Baltimore punk hardcore contemporaries Turnstile have certainly become a presence in the international scene since their inception in 2010. With their debut album, ‘Nonstop Feeling’, released earlier in 2015, the east coast boys tour Australia for the first time this January. Killyourstereo.com caught up with the band to discuss the year, the current state of the genre and what’s planned once they arrive on our shores.
Turnstile are touring Australia for the first time this January. We’re excited to have you on our shores. How strong is your knowledge of our current punk/hardcore scene?
I’ve been to Australia once, years ago, with another band [Trapped Under Ice] and it was one of the coolest tours I’ve done. The shows were all very sick and I met a lot of cool people, and played with a lot of cool bands [too].
It’s been a busy year for the boys. The album came out at the start of the year and you’ve been touring heavily ever since. Now that we’re in the final month of 2015 and allowing yourself to now properly reflect, how has the year been for you personally?
It has been very fast paced [but] in a cool way. We’ve done a lot of different kind of tours and played for a lot of people and it’s been good. It’s a learning process for the band in regards to what we want to do. We’re excited for 2016 as well, [we] already have new songs recorded.
Turnstile, justifiably, are well respected in the punk/hardcore community. I remember in an interview we did with Jacob from Converge a few years back, he suggested the problem with some bands today is that they want to be popular before they want to be any good. In your opinion, what styles and trends do you think are still counterproductive to the genre at the moment?
I think bands trying hard to recreate an exact sound is counterproductive. Forward motion and progression is important in music.
On the positive side of things though, what are some of the better elements of punk/hardcore currently?
There are so many cool waves of bands from different pockets of the world. Leeds, Boston, SoCal. There’s also a big explosion of new DC bands right now doing different sounding things and that excites me. Red Death, Protester, Stand Off, Pure Disgust etc.
Equally, acknowledging the good waves of artists, what would you still like to see improved to help up and coming bands today?
Start a bunch of bands and shape what you want [the] music to be and [then] support anything that you find exciting and genuine, and don’t live on the Internet.
You recorded your album in Baltimore and I know most of the band is from the Maryland/DC area. How much did the Baltimore riots impact you earlier in the year, seeing all these events occurring essentially in your backyard? I believe you were on tour in Europe at the time.
Yeah, we were gone for those riots. There’s a problem with the law’s power complex and it still exists. It was upsetting to see the city in such a state of chaos. The whole situation was an eye opener.
One of the best things about punk/ hardcore is the passion and interaction shown among fans, particularly at shows. However, unfortunately, sometimes a few bad apples spoil it for the bunch whether it’s through hate moshing or excessive pit contact. Should bands feel a duty of care in regards to the audience participation when they perform or do you view that as an unfair expectation and responsibility?
I think everyone should equally care about what’s going on at shows. If someone is threatened or offended by someone else at a show they should communicate that. Whether it’s people on stage or people in the crowd, communication is key.
What have been your favourite albums of 2015?
Title Fight- ‘Hyperview’, Freedom – ‘USA Hardcore’, Society Abuse – 7″, Coneheads’ LP, Mac Demarco – Another One, [and] Beach House – Depression Cherry.
And finally, a lot of bands make the comment that holding a koala is one of the main things they want to do when they tour Australia. What’s on the bucket list for Turnstile?
I’d really love to drink a mean ginger beer on the beach. Maybe skate Bondi bowl for a minute [as well].