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Ahead of the TURU Crew Lucky Bar takeover we sat our boy Pax down with the people behind the TURU banner to get an idea of what the past, present and most importantly future looks like for them.
Make it to the bottom of the article for a free download from INTRiKeT.
Pax: So I actually don’t know where the name TURU comes from, let’s start at the top and figure that out.
Jesse: Needing a name REALLY BAD to promote ourselves as a crew, I actually don’t think Josh knows yet.
Josh: No I don't.
Jesse: It was here, myself Kurse, Juri and another guy who used to be part of the original crew, and willist was going to book us to play the backroom at fortune. We’d been talking about being a crew, but we needed a name so we were brainstorming but, none of use liked what we were coming up with.
Pax: Like what?
Jesse: Well Kearse was fooling around with Swahili names, and that’s where it comes from, I don’t even remember what it means in Swahili.
Juri: No it doesn’t mean anything, it was another word like it that we really liked the sound of, so we were like wow what does that mean, oh it means nothing? Sweet, that’s alright because we’re not swahelee-ish.
**Loads of laughter erupts**
Pax: Kk now we know. Also looking back to that time and over the past two years, what have been the biggest challenges of each period, so to speak, like you’ve changed members a few times right? What else has happened?
Jesse: The period without Juri was the hardest. He moved back to England for 6 months during that time. Also Alex, one of the initial members, just lost interest and wasn’t down anymore.
So then it was me and Kearse. So then we we’re like, k what do we do? This isn’t a crew, there’s two of us… we need another member. Especially is Juri isn’t around and that’s when I found Yasmine.
Pax: So it went from a focused, like minded group of 4, down to 2, and then you found Y. How did that happen?
Yasmine: I was just around, putting myself out there as a DJ, putting some music out. It was an unexpected thing for me, I didn’t ever think I’d have the courage to do this, so I put it off and put it off, until it just erupted in me and I told myself I was going to do it.
I put myself out there more and more, and saw these guys as a young emerging crew. I didn’t say anything because I never thought I was good enough, but I genuinely had in the back of my mind that it would be great if one day I could be part of TURU. If ever there was a crew with the right mix of ingredients, it would be them. Then they approached me and I was like WHAT THE FUCK, we both had that feeling.
Pax: I can feel it, there’s a heart connection here.
Yasmine: yeah in terms of flavor and approach and ingredients, it was all there.
Pax: So at that point you’d been DJing for a while?
Yasmine: I’d done a lot of online DJing, I had my own sub.FM show as a means to get out there, but anxiety has always been an issue for me so it was always a distant dream. But I got into the scene in Van, played a show with them and kept in touch.
Then they asked me to join, which was utterly flattering but I was spooked as well, because I had to be sure I could fill the shoes, because I looked at it as a big commitment, a long term thing, maybe 5 years or more. You know, we want to be around for a while, like our peers.
Pax: Very nice beginning and progression. Now, Josh, what’s your origins story? You’re from a different city, so how did they come about finding you?
Josh: I crossed paths with everyone by going to shows in Van. I played my first show in Van at Anza, thanks to Jesse. Connected with them and stayed in touch from there, then not that long ago Jesse got in touch and asked me to join, and since I’d liked what they’d been doing in the scene, they like to do things the right way, so I was honored to be a part of it.
Pax: Starting from the edge again, from that seemingly catastrophic moment when you realized maybe we’re not a crew anymore, to then ramp up to now where you’ve got J:Kenzo and Synkro under your belt, Moresounds around the corner for the two year anniversary.
Jesse: I would say the shows we’ve done have been highlights because it’s awesome we get to book these artists, but that we have control of, we can do whatever we want when it comes to bookings. That doesn’t justify how well you’re doing, but when other people are booking you for pinnacle shows, Basscoast and Synkro as well, at that point we’re getting recognition from outside people that we really look up to.
Pax: Good point. Because I don’t necessarily end up supporting all the companies who book artists I want to see.
Jesse: Especially when you look at the openers and you’re like, really? They don’t even play that kind of music. What I mean is, anyone can book anyone, but when the night is curated properly and you have the right turn out and good sound, and everything’s on-point, that’s when you start to get recognition.
