We all have these questions that we secretly do not dare to ask, because other people will think it’s stupid or geeky or weird. Well here you can ask anything you like… Heck, there’re already some answers for you below! If your question isn’t listed, please send me an e-mail (stefan [at] turinbrakes [dot] nl and I’ll try my best to answer it!
General Turin Brakes Questions
- Who are Turin Brakes?
- So are Turin Brakes a duo or a 5-piece?
- What is the meaning of ‘Turin Brakes’?
- When will Turin Brakes perform at -insert location-?
- Did Olly and Gale sing in a church choir?
- Has Turin Brakes ever released anything on tape?
- Where are Turin Brakes from?
- Have Turin Brakes songs ever been used on TV?
- What guitars do Olly and Gale use?
- What songs have Turin Brakes covered? (UPDATED!)
- What are the hidden tracks called?
- What is the theme behind The Optimist LP?
- What is the theme behind Ether Song?
- Where was the cover photo for Ether Song taken?
- Is it worth getting the EPs?
- How different are the single versions?
- What is it? 72? Emergency 72?
- Why is Jackinabox called Jackinabox?
- Did Turin Brakes cover Forever?
- How did the boys create the intro for Rain City? (NEW!)
- Are you Olly or Gale?
- Can you design my website?
- Can you host my website?
- Stefan, you’re great! Is there anyway I can support you?
- I’ve got a brilliant idea for this website, what should I do?
- I have photos for the website, where can I send them to?
General Turin Brakes Questions
Turin Brakes started as a duo, consisting of Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian. While playing gigs as a duo is of course very possible, Olly and Gale decided to put a live band together. This live band, consisting of Rob Allum (drums), Phil Marten (aka Little Phil, keys) and the slightly crazy Eddy Myer (bass, sometimes guitar), has stayed the same ever since the very beginning. Olly introduces the band in the 2nd horses mouth ever in november 2000: here.
This doesn’t mean Turin Brakes will never play as a duo, but since Ether Song the band usually plays as a 5-piece.
During the promotion of Ether Song, Olly and Gale perfomed together with “child genius” and Dave Palmer on the keyboard as a trio. They did quite a lot of radio sessions and acoustic perfomances together. The duo worked with Dave Palmer on Ether Song. Apart from this brief interruption, Turin Brakes has performed in the same live formation. More recently, the band have played acoustic trio gigs with Eddie the bass player.
There has not been an official statement on the fact that Turin Brakes have become a 5-piece. From a songwriting perspective the band is still a duo: Olly and Gale write the songs together and get credited for it on the records. However, since the live band – who also appear on the records, most notably on Dark On Fire, have been with Olly and Gale for so long, it is hard to expect anyone else at live gigs at this point. Also, Rob Allum often posts messages on the official Turin Brakes Myspace profile. Olly mentioned around the release of JackInABox that “they’re becoming more and more of a band.”
So one can conclude that the live band has become more than just that. They’re part of Turin Brakes in many ways and have influenced the history of Turin Brakes in many ways.
Then again, it should be noted that all three live band members have different projects besides Turin Brakes.
Some band names exist before the band itself, but Olly & Gale were just Olly & Gale… When The Door EP was about to be released, they were told: “Look, you’re going to need a name.” Just putting it out as Olly & Gale was not an option. They tried a whole bunch of names and eventually Turin Brakes stuck. The fact that this name didn’t really mean anything and could just mean the music itself – and nothing itself – was a huge pro.
So, they DIDN’T chose the name because Turin was their favourite city (they hadn’t even been to Turin up to that point), or that they have brakes on their cars that originate from Turin (well they very well could have – but that wasn’t the reason for the name). It just sounded good. And admit: it does sound good…!
On a side note, Turin Brakes have used code names in the past. They did a secret gig for friends and family under the name Slightly Fat in 2005, referring to the weight problems all band members had for a while.
One can never tell, but the best way to find out is to check the Dates page of this site. It’s usually a little faster with tour dates than the official site. That does mean however that the info can change and is not yet confirmed. So don’t blame me for incorrect information, that’s just the latest info I have and I try to keep it as accurate as I can. If you want to be 100% sure, just look at the official site (www.turinbrakes.com). But you might find out later than the rest of the fans and miss out on tickets.
