HT Interview: Turbine Propels Forward with Blue Light City

The back story of Brooklyn’s Turbine is a rather serendipitous one. When lead guitar player and vocalist Jeremy Hilliard moved to Manhattan from Virginia back in the late ’90s to study music and form a band, he happened to move in next door to guitarist and harmonica player Ryan Rightmire. The two musicians could literally hear each other playing music through the walls of their respective apartments, so ultimately they approached one another to jam. The pair quickly found that they shared a mutual affinity for jazz and Bob Dylan, particularly the stripped down singer/songwriter/harmonica tunes of his early career. So, they began writing tunes together and before long, they recorded their debut album as a duo in 2004.

Eventually, as the pair began exploring more improvisation and psychedelic channels, they decided to add a rhythm section and they found bassist Justin Kimmel, who literally showed up at their first audition. Shortly thereafter, Octavio Salman joined on drums, and the rest, as they say is history. Now, having two studio albums, a live release, and performances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, 10K Lakes, Gathering of the Vibes, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival under their belts, the band hopes to take a big leap forward with their latest album, Blue Light City* (June 24th).

On the Feel of the Album

For the first time, the band worked closely with a professional producer in the studio setting with John Davis, who recorded The Black Keys’ Grammy winning song Tighten Up off their recent album, Brothers. Turbine felt that Davis’s gritty and psychedelic, yet modern approach was perfect for what they sought to accomplish on Blue Light City. “We had definitely never worked with a producer to this degree, and I think it’s by far the best our music has ever been presented,” Jeremy Hilliard explains. “John came to our rehearsals, so he knew the music going in, and he helped us with arrangements, the ordering of the songs, and some really key decisions to make the record sound like a whole. Take Eddy the Sea,” Hilliard continues, “the song itself is pretty rootsy, so you might think it should have some piano or something, but he chose to make it more ambient and psychedelic.”

Listen: Eddy the Sea


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