You could say Ma Turner’s involvement in the Lexington, Kentucky music and visual art scenes is active. As well as having played in bands such as State Champion, CROSS and The Warmer Milk, Turner has been making visual art under various names since the early 1980's. He’s also been involved in the music videos for the likes of Pigeons, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Shawn David McMillen.
His most recent shot creativity has has been a video for his new band Teal Grapefruit in which he has filmed long time friend, creative collaborator and band mate Clint Colburn rocking out in a stark room. Taken from the self-released Cry Pink Process cassette, the song like the video is simple but effective.
The four-piece, that also includes drummer Joe Mangum and bassist Philip Farmer, play a weird but excellent pop and rock sound. I’ve seen it described as “death jangle funk” and that seems pretty accurate.
Watch the video and read a short interview with Ma.
Noisey: The set up for the video is so simple but so affective. Whose idea was this?
Ma Turner: Oddly enough, the inspiration behind the shoot was Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" video. I'm sure that is lost on the viewer but it was simply a springboard for the idea of having a single shot of Clint lip-syncing with a simplistic background. Obviously Sinead harnessed a sadness we couldn't achieve in a contemporary context but we tried our best to keep the video as honest and raw as possible. Was the band in the room playing? Clint looks like a great front man even though he’s not really fronting anything!
This shoot took place in Clint's home in his den. He just sang along to the song playing on the stereo and I shot the footage. His only direction was to perform the song as he would live or in rehearsal. And yes he is a great front man. The songs sounds like Brian Eno with more 70s rock feel. Is this how the other tracks are sounding?
Like most underground rock weirdos, we are big Brian Eno fans but he hasn't been a verbal reference in terms of our writing and performing. I'd say that "Nausea" sits comfortably with the rest of our material although we've been headed more and more towards dance music lately while retaining our "rock" instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums.
You have been very prolific with work in other bands. What would you say sets Teal Grapefruit apart from other musical projects?
Clint, Phillip, Joey and myself have been playing music together in various positions and line-ups for years. I'd say that Teal Grapefruit is an extension of what we've done in the past as well as continuing to share ideas together in the future. I know that this time around the ideas have gelled quicker than normal and that we have been pushing harder than ever before with writing, rehearsing, live performance and recording. You and Clint have known each other a long time through your musical and visual artwork. There’s that great interview in Tobacco Magazine. How has your relationship developed over the years.
I suppose it's just a matter of hanging out all the time and exchanging ideas on a regular basis. We instantly clicked as friends and collaborators. We've been close for over a decade now and I feel we've only realised a small fraction of our abilities as a unit. The same goes for Phillip and Joey. The older we get, the more confident we are about what we want from our daily lives and that extends itself to music and visual art.
‘Cry Pink Process’ is available now.