Yes, this is true (despite them denying it at times). When Olly and Gale were ten years old, they were still at primary school in Balham, Gale coerced Olly into auditioning for cathedral choir, “because you got to sing in front of the queen!”. They both made it into the choir, and this is were they learned to sing properly. Three times a week, for several years, including all day on Sundays. The result was that they DID get to sing for the queen, that happened at the memorial service for the Marchioness disaster.
The story goes that Olly and Gale were forced to leave the choir, but according to Olly himself that isn’t true: “We didn’t actually get chucked out as such,” says Olly. “All these old fellas used to sit at the back, and one day one of them actually pulled my hair! So I just lost it”. About a week after that they said ‘Listen guys, you’ve been here for five years. Well done. Here’s five pounds.’ But it was about then we discovered beer, and all our mates were out playing football and skateboarding and, well, sleeping…” So that’s how it ended.
Yes, but if it’s something to be proud of? Around the time of The Door single and the V2001 festivals, two tapes were issued (sourmc01 and sourmc02). The first included 4 tracks taken from the EPs released earlier. The second tape featured four tracks from The Optimist LP. Both tapes were handed out at concerts. They regularly appear at Ebay and aren’t worth a lot. However, the first tape is worth getting if you find the rare The Door Ep too expensive for you, as the first tape includes two tracks from this EP (The Door and The Road).
Secondly, some of the singles were released on cassette tape in France. This site sells (French) audio cassette tapes of 5 Mile and Long Distance. I don’t know if the other singles (from Ether Song?) were issued on tape as well. One thing that we can be sure about is that they’re quite hard to find.
Turin Brakes are from London (UK). More specifically: the south of London. Gale Paridjanian (left) was born in Clapham, south London, to a family of Iranian/Armenian descent. He sold guitars in a London shop before realising that playing the instrument was where his heart really lay. When his friend Olly Knights needed some music to accompany a film he was working on, the pair decided to form a band. Turin Brakes’s debut single was released in 1999. The film was never made.
Olly Knights was born around the corner (probably not really, but almost anyway) to Paridjanian in 1976. He boasts ‘English, Irish and Norwegian’ blood and looks forward to the day when he ends up, along with the other men in his family, looking like `a huge Norwegian bear’.
The boys went to school in Balham, London. Balham features in the b-side Balham To Brooklyn. Olly and Gale still live in south London.
At a football match he met Olly and that’s how the two became friends – or so the story goes. Check out a more detailed account here.
Yes they have! In Italy for example, Painkiller was used in a commercial for the Mercedes E Klasse in October 2003. Also, in February 2003, Meltin Pot used Long Distance in their commercial, making the boys quite popular in Italy. In the UK, several time Turin Brakes music has been used as background music for trailers of programs and sport shows. More recently, the instrumental bit of Fishing For A Dream was used in a Kellog’s Special K ad. A safe bet for Turin Brakes and similar music is BBC drama Waterloo Road. Most recently, Something in my Eye was used in the fourth season, but most of Ether Song has been used, as well as songs from the other albums.
Worldwide, you might have heard Rain City and Self Help on The O.C.. Underdog and was used on the show Smallville, Capsule and Something In My Eye in One Tree Hill in 2008, and Dark On Fire was featured in two episodes of Gossip Girl’s second season.
Olly and Gale quite often change their guitars. Especially Gale as he can’t find a right one that plays best…. There was an interview in Acoustic Magazine in 2005 in which they talked about guitars. Both have bought Atkin Guitars in the past, custom built for them. Gale says: “Olly’s been using a (Gibson) J200 which he discovered is generally the sort of guitar for him, because he can hit it really hard, and I’ve (Gale) been using this Charvel which I’ve had since I was really young, which is an Electro acoustic called an FCE150-E.”
Also Olly uses a silver Gretsch to play some of the more rockier songs with live. This was also used in the video for Over and Over.
