Turncoat is a four-piece hardcore band from Michigan. They released their first single shortly after they formed in late 2014, and they haven’t slowed down since. Turncoat toured a lot in 2015 and eventually signed to Eulogy Recordings. Their self-titled debut EP will be released on June 10th. While you’re waiting for it to drop, check out our interview with guitarist Keith Keister about the band, the EP, and their plans for the rest of 2016.
The music you already have out is powerful. It seems like you’ve got a message to send and you’re not afraid to get loud about it. Do you want to use your music as a platform?
Absolutely we use music as our platform to get our message across. Music resonates with people on so many different levels. You can listen to someone speak about something only so much and grasp what they are saying. When there is a catchy beat or a melody you enjoy, it’s much more likely to get stuck in your head and make you really think.
And what issues and subjects are most important to you to put out there in your songs?
We just talk about things that everyone goes through. The daily grind. The every day common man’s struggle. We want people to take what we have to say in their own way.
The word “Turncoat” means a person who leaves one party or cause to join an opposing one. A lot of punk/hardcore bands have even used the word as a song title over the years, including Anti-Flag. What does the name mean to you and why did you choose it?
Anti-Flag definitely was a small part of the influence but largely the meaning is about us being different. It’s about us doing things our own way and not apologizing for it. Things can get so monotonous sometimes and we try and stick out. Same story just a different way to go about it.
Hardcore punk is a genre that’s largely been watered down since the time it was at it’s peak, but you guys are managing to stay relevant and stay true to the original heart of the genre. What do you think is special about Turncoat that keeps drawing listeners in?
I think it’s that we are different than the vast majority of what’s out there. Not that what we are doing is anything crazy different than those who came before us. A lot of the times people tell us that we remind them of the kind of hardcore that first got them into this genre. The kind of hardcore that really isn’t heavily prevalent these days. It reminds some of the old dogs where they came from and I think people can respect that.
I’ve read a lot of reviews for your upcoming EP, and everyone seems really excited about it. Congratulations! What songs/aspects of the EP are you most proud of?
We’re really proud of the entire EP over all. We poured our heart out into these songs. Musically I know we’re really happy with the overall sound that we achieved. Matt Dalton of Metro37 studios really helped us get to where we wanted to be and helped tweak the overall production just the way we wanted. I’m glad so many people are receptive to the EP. It amazes us all the kind words that people have to say and we couldn’t be more grateful.
You’ve managed to tour like crazy since you guys got together. What’s your favorite part of touring? What has touring done for you as a band? What about your least favorite part?
Walmart is probably one of the best parts of “off time”. You can do everything there. But to see so many people react to us , each in their own way really makes us happy. We love the adventure. The seeing new places and faces everyday. This music is taking us so many places and we are eternally grateful to see so much of the country. Touring has done us well as a band. It’s obviously grown our fan base but it’s also helped us to meet so many good and cool people out here that have the same mind set as us. Least favorite part has to be the not getting to shower every single day haha. You lose so many of the little comforts of home. And at the same time that’s what makes it so much more of an adventure.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve faced as a band so far?
Lineup changes. The first year of this band seen several changes instrumentally. That was a huge barrier to overcome. We somehow have managed to find, what I’d like to say is the perfect line up for us. We all click together so well.
When did you sign to Eulogy Records and has that changed anything about the band dynamic?
We signed in the end of 2015 but kept it quiet for sometime. It really came out of nowhere but has really built some momentum behind us for sure. People remember the good ole days of Eulogy when hardcore was at its peak. The label really has some solid bands on it right now and we’re super happy to be apart of that.
What’s your writing and recording process like?
The recording process was a breeze thanks to our good friend and producer Matt Dalton. Working at Metro37 studios with him just made everything come together so easy. The writing of this EP was about a year in the making. After several line up changes we really went back and really stripped down everything and tweaked the songs over and over.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
We have some tour announcements to make in the next month or so, but for now we can tell you we have some one offs this summer like Summer Brawl fest in Kentucky and the Summer Slam in South Carolina. We’re just trying to push this EP and stay on the road . Hopefully tour internationally by 2017.
What are your biggest dreams for Turncoat in the future?
We wanna take Metallica to play in Antarctica and do one step above that. We wanna be the first band to play on the moon.. haha but in all seriousness we just wanna get the music out to people who want to hear it. We wanna tour the world and meet all kinds of people who enjoy hardcore just like us.