Artist Interview: “Pain and Marijuana” by TURTLE PARK

: I absolutely love this track! It has such a nostalgic feeling, bringing me back to the early 2000s, but it also has a fresh new element! Can you walk me through your creative process in making “Pain and Marijuana”?

TURTLE PARK: The song started on the guitar. The main riff was created by our lead singer and songwriter Adam Peters as he tuned his guitar in all sorts of ways to create different harmony between the strings as opposed to a standard tuning. He then called bassist Kaden Thompson who was already in his car on the way to Adams house and played him the riff over FaceTime. The riff was slightly different at that time than what you hear in the intro now however Kaden suggested a slight rhythmic change which became the intro you hear today. Later that day drummer Desmond Rucker joined the rest of the band and we began to arrange the structure and his parts. It was not long after that M.C. Dre Gordon joined with us to hop on the track and deliver the most climactic part of the song. The majority of lead guitar was done months later after meeting and recruiting guitarist Jordan Wilson. We are thrilled that you love the track! The nostalgic feeling of early 2000s music is brought on by all of us taking large amounts of inspiration from music from that period in the early adolescent years of our lives. We had spent our days listening to bands like Green Day and Foo Fighters who inspired our love of Guitar driven music. 

Q: From the looks of the lyrics, “Pain and Marijuana” seems to be about being in love with someone who isn’t reciprocating the feelings; what was the inspiration behind this song?

TURTLE PARK:  Funny enough the song is not about being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. What Adams’ lyrics are specifically about is a healthy relationship and happy relationship that is doomed to come to an abrupt end. It is also about the lonely desolate town that the relationship takes place in and being in a lot of mental anguish despite having a healthy loving relationship, but within said relationship the feeling of anxiety about the current state of a ticking clock leading to use of substances (one in particular I’ll let you guess) to cope with that anxiety. Adam was really happy to hear that you had interpreted it differently than how he had intended it because that means that it is interpretable to anyone and anyone can apply their own meaning to it. This is great to hear as artists for everyone in the band because it means that everyone can enjoy our music in their own way.

Q: What’s the music scene like in Pittsburgh? What has been your guys’ favorite venue to play so far?

TURTLE PARK The music scene in Pittsburgh is so ruggedly creative. Beautiful and colorful but also gritty and grimy just like the steel city itself. We have met so many amazing and talented artists that we have been too privileged to call our friends. The scene when we were growing up there that we identified with was a very postmodern one with extremely different musical backgrounds and sounds: hip hop, punk, jazz so on and so forth that is so evident in all the music we have made. However funding for arts and creative people is low and the pandemic surely brought what was already a very DIY and self governed scene with not a lot of funding to its knees. multiple venues closed for good and we hope the absolute best for Pittsburgh while we are away from home in Manchester trying to do here what simply isn’t possible in a place as isolated as Pittsburgh. We had thought a long time thinking about our favorite venue and after much debate we came to roughly two answers. Firstly, we played a festival in July 2020 called Picklesburgh (for those wondering what that is, it is a pickle festival with an amazing pun) and we played on a stage built on a street downtown overlooking the iconic river and North shore while being surrounded by an amazing crowd. Secondly we decided to choose an established brick and mortar venue that being a DIY punk venue that we had been playing at since we were 15 the Mr.Roboto Project. It housed so many shows organized and put on by us and our friends over many years and we know it’s done the same for many other acts in Pittsburgh. It has the quintessential DIY vibe and freedom of creative control. 

Q: I love the rap element at the end of “Pain and Marijuana”; it takes the song to a whole new, unique level. Who are your biggest musical influences?

TURTLE PARK: The rap Element is mostly brought by Dre Gordon the bands MC and Desmond Rucker, who plays drums on this track but is also a rapper in TURTLE PARK. The rap influence is still definitely a big part of everyone’s else’s musical background as well just like grunge and pop punk and like everything we all like so much music and it’s so hard to cite specific influences. We just consume large amounts of different music and then when we come to create it just is what it is and we pull from those vast array of influences when necessary.

Q: I read that TURTLE PARK was founded in 2020 and I would love to know the story behind your guys’ meeting!

TURTLE PARK: TURTLE PARK was founded in 2020 however Adam, Kaden and Desmond met all 3 together when they were 10 and knew each other separately from a very young age. Kaden and Adam started playing in a different band than Desmond when they were 10 and played a show with Desmond’s band. Later in high school Desmond’s band had broken up an final the three started the band Snowdonia along with Atticus Crowley (violin) Dinah Devault (flute) And Luc Pinigus (guitar) who was later replaced by Jake Epstine (Keys, Guitar and Vocals). The band released an ep and a single and wrote more than an album of amazing materiel that we still play to this day as TURTLE PARK and Snowdonia but Snowdonia was broken up by the other 3 members going to college and the pandemic. With half the band they originally had Adam, Desmond and Kaden started the next chapter of their career still collaborating with the member of Snowdonia and other artists they had been associates and friends with for many years Most notable of these is MC Dre Gordon who Adam and Desmond used to play guitar and drums for at live shows later becoming an official member of the group and an integral part of the creative process. The latest pieces of the TURTLE PARK team are Scott Hughes-Lewis (Keys Vox and production) and Jordan Wilson (Guitar) who Kaden Desmond and Adam met when they moved to Manchester to go to the RNCM and advance their careers. 

Q: Walk me through your writing and production process in making “Pain and Marijuana.”

TURTLE PARK: The Production on Pain and Marijuana was not fully realized until Scott started working on it. He is a very talented engineer and producer and this is the first track to be released that he has worked on. There were many versions before this one made with Adam mixing and producing solo and they all played a part in creating this version. Writing-wise it doesn’t take long tho so it’s hard to even piece together the process. More often than not the first or third thing that we try when writing a part or bit in a song is what sticks as we’ve been working at our musicality for a long time. For example I’m quite sure Desmond played the drum part almost exactly the way it is the first time he played it aside from a few minor changes over the time since it was first written until it got recorded.

Q: What has been one of the most significant moments of your musical journey so far?

TURTLE PARK: There’s been so many. Over our whole careers we remember a show just before covid at Snowdonia’s EP release party where a huge amount of the crowd was singing the songs off the EP back to us. We were almost taken aback in the best way possible at the energy that they gave us. It was a helluva show.

Q: Any parting words with your fans?

TURTLE PARK:To our fans we would say this: we have been at this music thing for a long time. We have tons of songs and other content that we are working on tirelessly to prepare to present to all of you lovely individuals. You can find us on the streets, at the pub, or on the stage. But we hope that wherever you see us, you come say what’s up and enjoy this journey with us.

Interviewed by Melissa Cusano





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