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Interview: Turtle Bay Television

Words By: Laurent Shervington/Interviewee: Thomas Cockram
Image credit: Emma Hogan

Turtle Bay Television is a Perth post-punk/garage band that’s been knocking around for a little while, originating with the Rock Scholar programme before taking the band into their own hands a few years ago. Early iterations of the project centred around explorations into math-rock and post-rock before taking a turn into more straightforward rock territory, à la Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins.

Guitarist and singer Thomas Cockram stressed to me the idea that Turtle Bay takes a collective style approach in terms of the contributions of their members, referring to bands like Broken Social Scene that revel in an expansive lineup. While the band’s latest batch of songs was primarily written by Tom himself, he added: “future releases could very well be written by other members.”

The band’s brand new single “Horror Movie” was conceived late at night during the period where Tom was working full-time at a job he hated, co-fuelled by his recent viewing of TV series Stranger Things:

“Originally it was a song about nothing particularly deep, I was just sort of playing around with the chords. After finishing [Stranger Things] I was really interested in how it handled the 80s horror pastiche – essentially as a well made homage rather than a rip-off”

The refrain (I don’t know why I like to be scared/I guess I’ll write a dissertation on it) speaks to the nature of Tom’s obsession, with the songwriter deadly serious about pursuing the topic academically when it comes time for him to start English honours.

Tom describes the forthcoming EP that ‘Horror Movie’ will be featured on as an expansion on their “progressive post-punk sound,” oscillating between heavy and dreamy territory.  Such extensions of their sound are heavily influenced by the use of distortion and noise in their music, a component that Tom is fascinated by:

“I really like how Jesus and Mary Chain basically plays Beach Boys songs with so much distortion, it really changes the whole vibe of the music. Noise really feels like it’s hitting you over the head, something that I witnessed seeing Boris a few weeks ago. Noise is an element that allows me to focus more on creating texture rather than on the technical side of our music – I also feel it holds with it feelings of vulnerability and there’s definitely things to explore within that.”

Turtle Bay Television will be showcasing their forays into noise, distortion and the Horror genre at their “Horror Movie” Single Launch at Bar 459 tomorrow night – event here!