Interview with Turtle Recall
- by Dawn Reed (Photo Cred: Sherry Spinelli)
The Deli: How did the band start?
John-Currie Hester (vocals+): As a New Year's resolution/ultimatum to Guido in early 2009. I told him we had to start a band or I was moving to San Francisco. But for most intents and purposes, Turtle Recall didn't start until I got Matt and Erin in the same room- which was Fall 2010.
Guido Dehoratis (guitar): I'd always played drums in bands, but JC's hasty offer provided me a vehicle to play guitar.
Alex Penney (bass): We can't all be pro athletes, but we can all want to get laid like they do.
What's the story behind the band name?
JC: I like turtles?
Erin Girardi (vocals): Gimme a turtle.
Mike Dalianis (drums): Wish I knew.
Matt Kupferman (fiddle): In a land nestled deep in the rolling hills of Crumberland lives a colony of culinarily-incompetent testudinidae.....people still ask me this question all the time and I say, "I dunno. they already had a name, I just play fiddle.'
Alex: Ever eat Taco Bell on a road trip?
What are your biggest musical influences?
Erin: Coldplay and Foo Fighters- but my parents were undoubtedly the biggest musical influence in my life. My mom sang each of her five children to sleep at night and in the car we learned how to harmonize. My dad would take out his guitar and line us up for practice if we overdid the cartoons. Even now, gatherings with my mom's family become sing-a-longs to music my grandfather learned in his barbershop quartet days. Music is love in my family!
JC: The Beatles, Otis, Madonna, MJ, Billy Joel, and whatever my parents listened to in the 80s. Musical theatre in High School was also kind of a scene. But my musicality initially grew from a love of performing and mimicry. Doing impressions in the bathroom mirror before bed every night and keeping my sister and cousins doubled over in laughter trained my voice and ear to work together for an audience.
Guido: I think it's cool that we've got the entire South Lakes High School performing arts wing covered. Matt from orchestra, Erin and JC from chorus/theatre and myself from band and marching band. The percussion section taught me how to jam with others while trying to sound like one instrument. As far as listening to music, I used to only care about what the drums/guitar were doing, but Greg from The Mostly Bad Virus and JC have given me a new appreciation for melody.
Matt: My biggest musical influences in the last decade are easily the breakthroughs in the field of "alternative" string playing. The fusing of harmonic and rhythmic techniques from jazz, rock, and pop styles into traditional string playing, along with improvisation and percussive "chopping" really grabbed my interest. Innovative violinists, such as Casey Driessen and Darol Anger, and the evolving modern "roots" scene out of Boston, have been instrumental in fueling this tangent I've taken from classical viola training.
Mike: Punk Rock, Zeppelin, Aerosmith (parents from Boston). I met Guido via our shared love of punk music from the mid-90s, specifically bands from Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph.
Alex: Bach, Coolio, Donna Summer.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
JC: I'm mildly obsessed with AWOLNATION and Macklemore.
Erin: Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Macklemore, Adele.
Mike: Phoenix, M83, Miike Snow, AWOL, and too much Taylor Swift.
Guido: Whatever we are covering. I used to listen to Pitchfork music but it got annoying.
Matt: I'm in my own world of Punch Brothers, Crooked Still, and Lake Street Dive.
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Guido: Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan at RFK three months before Jerry died. First album was Skee-Lo's I Wish single on tape. My parents already had Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Gin Blossoms covered.
Erin: Elton John- holy crud he is so glittery and awesome. First album was Incubus.
JC: I was in utero at New Orleans Jazz Fest 1983- that counts! First album was maybe Billy Joel's The Stranger.
Mike: First concert was Sting; First album was Pearl Jam: Ten.
Matt: Raffi and Michael Jackson's Dangerous.
Alex: Raffi and NOW That's What I Call Music 6.
What do you love about DC's music scene?
Matt: DC's scene is small, diverse, and full of undiscovered talent. Unlike some other large cities that create a class system in the performing arts, DC is a place where small, up-and-coming bands can share a stage with popular established acts. DC's population, by nature, is continually in flux and there's always a room full of fresh ears to play to. One constant though is that Washingtonians go out to have a good time, and appreciate good music when they hear it. We love it when patrons come up to us after (or during) a show, having heard us for the first time, with compliments, enthusiasm, or to asking how to buy our music.
Mike: 4 hour sets- no pee breaks.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Erin: oOooOoOOo, I would love for there to be a coordination between artists and musicians. Want art openings and local music to be appearing in the same place. Would lose my mind if there was a house show that was taken over by street artists and a couple of local bands would play through the night whilst people roamed the house enjoying art and DC beer. Make this happen. More house shows.
Matt: I'd like to see cover charges become a thing of the past, and for donations to become the norm- and by 'norm' I mean like tipping is at a restaurant.
JC: Yep. More free music. And this just in: I'm starting a house show concert series featuring local art and beer.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
JC: Work hard, play hard, stay humble, RGIII, baby steps. Get a recording contract to fund our next album- we have new and exciting songs to share.
Erin: Have more time, fill all the time, repeat. Make more art. Maybe go back to school. Be more awesome. Work my way up to 10 pushups.
What was your most memorable live show?
JC: Probably the raging house party where I got to scream The Beatles' Twist and Shout- I'd been wanting to live a moment like that ever since I first saw Ferris Bueller and I'll never forget it. But Erin and Matt's inaugural performance as Turtles was pretty special too- Erin was so adorably nervous and this crazy bird lady a la Home Alone 2 kept pestering Matt as if his fiddle playing was really offending DC's pigeon population.
Erin: Probably when I hid behind a curtain, sadly. First house show, anddddddd Rumors was pretty insane.
Guido: Halloween cover show at RFD. I've never been loved by so many bros.
Mike: RFD Dance Party
Matt: Playing on a barge in the middle of a lake party was pretty intense- setting up our rig of PAs, amps, instruments, and stage lighting, then casting off with a generator was a pretty glorious moment.
Alex: The best shows are the ones we don't remember.
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
JC: The relentless support of Realtor mom Sherry Spinelli, Jamil, Amanda, Mary and the Partytime crew; Jack Gregori of Human Country Jukebox for believing in us as babies; and Darrick and Brent at Agent Method Productions for helping us discover our sound.
Mike: Partytime Crew (Jamil introduced me to Turtle).
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Erin: Mi Vocé.
JC: Tough call- it's a toss up between my pumped up kicks and Erin's booty.
Alex: Power strips and mini fridges.
Matt: Earplugs. I wanna hear in 40 years.