- Before his music took off, Turner graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology and was hired on at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the main propulsion systems group (he somehow focused on refining his musical craft in the evenings).
- He lived in Japan for several years and studied Sumo wrestling, where his Sumo instructor was infatuated with Patrick Swayze and “Dirty Dancing”, so practice always included “She’s like the wind” on repeat (we’re still not quite convinced this is true…but who would make this up??).
- If you’re into the X Games, you’ve heard Casey before; he’s been featured in dozens of surf, skate, snowboard, action sports videos and television.
XXQs: Casey Turner
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?
Casey Turner (CT): Great question, it took me a minute to figure out a label for my sound. Its not full reggae or rock, yet it has a sort of island kind of vibe and most tell me that the songs remind them of the beach. I eventually settled on “Acoustic Island Beach Rock”. I’m not sure if that genre is officially listed out there yet but what’s in a name anyway? ; )
PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
CT: Growing up I listened to allot of rock and punk rock, like every kid should growing up at the beach in a mainland surf town. Pearl Jam, Agent Orange, Offspring, and Nirvana were always in my player and of course I always listened to my favorite punk bands of all time Face to Face, NoFx and Down by Law. If I wasn’t listening to those bands I’d put on some old Australian 80’s groups like the Hoodoo Guru’s or Men at Work. Also always jammed The Police those guys had the best sound.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
CT: I don’t know if I can answer that question in a past tense; I’m still trying ; )
But yeah, it can be a struggle building momentum with music. I just always looked at is as art. If people get a hold of my music and gravitate towards it then that is awesome. I play music with the understanding that some people are going to like what you do and others might not. I just play because I really enjoy it. People tell me that my current material puts out a good vibe and makes them feel good. I try to keep it positive these days.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Casey Turner show?
CT: My live shows are comprised of me jamming solo on my ukulele and acoustic guitar looping parts on my loop station and building songs as I go. There is a video on my website of me playing live at the Kona Brewing Co. Liquid Aloha Festival and it shows me looping up one of my songs “Never Want To Go Home”. I think it came out really good and it pretty much gives you a good idea of what I do and sound like live: www.CaseyTurnerMusic.com
PEV: As a bonafied Rocket Scientist who developed hydrogen fuel cell systems for major vehicle manufacturers, dabbled with renewable energy patents, and worked at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA – how do you balance the life of a rocket scientist and a musician?
CT: Ahhh yeah, the rocket science and engineering days seem to be behind me at this point as my single is just starting to do rather well on radio and pleasantly gaining popularity in some of the areas where the airplay is. Rather exciting. It really has been just an awesome thing to be given the option of putting down my original career and embracing something as completely different as being a full time musician. I really did enjoy some of the engineering though. Developing some of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and being part of launching space shuttles were definite highlights of my career that I will never forget.
PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?
CT: I’d say the best part about being on stage is sharing the moment with everyone there. Having a good time is the reason why I’m up there. My goal is to spread it to the audience.
PEV: What is the underlining inspiration for your music?
CT: Making music that feels good. I named my new CD No Stress Express for a reason ; ) haha.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
CT: Ahhh…sometimes I look back, but mostly I try to stay in the ever burning now and plan a little bit for the future, but not too far ahead.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
CT: I lived in Japan for several years and studied Sumo wrestling. Our Sumo instructor was infatuated with the American actor Patrick Swayze from the movie “Dirty Dancing” and we had to practice our Sumo moves for an hour and 20 minutes while listening to “She’s Like the Wind” on repeat.
CT: I usually take my time with writing new material. I never force anything. If I don’t feel inspired I don’t usually try to write. I usually write when I feel inspired; and then songs just start to happen and my brain downloads everything into my pen or keyboard.
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out or just started enjoying music?
CT: I would say I think that it is easier to make things happen on your own these days; mostly due to technological increases. A while back you needed a huge budget to make a good recording. Now you only need a small budget, some time and know how.
PEV: What can fans expect from your debut release, No Stress Express? What was the writing process like for this album? What is the story behind the name of the album?
CT: I think a good way to describe my No Stress Express album is to say it is upbeat but laid back. I wrote some songs sitting on the sea wall at the beach with my ukulele and others while on a surf trip through Indonesia and Hawaii. I can say that the tropics, beaches, sun, sand, and new places and people definitely influenced my writing of this CD. That being said, I had a great artist and friend of mine Seth Novack paint the album cover. It came out sic in my opinion. Waves coming in off a tropical point break with a train coming around the bend. You can even see the surf racks and boards strapped to the top of the engine and if you look even closer you can see my Bintang Hat in the conductor window. The painting really helped tie it all together.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
CT: Well I just got back from a two month tour in Hawaii supporting the airplay of my single “Never Want To Go Home”, so check that destination off the list ; ) What an amazing tour that was! I think Id like to eventually tour the Philippines and Japan next. We will see. Just recently four larger stations in the Philippines started playing my songs so I’m just kind of seeing how it goes and will make some plans if it gains some traction over there. But I’m open to playing anywhere that’s welcoming.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
CT: Growing up in a non-musical family was challenging. Hence one of the main reasons I chose to go into engineering instead of music (no regrets though). Overall I get support form most of my family now-a-days.
PEV: What are you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
CT: Spare time? Haha. I’m usually busy working on booking my next gig, working on marketing, or my next music video, or designing a flyer to post, or writing a new song, or working on recording new music. I surf less now than when I worked my engineering jobs!
But yeah there is always time to surf and hang at the beach etc. I’m living my life the way I want to be living it, that’s the best part. And any problems I come across can most likely be categorized as 1st world problems so they aren’t all that serious and can eventually be solved.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
CT: Probably drummer, Stewart Copeland of the Police. He has such a unique style. It would be awesome to jam with him.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what would you do for a career?
CT: I’d probably be a Dad.
PEV: So, what is next for Casey Turner?
CT: Well…lots on the list. But recording a new album is on the agenda, as well as doing some touring; I’d like to get on a bill with another band that has a tour lined up and might need some support. I think that might be ideal for me right now, but we’ll see how it goes.