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Annelies Rom

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In Conversation With Turno

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In Conversation With Turno

“Where u gonna go when the raves out?”, a question that Turno, Skepsis, and Charlotte Plank ask us in their newest banger on EMI. But it’s also a question worth asking each other, tying perfectly into the start of mental health week, and Turno’s charity ‘On Your Mind UK’. 

We sat down with Turno to talk about his latest banger ‘Rave Out’, which he made during a writer’s camp in January 2023, and this wasn’t the only track that came out of that. “I managed to record 22 tracks that week, so there will be a lot more coming from me.” Other than making bangers, nowadays Turno is busy promoting his charity. “I want to educate the next generation about the importance of mental health, that’s the least I can do.”

First things first, How are you doing?

Things are really good. I’m really busy at the moment, but in a good way. I’ve got so many good things happening, I feel like it keeps me ‘young’, it keeps me excited and driven.

What good things are happening?

The EMI release obviously, ‘Rave Out’, which is amazing. It’s a really big label, they have a much bigger team, bigger resources and a much bigger budget. It’s amazing to be able to feed them with ideas, and they are making it happen. The last weeks before the release we organised a lot of popup parties, and we tried to get as much content as possible in regards to the song. 

I’m also currently designing my first stage show called ‘Game Time’. It’s really exciting, I’ve got some amazing visuals being made, and it’s going to be a throwback to the ‘90s with a 2023 twist, including gaming and culture references especially around the rave! Me and MC Dreps are taking this very seriously. There’s a lot of work going into this, the music is being prepared and planned around the show. I’m at the point of my career where I’m ready for this next chapter, and it’s all slowly happening. 

Why are you going for the ‘90s vibe in your stage design?

Nostalgia. Everything about it reminds me of being a kid. I really like the gaming, the design, and aesthetics of this decade. I know a lot of the kids nowadays are too young to remember this whole age but it seems like there’s a resurgence of this aesthetic, the cycle is coming back around. It’s becoming cool again. So not only is it nostalgic for me, but it’s also current as well it seems like. Hopefully we can make the full circle. 

Let’s talk about ‘Rave Out’, your latest track with Skepsis and Charlotte Plank. How did this collaboration happen?

In December 2022 we organised a writer’s camp with Ultra Music. People like Skepsis, Catching Cairo, P Money came in, it was timed so that for every couple of hours there was someone new coming in, it was really productive. I even managed to record 22 tracks in a week. ‘Rave Out’ was actually the first track we made, and it was also the first time me and Skepsis both met Charlotte Plank as well so it was crazy how that just came about. It happened really quickly, it was all recorded within a couple of hours of us starting the record. 

After it was made, we played it at Warehouse Project, and it really took off from there. We had most of the major labels contacting my management asking to sign the track, and then we organised a whole week in London to meet with everyone. In the end we decided to go with EMI. It felt like it was the right move for us, but it’s been quite a crazy journey. 

It’s exciting, I’m definitely going to do more writing camps. That environment, and the vibe of everyone in the room was so cool. Everyone had their job. Mila Falls and Reese Pullinger, who both work for Ultra, were integral in the production process as they helped with the writing and the recording and general social side which really helped me. Think about it, I’m a producer working with a bunch of strangers basically and that can be quite daunting! It was them who introduced me to everyone, and made sure everyone was feeling good. It meant that we could all do what we were meant to do. Everyone was there for the purpose of the track, it was a group process. 

I’m known for being Turno, for being jump-up, but at this writer’s camp I tested my character and skills and the results were amazing! Music is a group activity so to be able to have all components of a songwriting session in one room to build at the same time was really inspiring for me and I can’t wait to do another.

 

What was the creative process of the song like? 

Skepsis had the idea of the song, and Charlotte automatically connected to that idea. It was the first session of the writing camp, so I was still figuring out how it was going to work, but Charlotte started vibing right away. Skepsis had his sound, and from there I started adding my sound to it, developing the track further so it had more arrangement and finesse.

