Based in Los Angeles and formed in 2015 Turbulent Hearts, a name inspired by the writings of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran, took shape after Suzi Moon’s previous band, Civet, disbanded in 2012. After Civet ended Suzi was writing new songs and playing with various line ups, Turbulent Hearts eventually solidifying into Suzi on guitar and lead vocals, Mark Johnson on bass and Jay Skowronek on drums (1). In 2015 they released their first EP ‘The Panic’ with ‘The Rage’ and ‘Crazy Girl’ following over the next year. Taking inspiration from the first wave of punk Turbulent Hearts were signed by Headcheck in 2016 and have a double A sided 7″ single out this spring and ahead of the vinyl release The Punk Lounge has got an exclusive premier of the video for ‘I Don’t Do it for You’…and as if that’s not enough we also managed to get an interview with Suzi herself!!
Turbulent Hearts formed in 2015 and really hit the ground running! Three EPs in a year or so! Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted TH to sound like from the off?
– Thanks! Yeah, we are definitely a DIY band and knew that we wanted to release as much music as possible, as quickly as possible, so we set out to do quick 5 song EP’s to introduce the world to our sound! The music comes naturally; too many influences to count. I’ve always loved simple, fast punk rock songs just as much as classic soul ballads, so it’s been really cool to blend it all together… This is what we got!
You signed to UK label Headcheck in 2016, how did that come about, was it off the back of your live shows or recordings?
– We were scouted by Mark Sesin, the label owner, who has been a big supporter of female rock n’ rollers in England. He understands & believes in our vision and has helped make some tremendous dreams come true… Headcheck is a natural fit for us and we are lucky to call them family now!
I think the first TH release on Headcheck was a combo of all three EPs and this April you’ve got a double A side vinyl coming out ‘If It’s True’ with ‘I Don’t Do It For You’. Can you talk us through the new tracks? How has TH sound changed since ‘Crazy Girl’?
– Yes a vinyl! So exciting! The first single, “I Don’t Do It For You” is a doo-wop rock n roll tune about owning your life and not letting a significant other dictate how you live your life. I’ve seen too many friends lose themselves in unhealthy relationships and this is an anthem to break free and live your life for yourself. “If Its True” is super special to us because it is a Mark Johnson song written from the Suzi Moon perspective! He wrote all the lyrics from my point-of-view and I think it’s a great song. Very Ramones-y and so fun to play live! Both songs were written when I was getting out of a crappy situation… And I don’t think the sound has changed, really. Just some slight evolution and a lotta revolution!
What sort of resources do you draw on lyrically? Mostly personal experience or books, films, wider culture as well?
– I tend to write lyrics based on personal experience. They are mostly autobiographical. To me, that is what makes them relatable to people, like a musical diary…
What are the new tracks about?
– Oh, they are definitely about being with the wrong person. Ha! Love drives me. It drives me crazy and it drives me to play rock n’ roll. “If It’s True” is specifically about an untrue partner and how its just better to know that someone doesn’t feel the same any more, or is in love with someone else, than to be kept in the dark and consistently lied to, no matter how painful it may be… And I think that if you fall in love with someone else while you’re in a relationship, than that first relationship wasn’t the right one anyway! So just be honest and everyone will be set free!
What does the creative process look like in TH? Is it very collaborative?
– Absolutely, this band thrives on collaboration. When it comes to songwriting, I usually start off with some idea brewing in my head… A riff, some lyrics, a hook, whatever… And then I’ll take it to the guys where we all kinda just jam it out and throw ideas around. We always try the crazy ideas once, because you never know what you can come up with ‘till you try. I’m very grateful to have such creative dudes in my band.
You mentioned in a recent interview (1) that 2018 would see the rise of Turbulent Hearts 2.0! Could you give us a bit more info on what is taking shape?
– Oh yes, Turbs2.0 is in the works… So this 7” is the last project that Mark & Jay will be a part of. They had both been talking about making an amicable split from the band for some time, which is why Jay did not join us in England this past summer. I love those guys to death and they will always be my dear friends. Sometimes the road just takes us down a different path and I am ok with that! This will be the first time announcing that Jeff Garrison, who did the UK tour with us as a fill-in drummer, has joined the band as a permanent member and we will announce a new bass player soon. Turbs2.0 is going to be faster, louder, and even more rock n’ roll… We’ve been busy writing for our first full-length album and will be doing a big summer tour ahead of England and Europe… But I can’t say it yet!
I suppose with new personnel come new musical reference points, new influences! That must keep the creative evolution within the band very dynamic!?
– Exactly that. I’m not intimidated by any line-up changes. Granted, yes, that does change the dynamic but I see nothing wrong with that! It has given me a fresh perspective and well, I’m certainly not going anywhere. I’m excited to share this new energy with the world and we will be able to do a lot more touring now.
In the book ‘One Chord Wonders’ (2) the author comments that first wave punk gave women the chance to deconstruct and explore gender, have you experienced the punk scene as still being a liberating space for women?
– Oh yes, I think the punk world has always been a special place where women can do whatever they please. There are gunna be creeps in any scene, but punk rock has always been progressive, and regardless, us chicks are gunna do what we want anyway.
What contemporary bands have you been enjoying lately?
– There are a lot of great bands right now! Some of my faves are New Evil, The Darts, Kim & The Created, Svetlanas, Vigil Of War, ShiraGirl, Screech Bats, Minotore, BadCop/BadCop, The Last Gang, Maid Of Ace, Royal Distortion, The Jordyn Show, 222, Go Betty Go, The Bombpops, Kilo Tango, and so many more. A lot of badass chicks to check out! I’m proud to call all these ladies friends!
Good luck with the UK tour in the Summer!
(1) Coyote, G. (2018) Truly inspirational: Suzi Moon-singer and guitarist for Turbulent Hearts. http://www.punkglobe.