Turno: if you’re a D&B fan, his name will be more than familiar.
If not, get to know it now as chances are – regardless of your particular subgenre niche – you’re going to be hearing a lot more of him.
Make that ‘genre niche’. Not content to develop from his jump up keystone in D&B with more soulful, rolling, liquid or tech pastures such as his cover of Jean Jaques Smoothie’s Two People or his incendiary co-lab Collision EP with A.M.C on Titan, Turno is also neck-deep in house and grime projects. He’s also working on his debut album, he’s launched a dope clothing brand Time Is Now and laying down wise, wise words in interviews.
If you’re a Turno fan you’ll already know he speaks gospel. If not, get to know now as chances are you will be very soon….
I’m sensing you’re in a good place right now?
I’m pretty humbled people are noticing to be honest. I think my sounds maturing and I’m really enjoying trying new things. I like challenging myself, I get bored very easily. Music is a big world and I want to explore it all. You know I’m not just doing D&B now…. I’m also on a house music project with my good friend Razda under the name Second Nature. It’s been bubbling for a year or so but we’re putting more grind into that now. The music is starting to click and releases are coming very soon. So yeah, I am in a good place thanks.
Tell me more about the house stuff!
Well I love my drum & bass, we all know that. But it’s really productive to take a break from the drums after now and again and completely refresh a different side to the production. We’ve not released anything yet, but we’ve got something signed by Locker Room Records. It’s really exciting.
House music is a big world in itself. What type are we talking here?
Deep tech mainly. Patrick Topping, Solardo, Hot Creations. That kind of sound.
Sounds like someone’s been bitten by the Ibiza bug!
You know this! I’ve been checking out the house stuff ever since Sunbeatz started doing Ibiza trips. At first I didn’t get it. I was like ‘why are people into this? It’s just repetitive and boring!’ Then suddenly, one night in Sankeys it just clicked. I’ve been to Hideout the last few years as a raver, El Row too.
House is my dirty little secret because drum & bass is my full time job. When I’m on the dancefloor at house events I’m just Franco, not Turno. I’m just a music lover and that’s what I am first and foremost. What’s really cool is the way it’s taught me about production and music dynamics and how things work. Everything I hear and learn in the house music, I apply to D&B. Especially percussion, that’s a massive thing in house and I’ve brought a lot of that in my drum & bass. They’re both so different stylistically and technically but can inspire ideas both ways.
Must be nice to have that feeling of starting afresh too?
Yeah, I’m right at the bottom of the ladder again, prepared to fight my way to the top! I’m nowhere near anywhere I want to be in drum & bass too… So now I’ve got two missions on my hands! Music is too big to stick to one genre. It’s murder to even try that. You could be the best grime producer but if you don’t try it you’ll never know.
Haven’t you just done a grime thing?
Yes! Inna Dance with Stormin, Sharky Major, So Large, Teddy Brukshot and Nasty Jack. Target’s played it on Radio 1, which was massive. It just came on while I was in the car. Logan Sama has played it. Rude Kid on Kiss. Gassed! It’s had more support commercially than anything else I’ve ever done!
Is that a bit galling? To hustle hard in D&B for years with little radio support then drop one grime production and boom, they’re all over it?
I know what you mean, yeah. But no, it just reminds me that all it takes is one tune to change things and take things to a new level. Through this tune people might dig deeper and find my D&B or eventually my house music. It’s layers. The deeper you look the more you find.
Was there a moment or epiphany when you started adding these layers? The day I realised you were on this type of mission was the day I heard the Eats Everything bootleg!
That was the moment! That track was a huge one for me in Ibiza last year. We heard it in Sankeys and were like what the fuck is this? Me and my girlfriend got back to the hotel and we were trying to Shazam it off a video I’d filmed in the club. I was like ‘I got to do a drums remix!’ Glad you noticed that. I got a drum & bass album coming out soon and there will be a range of styles on it. It’s coming on Low Down Deep so the main feel will be jump up but expect a couple of curveballs for sure. Logan D has been such a massive support for me so I only feel its right to give him my first album. Before I start to properly develop my own label and platform.
Speaking of jump-up. Gonna throw this out there: What do you make of the… Shall we say the sharper, less funky, less bouncy sound in the subgenre? There’s quite a lot of it coming from Belgium right now.