While Skepsis and I were making the instrumental for the tune, Charlotte was writing the song with Reese and Mila. We had another studio next door to record vocals. Once the vocals were ready to record we could bounce it off to Reese, go next door and record the song. And the funny thing is, because me, and whoever the other producing artist was, were producing and busy with that, we didn’t really know what was going on in that other studio. They would write vocals, record them and send them back to us. And then the first vocal they sent us we thought “wow this is crazy”, so that’s how it went, really. 

It was a really easy and effortless creative process. Big up everyone that was involved, Reese, Mila, all the others. It was such a productive week but that’s all because everyone was on job, no drinking, no partying, just work. 

The track talks about mental health, which is a huge topic for you. In October 2022 you organised a seminar together with DnB Allstars…

It’s absolutely a huge topic for me. My brother lost his life to suicide a couple of years ago, and this is one way of coping with it for me, talking about it, and educating people about mental health. Another thing I did to cope with his loss was making a song together with a couple of friends called ‘What’s On Your Mind’. I made the instrumental, they rapped about their experience with him, and mental health problems. I also made a D&B edit which I always play at the end of my sets and everyone holds up their lights and waves with me to the track! It’s a beautiful moment!

A lot of people connected with this song, and we received some lovely messages. People were reaching out saying “we really appreciate what you’re doing”. After this we did a documentary for the BBC about Fabio and about mental health, and then we made “What’s On Your Mind’ into an actual charity and brand. We put on a mental health  seminar in Manchester in such a short time, and it did so well. We decided to keep going from there and we’re now a registered charity.

Tragically, the reason why this movement has started is because of my brother losing his life, but at the same time we are doing our best to raise awareness and give back. For me it’s a subject really close to my heart. I think everyone feels the same about it and if we can use this platform to connect with the kids, because they listen to us, for me that is amazing. 

There were a lot of young people at the mental health seminar. I was really blown away. I have to big up my team that worked on it, it was an amazing day, and we were able to connect with a whole lot of other mental health organisations and brands that do things to help with mental health. The next goal for us is to be that household brand that is known for mental health within the music industry and more. 

Why do you think it’s important to raise this awareness?

Because so many people are losing their lives and suffering alone in silence. It’s as simple as that, really. We just want to show that you can talk about these problems, you’re not on your own. People are going through the same stuff. We all go through it. We are all human and we all have our ups and downs. It’s how you deal with those which makes you the person you are. People might not know how to deal with a certain feeling and that’s what makes them go down the wrong path. 

It’s all about educating. I’ll say it again, if we can use our platform to reach the kids, and the kids listen to us, if we can make the younger generation more aware then for me that’s a great thing to do. That is the whole idea. For me the whole reason I’m doing this is unfortunately because of my brother’s death, but I’m glad to be able to carry the torch and lead this movement. It’s time to start talking about it.

We have thousands of followers, the least we can do is educate the next generation, because there is so much negativity out there, and so much bad stuff that people take on more than the good stuff. There’s so much resources out there now and it’s definitely becoming more of a common subject, but for me it’s still not common enough. We need to keep doing what we do, and hopefully it becomes second nature. 

And it’s also a way of keeping him alive, isn’t it? Because when playing ‘What’s On Your Mind’ the audience shouts ‘Fabio’ back at you. How does that feel?

It happened in Australia earlier this year, and yes, it’s amazing. It really makes me feel he’s with me. I know he is in a way, but to be honest, I’ve not stopped doing things for him, it’s keeping him with me. If anything, it probably helps me more than I know but at the same time it’s the only way I know how to grieve. 

It’s a beautiful way of keeping him alive, just as the work you do with ‘What’s On Your Mind’. Earlier you talked about touring with the charity. How is that different from your regular artist life? 

