Turnover just want to inspire hope
Turnover’s breakthrough last LP Peripheral Vision was a tour de force of emotive, punk-pop catharsis. A stylistic revamp, it saw the East Coast punks swap their serrated riffs for something dreamier.
Despite chucking the chunky pop-punk though, Peripheral Vision was no less packed with angst. Trapped in a fog of medication, anxiety and self-loathing, it painted a picture of frontman Austin Getz as a man both detached from the world, and hyper-aware of all its heaviness, flip-flopping between the two as he wrestled with his emotions. Unsurprisingly, it found Turnover a huge, fiercely loyal fanbase, as they articulated the grizzly inner dialogue of a thousand disaffected young adults, each of them trying to draw their lives into focus, just as Turnover were themselves.
This time around, they’re changing tact. With new album Good Nature (out now on Run For Cover), Turnover have found a sunnier mindset. Gone are the tales of self-hatred and rage that Peripheral Vision thrived off, and in their place are spacious pop melodies and a newfound dedication to simplicity and positivity. Where Peripheral Vision roared, Good Nature gently exhales, letting loose that twisted, broken-hearted mindset that Turnover once stewed over. Instead, they’re relaxing, breathing out a long-held sigh of relief.
We caught up with Turnover frontman Austin Getz as he settled into his new California home, to talk finding solace in the natural world, and moving on from that turbulent inner dialogue.
Looking outside of your immediate sphere seems to be quite a common thread on Good Nature – there’s bossa nova influences, and pop, and R&B in there. Was that something you actively pursued?
I don’t know if I would say actively, or whether it just happened, but as far as Good Nature goes we definitely tried to make it happen. As far as influences on the record, we’re still listening to rock music, but the main influences on this record are 60s rock music – The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Crosby Stills & Nash, R&B artists, and disco artists. The guitar tones, I wanted them to sound like Earth Wind & Fire, and we wanted to have some Sade-style rhythms. We were just listening to different music – it’s always cool to expand into different walks of life.
Is it nice to take those influences and filter them through the punk background you came from?
Yeah, it’s an interesting amalgamation. I’d be listening to these records and coming up with these songs, and then Casey [Getz, drummer] would be like, ‘We’ve still gotta keep the four-on-the-floor and the punk!’ Turnover definitely started out as a band that was very different to what it is today, and every time we siphon in something new, it’s got its own little inflections which makes it special.
Your last album was such a stylistic jump – were you surprised by the reaction to Peripheral Vision? Punk kids can be quite territorial.
I sensed a little bit of a distance growing when Magnolia was going on. I would say that that was one of the hardest points for the band, touring on that record. It was a time full of a lot of turbulence. Peripheral Vision felt like a fresh start. There are of course people who are like “I miss ‘Sasha’” but I would say, overwhelmingly, it was pretty positive. We didn’t know what to expect, but it was great. Everybody pretty much loved it. As an artist, being able to really affect people is one of the most important things. I hope that can continue with Good Nature.
When did Good Nature start coming together? You toured Peripheral Vision pretty solidly.
The band is always coming up with new ideas and jotting down new things. Even before Peripheral Vision was out, I had new ideas for lyrics, and voice notes on my phone for melodies and guitar riffs. It’s a constantly turning wheel – I’m always making new ideas. It’s been in process before Peripheral Vision was even out.
So presumably you were touring the world and taking it all in as you wrote?
Yeah, always man. I’d be in the van and have an idea and whisper it into my phone to keep it in my brain. Laying down to sleep at night, I’d have an idea and quickly lay it down on my guitar and record it. Inspiration comes at all different times and in all different ways. When I get home from tour is when I piece things together the most, but I was always working.
Peripheral Vision seemed very introspective and angry, whereas this time around things are a bit more outward facing.
Yeah, I can see that. I think Good Nature is, in a lot of ways, a response and a follow-up to Peripheral Vision. I think Peripheral Vision was me closing the door on a lot of feelings, and raising a lot of questions that I had based on my life. Good Nature is me two years later, having reflected on those things. I think I’m in a bit of a better place mentally than I was at that point. For people who may have identified with the issues, problems or questions that I had on Peripheral Vision, I wanted to say with Good Nature, like, “Hey, this is what I’ve found. If it helped me, maybe it will help you.” There’s the warmth, in response to the cold that Peripheral Vision had. It’s the flip-side of it. They’re definitely entangled together.
A lot of the imagery last time around was based around medication and violence and anger. Now the lyrics and art are much more positive and nature-focussed – is that something that you’ve discovered in recent years?
I’ve always been privy to the natural world, but it’s definitely become amplified over the last few years. I’ve gotten a lot more into it, and gone deeper down the rabbit hole of it. I’ve tried to simplify my life in a lot of different ways. I’ve been vegan now for two-and-a-half years or so, and I’ve been more in touch with things other than just being a human being. I think that a lot of pretty wise, ‘woke’ people have said it, but the more you can simplify your life, the happier you’ll be. I’ve found that to definitely be true.
A lot of what’s surrounding Good Nature seems to be about giving back into the world – you’re vegan now for example, and you guys have been teaming up with nature charities. Is that something you’re looking to do more of?
I think that selflessness is a big theme of the record, just because that’s a big theme of what I’ve tried to do with my life recently. I think that being from the place that I am, being from the Western world and being a white guy, there’s a lot of privilege that I have. Everybody has their hardships and their issues, but I think giving to other people and not being so egocentric is a really big thing. I’ve learned it’s a rewarding thing – If you’re helping other people, you’re helping yourself.
Is that a message that you’d like to send out this time around?
Yeah, I’m not the kind of guy who’d ever try to push an agenda, but these are things that have made me happy. It’s worked for me, and if other people want to take something away from it, that’s awesome.
Did you have a lot of that last time around – people coming to you and saying they related to this or that?
A lot of people came up to me and said that Peripheral Vision really meant something to them. That’s awesome. I really struggle with being an artist. I feel a lot of the time like it’s self-rewarding, “Oh, look at this thing I created, it’s so great, blah blah blah”. But then I step back, and I think about why I do it. When I was a kid, or even still, when I listen to music it is a magical thing. It’s an emotional thing, and people take things away from it. Being able to affect people is one of the reasons that I still like to make music. Having that platform made apparent to me on Peripheral Vision is something that, more-so on Good Nature, I wanted to use for something more meaningful.
It sounds like you’re in a much better place now. Is that reflected in Good Nature? It sounds a lot more hopeful.
It’s definitely a more hopeful record. It’s hard to say whether I’m in a better place, because everything’s just where you’re looking at it from. Six months from now I might look back and be like, “Damn, that was setting me up for a pretty big fall!” You never know where you’re at – I feel pretty good today. But, as many answers as Good Nature has, there were questions being raised. It’s just like any path – you find the answer to one thing, and it just leads to another question. I’m by no means done with my journey.
Good Nature is out now via Run For Cover Records. Check it out below.
Tom Connick will chew your ear off about Turnover for days – find him on Twitter at @ginandconnick.