Turk Tresize, hailing from Melbourne, Australia, has one of the most powerful and influential sounds around; his thought-provoking debut album, ‘Soul Casino’, shaping into one of the most prominent records of the moment.
I caught up with Turk to discuss the subject of America, how being heart-broken can work to one’s advantage, and what it was like to be work with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard…
So, Turk, what has been the main influence for you becoming a musician?
People think you’re either born a musician, or you’re not – but that’s not the case. This might be a bit weird, but I didn’t start playing in bands until I was in my ‘20s… One of the reasons I started to learn the guitar is because I got heart-broken – I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl! For my birthday my mother asked me what I wanted and I asked for a guitar: I thought “maybe if I learn guitar it will take my mind off the girl”.
Your debut album ‘Soul Casino’ was released in late 2013; since then, have any exciting opportunities arisen?
Yeah, one of the most exciting things was to tour it. We managed to get over to America and go through places like New York, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Alabama and more. The tour ended at The Whiskey in LA which was great. After that, I came home to play Shed Rock Festival, which is a festival that I put on every year. Right after that, Andirja (my producer) flew down to Australia to work on the new album with me.
Is the album becoming quite big in America then?
I’ve been over to America six or seven times to record at The Bomb Shelter and build a team. It was only this last trip that I actually did a promotional tour around the music. I met a lot of people and everyone over there seems to really like the music. I woudn’t say that the record is “big” in America, but it seems to be pretty well received and I’m growing a fan base there. The promotional team have turned into a second family and I love going to America to see them, and it seems like they love me too!
‘Soul Casino’ seems to be one of the deepest album titles I’ve came across in a long time, can you reveal your inspiration behind it?
Well, most of the songs are all about heart and soul and trying to understand yourself. The title is actually from one of the lyrics in ‘Direction’ and when I read them, I just knew. The album itself is about gambling: you gamble your soul in jobs, in relationships, in all directions. I think the songs are deep, but hopefully people will see them in a positive light.
Andrija Tokic produced ‘Soul Casino’ and Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) stars as a guest vocal – what is the story behind these two collaborations?
I have a friend in Nashville who’s the directional manager steering the whole project who said that the studio in which I recorded ‘Soul Casino’ would be perfect for me; I don’t suit the ‘factory studio’ because I prefer the analogue. Me and Andrija Tokic then hit it off really well, and he told me we needed some ‘kicking vocals’ on the track. He called up Brittany and she drove up from Alabama. Andrija came out to Australia recently to record some new stuff and Brittany was already playing Big Day Out, so they both ended up back on the farm. I feel extremely lucky that Andrjia and I have hit it off as friends.
And, if you could describe ‘Soul Casino’ in three words what would you say?
Hmm… ‘Classic Yet Modern’. It’s hard to sum it up in three words!
What would you say to young artists trying to break through in the music industry?
I’d just say, remember to be true to you… In music, it’s best to be an honest person and not care about what anybody else is doing – just be yourself.
And, finally, what three artists have you been listening to a lot of recently?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Chris Cornell, especially his acoustic version of ‘Like A Stone’. A lot of Shooter Jennings and Pink Floyd, I just love their delivery.
Thank you Turk, I hope to hear from you again in the near-future!
Good on ya Ella!