Turkuaz is a musical experience unlike any other. The group packs their stage with multi-instrumentalists dressed in a rainbow of colors and belt out an eruption of “powerfunk” — a marriage of funk, alternative, rock, R&B and psychedelia — to an entranced audience. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the nine-piece group has started a movement all on their own, encouraging epic dance parties in the crowd while the musicians harmonize their eclectic voices and talents in the spotlight.
The band is known for their constant touring, and Denver will be blessed with a stop on Saturday, February 16 at the Ogden Theatre in celebration of their September 2018 release, Life in the City. Before the good times jam out, we chatted up guitarist and vocalist Dave Brandwein, who let us into the creative process of their latest record and how real-life experiences influenced the content.
303 Magazine: Thank you so much for talking to me today! Life in the City is album number five for the nine-piece Turkuaz. How do you manage to make room for all of the voices and minds in the band?
David Brandwein: As far as the stage, we roll with the punches for the most part. Fortunately, the stages we are playing are only getting bigger and bigger. I remember one time we walked into a small venue realizing the limited space we had, and half the band had to stand on each side of the room.
Creatively, in the past, one of us would make a song and teach others how it would go. This past record has been much more collaborative, but there is no one formula. There does have to be one person taking the lead, but everyone contributes.
303: What do you think is the most challenging thing about having so many cooks in the band’s kitchen?
DB: You would think it would be harder, but it’s easier. I’ve worked in 3-piece groups and you have a defined sound. With fewer people, there might be more direct tension. with such a large group, we take into account one another’s opinions. But at the end of the day, I love creating and producing music and am happy to be the person taking the lead for finalizing a direction.
303: I read that Life in the City was a slower creation for you than past projects. Did you intend to take more time on this album, or did the process simply demand it?
DB: The process demanded it. I wanted to get it out faster but we loved our previous album, Digitorium, so much and we didn’t want a new album out until it was as good or better than the last. Also, it having more collaborations lengthened the process.
303: You have touched upon the substance abuse that can happen on the road in “The One and Lonely.” How do you work on that while on tour?
DB: It’s an ongoing thing. I’m not in a program, but it got to a point where I knew if I want to keep doing this, I had to take a step back. Basically, I’m abstaining, and for me, that’s a lot easier than finding the balance.
303: Speaking of the tour, your winter tour will bring you to our wonderful Ogden Theatre. How are you feeling about coming back to Denver?
DB: Great, excited. Denver is the capital of live music. The number of devoted fans in Colorado blows my mind. It’s an amazing place to play.
303: Do you have a memorable experience here?
DB: Opening for the New Mastersounds was our first time, and that was a really special night. Cervantes’ was a large help in getting us bigger stages and the staff there are still our friends today.
303: What separates Denver audiences from others?
DB: The most enthusiastic audience to play to, easily. There is always a great combo of people looking for a good time, but are also fans of the band.