SCV Interview with leader of Swahili Blonde, Nicole Turley

Nicole Turley is a multi instrumentalist in the field of experimental avant rock music who has played in many bands over the years, including WEAVE!, Seventh Sea, Black Umbrella, Blood Everywhere and Licorice Piglet. Her main instrument of choice is the drums for which she has played with all these bands mentioned. Her current project Swahili Blonde finds this young talent creating virtually everything you hear on their first EP, with additional tracking by various players of course. With a creative pallet she puts on the table along with a genre defying bending of the rules, the possibility for innovation for this band is endless. With a really unique style, a live band consisting of very talented and creative minds and of course their first music video that will blow your mind away, Swahili Blonde has already established their vision and we hope it is here to stay for a very long time. We are very pleased to present an interview with the leader of Swahili Blonde here at Sound Colour Vibration. Swahili Blonde is scheduled to perform in December in the Los Angeles area, they play some really wild, avant rock music that you have to see to believe. We included the bandcamp player for their first EP along with the 3 track bonus release which has Venetian Snares doing a remix for the band! ~ Erik Otis

Swahili Blonde playing Space 1520’s X-mas Party
Dec 4 2010 7:00P
Space 1520 Los Angeles, CA

SCV Interview with leader of Swahili Blonde, Nicole Turley

You have recently released your first full length record from your new group, Swahili Blonde, consisting of musicians from all over the map. How did this band form?

In regards to Man Meat, I wrote, recorded, mixed, and produced everything myself- and also played the majority of instruments. While I was working on the record, as each song would reach it’s first phase of completion, I would send the mixed track to a musician friend and let them sit with it to see if there was anything they wanted to contribute. If they came up with additional parts, then I would have them come in, record everything they came up with, and do all my edits, compositing, and mixing later. As for the live band, that came together after the record was completely finished. I gave all the live band members copies of Man Meat for them to learn at home, so when we all came together for practice, they were already familiar with their parts and the structure of the songs.

In the credits for the album, Man Meat, it mentions that the last song is co-written amongst John Frusciante, John Taylor and yourself. How big of a role did they play in shaping this albums overall feel?

Tigress Ritual started with me writing and recording all the drum machine and live drum parts first- laying down the basic structure and rhythm of the song. I then gave John F a rough mix of the drum tracks, so he could write and record his guitar parts. After I mixed the guitars and drums, I sent that track to John T, for him to figure out his bass parts. When he was ready, I had him come in, recorded everything he came up with, then did all my editing, compositing, and mixing for the bass later. I recorded the vocals last, and did further work on the track until I reached a final mix I was happy with.

Swahili Blonde presents a really unique blend of sound. Did this unique nature of compositions come naturally? Or was the process of writing Man Meat a challenge?

Man Meat was definitely a process of discovery. I kind of looked at it like an experiment- leaving myself as open as possible to whatever creatively needed to come through at the time. I think if you can stay true to that attitude of working creatively, you’ll find the process to be pretty natural and effortless.

You were the drummer and one of two vocalists for Weave! What was the most important experiences and wisdom you took from away from that band?

I really enjoyed everything about WEAVE!. From it’s origination point, throughout all the different phases the music went through. The music and energy behind WEAVE! always felt very fun and fearless to me- which is something I will always keep close.

Your first music video Le Mampatee was created by Burke Roberts and is a really wild and experimental video. What kind of process did you take to create this video?

Burke was the only person I knew who could pull off whatever crazy ideas I had in mind. The original idea for the video was to create a fake soul train or midnight special-ish episode. The live performance level of 60’s and 70’s music is so inspirational to me. But then we soon realized that trying to re-create that, in a somewhat comical way, was going to be a huge hassle. So we scrapped that idea and started from scratch. I sent him some links I found on youtube of old Oingo Boingo and B-52’s videos from the 70’s and 80’s with green screen effects- so he kinda got what vibe I was going for through those. So we decided to do 6-7 miniature sets that we would super impose the live band on through green screen, and throw some underwater scenes into the mix in trying to ultimately create our version of a weird space-age underwater mythical Atlantis. The post-production on that video was crazy! Burke and Adam spent months and months working on it non-stop. They really did a phenomenal job. We are all really pleased with how it came out.

John Frusciante is a musician who is always pushing the boundaries musically and is on your first full length record, Man Meat. How is his presence? And how did that presence affect the recording of this album?

John F is a very inspiring musician with such a pure and creative spirit. Having him play guitar on the record was a wonderful experience.

John Taylor, from Duran Duran, plays bass on Tigress Ritual, the last song on your record. Was Duran Duran a group you take a lot of influence in?

Yes, I love Duran Duran, particularly early Duran Duran. Their first couple of records are amazing.

What can we expect from Swahili Blonde in the near or distant future?

I just started working on the 2nd record- which I’m really excited about. Where as Man Meat had a very earth and fire based energy to me, this 2nd record will have more of a tropical, underwater, brightly colored, stripey, zig-zag feel to it.

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