Sounds of Turkuaz: a Little R&B, Psychedelia & a Whole Lotta Funk

by Lisa Davis on January 21, 2019 in Entertainment, Music, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston,
Turkuaz group pic Dani Brandwein e1547838681118

With a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds and individual personalities, the vibrant and explosive funk music of Turkuaz is winning over fans and critics alike.

Since hitting the music scene in 2011, the Brooklyn-based nine-piece ensemble has been quietly making an imprint in music through their deft musicality and show-stopping singalongs.

Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild brass sections, and long form grooves, Turkuaz’s spirit takes shape with neon hues donned by each respective member via larger-than-life performances turning into energizing dance parties. Their most recent album, ‘Life In The City’ is produced by Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads.

Ahead of their Texas dates, founding band member Dave Brandwein discussed Turkuaz’s musical inspiration and playing in Texas.

What do you like best about playing in Texas?

Well, we haven’t come through Texas as much as we’d like over the years. But it does seem that whenever we do, the people are jacked and ready for a good time. I don’t know if that’s because we’re there so infrequently or if that’s just how they are all the time. But we love it! Oh, and also – the food in Texas is really good! That definitely doesn’t hurt.

How do the audiences in Brooklyn compare with those in Texas?

The common link between the two is that everyone coming to our show is looking for a good time. We consider it our job to bring it to them no matter what zip code we’re in!

What or who was the musical inspiration behind your eclectic style of music?

Well, it’s an eclectic pool of influences due to having so many different musical personalities in the band. I grew up listening to British classic rock. Taylor grew up in the Bay Area punk scene. Michelangelo was into Big Band and Jazz… We’re just constantly discovering where that common ground is and finding cool ways to combine those various sources of inspiration. If I have to name a few off the top of my head, I’d say Sly and the Family Stone, Talking Heads, Parliament/Funkadelic, The Beatles, Zapp and Roger, and Peter Gabriel. That just scratches the surface, but I think these acts are a decent representation of some of the big players in shaping our sound!

How did the nine of you come together to form Turkuaz?

Taylor Shell and I started making demos at our home studio while at school in Boston several years ago. We were in a number of bands at the time, playing music all across the spectrum. But every time we played for fun, we would gravitate towards funk and groove music. No project we’d done before that time represented that. Those demo recordings we made got some attention and buzz around them in our community, and so we put a band together comprised of our good friends. We all moved down to NYC a few months later, and for the next few years, we played frequently in and around the city, shaping our style and honing our craft for playing live.

By 2012, we decided to take the show on the road, quite literally. So began what is now Turkuaz. Shira was the last member to join a couple years later, and since 2014, we’ve had this exact nine people as the lineup. We are a family and we’ve played all over the country, sometimes nearing 200 shows a year. The longest break we’ve taken has been about a month. We’ve never looked back and it’s amazing what has grown out of creating those demos all those years ago. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Turkuaz is bringing their Life in the City Tour to Texas January 24 in Dallas, January 25 in Austin, and January 26 in Houston.

Cover photo courtesy Dani Brandwein

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a student at Concordia University-Texas.