In more ways than one, accessibility has become one of the keys to churning out wholesome radio hits but for Nashville’s own TURBO FRUITS, it’s become a way to stash bills in their pocket. Wading in thick, fuzzed-out rock and roll, the only accessible attribute to the four-piece is their ability to let their own tour-hungry garage pop sit next to records like Youth & Young Manhood and Born On Flag Day and strum out charismatic songs about life. Our talk with vocalist/guitarist Jonas Stein opened up a genuine side of the band providing insight to their signing to Kings Of Leon’s label Serpents And Snakes and how their new disc is drawn from the true American side to alternative.
Coming from Tennessee, a state that helped shape various styles such as blues, southern folk and country, do you feel a certain responsibility to take influences from the place you call home?
Well… we are a rock n roll band from Nashville. We don’t aim to sound like anything in particular. We mostly just write stuff that we would like to listen to ourselves. By default there is definitely some Nashville or Southern influence because that’s where we live and where we grew up!
What’s the status of Nashville’s music culture now compared to when you were readying your debut LP for Ecstatic Peace and first started playing shows at the Springwater?
As far as my world goes, it feels about the same only bigger as there’s more national attention. A lot of the bands that are being nationally recognized are ones that have been around for years. Mostly it’s all the same people in the same bands but everyone outside of Nashville is just now finding out about us. Groups like Be Your Own Pet and JEFF The Brotherhood have really paved the way for a lot of the younger artists coming up today.
None of the 11 tracks on your new record Butter lack flavor or energy. What was it like to be back in the studio working on different material with new members?
It was great! Everyone came to the table with great ideas and we were all able to feed off of each other. We’ve developed a new writing process for Turbo Fruits and I think from here on out it’s only going to get better. We’re all really stoked on Butter and other future material as well.
How did Matt, Dave and Kingsley add their own touch to the album?
Well… we all co-wrote a lot of songs. Dave would come in with solid riffs to build from, Kingsley would write a killer lead guitar part and we’d all sort of take care of lyrical duties.
What’s the vibe like working and recording inside and outside of the studio?
Vibes were all over the place. Some days were very harmonious and some days we couldn’t do anything without fighting every two seconds. There isn’t much passive aggressive tension but when there is tension, it’s just straight up aggressive and sometimes physical. But for the most part we get along pretty alright! We got each others backs.
Jim Eno and the rest of Spoon are known for having built their sound in their hometown of Austin before taking it to the road and touring extensively; are there any other musicians you’ve admired that have influenced you to become more involved in the lifestyle of being an artist?
For me, there isn’t really anyone specific. I just remember punk rock n’ roll bands coming through Nashville when I was 13 or 14-years-old and they looked like they were having a blast. That’s what made me want to start a band!
With having seen a lot of North America over the past few years, what draws you to touring extensively?
We thrive on the road. We are a live band so we like to show people a good time no matter the city they’re in. This day and age you can’t just make an album and sit on your ass. You have to get in front of people. It’s a building process for sure but it’s just what works.
Do you think your approach to it is one of the reasons behind your signing to Kings Of Leon’s label?
The general manager of Serpents And Snakes Records, Seth Riddle, showed the Followills our album for approval but I think one of the reasons we were signed is because of our track record. It doesn’t take much research to realize that we work our fucking asses off, and on top of that, we are able to write good catchy songs. I think that combination helps make us desirable to anyone who wants to go into business with us!
How is that personal approval better than working with a more renowned indie label?
All I know is that we have been more taken care of with Serpents And Snakes than either of our two past label experiences, which were Fat Possum Records and Ecstatic Peace.
It’s interesting to hear the Followills are involved with the record because, while songs like “10 Years” and “Gotta Get Along” epitomize how rock and roll can be someone’s first love, there are bits of instrumentation that sound like KOL’s Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak.
Yeah we’re all fans of Kings Of Leon. Between the four of us, I think we like all of their records. For me, their first two albums had quite an impact on my teen years and it’s because they’re just a lot of fun to listen to.
With a new record out and a tour schedule leading up to late October, what do you hope to prove to yourself as an individual and those willing to listen to your music?
We’ve been bustin’ ass left and right so I would like us to be able to pay our bills solely from doing Turbo Fruits. That means stuff like no more day jobs for a couple of us in-between tours. Garages and basements have a special place in my heart and we will continue to play them as long as we are around, but I would like to see us cross-over into filling up every venue we play across America.