Perth Casio-rock masters Turnstyle hadn’t been together for a decade or so when singer/guitarist, Adem Kerimofski, and the band reconvened to record 2015’s Time Equals Function.
There was much talk of it being a ‘reunion album’, but we’re here to talk about what it’s like writing and recording a follow-up to reunion album…
“It doesn’t feel like a reunion anymore,” Kerimofski considers. “The break up/hiatus gap seems shorter with each year. Purely due to the amount of material we all had and the fact that we are all getting some satisfaction from the creative process, there was no doubt we would do a follow up to Time Equals Function.
“For me personally there was an element of unfinished business because as much as I liked Time Equals Function I knew we could do a better one. Song and production-wise.”
Kerimofski states that the new album, Happy Factories, is better than the last LP with no small deal of confidence. Interestingly, he doesn’t hear aspects in the music that encapsulate either ‘old’ or ‘new’ Turnstyle.
“First and foremost, I think the songs are better,” he says. “There were no restrictions on theme, concept or sequence as there was with Time Equals Function so there was a freedom to sing about anything and include songs from all band members.
“I’m not sure if I could separate what’s old and new about the songs if we do more records I’d like to explore the layered unison vocal thing that we did a fair bit on this one. My little secret is that I had no songs going into this record and it was only by chance I found an undated cassette with a bunch of music scraps that I turned into songs. So if anything does sound ‘vintage Turnstyle’ it’s probably because the tape was from that time.”
Vintage Turnstyle indeed. Halfway through the track, We Are 18, the song stops and there’s a four-count to bring the band back in. One wonders if this is possibly a tribute to some youthful musical arrangements of yore…
“No but I love that idea!” Kerimofski laughs. “It’s a naïve love song from the aforementioned mystery cassette. The song was so short that we just doubled its length, hence the four-count break.”
Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich contributes vocals on Send in the Drums. This is a wet dream for ‘90s indie kids.
“The song was originally supposed to be all incoherent screaming in the vein of Mumbo by Wings or a mid-period Pavement track, so I hit upon the idea of contacting Bob and asking if he could sing on it. After the song took shape and not wanting him to have to record something properly in a studio that would cost money and time, I just asked if he would scream into his phone a few times and we placed the screams where they felt right. Social media is good for making these connections… and the cheap anti-aging wrinkle cream!”
The closing tracks B-Glo and When Will We See Snow? complete the album with unified group chants. The band’s album bio states that this is ‘symbolic of the band’s supportive collaboration musically and personally as the record was in fact conceived during several tumultuous and life-changing events for its members’.
Jesus Christ are you all okay? What’s been going on?
“Speaking for myself, I have been experiencing post-viral fatigue on and off for almost 18 months as a result of mononucleosis which messes with your body and mind,” Kerimofski responds. “Rather ironic considering how many projects I have worked on in that time, but part of managing it is getting on with normal things which for me is doing music, hanging out with my family and mowing the lawn. I have also neglected my social circles and friendships to a degree, so I am going to start working on rebuilding those.
“As far as the other guys go there have been further health and personal issues for them but the bright light was the birth of William - the eighth Turnstyle baby!”
Of the hundreds of Perth musicians this writer has worked with over the last two decades, Kerimofski is one of those who has never stopped creating. In multiple scenarios to boot, he’s a very driven man.
“Having a project is what drives me,” he says. “Feeling like I still have work to do to ‘get there’ drives me. Friendships within the bands I play in drives me. Turnstyle, The Community Chest and King Cornelius are all very different and take up different spaces so there’s always something to do.
“Having The Future Ranch studio in my backyard also helps. Sometimes I get an idea, head up to the room and put it down in 20 or 30 minutes then I go back to cleaning the kitchen. It’s just part of my life, really.”
Much has also been made of Turnstyle ‘geek’ vibe over the years. Truth is they’re very laconic and that’s actually kinda cool…
“That was a fun way to sell a record in 2000,” Kerimofski laughs, “but really, we have probably outgrown that, and I fear that any gimmick at our age may appear contrived!”
So what then, looms futuristically for Turnstyle and indeed, the multi-faceted Adem K? His studio is called The Future Ranch, after all...
“I’m guessing our usual two or three shows next year and some more online stuff such as videos and the like,” he posits. “We still have a lot of songs but there’s no immediate plans for more recording. We’ll just let it happen naturally. Otherwise for me, the focus over the next year will be the next Community Chest album.
“I’m quite exhausted from the last two years so I’m finally going to pull back a touch and focus on family and friendships amongst some low intensity recording.”
Turnstyle launch Happy Factories at Rhubarb Records Vinyl Café, Leederville, with opening support from Dave Owen (Surf Rabbits) on Saturday, December 1. Doors open 7pm, full details via www.facebook.com/events/266904844029128/