Turkuaz, Spiritual Rez

Turkuaz is a 9-piece “Powerfunk” army hailing from Brooklyn, NY, whose modern twist on the classic sound has placed them at the forefront of a new funk evolution. With the obvious influences—Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James and Zapp and Roger—as the basis for a recipe, Turkuaz adds healthy doses of Talking Heads inspired jittery, world-pop-dance grooves and a passion for The Beatles, Motown and R&B into the mix, resulting in a refreshing update to the funk idiom.

A universally appealing dance band at its core, Turkuaz’s tightly arranged songs are built on thick grooves, driven by a powerhouse rhythm section and interlaced with swirling guitar lines and synthy keyboard riffs. Over the top, lyrical jabs and swells that serve as both subject matter and rhythmic reinforcement are delivered by four distinct vocalists, framed by horn lines and punctuated with left hooks and right angles. Whereas there are certainly talented improvisers in this extremely musical band, Turkuaz engages bodies and minds with its densely layered compositions, setting the stage for the soaring exploratory guitar and horn solos with no room for noodling. This is perfect for those who want to dance. As for the “headier” crowd showing up for the “jams”—these die hard music lovers are always more than satiated by Turkuaz. They are transported by an irresistible groove, bowled over by a devastating solo and swept up in the impressionistic, occasionally Dadaesque and often seemingly free associative lyrics that—upon closer consideration—reveal unexpected depths of insight, mystery and wry humor in equal parts.

“…one of the 50 greatest live acts right now.”
~Hypemusicfestivals.com

“…wholly original music… a band built to crush it for years to come.”
~ San Diego Music Examiner

Since hitting the road in mid-2012, Turkuaz has been touring non-stop, amassing a solid, passionate coast-to-coast fan base that grows with every mile driven and each night on stage. This traveling circus is more than a live juggernaut, however: Turkuaz is remarkably prolific in the studio, as well, and continues to write fresh music, pushing their creative boundaries even as they are promoting a new release. On April 14, 2015, Turkuaz will release the Stereochrome EP (Techne Records), fifty-four weeks after presenting the highly successful independent album Future 86, their third full-length studio album of original music. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Galaxy Smith Studios on vintage gear and captured on 1/2 inch tape with analog production techniques, Stereochrome is both a reverent homage to the past and a look over the horizon at the dawning of a new day. The four tracks are all in their own ways tributes to some of Turkuaz’s favorite recording artists, from The Beatles to Ray Charles and The Band to James Brown, all of whom have had a profound influence on the Powerfunk sound that Turkuaz fans know today. In some ways, Stereochrome closes a door on this warm den where the greats recline on stuffed leather sofas like the gods and goddesses of a gilded age… and with the closing of that door, Stereochrome opens a portal to the future of the Powerfunk sound… a future that will be defined by the early Fall release of Turkuaz’s next full-length record: Digitonium…

Turkuaz is:
Dave Brandwein – Lead & Backing Vocals / Guitar
Taylor Shell – Bass
Michelangelo Carubba – Drums
Craig Brodhead – Guitar / Synths
Josh Schwartz – Tenor & Baritone Sax / Lead & Backing Vocals / Percussion
Greg Sanderson – Alto & Tenor Sax / Backing Vocals / Percussion
Chris Brouwers – Trumpet / Keys / Backing Vocals / Percussion
Sammi Garett – Lead & Backing Vocals / Tambourine
Shira Elias – Lead & Backing Vocals

Spiritual Rez

Not long into the writing and recording process of their fourth studio album, Setting in the West (due out October 7th, 2016), reggae-fusion act Spiritual Rez knew they were creating something special. Under the guidance of producer Kenny Carkeet, a founding member of AWOLNATION, the eclectic sextet fused their high-energy reggae sound with an edgy contemporary pop polish.

Tireless touring and a higher education in music has found Spiritual Rez in complete harmony on stage; forging a reputation as a live act that never fails to exhilarate a crowd. Carkeet describes them as “one of the hardest working bands in showbiz.” He’s also taken note of their years of hard work paying off in the studio, saying, “Each one of the guys are incredible with their instrument, which made my job easy. Frontman Toft Willingham's outstanding voice was really fun to work with.”


To date, Spiritual Rez has shared the stage with notable names likeGeorge Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Steel Pulse, Jimmy Buffet, and countless others. "I have total confidence in every member of our operation on and off stage," says lead vocalist and guitarist Toft Willingham. "Having recorded four albums before Setting in the West, we felt honed and ready to bring that confidence to the studio."

Setting in the West is a conglomeration of story songs, love songs and songs featuring a common message from past Spiritual Rez records: follow your dreams and never give up. "Our last record was very politically and socially driven," Willingham recalls of their 2014 self-produced concept album, Apocalypse Whenever, which reached #2 on the Relix/Jambands Radio Chart and #8 on the iTunes Reggae Chart. “For this album, we wanted to break away from that and write about love and things that resonate with the masses. We wanted to tell stories and encourage people. Determination has always carried us as a band. After college, we were homeless for four years, just touring nonstop, committed to never giving up.”

Despite the contrasting lyrical content, the subject matter is always positive. "Red Room," a reggae-rock banger meant to inspire the youth to chase their goals, features Duddy B of The Dirty Heads, as well as co-writing by Goldfinger’s John Feldmann. Setting in the West features additional notable collaboration with rising reggae star Hirie on the ballad "Together Always,” and the trombone stylings of Reel Big Fish’s Billy Kottage on “Bad Girl.”

The reggae-hip hop anthem "Sober," is a tale of a party romance with an infectious chorus. "'Sober' has the best chorus we've ever written," says Willingham. "Our bassist Jesse Shaternick brought the groove to the band. Jesse, Kenny Carkeet, and our drummer Ian “Meat” Miller fleshed out the track while Max and I wrote the lyrics. It just flowed.” Willingham is referring to Max Collins of Eve 6, who co-produced and co-wrote the record. Collins says of the band, “They create their own world, and it was such a joy to be immersed in their deep, warm psychedelia.”

In addition to Willingham, Shaternick, and Miller, Spiritual Rez is rounded out by Mohamed Araki (keys), Quinn Carson (trombone) and Julian Dessler (trumpet). Setting in the West was recorded at Jim Kaufman Productions in Los Angeles, Hookbeat Studios in Venice Beach, CA and 9B Studios in Milford, MA.

The album’s last track, "Digital Age," delivers a message to not fear change, but to embrace it. Willingham explains that it's the last song on the album for a reason. "It embodies our desire to progress and never stop striving to make the best art possible,” he says. "To have made it this far doing what we love and not see an end in sight is a testament to hard work, but above all, it’s a blessing.”  

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