Playing and writing with Brit Soul band Smoove & Turrell

Brit soul band Smoove & Turrell reign from Newcastle, England and they are pretty much the Beatles of soul & funk. Being played on Giles Petersons Worldwide show opened up doors for the lads, and the fact that they roll deep with a 7-piece band showcases they are focused on bringing proper soul & funk back into our lives.  The fusion of genres within their music is what they are known for, and now they are back with their latest album ‘Broken Toys.’ Broken Toys is exactly what we’ve been dreaming about, it’s what the music industry today is lacking. We won’t ruin it for you, but be prepared to have it on repeat.  

The lads are currently on tour so we decided to chat to Smoove & Turrell about what it was like meeting Niles Rodgers, what broken toy story kept them scarred, and why they wanted their latest album to be like a DJ set. Margaret Tra writes.

Tell us about Broken Toys, what’s the response been like?

The album is about what ever the listener wants it to be about, that’s the beauty of music. Smoove always said he wanted the album to be like a DJ set always keeping the listener guessing so that the album never loses its novelty, I think I could say the same lyrically, there are always bits that you miss and hopefully want to come back for.

It’s always a bit of a strange time when you let any album go, it’s almost like your letting something personal be leaked out some how. I can’t ever say we look forward to the critique but it’s something you have to go through in order to learn and come out of the experience a little wiser and little more thick-skinned. Luckily this time out it’s been quiet painless so far, although I don’t want to jinx things before we’re even out of the starting blocks.

Getting played on Gilles Petersons Worldwide show was a real bonus, it’s been a sort of dream of Smoove’s and mine to be played on that show. Reviews and blogs have been massively supportive of what we have come up with this time and we are both just so glad that people get what we do. It’s definitely something to be proud of.   

You lads have supported Niles Rodgers & Chic, Martha and The Vandellas, anything you took away from them?

You take away how professional these performers are, how positive and hungry they still are for the game. They say never meet your heroes but I think I can safely say that meeting Nile (Rodgers) was a watershed moment for me, Smoove & the lads in the band. The guy was a true gentleman in every respect; he couldn’t give you enough time and as a man who’s lived a little bit his stories were so inspiring.

You excited about your album launch?

Yeah it’s the culmination of 3 years work; I’ll not say hard because I personally leave the hard slog to Smoove, he’s the one who puts in the hours. Myself and the lads in general just love to play and write, it’s why we are in the music industry to start with. We can’t wait to get out there and play the new stuff, it just adds a new dimension to our set but we always keep our favorites in from the previous two albums. It’s a nice balance.

When I was younger I had a bunny that used to make noise, but my sister hated it so she ripped out the whole battery leaving my bunny broken. Any toy stories that have left you scarred?

Yeah I got a massive Lego spacecraft and a Celtic strip for some reason (my older brother got Rangers) for Christmas one year. I must have spent three days solid following every instruction for that thing and when I was finally finished I decided to go down stairs to show my mam and dad. My legs were too skinny for the Celtic socks so they kept slipping down like a couple of big white flippers, about half way down the stairs I tripped over one of the said socks and smashed the whole thing to smithereens! It took another three days to get over it!

There are a lot of you guys, what’s it like working in such a big group and not being a pop boy band?

We are no boys to men! I think because we are all dad’s it’s like it’s always our last night out. We have had to curb it a lot since we first started as our tours have gotten much longer but we always have a good laugh. I don’t think we could still be together as a unit if we weren’t all as completely different to each other as we are, but I think that’s what makes us all best mates. In the words of Craig Charles “you know what I like about you lot, every time I see you it looks like a cracking stag doo”, says it all really.

Any tour antics?

Yeah but they are probably a bit too strong to repeat, remember “what happens on tour stays on tour”. It’s a mantra we all abide by.

You guys have done a load of festivals, any particular one that has stood out for you?

Not dodging the question but every festival has its own great memories. For Smoove and myself it has to be Big Chill about six years ago, we went on to a stage in a field where there was only about a hundred people, by the end of the set there was 6,000, I think that’s when we knew we could cut it. As far as small festivals go one of our top ones we all look forward to every year is “Troy Fest”, its every thing a festival should be, an anything goes atmosphere that is ran by a total saint Simon, he always looks after his artists and more importantly his festival goers. 

You guys have been doing a UK tour, how’s it all going?

It’s crazy, for a long time we were bigger on the continent than we were over here but after putting in the graft and travelling up and down the country it’s really starting to pay off, I don’t think we have had a non sold-out gig for a long time but like with any thing good getting a duffer brings you right back down to earth with a bump!

What stimulates your soul?

Our kids, wives, friends and our music.

Want to hear more?

Soundcloud: Broken Toys