God Lives Underwater resurface
By Tamara Dinelle, Varsity Staff
When one thinks of music from the California area these days, bands such as Korn, Sublime and No Doubt usually come to mind.
Hearing the techno-style pop songs from Life in the So Called Space Age (A&M), the second album from God Lives Underwater, one wouldn’t necessarily place this band in the Los Angeles area pigeon-hole. Not that geography has much to do with the music-so says Jeff Turzo, one half of the duo, with whom I had a telephone interview from a mystery restaurant last week.
“This is the first time we have felt any sort of presence in L.A., is in the past few weeks with this album,” he remarks. “We’ve lived there for the past three years and it was where we lived, but it was the least-recognized city for us in the United States. It’s such a weird finicky place and such a sceney place.”
Turzo and partner Dave Reilly have not been involved in any scenes, in or out of L.A,. for a while. Following their first album Empty, they took a three year Stone Roses-like sabbatical, citing problems with their former record label, American.
“Dave and I kind of got locked into this weird situation,” Turzo recounts. “We couldn’t really tour, and we couldn’t make an album and they didn’t really let us do anything. We got really miserable and really un-productive and then things turned around. Our manager, who was like our room-mate/best friend, Gary, had just got a label deal with A&M and then all of a sudden things brightened considerably. We took some of the stuff that we had worked on through that tough period and finished an album.”
Their creative lull has worked considerably in their favour. The first single from Life in the So Called Space Age, “From Your Mouth,” is receiving con-siderable radio and television airplay. The group will start a month long tour next week and plan to be on the road for the summer playing at radio festivals.
Not bad for a band who claim to “just write pop songs and make them at home with some gear.” The duo have shied away from using the studios to record, preferring to make their music at home not just for financial reasons, but for creative purposes as well.
“If I had all the money in the world,” says Turzo, “I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending $200 an hour to jerk around in the studio. We aren’t recording in studios because of the way we make music. A lot of it is not just the methodical, like lay down the tracks, mix the song, done. For us, [we] kind of enjoy it to the level that we might listen to a part looping for a couple of hours. It’s not the kind of thing you can do on the clock in the studio.”
The result is a sound that is both unique yet mainstream at the same time, although straying from the usual guitar sounds of today’s music. Although Turzo says that there “were no conscious stylistic changes in this album” he feels that “there’s only so many rock riffs that we could’ve worked with.”
Turzo also jealously guards the group’s individuality, not wanting parameters to be placed around their sound. He refers to past incidents where the group’s message has been misinterpreted. “I guess when you are trying to describe a band you need to give something to people so that they can have a take on it,” he explains.
Instead, the duo are content to write what “turns them on.” Although they have both a new drummer (Scott Garrett ) and guitarist (Andrew McGee), Turzo and Reilly prefer to remain as a pair and not make any permanent additions at this point.
“Dave and I started doing this ourselves and have always pretty much,” Turzo says. “It’s just the chemistry and combination that we found that works but we haven’t felt the urge to mess with that.”
Original Date: 1998-04-14