At first they moaned about radio stations making them play “fun” covers, but somewhere along the road they started enjoying it. Among the songs they have covered live or on recordings are at least the following, and maybe even more.
- Theme From Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name). Played during radio sessions in 2001 and 2007.
- No Scrubs (TLC cover). Played on a BBC Radio 1 session in 2003.
- Angel Of The Morning (Shaggy song, with elements of The Joker in it). Released (session version) on the Love Music, Hate Racism compilation in 2003. Also played during live shows.
- What’s Next To The Moon (AC/DC song). Played live in 2003, release (live version) as a b-side to Fishing For A Dream in 2005.
- Moonlight Mile (Rolling Stones song). Released on Late Night Tales compilation in 2004 and Bottled at Source in 2009.
- Breaking The Girl (Red Hot Chili Peppers song). Released (session version) on the Red Moon EP. Also played during radio sessions and live gigs in 2005.
- Wicked Game (Chris Isaac song). Played live and in radio sessions in 2007 and 2008.
- Nesun Dorma (aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot). Only played once, in a XFM radio session in 2007, eventually released on Bottled at Source in 2009.
- Here Comes My Baby (originally by Cat Stevens). Released as Something In My Eye b-side.
- Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (Neil Young song). Played live once (so far) in an acoustic free 2009 live performance in a video store in London.
- Billy Jean (Michael Jackson song). Played live at Latitude 2009.
- Black (Pearl Jam). Recorded for 2010 covers ep.
- Chim-Chim Cher-ee (Mary Poppins). Recorded for 2011 covers ep (and frequently played live).
- 74-75 (The Connels). Recorded for 2011 covers ep.
- Rikki don’t loose that number (Steely Dan). Recorded for 2011 covers ep.
- Elliot Smith cover… and more!
The hidden track on Ether Song is simply called Ether Song, mainly because it is about Ether. The lyrics can be found somewhere on the cover art of the CD, but are also on this very website. The hidden track on The Optimist LP, might not be a real song to you, it has a real title though, it is called Three Days Old. It’s a bit like the instrumentals The Last Time and The First Time.
JackInABox features a jam called Ambient 2, yet there is no hidden track on Dark On Fire.
Most of the songs (lyrics) are written by Olly after he graduated at film school. The songs are about feeling ‘a little lost’ in this world: a feeling of going nowhere, wondering what life might bring. Olly sings the lyrics with such passion that you genuinely feel his heart is completely broken, but in each track their is a clear message of needing to stay positive. You almost get a sense that Olly is standing in front of a mirror, looking and talking to himself in many of the tracks.
At first it was hard for Olly and Gale to come up with a real theme. But the first theme they came up with and that they liked was the ‘ether’. An invisible thing situated between the Earth’s atmosphere and the stratosphere. Kind of above the clouds almost if you can imagine, that’s where the Ether lies, its a kind of unknown and magical thing, where the creative part of your spirit goes after you die. Olly and Gale weren’t interested in the scientific part of ‘Ether’, they didn’t need to know what it was, or where it was exactly. They were purely interested in the spiritual side of it.
This photo was taken at one of the Sound Mirrors in the south-east of England. They were used before there were radars and stuff like that to hear the enemy arrive. Olly and Gale had heard about them, and wanted to go there to take a photo for their first EP, The Door EP. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find it and they had to take a different photo (with them dressed up in animal suits, this idea would be re-used later when a video was shot for The Door). In 2003, they tried again, and this time they actually found them… Success at last.
Despite the obvious collector’s value, one can wonder whether it’s worth getting the EPs released before The Optimist LP. The Door EP (1999) contains very early versions of songs that were later re-recorded. The vocals and production standards differ enormously (it wasn’t recorded in a professional studio). It is, however, quite hard to find this EP. Only 500 CD copies and 500 vinyl 7″ copies were available.
The next two EPs, State of Things EP (2000) and Fight or Flight (2000) contain material from the Optimist recording sessions. All songs were later re-released in the same version on The Optimist LP, apart from The Boss, which appears in a re-recorded version on The Door (single), and Christine, which wasn’t re-released at all. As a bonus, the CD version of Fight Or Flight EP features an animated video for Mind Over Money.
