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Local Music Spotlight: Turtle Island

Cassandra Zahran Cassandra Zahran Local Music Spotlight: Turtle IslandPhoto via Turtle Island.
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Meet the band.

Turtle Island: Five manic boys who play music and have a psychedelic intuition into outer space.

Genre: Psychedelic, Experimental, Space rock, Progressive rock, Dream-pop

Dallin “Shrek to Your Donkey” Stevenson – Vocals, guitar

Nick “Johnny Utah” Gerden – Drums

Andy “Chorizo Grill Master” Sullivan – Bass

Joel “Yu-Gi-Oh Fanatic” Blaeser – Keyboard

Sean “Van Halen Gold Member ” Gleeson – Guitar, vocals

First and foremost, “psychedelic, experimental rock” does not accurately echo Turtle Island’s style, persona and genre of music. The wildly miscellaneous five piece is young, ambitious and disturbingly unique. All attending the same High School at Olentangy Liberty, Sean, Dallin, Andy and Nick dabbled in music, and experienced puberty together. Fast-forward a few years, the boys are delving into instrumental experimentation, and tacked on multi-instrumentalist and keyboardist, Joel Blaeser, to the group.

After releasing an embryonic full length record in May 2013 (with previous bandmate, Ben Fritz), The Twelve Togethers of Love Rockets, Turtle Island began their odyssey into playing live shows. In 2014, Turtle Island competed in CD102.5’s Local Artist Showcase and charmed the crowd with their alluring and bizarre behavior, further playing shows at Kobo, Fourth Street Bar & Grill’s “Local Love,” and an A&R Bar Pelotonia Benefit show. As a few years passed, much writing, development, and progress has been made and Turtle Island continues to take their role as musicians earnestly and passionately.

With musical influences ranging from the sounds of Animal Collective, My Bloody Valentine’s texture and Talk Talk/Spaceman 3’s post-rock genre’s, the five boys use these influences in order to aid in creative brainstorming. With additional interests in trip-hop, jazz, blues, new-wave and shoe-gaze, there is no limit towards the impact music has on the group. Records are constantly spinning on their turntables and in their heads, recently taken by Warpaint, Sufjan Stevens, Pure X, Baths and Elliott Smith. Hearing these boys chat about their musical interests and influences is like watching a group of teacup pigs mud wrestle. It’s entertaining, adorable and impressive. Turtle Island’s passion and devotion to their music, and the music chosen to soundtrack their lives, is their sustenance. No really, they don’t eat much. 

Turtle Island is in the process of re-recording previously written tracks, at Relay Recording, and working on new pieces on a continuous basis. While keeping their genuine style and sound, Turtle Island is focusing on enhancing texture and depth in order to fully develop and move forward with their music. The band’s single, “Rain Canopy,” featured on CD102.5’s “Independent Playground” was the first approach to Turtle Island’s new direction, the track continuing to evolve with each live performance. As the structure and “seriousness” settles in, Turtle Island has grasped their comfort and routine with their live performance. Hearing the recordings of The Twelve Togethers of Love Rockets does not provide an audience merely half of the experience as does live show. With Dallin, lead vocals, plummeting into the crowd with the microphone strung around his neck, the energy and live execution broadcasts Turtle Island’s undeniable talent. Sean’s twangy riffs on guitar, Nick’s polite aggressiveness on drums, Andy’s unpredictable bass patterns and Joel’s wild charisma keeps your eyes glued to the five-piece, and your ears and mind mentally stimulated.

September 30th at Skully’s Music Diner, Turtle Island will be sharing the stage with local band, The Worn Flints, and Memphis, Tennessee experimental psychedelic rock band, Spaceface (Spaceface’s frontman, Jake Ingalls, currently the synthesizer/guitarist for The Flaming Lips) taking on a futuristic, extraterrestrial-psychedelic themed evening. Working diligently in preparation for this performance, Turtle Island will undoubtedly bring an impressive and wild performance. Upcoming shows include October 16th at Spacebar and a Halloween cover show event at Brothers Drake Meadery.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/turtleislandband.

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