Josh: That’s what it’s about really, sound system music is meant to be felt as much as heard, you know. If you can’t experience it in that light you’re kinda missing the point.
Pax: It’s cool to overlook the money component, because it’s not about money, like money allows for it to happen but it’s not about that. Thinking about the term sound system music, I think it’s a really necessary cultural idea, it talks to the context of the party, like you’re saying its felt, listened to and it’s overwhelming at times. It transcends just a concert.
So what are other names or terms being used for this culture? Does it go into genre names? Or is it a rave still, dance parties? What’s the conversation there?
Jesse: Well I would say sometimes it is a rave. There are certain aspects that make it a rave, when the ceiling is dripping, that’s a rave.
Josh: Rave has become such a dirty word in north American dance music culture, because it makes you think of kids dressed up with glow-stuff, chewing their lips off, but in the UK if you go to Fabric you’re going to the rave.
Jesse: It’s like EDM, it used to mean Electronic Dance Music, but now it means all that mainstream bullshit.
Juri: I think one of the important things about venues as well, is the environment, where it’s not all about the dance floor, you can converse with people and meet people. At red gate for example, you go out back and you have a community of people who are all likeminded. I think that’s equally important to the music. That’s where ideas come from.
Jesse: The opposite happens a lot to me in clubs, I feel like it’s just designed for everyone to go see the headliner and leave right after. You’re getting your drink, you’re seeing the show and that’s it. But it’s good to create an environment for people to connect.
Pax: There’s no chill space, no fresh air space or smoking pit even, you’re just pushed onto the streets which isn’t necessarily friendly or particularly safe.
Jesse: While getting yelled at from a bouncer…
Pax: Ok, so it’s raves and not club EDM parties, but what about the seemingly forgotten dubstep parties?
Juri: It was a fad. It came and went in pop-culture. There was that thing where Skream was taken out of context for saying “dubstep’s dead” and for the next three years everyone on FatKidOnFire was like “hashtag dubstep’s not dead”, and I’m like dude dubstep’s not dead, it was never dead. It was a media frenzy. It will live on.
Juri: Electronic music always pushes forward. There’s so much innovation, things never die, but the push has mellowed out a bit. There’s just too much repetition, too many artists pushing the same sounds.
Jesse: It went in two veins, brostep and that truer heady original sound. That split changed things, a lot of people who used to be into it thought it sounded too heavy, they’re like no this is too heavy now, it’s dead. When really it’s not they’re just losing interest.
But that’s a good thing, because if that didn’t happen all these dubstep producers would still be trying to make the same sound, but they’re not, they moving to 130bpm, making drum&bass, half-time drum&bass is the new dubstep right now.
Juri: Especially in the last 5 years. Everything is cross-genre, everyone is hybridizing, which is great because there’s so much more space for people to do interesting and weird things.
Jesse: It allows people to play interesting sets. Like here’s a thing that happened to both Max Ulis and Skream around the same time. Max was doing the show, maybe even a Rusko show, doing a dubstep set, but someone was yelling from the crowd “play some dubstep”, because it wasn’t the heavier stuff and Max was yelling back “this is dubstep!”, like people don’t even know.
And the same with Skream, people always ask him to play Midnight Request line, and he’s like “no, I’ve got other shit, like let me just play the set”. It was detrimental, it got to the point of people expecting a certain sound and set. Now with this hybrid stuff you can play multi-genre sets and people love it, because it’s new and exciting.
Yasmine: The spirit of dubstep is experimentation, you know, pushing boundaries and breaking free of that very thing we like, is part of the growth of the whole genre or culture.
Pax: I mean it’s been 9 years since I started listening to dubstep, and nowadays I’m a completely different person with different emotions and musical needs when I’m out at a rave. I completely resonate with that desire to hear different stuff. Do you find this new sound is bringing out new people as well? Who’s at the shows? Is it us and more (2007 haha) “old timers” or is the scene growing right now?
Yasmine: I think it’s always changing and fortunately social media enhances that. There are always new faces at events. Someone’s going to bring their friend, he said she said, people reach a point in their life where…
Jesse: They’re like “fuck Granville Street” hahahah
Yasmine: Exactly, fuck Granville Street, I want to go and see and feel some really good underground music. People who have some kind of hunger for this, will hopefully through good promotion, find these events.
