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Turin Brakes talk to Freetime
THEY may be best known for their hit "Painkiller/Summer Rain" early in the last decade but Turin Brakes have recently released their sixth album.
James Nadal spoke to Gale Paridjanian, one half of the original duo, also comprising Olly Knights, fresh from one of their latest gigs, at Bucks New University in High Wycombe.
LIFE is good for Turin Brakes at the moment, having just completed a tour and had their sixth album released earlier this year, Gale tells Freetime.
The pair of musicians, who have been pals since they were children and began guitar playing aged eight, were inspired by the film Back to The Future and its featuring of Chuck Berry, he explained as he talked about their origins.
The duo's first album was in 2000.
Now, both aged 36, they have a clearer vision of what they want to do, he said, whereas earlier in their career it was just perpetual gigging and touring.
He said there was confusion about why they were doing it.
He said: "These days we kind of understand the direct relationship of playing the songs people love.
"We generally enjoy everything we do at the moment because we're not confused. "We're doing it for ourselves in a lot of ways."
Asked which songs get the best reaction, he said: "People like to hear the old songs of course, the ones they listen to and have got relationships with.
"But generally we are going on and doing four new tracks straight away (at recent gigs).
"It's just as relevant if you give it a chance. And it's going down well."
Describing the latest album, We Were Here, he said: "It's like a distilled version of all the good bits of Turin Brakes, with a bit of psychedelia."
Explaining more about it, he said: "This new album what we were reacting against was making part time with the lap top and accidentally having an album ready when we were just doing demos or writing stuff - which is kind of what our previous album Outburst was about.
"With this record what we really wanted to do was to have the limitations of the studio and using tape and actually wanting to have an experience where there was a certain amount of time and therefore things would go with a level of importance. We also got our band who have been playing with us for years involved from the start.
"The four of us and the engineer have been living and sleeping in the studio which meant there was a bit of a looseness to it."
He said having the two extra musicians on board helped give an extra opinion on how things should sound.
One of the hardest albums to make was Etha Song, the second, when they had moved to Los Angeles, he said.
Two albums they produced themselves on laptops which had their own difficulties he said.
But this method has its up points too, he explained: "I quite like producing ourselves, if you have an idea for a sound quite often that's half of what you need. I guess that's the difference between I guess Turin Brakes and Randy Newman for example.
"It's actually the production, more of the meaning that gets delivered the sound around the writing."
He said the idea of how it should sound is more important than simply making a track radio friendly, clean and efficient.
Freetime asked what he enjoys performing the most.
He replied: "The new stuff is the most thrilling. A track called Blindside has a big section of guitar improvisation where I lose my balance a bit which is kind of thrilling. It either goes well or you end up flat on your face.
"A lot of the new stuff is fun, the freshness is nice."
Painkiller was a top five hit and although Gale called it "a great song" he said the duo's relationship with the song and attitude towards it varied over the years.
He said: "That became the joke song. It became the one we wanted to play to everyone for a bit then it became the joke one when it was popular, we couldn't really play it without feeling like we were ripping ourselves off.
"Then not long ago it felt like we were turning into a heritage band because we play that song but we kind of have to play it.
"Then recently it's gone full circle again. At the moment Painkiller is a like punk rock funk frenzy, everyone relaxes with it.
"Songs are like people, they're not set in stone and change all the time."
So, what inspires titles of their songs and albums?
As for Dark on Fire - the single - Gale said: "That was kind of an idea of creating something out of nothing. I guess, the dark matter of the universe being energy and a bit like lighting a match. We're setting the dark on fire."
With album titles they try to give a name which helps listeners understand the kind of music that is in, he explained.
The band name came about through throwing random words together, he revealed.
He said: "They were going to put a record out very soon, our first ever release on an indie label and we needed a name very quickly. They, with their mates, stuck all these words together.
"Two random words together often bring another meaning, another picture."
As for constructing songs, often chord combinations come first, before a brainstorming with words and lyrics, he said.
He said due to the economics, they would jump at the chance to do an arena tour but it has been a long time since they have performed at such a venue. Gale told Freetime he enjoyed the High Wycombe gig, saying: "I can't remember exactly why but I remember it was a lot of fun, it was a good evening.
"The next night was at Shepherds Bush, with 1,000 people so was quite a contrast."
They are set for a European tour but they are not in a hurry to start making the seventh album at the moment.
He said it could take up to three years.
In the meantime, fans have plenty to listen to with the latest album, with a single also set for release in the new year.
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