It’s amazing, it’s like a common shared subject that we don’t talk about enough. Just people reaching out, people telling me they’ve lost their brother, sister, or other family members, or they’ve gone through stuff… that one person that messages you that you’ve got through to, that you could help, that alone is amazing. That is the reason that I do it. 

I think mental health training should be done in school, because then kids know how to identify their emotions. Knowing how to deal with emotions and just knowing how you feel, I think it would make the world a much more loving place. Nowadays, when we see someone on the street for example who’s not okay, we choose not to ask them how they are doing, we just walk past them because we have our own life going on. We should be asking each other how we are doing, we should be helping each other. It feels like we’re embarrassed about our emotions, but we really shouldn’t be. Everyone goes through it sometimes, so why can’t we talk about it? 

A lot of the time as well, the things that make you feel better, are also things that are free. Working out, going to the gym, doing active things, breathing techniques, cold showers, all these things are free. Making little changes, journaling, filling out a six minute diary, answering questions like “What are you grateful for today?”… Taking care of yourself is important, because we’re induced in screens the entire time, only focussing on what’s going on outside of us. 

 

Why do you think it’s important to get away from your screen, and take time to care for yourself?

I’ve got to big up my girlfriend, because she bought me the six minute diary for Christmas. It’s not something I would normally do, as I don’t like writing, but there’s something different about actually spending a minute thinking about “what am I grateful for today”. Every week it gives you five questions like “What would you tell yourself if you saw your five years younger self”, or “When was the last time you really cried”. 

It’s things you don’t really ask yourself, that make you reflect and remember the good and bad times. It’s selfcare. I do think it’s so important, and it’s part of my daily routine now. It’s great, because for example, if you wake up feeling shit and then you need to write down three things that you’re grateful for, that’s going to make you feel better. 

For me, exercising and more self awareness like journaling are the most important forms of self care right now, listening to your body, looking after yourself rather than looking at your screen. It’s great to get some time off from them sometimes. We’re constantly on our screens, working, watching tv, texting our friends. And it can be negative, like if you’re feeling down and you’re going on social media, it’s probably not going to make you feel better. Because you’re seeing all these great things everyone is doing while you’re doing nothing.

We want to applaud you for what you’re doing for the drum & bass community again, with your charity. Where do you think it is leading? Because you said there was still a long way to go for us to be talking openly about mental health.

The seminar in October 100% blew everything up, now it’s actively a brand, I’ve got a team working on it, and I’ve got events lined up. I’m so busy, but we see it growing. The sky’s the limit, I want to be that household brand within the scene that is at every rave, as much as they could be. Like a tent at a festival, a ‘What’s On Your Mind’ area where you can go chill. Or where you can go when you go too hard, where there’s people that understand what you are going through and help you talk through it. That’s the end goal. 

What else is coming for Turno?

Well, we now have ‘Rave Out’ that’s being released with EMI! And I will continue to explore that avenue! With all the tracks from the writers camp, we can kind of feed tracks throughout the year. 

Other than that, there’s my show that needs planning, because I really want to level up as an artist and DJ! I want to put my imprint in the live world and this is my opportunity to do so! I’ll keep releasing music and doing what I do, hopefully tapping down that major world but keeping that cultural integrity is key for me! I want my fans and supporters to feel both sides and that’s why I’m so hands on with everything as it is vital to my growth!  In an ideal world I want to release two or three tracks on a major label a year, but also more Turno tracks on my own imprint. Both worlds get me really excited and for me they can both coincide together! Music gives me purpose, it’s my power, without it I feel shy and irrelevant. That’s why I love what I do so much! The community, the feeling, the love! All in the name of music!! Best job in the world and I’ve got so much more to give!!

Any final words for this conversation?

Big up you, big up UKF for the support and most importantly big up all my supporters worldwide because without you we wouldn’t be here!! Love my G’s!!! #Gametime

Follow Turno: Spotify/Instagram/Souncloud 
If you are struggling with your mental health check out the Mind website. 

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