I've seen more hardcore punk bands breaking into the scene over the course of the past year than I have at any point in my career in the music industry. It's amazing to see that this genre is still alive. Turncoat is one of the bands ensuring that hardcore punk is very much alive. We recently spoke with the lead guitarist of Turncoat, Keith Keister. Check out the full interview below!:
You guys released your debut EP via Eulogy Records on June 10th. Congratulations! Since this was the first official release you guys did, can you walk me a little bit through the process of writing for this record? How did the writing sessions generally occur?
Hey, thanks so much. We are ecstatic about this release. Growing up, a lot of my favorite bands were signed with Eulogy so needless to say I was a bit excited about signing the deal. The entire writing process for this EP probably started six months to a year ago. We all just had ideas that seemed to merge together rather well. It all came to fruition in the studio.
About how long were you guys in the studio for the recording session, and what was the biggest challenge for you in terms of bringing these songs to life?
The recording process was probably about three to four weeks of us going in and out of the studio. Matt Dalton, a really good friend, landed the role of producer and really made this work so smooth [sic].
Probably the biggest challenge that we faced was having to really take a look at your own music and get yourself out of the local band "state of mind". We really had to listen to our songs with a new ear and really find the pieces and parts that added to the songs and get rid of the fat in the things that didn't really help move the song along a lot no matter if you were attached to those parts are ready or not it's all about doing what's best for the songs as a whole.
You worked with Matt Dalton as your producer. What did he bring to the table for you as a producer?
Matt Dalton really brought a lot to the table, honestly. The comfortability with working with him a huge plus because he's one of our older friends so working with him just made sense [sic]. But he brought a new year and a new mind to the table. He's not necessarily someone that listens to hardcore or produces it a lot but he has had his fingers in the pie the whole time. He really knows what adds the songs and what takes away from it. He really knows how to make a song pop and know what's catching what's not. (His) math expertise as an engineer and producer is out of this world. The dude really knows how to make you dig down into yourself and pull out the best that you can be and he isn't afraid to let you know when he thinks you can be better, which ultimately made this record as good as it is.
The style you guys have adapted is very much reminiscent of earlier hardcore punk bands in the scene, but with a modern style. Particularly, I could hear this on a track like “Pushing Through”, even down to the lyrics. For writing a song like that, what kind of mindset were you in?
As far as mindset for songs like "Pushing Through", Jimmy really kind of write his lyrics in his own time listening to recordings of the songs. He just picks what he's feeling at the time and what's really on his mind and he's not afraid to say it. As far as the instrumentals go, the core of us have always had our roots planted deep into hardcore, going back as far as we can remember and we just play what feels right.
These are the last two questions, and to add some background, I ask them to every artist that I interview as a way to close things out. What kind of message, if you have one, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
The message I really want people to take away from our music isn't anything that no one's heard before. It's a simple tried-and-true message to stay true to yourself, do what makes you happy, don't live your life for others, and if you want something you've got to go out and make it happen. There's shitty people in this world and there's good people in this world, and it's up to you to make the most of your life and live it the way that you want. Hardcore is, and always will be, a brotherhood, no matter all the tough-guy b*******. I want everybody to feel like they're a family and feel like they're at home when they listen to this record when they come to the shows and watch them live, which kind of correlates with the last question.
Finally: what does music mean to you?
To me music has always been an outlet for any range of emotions that you may be feeling, whether or not you're into your feelings it could just be about the mood, the atmosphere, the tone that it sets. To me, music is the soundtrack to our lives, and I want my soundtrack to be something inspirational and inspiring, something that makes you want to get up and change the world around you so that it has your energy flowing.
You can purchase Turncoat's self-titled EP now, via Eulogy Records, at Best Buy, FYE, Hot Topic, Bandcamp, and iTunes. The band will be on tour with Meth Mouth and Gator King later this year. For more information and music from Turncoat, visit www.facebook.com/turncoatofficial.