Yeah well there are two sides to jump up, as I see it. There’s the foundation over here in the UK and for me it doesn’t get more foundational than Hazard. In the early 2000s he was the guy who made me want to do this. Every single release was a banger. For me he invented jump-up. I know that’s a big bar right there, I’ll probably get daggers, but fuck it…. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
But yeah, there is another side to jump-up and a lot of that love does seem to come from Belgium. A lot of it isn’t my bag either. But you have to respect it’s their own sound they’re developing which is always wicked. They’re really young and enthusiastic and the pecking order out there is so different there… Artists who are legends here are barely acknowledged over there. It’s a shame as a sense of history is important in any genre or subgenre. I speak to some of the youngers, over there or here, and they don’t even know what Turbulence is!
I know! It’s almost 20 years old but it still kills it and is a really important tune in the development of drum & bass. Whether you’re one of the old guys or one of the new guys, everyone needs to know their roots.
What’s your own personal D&B golden age?
2000-2008 was the era that I knew I was going to be involved in drum & bass. Original Sin as G-Dubs, Taxman, Hazard, Twisted Individual was in his prime. All them lot. Then the Birmingham sound with the Recluses and PAs who took it to more twisted areas. Such an influential era for me. I learnt the mentality and approach from that era too.
How do you mean?
Anyone can access production software now and they’re just firing shit out. I’ve learnt that you always need to take it slower, be patient and lay the foundations. The amount of work you need to put in, the years, the slogs, the bookings you have to do for free. You might be able to make a tune quick time, but you don’t have to put it out quick time and people definitely won’t pick up on you quick time.
It’s a long, long game. As artists we have the duty to push the boundaries in production, we set examples for all aspiring producers, so if we are lazy it doesn’t look good. And going back to that type of jump up you’re referring to, it definitely doesn’t represent the whole scene. There’s a heap of amazing artists championing the true jump up. For me jump up is pure party music – you’re not there to stroke your beard on the EQ of a snare or the techniques used, it’s more about party atmospheres, riffs you hum for weeks and fun.
The fun is definitely back. I think it is across the whole of drum & bass but definitely jump up. It’s not all that screwface stuff anymore. It’s vibey, it’s happy, it’s stuff to have a bounce with the boys to. The nasty stuff is still about, but me and a lot of other guys have been lifting the vibe and getting that fun and groove back into it. Annix… They’re my favourite artists and I predict the biggest things for them. We got a few collaborations in the pipeline. Shit you wouldn’t expect!
Who else are you feeling on that tip?
Simula has come with a big sound. He reminds me of Konichi when he came through. Gritty and different. Dominator is my boy – I’m feeling all his tunes hard right now. Obviously Voltage , Serum every single time. Anything on Low Down Deep. Bass Brothers are really original and exciting. T>I always has bangers. Not all straight up jump up, too. Of course the big dogs too… Heist , Majistrate, Pleasure, Guv. I know there are many more so sorry to anyone I’ve missed off the list!
We can’t leave your and A.M.C’s Collide EP on Titan of this interview list…
Yeah we’ve known each other for a long time locally and have shared tracks over the years. I’m always shocked when he asks for my music because I didn’t know he’d play anything of mine. So we’ve been chatting away and decided ‘fuck it, let’s get in the studio’. We had a lot of fun with all the tracks and it’s great to help each other out – fans of mine who don’t know him, fans of his who don’t know me. It’s great to see guys like The Prototypes or June Miller playing my stuff and I don’t think they ever have before. The same for A.M.C – guys like Majistrate and Heist who might not have picked up on his releases. We’re opening doors for each other.
I think it’s mad that in a scene which is still small – compared to say house or techno – that subgenres aren’t aware of each other!
It’s different markets I guess. Like the techy side which is massive in Europe and the jump up side which is much bigger here. There’s enough room for us all to eat but not enough time for us all to check every artist and every release. Maybe people do know about our tracks but we never hear anything? I just never assume people know about me.
Plus, I know I’ve never seen The Upbeats or Noisia feedback on a track of mine before! It’s nice to know these guys definitely know my name and I can send them music and know they’re not sitting there going ‘who the fuck is this Turno guy?’ I would like to see a lot more of us on the same line-ups to be honest. Everyone will play a blinder if they’re playing after someone of a different style because it switches things up. Right now it feels like all the techy guys are in one rave, all the jump up guys in another, all the liquid guys at another. That’s the way it is right now, but it’s definitely getting more colourful.
All styles under one roof.
Yes. We’re getting there and it takes the role of us as DJs and producers to bridge those gaps and join those dots. A lot of the guys are doing it and things can only get better. I’m going to be doing this in every way possible myself. With my productions, my sets and my brand Time Is Now.
Yeah what’s going on with that?
It’s a clothing and artist development/teaching company. It’s everything I believe in – time waits for no man, everything is possible if you put all your effort and energy into it. This is what I’m about and it will evolve into a music label too. It’s the start of my new legacy!
Turno & A.M.C – Collision EP is out now on Titan: Support