Smoove & Turrell write music that falls somewhere between soul, funk and indie and play gigs across the UK and beyond. Hailing from Newcastle, the Geordie lads have a heart of northern soul – working class lyrical content and easygoing beats. Smoove and Turrell’s fourth album was out last week – listen to ‘Fight On’. We asked John Turrell about his work in the band and where he sees it going.
How are you doing and what have you been up to lately?
It's been absolutely manic, we just played a sell-out show in Newcastle for our album launch, loads of radio and TV interviews because of the plays we've been getting on Radio 2. As I write this I'm on my way down to London Town for our second launch.
What was your first thought this morning?
Where's my passport? I get really anxious about little things like that because I'm the most forgetful man alive. Obviously I don't need my passport for London it's just we're heading straight over to France after the London show.
What are three things that no one knows about Smoove and Turrell?
Me and Andy Champion were in a band together when we were 13 but we didn't see each other for 20 years before he joined the band. Smoove is one quarter native Indian, one quarter German, one quarter "macam" and.......one quarter not all there. Mike Porter is Clint Boon's stunt double.
How did you meet and get started as a band?
I was in a folk duo called The Stevies and needed a demo recorded. My wife went to uni with Smoove and introduced me to him. The rest as they say is history.
If you had to list your three biggest musical inspirations, what would they be?
What’s your dream gig?
Playing a sold out gig at the Mayfair in Newcastle! Sadly it's now been knocked down so it'll have to stay a dream.
How does the songwriting process work, with so many members of the band?
I generally sit down with one or two of the lads and crack on. Smoove sometimes lays down a nice sample loop and I can get ideas from that. I just love to create, so it can really come from anywhere.
Are you all from Newcastle? How has where you're from influenced your sound?
Yeah we are all from Newcastle/Gateshead apart from Smoove who is originally from Sunderland. I think growing up in the 80s in the northeast has left scars on us all that we channel into our music.
What’s been your craziest experience on tour?
Probably the night we played live on Steve Wright's show on Christmas Eve. The lads started having a fun fight in the tour bus and put the window out on the van. I just remember the driver shouting "Christmas is Cancelled!"
What is the message you would like to get across in your music?
Don't let the bad times get you down, the good times will come back around.
Which is your favourite Smoove and Turrell album?
To be honest there's bits on all of them that I love but as a complete piece of work I'd have to say our new one Crown Posada.
What are your three favourite songs of all time?
Tom Waits - I hope that I don't fall in love with you
Lindisfarne - Lady Elenor
Rich Girl - Hall and Oats
What are you listening to right now?
What’s the last record you bought?
What's the worst job you’ve ever done?
I had to dig out the whole ground floor of a house 2 meters down by hand because it was subsiding! By hand!
What music did you grow up on?
If you had to start a new life in a new country, where would you go?
Probably Holland, they have a similar outlook on life as the Geordies
What’s your favourite place to play?
I love Band on the Wall, Manchester. It has a great atmosphere.
Are you more disco dads or disco divas?
Definitely Disco dads!
What’s next for Smoove and Turrell?
It's a full UK tour followed up next year with a top to bottom European tour. Well enough to keep us out of mischief.