Trampled by Turtles

There is something generous about the way they play. They make room for each other, they serve the song, yet at times seem to ride the chaotic edge of stringed oblivion. It is the sound of joy; the kind of joy that the truth gives you, even when it's a hard thing to hear.” - Alan Sparhawk, Producer

"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive." - Jack London

Dave Simonett (guitar/lead vocals)
Tim Saxhaug (bass/harmony vocals)
Dave Carroll (banjo, harmony vocals)
Erik Berry (mandolin)
Ryan Young (fiddle/harmony vocals)
*****
On Wild Animals, Trampled by Turtles’ seventh studio album, themes of impermanence run deep, both lyrically and sonically. The quintet’s hybrid folk sound continues its evolution pushing the band further into the grey area between genres that defies pigeonholing.
Trampled By Turtles formed in 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota. From their beginnings on the Midwestern festival circuit, they have reached new heights with each album. The release of 2012’s Stars And Satellites saw the band play to more fans than ever, sell close to 100,000 albums, make their first national television appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, and have their first concert feature, Live at First Avenue, broadcast on Palladia. This year will see the band headline Red Rocks Ampitheatre for the first time and the kickoff of their own festival, Festival Palomino, which will take place September 20, 2014 outside Minneapolis.
Lead songwriter Dave Simonett has been especially affected by change over the last few years. He relocated from Duluth to the city of Minneapolis. “When I lived in Duluth, I think I took connection with uncivilized nature for granted. There, I had to drive 20 minutes and I was in the middle of nowhere, and I did this almost daily,” says Simonett. “This was a very important ritual for me. Solitary time in a nearly untouched landscape is my version of church, so I think there is a bit of loss of religion in a lot of my work these days. I've always been a little obsessed with our struggle to stay connected to our simple animal side, the part of our nature that lived off the earth, hunted live game, worshipped trees and mountains. I believe a lot of sadness is caused by feeling disconnected with the rest of nature. A lot of what is instinctual for us is beaten down and frowned upon in modern society. It has to be confusing for the subconscious.”
Wild Animals found Trampled by Turtles working with a producer for the first time in four studio records. The band placed themselves in the capable hands of longtime Duluth, MN compatriot Alan Sparhawk of the band Low and engineer B.J. Burton (Poliça, Megafaun, Volcano Choir) who crafted a sonic landscape that was spatial and new at Cannon Falls, MN’s Pachyderm Studio (Nirvana, The Jayhawks).
Says Simonett on working with Sparhawk: “Alan is one of the most musically courageous people I know and that’s exactly the attitude we were looking for. He’s great at taking a song from its false conclusion all the way down to its very core and then building it back in new and interesting ways.”
And on Burton’s contributions: “He has an exciting way of looking at sound. He shares Alan’s courage in music in that he’s ready to take organic sounds and push them to new places. He’s extremely technically skilled but not tied to any recording dogma.”
The band’s signature harmonies are intact, although the contributions that Sparhawk and Burton added created a new depth. Tim Saxhaug, the band member who has traditionally done much of the vocal arrangement says, “The production team pushed the band to consider new ways of approaching harmony, and the result 'opened our ears.' I wasn’t sure that recording could feel new after six studio albums, but that went away on the first day. Making this album was the most creative I’ve ever felt in my life.”
When asked about themes in his writing, Simonett says, “I’ve always felt they’re just various ways humans have attempted to explain the unexplainable. To keep the fear of the darkness that waits for all of us at bay. The death of a loved one, the parting of friends, the changing leaves, the loss of love. All the little parts that come and go. In a way it’s refreshing because the knowledge that nothing will ever stay the same offers innumerable opportunities for rebirth. “
Sparhawk adds about the band’s relationship, “The sound that caught my ear was there from the beginning and stands to this day: I call it the 'wall of strings.' Taking instruments we have heard for generations, the Turtles dive in with post-punk energy and selflessness. Everyone has a part in the arrangement that leans on and enhances the others, always serving the song. The message is not about individuals - it's about what can be done when people get together, apply their heart and soul, and make a little room for each other. Music has always had that potential, but it's rare when it actually happens.”
Erik Berry says of the band's chemistry, "From the earliest times we started playing, there has always been a real hard-to-define quality about our chemistry, something special. It’s been a treat to find that more than ten years in we still can turn new corners, at least new-to-us corners, together in the way we approach a song or a sound and still with that quality. That something that makes us, us."

Wild Animals is the sound of a band at the peak of their potential, strengthened from a decade together, winning some and losing some, but growing none-the-less. The album captures the intense nature that goes with being alive, melding the universal and the personal.

"In a brave new world where vintage American has helped the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers achieve headliner status, Los Angeles duo honeyhoney ought to be rising stars."
- Buzz Bands LA
"…the common pop thread between alt. country, spaghetti western soundtracks and swampy blues."
– Paste
"…honeyhoney deftly mixes elements of folk, soul, country, pop, and rock…"
– Glide

Burlap and opals. Moonshine and macrobiotics. Shaken and soothed. How Suzanne Santo (vocals/banjo/violin) and Ben Jaffe (vocals/guitar) managed to reconcile not just polemics, but seemingly opposed realities for their sexually tinged, bruised knee honeysuckle take on roots music has to be heard to be understood.

Yet somehow the young 20-somethings figured out that it's the extremes that define the middle, whether embracing the big mistakes in the bluesy smoulder "Glad I Done What I Did," embracing the romantic doubt that is the low slung gospel of "Don't Know How," or the euphoric romp-age of "Let's Get Wrecked" that embraces the arc debauchery completely. This is the sound of coming not of age, but awareness; and digging into what it means to be alive permeates throughout honeyhoney's October 24th release of Billy Jack on Lost Highway Records.
"The album is made of a lot of stories, a lot of lives," Santo picks up. "We're very different, but those differences are what makes it. I've had a lot of different times in

my personal life that kinda leveled me as a person. That's why this record is the way it is. It's made of guts: what's happening on the inside, the notion of us being really independent, being on our own. That's a big reality."

With fiddles threading the melodies, big acoustic guitar sounds and banjos plinking as percussively as melodically, there is an old world feel to honeyhoney that is as fresh and right now as it is tube radios and old lace.

And it is the disparity of how the two came up and came together that informs honeyhoney with their singularity of sound. Meandering through unique paths, converging in Los Angeles where everyone is chasing something, and finally recognizing the chemistry they shared is no mean feat.

Evoking California's hippie Dust Bowl fringe, equal parts Okie squalor and Pacific shimmer, there is a strong pull of Woody Guthrie-esque folk, vintage Buffalo Springfield, glints of Gram Parsons and bits of Bonnie Raitt's early blues, Rickie Lee Jones reality and Bakerfsfield Saturday nights. Not country, not folk, not rock, it is a hybrid that defies exact definition.

Still "Billy Jack" pumps with the thump of hearts on fire, levels with the pang of real instruments played like someone means it. "If we want anything from these songs," adds Jaffe, "it's to bring people into this music, to engage them."

On the brink of truly coming into their own, they are ready for whatever the music brings…

For more information, visit http://honeyhoneyband.com

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