Interview Turnstile: “We took the chance, and it ended up being incredible”

Turnstile: "We took the chance, and it ended up being incredible"
Photo: Jimmy Fontaine

With their new album ‘Glow On’ out now, vocalist Brendan Yates tells us about their most innovative work yet.

Turnstile have never been afraid to push the boundaries of modern hardcore. The band emerged from Baltimore’s storied scene in 2011 with an aptly-titled EP, ‘Pressure To Succeed’. They didn’t fall short of that mantra, but the process was far from overnight. Another EP followed, then an album, all underscored by relentless touring, and a ravenous fanbase.

2018 brought the release of ‘Time & Space’, the band’s second album, and first for prestigious alternative label Roadrunner Records. But ‘Time & Space’ was far from a paint-by-numbers hardcore album, containing as it did hip-hop interludes and a Diplo production credit, marking Turnstile as a band unconcerned with genre pedigrees.

Their newest studio album, ‘Glow On’, pushes their diverse influences even further, with Blood Orange features sitting comfortably alongside some of their heaviest riffs.

DIY sat down with frontman Brendan Yates to get the skinny on their most varied work to date.

Hello Brendan! Could you take us back to the end of the ‘Time & Space’ tour, and the beginnings of ‘Glow On’ as a record?
The last show we played was in London - it was that time when no one was really sure what was going on. We flew home and isolated in Baltimore for six months or so. We had already planned to record the album in Tennessee on this farm in the middle of nowhere, so the timing worked for that. We were already going down there to isolate on a farm anyway, so we used that time to go away and disappear for a little bit, and make an album.

In the past you’ve worked with producers from within the hardcore scene, but this album was recorded with Mike Elizondo, who has worked on albums for artists as diverse as Fiona Apple to Eminem. How was it?
It was cool! I think every recording process is such a learning experience, and always [leads to] so much growth. Once we met him and saw his excitement to do the album, and his willingness to let us do what we wanted, it seemed like it was a really cool opportunity. It was such a learning process – you step outside of your comfort zone a little bit, and I think that’s when the best stuff happens. With every record we’ve done, we’ve usually worked with someone that we [previously] haven’t, and we wanted to do the same thing here. We took the chance, and it ended up being incredible.

The album trailed an EP, ‘Turnstile Love Connection’, and a short film, your directorial debut. What was it like navigating a new medium?
That was a great process. Same as the album, just a huge learning experience, working on that together, putting all of our energy into making something like that. [It was] such a cool, unifying experience too, because everyone involved [were] friends that we’ve known for years. It opened my eyes to how much goes into directing things. I grew so much appreciation for anyone who does that as a full-time thing, because you have to be focusing on so many things at once, addressing things, managing things. It was very fulfilling, because I had always wanted to give it a shot.

Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) features on two tracks, ‘Alien Love Call’ and ‘Lonely Dezires’. How did that collaboration happen? Are you a fan?
I’m Dev’s number one fan! We’d been in touch, and expressed our love for each other’s music, and we had always mentioned either doing shows together or working together on music. It came time for the album, and I had this one [track] particularly, ‘Alien Love Call’, which I just couldn’t hear without Dev’s voice on it. It was a great experience, such a cool opportunity to work with someone I admire so much - coming together on a Turnstile song was a dream.

'Glow On' is out now via Roadrunner.


Get your copy of the latest issue

More like this