Interview with vocalist/guitarist Austin Getz and bassist Danny Dempsey
By Annette Hansen
The distance created when you move across the country from everyone you know can make it feel like you’ve placed a giant wall between you and them. When Turnover’s vocalist and guitarist Austin Getz moved to California solo, that could easily have been case. However, the new distance between band mates offered a new sense of freedom and forced them to get creative with how they made music. It was a motivational change-up that ultimately played a big role in the band’s fourth full-length album Altogether, released on Nov. 1 via Run For Cover Records.
“I feel like we kind of just write a record,” says bassist Danny Dempsey. “I don’t think, until pretty far into the writing, we really have a conscious thought of ‘okay, we’re doing a record’.”
During the year and a half that Turnover were writing the tracks that would ultimately become Altogether, the members lived on opposite coasts, exchanging ideas over the internet and finding new ways to make the writing process work for them.
“When we’re all in the same place I feel like we always fall into this thing where ‘okay cool, practice at this time, alright’, and then we just go and we’re like ‘alright, I gotta dip’,” Getz describes. “Now it was kind of cool, because we went to Portland for a week and we had a dedicated writing session, and we had some times in New York where we got together specifically just to write. It was pretty fun. It was definitely different.”
Dempsey says having to set time to work together is something the band credits as a benefit to their writing process, “In a weird way it made it feel like it was less of a thing we had to do, not that it’s ever something that we have to do, but it just made any pressure that there was even lighter.”
Getz’s own personal adjustment to his cross-country move also became intertwined with the music he was creating. Moving with the intention of finding a new sense of peace, Getz found himself in a new place and with a whole new set of stresses. Things didn’t quite go as expected, but a lot can be learned from the unexpected.
“I kind of moved to California thinking like ‘oh shit, I’m going to get away from all these distractions and it is going to be great for me spiritually, creatively’,” Getz explains. “Coming here actually did the opposite because I left my comfort zone. I just started having all these new fears and anxieties and growing pains of making the move, which ultimately ended up being a way better thing than I could’ve ever hoped for. Because through learning those things, it just makes you a more rounded person. It makes you grow a little bit.”
According to Getz, the change of scenery also forced him to change his mindset when it came to writing songs.
“Throughout my whole life, I’ve been like ‘oh shit, I have this idea in my head for some melody or some idea for a song’,” he says. “I think me being less in my comfort zone and having more on my mind made that happen a lot less, so I was like ‘okay, I need to go sit down with a guitar and make myself play.’ That was kind of a new thing, and I feel like that was interesting because when I would just sit down and do it, it made me feel so good.”
With Altogether, the band elevates their sound with a blend of moody and jazzy tones, emphasized with more diverse instrumentation. Turnover sought to utilize a wider range of influences when piecing together the album.
“I feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just learned so many different types of music that I truly love, and so I was just trying to expand all of those influences, and also just thinking about ultimately assessing the reasons why we’re making music,” explains Getz.
Not only did the band desire to expand their personal sound with Altogether, they also hoped to craft that sound in a way that captured more listers. It was important to not only create songs that satisfied their artistic vision but to do so in a palatable way.
“I feel like a huge thing that I always hark back to, other than it being self-fulfilling, is that ultimately ‘can people connect?’,” says Getz. “People feel really changed by music and that’s the most rewarding thing.”
Getz explains that, for him, finding that space between artistic expression and making likeable music is where Turnover seeks to reside.
“I think that it’s always cool to be different, but I also think there’s a lot of artists for whom the only thing about them that’s cool is that they’re different, which it totally fine,” he expresses. “I always have personally felt much more affected when somebody finds a way to be different and still very widely appealing.”
No matter who’s listening or singing along to Altogether, the honesty and care poured into the record is bound to shine through on each track. For Turnover, people latching on to the album’s genuine charm is what they truly hope to achieve.
“As long as [the music] feels real and it feels authentic to people, then that’s all I can really ask for,” Getz says.
Top photo by Joe Calixto