Quick Hits Interview with Turkuaz’s Dave Brandwein

by Chris Snyder

Cover photo by Mountain Trout Photography

CS: With you being the “band leader” what types of communication do you use in the live setting to keep everyone on the same page? 

A lot of communication on stage is done visually with simple nods and looks when it’s time to transition from one thing to another, end a song, etc. And depending on the song, the section, or the type of thing we’re cueing, it can either come from myself or another band member who dictates when the time is right. But most recently, we’ve added a more direct line of communication from me to everyone on stage in the form of a microphone behind me that goes directly to everyone’s in-ear monitors, but can’t be heard by the audience. I only use this when necessary but it can be very helpful! We call it the wiener mic. I’m not sure why. 

Are there any professors that made an impact on the way you approach the guitar or vocals while at school?

 I didn’t study vocals specifically in school. But definitely guitar. I took lessons from mostly straight ahead jazz guys as a challenge to myself at the time, which I now regret because I think I could have learned more and had more fun with some of the guys who played more funk/fusion. I still learned a lot but I ended up honing more of my craft for writing and performing outside of school than in school at a certain point. But I really thrived from the community of musicians there. 

Is there any advice (besides practice, practice, practice) that you have for up and coming musicians? 

I’d say set goals. And set a clear series of goals that get you from where you are now to where you wanna be. For so many years I feel like I and a lot of musicians I know were just playing shows almost for the sake of playing them, without any specific game plan to achieve long term goals. I think it’s easy to fall into that when all you really know is that you wanna play music. So you play. But at a certain point, to turn it into a career there has to be some sort of a plan. 

Are there any groups in the scene today that you feel are on the cusp of being a “breakout band”? 

Well we ourselves still feel that we’re on the cusp of “breaking out” to a bigger audience that we have not yet tapped into. But there are plenty of really great bands with similar or less exposure than we’ve had that are really amazing. The Fritz, Organ Freeman, Ghost Note, The Nth Power, Breastfist just to name a few. 

 In the past nine years, how has the group’s approach to touring or recording changed?

I suppose we’ve become a bit more deliberate and selective with both our recording and touring efforts. Though overall it’s pretty much the same. Tour, tour, tour, and when you have a second to breathe – don’t! Go record.  

What were some albums that resonated with you at an early age that made you want to pursue music? 

Every Beatles album but mostly Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Magical Mystery Tour, White Album, Abbey Road — 

Meddle, Dark Side, The Wall, Zeppelin 1-4 and Houses of the Holy, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goat’s Head Soup, Tommy, Who’s Next, The Royal Scam, Aja, Headhunters, Thrust, Sunlight, Fresh, In the Jungle Groove, Remain in Light, Fear of Music, Stop Making Sense, Off the Wall, Thriller, Dangerous, Dookie, What’s the Story Morning Glory, Ok Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, Demon Days, All Eyez on Me, Ready to Die, Life After Death, Doggystyle, Chronic (original and 2001), Aquemini, The Love Below/Speakerboxxx

just to name a few! I could go on forever. 

How would you define success in the music industry? 

I think making a good living playing music you like to play is success. Anything on top of that is just icing on the cake.  

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