change, and openly embraces the need to continue moving forward both personally and artistically. These songs reflect not only a very specific moment in Turnover’s musical career, but in the lives of each of the band’s members. From the guitar-pounding rush of angsty youth into the soothing, pensive improvisation of early adulthood, Turnover is finding comfort and peace—with a little help from jazz.
“One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate the most about Turnover is that people try to classify us into these genres, but everybody blends the lines so much, and I like to see how our lines end up blurred by the things we do,” says Getz. “The older I get, the more I branch out and the more I consume other types of music, and that stuff starts to show its face a little bit. Although there’s some bits that come out, there’s a lot keeping it from being a straight funk or jazz record. We’re amateurs in it, and it’s going to be a journey. I’m just glad to be growing in some way and being able to incorporate elements that we’re proud of.”
Detailing a bit of this inspiration (among many other influences), the band crafted the playlist below to walk listeners through said very specific moment in Turnover’s career. Read on for a Q&A with Getz, including commentary on a few of the tracks they included, and grab a copy of Altogether, out now via Run for Cover, here.
What’s your favorite driving album? Imagine it’s sunny, between sixty and seventy degrees, and you’re driving with the windows down—what would you be listening to?
That’s really hard to answer just because I feel like the older I get, the more I try to stay in a zen zone. When I was younger, I felt like music was a sort of escapism for me—I used music to get really excited, or take me out of a moment and live inside a fantasy. The older I get, the more I try to bring a calmness to my life. Instead of it being escapism, I want to be in it and let the music be a soundtrack to what’s going on.
Honestly, in my spare time I listen to 80 percent jazz music. I’m less emotionally attached to jazz albums. Some of the deepest emotions I’ve ever felt have been from jazz tracks, but I also feel like I can kinda put it on, and it’s meditative and calming. That’s what I’m trying to do when I’m driving, especially now, living in Cali—all the drives are so, so long. I’m in the car a lot. You know when you get to that point where you’ve listened to all that you want to listen to, like three times? That feeling is so crazy to me—I never want music to be one of those feelings where I have to put it on right now. You can either use it or abuse it, and I feel like at a certain time music started to be like that—I needed it right now to make things bearable. Then I’d just play a song to death. Jazz is something where I always find something new in it, and I never get tired of it.
“The older I get, the more I branch out and the more I consume other types of music, and that stuff starts to show its face a little bit.”
Recently I’ve really been listening to Errol Garner’s record Contrasts a lot. If I were saying my favorite driving album, I’d have to consider my entire driving history—one of the records I really loved was the Crosby, Stills & Nash record So Far. I hate “favorite” questions—I feel like it changes so often.
I don’t trust people who have the same favorites from, like, sixth grade.
I honestly feel like if someone has a hard-stance favorite of something, I’m a little bit wary of them. How can you be so sure of yourself? Like…for a long time, mashed potatoes were my favorite food, but then I had chana masala…you know what I mean?
What can you tell me about Robert Glasper?
He’s a jazz pianist who worked with a ton of people over the years. He worked on a Kendrick record. He has a couple records—Black Radio and Black Radio 2—with different artists featured on each song. A few years ago when I was first getting into jazz we were on tour with Sorority Noise and one of the guys went to school for jazz. I was talking about how I was getting into the music and he was like, “Oh hey you should listen to this, it’s an amazing song” and it was a cool thing for me to listen to. Jazz is something where I feel like you need context to understand it. If you jump in and don’t have anything to bridge the gap, a lot of the time you just fall—that was me for forever. I just love how different genres do their takes on other songs. Recently I’ve been listening to that Bobby Womack version of “Fly Me to the Moon” that was in Euphoria, and I was like, “Damn, that’s so fucking good.”
Is Altogether a jazz/funk album?
