Interview with Smoove and Turrell
Exposed Meets Smoove and Turrell.
Newcastle’s finest funksters, Smoove and Turrell, are back this month with their incredible third studio album Broken Toys. We collared Steven ‘Smoove’ Moove to find out more.
Interview: Lewis Mottram.
SO, BROKEN TOYS HITS THE STREETS ON JUNE 9, WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM IT?
More of the same really – it’s hard to put our music in a box. A lot of people describe us as a soul band, but we don’t want to be strictly that. We’re more soul-funk if you were to try and label us. I always say the soul comes from John’s voice and the funk comes from me.
WOULD YOU SAY THIS ALBUM HAS A DIFFERENT SOUND TO YOUR PREVIOUS TWO, ANTIQUE SOUL AND ECCENTRIC AUDIO?
I think it’s much more mature musically than our others. We wanted to do more complicated stuff, without the music sounding too complicated, if you know what I mean (laughs)? I’ve got a back ground in hip-hop music so we use a lot of samples on this record, much like we did on our other two.
RADIO 6 DJ GILLES PETERSON HAS ALREADY DESCRIBED IT AS“A GREAT ALBUM”…
I was in Switzerland at the time when I heard what he’d said about it, and I was like “we should just quit now, we can’t top this” (laughs). But yeah, to have such a massive name in the industry say something like that is just phenomenal. I remember him saying his favourite song was one called Broken Toys, which meant a lot because that’s the one we put most effort into. What usually seems to be the case is that the songs you put the most effort and time into, people don’t like as much. They tend to like the ones that you haven’t put as much effort into. So to have that song especially praised was very rewarding.
YOU’VE GOT A STRING OF LIVE DATES COMING UP THIS SUMMER, WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THESE? WILL YOU BE PLAYING A LOT OF YOUR NEW MATERIAL?
Well, we now have 3 albums worth of material to choose from, so condensing our set to play a bit of everything will be a challenge. We’re obviously desperate to play our new material, but the fans also want to hear some of older material, so we’ll have to get the balance right.
YOU’VE TOURED WITH SOME BIG NAMES IN THE PAST, MOST NOTABLY SOUL ICON NILE RODGERS…
He’s probably the nicest guy in the whole world – not just in music. I remember we were on stage, and I looked to the side and someone was taking pictures of us playing. I then realised it was Nile Rodgers. I was just like “this is awesome” (laughs).
HE SEEMS LIKE A VERY WISE MAN, I BET YOU LEARNT A LOT FROM HIM?
We did. He’s got so many stories about his past and what it was like being a black musician in the 70s and the struggles he went through to become a successful musician. He told us about a time in the 70s when he had to have two women on the cover of his album, because the record label didn’t want to feature him on the cover because they thought music by a coloured man wouldn’t sell. Crazy, I know. He made us realise that anything is possible if you really want it, you’ve just got to work hard and you’ll get rewarded if you do.
SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR SMOOVE AND TURRELL THEN? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS TIME?
Good question (laughs). I just hope that musically we keep evolving. However, we want to avoid spearing off in a completely different direction, for our sake and our fans’ sake really.
AND FINALLY, CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT SMOOVE AND TURRELL ARE ALL ABOUT IN ONE SENTENCE?
Someone once asked me to describe Smoove and Turrell in three words, so I said “Smoove and Turrell” (laughs). One sentence though, that’s tough. I’d have to go for – “Good times, meaningful lyrics, music for the weekend!”
Smoove and Turrell release their third album Broken Toys on June 9. They head to Yorkshire on June 20 to play the Willowman Festival. See www.smooveandturrell.com for more.