When you founded Turanis, what motivated you to do so? Was it always intended to be a solo endeavor, or did you intend to hire guest musicians?
It initially started with a band I was putting together but ended up the way it is, though I’m the face of it and I’d not call it a solo project. I wrote and started a lot, and we all put our own flavour into it, I hired guests and allowed Mark [Mynett, mixing, mastering, production] the freedom to do what he thought was best for the tunes and I funded it. The guys are just as responsible for the project's sound as I am.
Prior to founding Turanis, were you working in other bands? How has that experience contributed to your current endeavor?
I was retired from music for a long time but kept playing for myself and lone enjoyment. The bands I did play with at different times showed me something needed to change. Going to festivals and hearing the same old “metal by numbers” was fine for most but not for me. I wanted to stand out and made it clear to be a different entity, I’ve so many musical likes from folk to rock to punk to metal from many different times, i.e. 80’s cheesy nonsense, etc. But my favourite go-to music is doom and gothic stuff.
You have achieved a good balance between heavy guitars and melodic vocals on your self-titled EP. When writing and composing material, what influences do you draw upon?
I will say that a few of the guys on the record are also some of my influences, i.e. Aaron Stainthorpe. No one does doom like My Dying Bride. The same with Richard Shaw; no one plays guitar like he can. I’d seen them all live at points as I like the bands they play in too. But then I’ll take a bit of Rancid or Skindred just because they’re good fun music, also Nightwish as I love blends of music, they are folky and love that blend of gothy folk.
This EP tells the story of a hero seeking to overthrow an evil ruler in medieval times. Tony Palman wrote the lyrics while you composed all the music. What was the process by which you and he came up with the material?
Tony is a sore subject, but just a couple of guys who were long-time friends just put something together. I’m rubbish with lyrics and he was what I was looking for at the time.
In order to create the EP, how did you come into contact with Simon Gordon of Kill II This and Dan Mullins of My Dying Bride? How did you find working with Mark Mynett and how well did you get along with him?
Pure chance. I was about to just walk away when I got talking to Mark. We randomly spoke though I knew who he was, I showed him the ideas and we just hit it off right away, and I was then convinced Turanis could work. From there I gave him permission to suggest who he thought best for the tunes. I knew who Simon and Dan were (which I think surprised Mark) and was more than happy. In fact, I feel lucky that I got this chance to work with these guys that I’d always been a fan of in various stages of my life. I actually recorded my parts at home and sent the parts to Mark who rerecorded what was sent to him and recorded the others. Again with his guidance, he taught me a newer way if doing recordings.
Many bands have begun recording their own albums in their own studios in recent years. Have you taken this route or did all of the work take place in a professional studio?
After the templates, some of us did our parts at home and others in Mark’s studio. Yes, a lot of bands do it themselves which is fine (Turanis is self-funded at the moment) but then I’d not have the quality that a pro top draw producer can bring. You can’t compare doing it yourself to a genius of sound. And it’s noticeable.
Can you tell me how aggressively you promoted the EP and how well it was received by the media? In the event that readers would like to purchase a copy, what formats are available and where can they obtain it?
The EP is available to download from Bandcamp and the usuals like Spotify, etc. There isn’t much merch left, however, which was nice to note, so I’ll get some more made at some point once our album is out. The EP was received far better than we expected because of its uniqueness. It took a lot of work but all the feedback was great. So it made sense to keep it going and put out something known and liked.
Two months ago, you released a new clip for the song "Dance of Mists". Do you plan on including this on your next release or was this a one-off thing?
What a song huh, I love it and often forget it’s me haha. It’s from the aforementioned full album which I hold in my hands; it’s complete but I’m recovering medically so once I can I’ll get it released. The album has that song, plus the EP and a bunch of brand new ones which I’m very proud off personally and I know Mark is too.
Your new release was created in collaboration with Aaron Stainthorpe and Dan Mullins from My Dying Bride, as well as Simon Gordon and Mark Mynett from Kill II This. There is a noticeable improvement in the production, as well as a heavier, more melodious vibe. How did you all participate in the recording process?
The process was the same as always. I put together the musical ideas and passed them on to Mark. Simon started doing the lyrics and the rule was “just have fun with it” and I think we all did. It has a bit of everyone’s flavour and Mark’s recommendations for adding new guests have worked wonders really. Mark produced the EP and the album. The improvement is from everyone putting their own flavours to it. They are all great to talk to and to work with. Everyone involved has my eternal respect and care.
Is Turanis familiar with performing live? In your country, how would you describe the current club scene and underground scene?
Not at the moment but I am hoping to do it live if it can happen. The guys all have their own bands and that, as it should be, is the priority for them, so we’d have to all be available. I could probably put a live band together but it would not be quite the same. Besides, I’m not sure I know anyone who can play as well as these guys can, especially Rich; his guitar skills are off the charts. There is a little bit of talk on live performances so you’d need to keep an eye out. Music of this type is not really as big in the UK as it is in Europe or The States. There are a few great festivals though, like Bloodstock and Manorfest, but Turanis is far better received in other nations.
Turanis recently appeared on the House of Pain and Metal Moose Radio Show with The New Mutiny, Aisles, Eulogy, Broken Side, Ghosts of Men, and others. How did you learn about this inclusion, and what surprised you about it?
I’m always surprised when we’re added to anything, especially as I and Simon just did a Metal Hammer interview for Italy. That’s an achievement. We’ve been on a compilation CD for Rock Tribune in Belgium and countless radio shows. You have to remember this project isn’t that old (two years if that). We’re very humbled by it and all these guys and the fans won’t be forgotten.
Do you have any other plans for the future? Do you have any information you would like to share with the readers?
My plans are to get the album released after my recovery and see what can be done to give it the best push possible. It takes a lot of work but it’s well worth it, and the possible live shows. I am already working on even more material for any releases after the new album. It’s going to surprise a few as it’s not metal by numbers but it rocks and sounds incredible. You’ll just have to keep your eye out.