I wouldn’t say that because I think we as a band (and myself for sure) were guitar-rock music, and that’s still very deep in our bones. The older I get, the more I branch out and the more I consume other types of music, that stuff starts to show its face a little bit. I think naturally, just by coming out of us, it turns itself into a type of blend between the two. Although there’s some bits that come out, there’s a lot keeping it from being a straight funk or jazz record. We’re amateurs in those fields, and it’s going to be a journey. I’m just glad to be growing in some way, and being able to incorporate elements that we’re proud of. It feels really fun.
I love how people talk about jazz. We’re having a different guy play guitar with us on tour since I moved to playing keys, so we’re going through and I’m teaching him the parts. He would play something a certain way and I’d be like, “OK cool, that’s not exactly how it is on the record, but I like it that way.” He kept wanting to play it right, but I found myself feeling like such a jazzhead—honestly man, there is no “right.” You’re playing in the right key, so as long as you’re doing it right, it’s cool. In jazz, they don’t even talk about parts. They say, “Here’s the third movement.” It’s so much more free—that part of the art is so far from what I’m used to. When I was growing up I was not comfortable jamming or improvising, and that part fascinates me now.
You have a lot of improvisational artists in the playlist: Grateful Dead, James Brown…the argument could be made that James Brown is a jam band.
I was watching that Quincy Jones documentary on Netflix that Rashida made, and it’s so sick. He composed “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” with James Brown—he’s definitely a jazzhead. James is the king for sure.
Did you ever want to play trumpet?
Trumpet was actually one of the first instruments I ever got because my older cousin played. When I was young, I was such a hard-headed fool, thinking, “This is lame, I just want to play guitar,” and never touched it. But now I regret it. I’m so jealous of my friends that grew up with parents that said, “Fuck you, you’re gonna practice piano for two hours after school.” Maybe they were upset about it then, but now they’re fucking so good at piano and I’m sitting here at twenty-seven trying to teach myself in my off-time like, “Damn, I wish I would’ve just learned when I was young.”
“In jazz, they don’t even talk about parts. They say, ‘Here’s the third movement.’ It’s so much more free—that part of the art is so far from what I’m used to.”
The other thing that’s really cool about piano is that there’s so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love guitar ’til the ends of the earth, but you have to strum with one hand and you gotta fret with one hand. With piano, you can be playing two melodies. You can just listen to a piano player and you’re going on a crazy ass journey. It truly is the king of all instruments, if you were to really line them up. I feel like it’s a thing that’s re-inspired me as a musician, too. I can go and play a chord form that I’ve played forever on guitar, but hearing it express itself on the piano feels like something brand new.
If piano is the highest tier, what’s the lowest tier instrument?
A precorder—you ever see one of those? It’s what you play when you’re so young that you couldn’t even play recorder. It’s got three little holes at the top, like a baby flute.
How does this playlist relate to the album?
When we first started writing “No Reply,” I was trying to write a soul song with some Charles Bradley stuff, but I wanted the chorus to have a down pulse—vibing on some Modest Mouse kind of shit. One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate the most about Turnover is that people try to classify us into these genres, but everybody blends the lines so much and I like to see how our lines end up blurred by the things we do.
What artists are you excited about right now?
I really like the new Anderson .Paak record. We saw him play at Coachella the day it came out. Watching him, I kept thinking “This guy’s a star.” There’s a band called Barrie who put out a record called Happy To Be Here that I really liked this year. I really loved the new Tyler record, IGOR. He killed it on this one. I’ve liked Tyler forever, but I’ve never felt super inspired—the guy’s always known how to write a song, but the last two tracks were great pop songs and I feel like he really just went to the next level. There’s so much there to challenge the listener.
I feel like any time you can write pop music that appeals to a lot of people but it also challenges a lot of people, that’s the best music. It’s a bummer now because pop has a connotation of bullshit that becomes big on the radio, but ultimately, if your music isn’t going to affect people, then you’re doing a bit of a self-pleasuring. What keeps me going is knowing that I’m helping people in some way through our music—which is a really special thing. FL