Have you ever heard of the band Turn off the Sun? No? me neither! But I have now and I’m as happy as a megalomaniac bean sprout! Not only are they a local band, they are also rather good which is a bonus. When I first got to see them in action I was a tad disappointed, but then I realised that I spelt their name wrong on youtube and they weren’t Nana Mouskouri – Live 1974 singing Turn On The Sun after all. So remember it’s “off” not “on”, unless you like Nana Mouskouri, then it’s “on” not “off”.
Anyway, yes, Turn off the Sun, they kindly answered our questions which you can find below. They are an honest band full of likeable people who just love doing what they do. Fantastically talented individuals that create music that captures you with lyrics and sound.
I asked them a few (serious!) questions:
1. Noteably as a band you have already had a fair amount of success to date, is this why your drummer is a tad chubby?!
Andy – Yes, absolutely. He used to be a male stripper with abs and everything (actually a true story). Now he’s become bloated on his own sense of self worth and his face has become so chubby he can barely open his eyes any more.
Helen – That’s one too many late night burgers on the way home from band practice. Neil’s chubbiness is little to do with success, more due to a lack of willpower after 10pm.
2. What most people really want to know first is, what are your names? what do you do in the band? are you single? but not me that’s why it’s question 2!
Andy Crawford – Vocals, Bass
Wes Knight – Vocals, Guitar
Ed Taylor – Guitar
Neil Meadows – drums, driving
Helen Ingram – Keys
Andy – In one way you could say we’re all single if that helps our cause somehow. But in another, more accurate way we’re all in relationships apart from Helen. She has relationships with men, but they’re mainly stalkers rather than boyfriends.
3.Turn off the Sun? Who came up with this name and why?
Andy – Basically, this band kind of evolved from another band. And a friend of mine called Khen, who used to be the singer/guitarist wrote a song called turn off the sun. He explained to me once that it was something to do with being hungover on a sunny day and you wish someone could just turn off the sun. Or something like that. When we decided to change the name of the band we used that temporarily and it stuck. Recently we decided to think about changing the name as we think it’s a bit rubbish. We emailed random names to each other over the course of a couple of weeks, but we didn’t find anything we liked. The name suggestions got sillier and sillier and in the end we decided to stick with Turn off the sun. In all honesty, it would’ve been a bit of a pain changing names anyway especially now that we’ve built up a decent fanbase and we’ve got all our social network sites in order. And we’re of the opinion that it’s just a name anyway, and it’s not that important. But for a second there, I was convinced we should be called ‘autistic disco’.
4. Are you all still living local? fancy a beer sometime?!
Helen – Wes and I still live in the Frankley/Rubery area. The others made an escape through the fence while the guard was distracted.
Andy – All of us apart from Ed grew up in Frankley, and all our mates still live there. The area can have a bit of a bad reputation but it’s not all that bad. Do I fancy a beer? Absolutely, but I’d prefer a cider. Don’t touch beer, it’s vile stuff and I heard it makes your wee wee brown.
5. If you could perform at any venue with any other band, where? who? and why?
Andy – Blimey, that’s a tough one. I think this question would change quite considerably depending on which band member you ask. Personally, one of my favourite bands is the Pixies, so I guess it would be supporting them. I always thought it’d be cool to play at Reading or Glastonbury just as it’s getting dark. I Other than that, I guess it’d just be great to get to that stage where you’re guaranteed a fanatical crowd wherever you play. Me and Ed went to see The Cribs in Coventry a couple of weeks ago and the whole time I was thinking ‘wouldn’t it be ace to have a crowd that are so die-hard and know every word to all of your songs’. But I guess that gives us something to aim for.
Helen – I’m fascinated by the dynamics of crowd hysteria and how performers and their audience feed off each other, so I’m drawn to bands that have high energy and a dominant on-stage presence. Big names and unknown bands alike, if you’re visibly passionate about your music then I’m right there with you. Otherwise I get bored *very* easily!
6. Are your lyrics based on your own experiences?
Helen – I hope not. Because if so, we need therapy!
Andy – I think all our songs are based in experience but it’s not always obvious exactly what they’re about. All of our lyrics are written by myself or Wes, depending on who comes up with the original song idea, and I think we both like to use interesting phrases to paint pictures. I’ve tried writing in different styles but I always come back to writing from the heart and if you do that I think everyone can relate to some of it even if it’s not about them. That’s important in a song, for people to be able to put their own meaning onto the words they hear. It makes them want to hear it again.
7. Who would you say has been your biggest influence as a band and individually?
Andy – In all honesty, if you’re talking about musical influences, we try not to let other bands influence us at all. If someone comes in with an idea and it sounds too much like another band we’re quite dismissive. We have this self-deprecating attitude and we take the piss out of each other’s ideas unless they’re good. It sounds crass but at least it gives us some kind of filter. Having said that, there are certain bands that we like to reference, not imitate. But between the five of us there’s so many different styles that I’m not sure any particular influence comes across, which in my opinion is a good thing. One reviewer described our sound as “what it would have been like if the Foo Fighters had been angrier, edgier and louder”, and if that’s what they think then that’s ok with us.
8. Ever hand fed a Raccoon? I have *gloat* :-)
Andy – No, but I once spooned a yak until it drifted softly off to sleep. It had terrible morning breath, and I had to end our relationship later that day
Helen – I once hand fed a shark and I have the scars to prove it! ;-)
9. My mates *cough* Goodnight Lenin have promised to do a cover of Demis Roussos for me! As my new mates, would you do a cover of
Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton for me?! (It was in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off )
Andy – First of all I’ll google his name so I know who the hell he is, then we’ll have a listen to the song in question and take a band vote. We don’t do covers, but if we did it’d probably be something by UB40. After all, everyone I know who grew up in Frankley had UB40 as the soundtrack to their early lives. Oh, and before he joined Turn off the Sun, Ed nearly joined a UB40 tribute band!
Helen – We would but no-one plays a double bass…
Andy – Well, I think one of our main priorities going forward is planning to record our newer songs. Since we recorded ‘Montesa’ we have written probably 3 or 4 tunes that we’re really excited about. But it’s all down to money and time. We’re all pretty busy outside of the band so planning a recording is quite time consuming. Before then we’re filming our final music video from the ‘Montesa’ tracks, for ‘Lay that ghost to rest’. It’s going to be an all dancing, all-singing mash-up of effects, technical wizardry and arty camera work. We’ve already had several meetings to talk about it, and are almost ready to begin filming, so watch this space! We’re also playing a few of the smaller summer festivals and other gigs. So pretty much carry on as we’ve been going. Just trying to improve our sound and build on our fanbase. It’s important in music to never stand still. The second you do, you’ll find people lose interest and you lose the creative flow of what you enjoyed about being in a band in the first place.
Oh, and pour myself another cider to drink whilst googling ‘Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton’.
More links to Turn off the Sun: