Formed in Manchester, Turrentine Jones consists of Julian Neville, Thomas Scotson and Rich Watts. Together, the three of them provide the ears of many with smooth, old school bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, matching the quality of the likes of the Rolling Stones, and that’s no over-exaggeration. As a result of their high quality live performances and their coolly collected arsenal of songs, Turrentine Jones remind us that the music coming out of Manchester is as characteristic as ever. We caught up with them before their headline show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute:
Hi, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
Good – a bit tired, we played a gig in Nottingham last night so that was good. Glad that the weekend’s here really.
You’re headlining the Deaf Institute tonight, how does it feel to be playing such a beautifully unique venue in your home town?
It feels great; we’ve been waiting to play here for too long. I don’t know why it’s taken so long actually but we’re looking forward to it, geared up, excited.
Your album Our Days is out now, talk me through your influences behind the album.
I think one key thing to say about the album is that it’s tracks that we’ve wanted to be recording for a while; we’ve been on the scene playing them live for a while, moulding them into what we have them as now. I think as a first album you want it to be close to the roots of what formed you in the first place; we wanted something that was ‘rooty’ rock ‘n’ roll, bluesy, something that had that dry and honest reflection of what we wanted to record.
How would you say the initial reaction to the album has been?
Good! Y’know, being honest about it, it started off slow but we had no money behind it to push it out and didn’t use PR and all that sort of stuff so it was all completely on our own fan base to sort of spread the word and any kind of legwork that we did. But as we go on, now I think the album’s starting to pick up, we’re close to selling out our records and we’re going to get more. The benefit of it all is we do a gig and people come in with shirts on and albums to sign and they know the words and they sing the songs and it’s all a pretty good feeling – it’s going well.
Who would you say your influences are as a band?
All three of us bring different influences to the band, we have a massive range of tastes and I think that in many ways helps bring a bit of breadth to the sound and it doesn’t tie us to a particular genre or anything. But if you talk about the albums we’re listening to now, I like The Strokes, I’ve been listening to them a lot. But when we were doing the record, I was listening to a lot of the Stones, I was also listening to heaps of stax records. I think you go through a series of different movements, you move from one tree to another and you move down each branch, it’s all very diverse.
Where does the name come from?
It’s a character; it’s like an alter-ego of the music, y’know something like Gnarls Barkley. If you could listen to the music and picture a character, that character is Turrentine Jones.
What would you say the most pivotal moment of your career has been so far?
In summer 2013 we played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury, and that was kind of like the biggest milestone… yeah, that will live long. It was ecstasy.
Are there any current bands that you’re enjoying listening to at the minute?
I mainly listen to older stuff, it’s not that I don’t like the new stuff, I just don’t necessarily surround myself with it. I usually listen to all the ‘tried and tested’ stuff from the 60s and 70s. I’m crap with new music, you always hear people talking about it as though they’re really making an effort to be into it, and I just find that I don’t really have the time to search out new stuff.
If you could sym up Turrentine Jones in three words, what would they be?
Can I make a noise? Like a series of undertones and screams? Erm, three words… Upcoming three piece.
What can we expect from Turrentine Jones throughout the next year?
We feel like this is our year, we feel this has to be the year that shit happens, well not shit, but metaphorically… We’ve got some exciting announcements and stuff coming up – we’ve got festivals coming up, we’ve got shows coming up. I think we’re going to be a busy band this year. I feel like this year is all about just keeping the momentum going, the album’s out now and people have got it; they can hold it, they’re singing the songs and I think, for us, it’s just about keeping that momentum going. Back to your question, I think the answer is that you can expect a lot.
Turrentine Jones’ debut album, Our Days, is out now – get your hands on it here.
Photo Credit: Ami Barwell