The Red Moon EP (2005) features four new recordings. While Red Moon and Breaking The Girl had already been released before (on JackInABox and the NapsterLive live session EP), the EP contains significantly different versions of the songs, and it features 2 brand new songs (Jet Trail and Love Is All You Deserve, that haven’t been released elsewhere.
The Something Out Of Nothing EP came as a bonus disc with the UK version of Dark On Fire and features songs from the Dark On Fire sessions that aren’t available elsewhere. Definitely worth a listen!
In order of release:
- The Door: The single version has a shorter intro. While the drums don’t start till 0:25 on the album version, here they kick in at 0:12.
- Underdog is no different from the album version.
- Mind Over Money: a significantly shorter intro and outro (the video however, IS the album version).
- (Emergency) 72: A radio mix was made by Mike ‘Spike’ Stent (who also mixed JackInABox. A part of the first verse was left out: (on my mobile number, cos I’m always in. And I was just thinking about you, on emergency). The instruments are a bit clearer here.
- Long Distance: the outro of the song is shorter.
- Painkiller (Summer Rain): the solo is removed from the song. Also, there’s a clean radio edit replacing My love giving me head with My love making me red.
- Average man: same as album version.
- 5 Mile (These Are The Days): only one version exists.
- Fishing For A Dream: the outro has been cut off, and the intro is slightly different.
- Over and Over: same as the album version.
- Stalker: same as the album version.
- Something In My Eye: there’s no instrumental bit after the first chorus, and two lines were cut from the bridge.
Originally, the song was called Emergency 72… However, after 9/11 everything containing Emergency became a bit ‘sensitive’ (and the US tour supporting Stereophonics was cancelled as well). So, the single was edited (with lyrics cut out), new artwork was made and the song was released as simply 72.
A Jack In A Box is a little devil, coming out of the box when you don’t expect it, when you touch the box. In Turin Brakes’ case, it isn’t really sure what is in the box, it’s full of surprises, and that’s how it felt for Olly and Gale. A new phase, a new studio, a new way of recording, softly crafting each song, surprised by the possibilities. Especially the title track was a new phase, Olly and Gale mentioned. The fact that life and this record are both full of surprises, that’s why it’s called Jackinabox. “Life ain’t dishing nothing I can’t take!”
Forever is an original Turin Brakes song, but it wasn’t really meant to be a Turin Brakes songs. Olly: “This was one of the first songs we recorded for Jackinabox. We recorded this in Gale’s spare room. We actually wrote this song for Charlotte Gainsbourg. She asked us to write a track for her and we wrote this song, but we liked it too much to give to her. That’s why it sounds hyperromantic. Because we had her in mind for the singing.” (Source: XFM Track by Track).
The intro is supposed to make you feel like gambling. Olly’s sister made a field recording of a very old 16bit Sony mini disk and cheap stereo condenser in a Las Vegas casino. The guys doubled the random notes of the casino machines on a Rhodes piano. Both the casino sound as the Rhodes piano can be heard in the intro of the song, before the guitar kicks in.
YES! I mean no… No… I’m not Olly or Gale. Olly and Gale are in no way related to me or this website. I’m Stefan from The Netherlands, and that’s basically all you need to know about me. But you could write me an e-mail if you want to get to know me a little better…
At this moment I’m too busy writing and doing things like that, but feel free to write me an e-mail. If you have money I have time.
No, I can’t, I need all the space I have for this website. I don’t see this change in the near future, but if it does, I’ll announce it on the frontpage and on this page. However, if you have Turin Brakes stuff you want to share with the world, I wouldn’t mind uploading it here for people to see! Write me an e-mail (click contact on the top of the page).
If you have the time to send me a friendly e-mail, I’d like that. If you want to do something extraordinary, you can donate via Paypal. The site hasn’t made a single euro/pound/dollar since I’ve started and I’m paying for it by myself. If you like to help:
Well! Get in touch of course! Write to me via stefan [at] turinbrakes [dot] nl!
You can upload them in The Ether’s Air.