Juri: Even if sometimes the music comes after, if people aren’t that aware of who’s playing but they still arrive at the show, just compared to standard club nights at top 40 parties, the environment is completely different. It’s not just a bunch of creepy dudes hitting on stuck-up chicks, heel-wearers.
Jesse: I’ve seen this change in the scene with the older crews, in the last five years, even before we started doing the TURU thing, SHAH and LightA! Followers are a little older now and those crews aren’t doing shows as much, like Max Ulis stopped doing shows at open studios for a bit. So there was a gap that I really wanted to fill, and not catering just to the older crowd, like I’ve seen many younger people who I don’t know come out to shows. It’s great.
Pax: We’ve seen the same thing in Victoria with Urban Therapy carrying the torch of SubDivision. It’s lead to a new crowd and I’m really happy about that.
Jesse: The same here. Since those older groups aren’t doing as much as before, they might as well help a younger group that is doing it right get to that place.
Pax: So we’ve dropped some names here like SHAH and LightA! But everyone around here knows those guys. So I wanted to ask you, who do you think of, in terms of unusual suspects, when I say successful? You know, groups or sounds from overseas or just less known local efforts?
Jesse: For a while now I’ve really been enjoying the sound that Chord Marauders has been producing. They’re just pushing a dubstep wave that’s jazzy, melodic, with the same beat pattern that pulls a little more from two-step, and it’s still slow and half-time but it’s very uplifting. Not that dark dungeon sound.
Juri: South Africa has a lot of interesting stuffs right now, like Gqom is a sound hailing from South Africa that has really taken force recently. It’s deeply rooted tribal influences taking ideas from house and ukfunky creating such a rolling flow of groove.
It really embodies the spirit of that small community DIY sound reminiscent of the early grime and dubstep movement so it’s great to see it start making appearances globally. Another huge influence right now has definitely been the Nervous Horizon guys. Tsvi, Wallwork, Lokane, every release from that label has been so on point. Really percussive, driving sound that just feels so natural.
Pax: I love hearing about overseas underground stuff like this. I’m excited expecting all these interesting influences in your sets, can’t wait to get down with it at Lucky Bar in Victoria. It’s been a minute since I visited that place.
Pax: You guys said you had a free track from your new member right?
It’s been a minute since I moved to Vancouver, one of the most expensive cities in the world. The hustle is very real here and things get tite-- that’s figuratively though, cause let me tell you, it’s been worth every last dollar.
Check this out. Recognize any of the following names: SHAHdjs, LIGHTA! SOUND, TURU CREW, Chapel Sound, Low Indigo? Well if you’re reading this I’d sure hope you do. Knowledge. This city is home to these entities/brands/people/vibes, my friends and family, and is the main hub where they operate to bring to you (the community) the best in world class electronic music events. The most recent shows I’ve attended have blown my expectations out of the water. The scene here is evidently thriving.
I think back to last week when I caught dBridge and Sinistarr double headline the show at VAL. The air in the room was already thick and moist at 11:45 when I arrived. Greazus had done a great job of literally warming up the room, even with little to no sleep, having just landed back in town from their gig at Outlook Festival. The #pizzaarmy drill sergeants did the damn thing.
Next up was the homie Sinistarr, who of course unleashed track after track of happy-sad, slow-fast, half-time, full-time, over-time, break-beat, heart-break madness. Think Machinedrum with a little Rashad, but more Detroit techno and some straight up hip-hop for the ladies. Then, the legendary, Exit Records boss, autonomic drum and bass mastermind dBridge, who worked the wheels of steel like a Samurai with absolute decisiveness. No melodrama or attitude, just flawlessly balanced selection. It was pretty emotional to be in that crowd and experience the first ever Exit Records party outside of the UK. A true lesson in the art of sound.
Speaking of forward, tonight I’ll be attending the VAL once again for Ivy Lab x Greazus x Levrige x Kirv Mokum x Totemix x 22:22 and so much more! Big up Vancouver! You might say being here is expensive, I say it’s a luxury.
Words from Pax Frias