""I’m the bass player for a band and an amateur driveway fixer"" We chat with Lucia Turino
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Californian Americana band The Devil Makes Three are on the verge of releasing their latest album, Chains Are Broken. As part of our Women In Country & Americana series we talked to bassist Lucia Turino about the new record, their sound, touring, and Willie Nelson.
Hey Lucia, how the heck are you?
I’m awesome! And tired!
What have you been up to today?
I’ve been fixing my driveway that got washed out in a downpour. We got four inches of rain in less than four hours, and then there was a trench a foot and a half wide and a foot and a half deep running down my driveway. So I’ve been moving rocks and shovelling gravel in the hot sun.
So, pretend we don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?
I’m Lucia Turino. I’m the bass player for a band called The Devil Makes Three and I’m an amateur driveway fixer.
Wikipedia describes you and the band as “blending bluegrass, old-time, country, folk, blues, jazz, and ragtime”. How would you describe your music?
I try not to! Sometimes I say that we do to American music what the Pogues did to Irish music. Sometimes I say that we play all kinds of American music mishmashed together. It’s the only music I know how to play so it’s just what comes out!
You’ve got a new record coming up, what can you tell us about Chains Are Broken?
I’m really proud of this record! I always love a record when we first make it but this one I really love. I said earlier that we play all kinds of American music, I think we’re coming up chronologically through history. With this record we finally have made it to the 60s and 70s. This record is way more traditional rock 'n' roll than any of the others. The other records might have had rock 'n' roll attitude but this one is just rock 'n' roll. And who doesn’t love rock 'n' roll?
It’s your third with New West as your label, what difference has that made?
Such a difference! The biggest being that we’ve had the money to make the kind of records with the kinds of people that we’ve always wanted to. Having a real budget is huge! And they’ve been hugely supportive of us creatively. A bunch of nice people helping us do what we love best.
What’s your process for writing and choosing songs to record?
Pete writes almost all the songs. Everything starts with an outline of words and music that he has come up with. For this record, he brought those songs to Stefan (our drummer) and me and we came up with a rhythm or groove for the songs and harmonies. Then Cooper comes in a finds guitar hooks. Then we play them a bunch. Often a song then goes back to the drawing board, gets ripped down back to the outline and we try a different approach. Some songs work on the first try. Most take some work and a lot of head scratching.
‘Paint My Face’ and ‘Bad Idea’ are the first two tracks to be released, but what’s your favourite song from the new record?
Oh, that’s hard. I really do like them all. I’d have to pick 'Paint My Face' and 'All is Quiet' as my favorites. They’re so different from anything we’ve done and they’re so dark and cool.
I’m really conscious of the fact it’s hard to make a living out of music these days, so what’s the best thing that people can do to support you and your music?
Come to shows! Buy records! Tell your friends to buy records and come to shows! We own most of our records at this point so we make some money from record sales but the biggest source of income (and fun) is from live shows.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
Not as bad as you might think. I used to get asked if I was the singer a lot. Or if I was someone’s girlfriend when we would load in at small clubs. Now everyone knows who I am so that’s not such an issue. We have several women on our crew and they tend to bear the brunt of any stupid macho stuff. It seems that most people in the industry are used to women as musicians but women as techs or engineers can turn some heads. Most clubs are cool and staffed by super cool gals and guys but every once in a while we run into some crusty old sound guy or tough guy loader who thinks they need to show our crew ladies how things are “really done”. It’s lame.
How have you found things have changed since #MeToo and #TimesUp?
I haven't noticed any differences. Those who were cool still are and those who are oblivious, same.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
WILLIE NELSON! I don’t usually care too much about famous people but Willie, he’s a class all to himself. Getting to share a stage with him was magic. I’m sure he has no idea who I am and I don’t care.
Touring… what’s the best thing about it?
Playing shows of course! But second best is hanging with my road family. We have a great band and crew and most of them I only see when on the road. The people you travel with make all the difference. I also get to see friends all around the country
And what do you really hate?
Being away from home. I miss my boyfriend and my animals. I miss cooking and deciding exactly what I want to to do and exactly when I want to do it. There’s not a lot of autonomy in touring.
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What am I reading? “For the Time Being” By Annie Dillard. It’s great! She’s great. I’m such a nerd!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Black and if I’m really lucky it’s brought to me while I’m still in bed.
The new record from The Devil Makes Three is out on 24th August. To find out more about the band visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and check them out on Instagram.