Singer/song writer VEra Joppig from Freiburg, Germany, is a brainchild behind her current solo project called turn turQuoise, which is set upon a computer as a digitalized or virtual band, that will soon grown into an actual group, if not perhaps staying within the digital realm in perhaps a holographic form? turn turQuoise may consider this, as she also goes into discussion of what her music style is, to what the next year holds, to so much more.
1. turn turQuoise is current a solo project, so if you yourself as VEra Joppig, were to go full solo as yourself, using your own namesake, VEra Joppig, how would your own style, differ, compare, and equal out to that of turn turQuoise?
I would do more cover songs and Jazz and just mix in some of my own songs. The songs would be the same, but the musical style would probably be less distinct than it is now.
2. How did the name of turn turQuoise, come into the picture, does it have a certain symbolize to the music itself, or is it just a name for the sake of being a name?
When I was looking for a name alliterations came up and I always loved colors. In yogic mythology turquoise is the color for the throat chakra, center of communication, perfect for singers and songwriters. I played around with it and turn turQuoise stuck and to me it means something like: find your voice and sing!
3. What image do you think your music conveys?
I have no idea, I don’t know if I even want my music to convey an image? But I could live with: Stubborn woman doing her own thing music.
4. How do you describe your music to people?
A wayward, colorful mixture of pop, jazz, folk and world music. Singer/songwriter meets digital workstation. Unusual music you won’t find on mainstream radio.
5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
The title song “StormBrides“ is about the wonderful, weird feelings I get when I look at surrealistic paintings. And since the female surrealists are way overlooked in my opinion I made it all about the paintresses. “Unstoppable Now“ was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, “Slowest Way to Die“ wants to tempt people into living their dreams. Other songs are about arrival on Bali – always a very happy moment (“Cloves & Mangoes“), being upset with my last TV set (“Window to the World“) or food speculators and polluters (“Cannibals at Work“). The way to becoming a musician for me was long and ardous and “Sphere of Hope“ is about the longing during difficult times to get there. “One Ordinary Day“ is a different take on a love song, can we fall in love with ourselves as much as we are wont to do with others? After 1 year of debilitating back pain in my 40s, my mind and soul was eroded and “Pain Revisited“ tries to describe that. “Where do They Go?“ is a goodbye to loved ones who went into the great unknown.
6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Yes, I write words and music myself. Often I will sit on the piano, try out chord progressions and sing a melody. Or it will start with a rhythmic loop in my sequencer app and go on from there. When the basic music idea is set, I’ll make an mp3 and take it hiking or biking and see what words and themes will fit the melody, the mood. Other songs start with a poem, a text fragment, that I will take to the piano and set to music. Sometimes I have a theme that I want to write a song about – “Where do they go?“ I wrote the year a few of my close friends died. Or I might hear a riff or a groove in somebody else’s song that I find interesting and try to do my own version of it. Starting songs for me is easy, the hard part is finishing them, especially the lyrics. Often I will go to cafes, go for walks, roam around town, try coffee, beer, champagne, tea and force my brain to come up with the missing lines. The last step usually is going to the Internet to polish the rhymes.
7. Who are your musical influences?
Strong influences are Sting, Joni Mitchell, Joe Jackson, Janis Joplin, Billy Joel, Patty Smith, Galliano, Florence & the Machine, Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Chi Coltrane and so many others.
8. You went on to create your own record label, can you brief discuss said label and why did you see releasing your own music through said label, was the right thing to do, as opposed to getting sign on to another label and doing it that way.
My own label is simply a way to make important decisions by myself and not get any time pressure from outside. Besides that big or medium labels would never have signed me on – singer too old and unknown, music hard to pin down – and small labels have no real budget for promotion and I think nowadays promotion and possibly tour management is the only thing a good label can do better than the musicians themselves.
9. If someone were to forth and create their own record label, as you have done so, how would they go about doing so?
The start is quite easy as a musician, you go the official places and register your company, in Germany that is the trade and the tax office. Then you need a good international distribution partner, I went with CD-Baby. They will give you the codes you need and distribute your music to iTunes, Amazon and streaming radio stations, Spotify et. al. Then comes the hard part, you need to do your own promotion. Because contrary to what you thought, the world has not been breathlessly waiting for your music…
10. turn turQuoise is a project created and set on the computer as a digital virtual band, but will soon grow out into an actual group, do you have an idea as to how you want that to play out, do you think the live version will turn out just as grand as the digital version?
The plan is for it to get even better with other musicians. The collaboration process for me can be quite difficult, but when it works and you go live as a group it can grow into something that you’ll never achieve on your own.
turn turQuoise: “Unstoppable Now”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9wygx7sYF4
11. If turn turQuoise were to stay in the digital concept, would you consider possibly creating a hologram version of yourself and perform your music digitally that way, as other holographic forms have done in their own musical ways.
That is a wonderful idea, thank you! I will keep it in mind if I can’t pull off the transition into the real world. :-)
12. “Stormbrides” is already 2 years old, have you gone forth to write or record any new material, in terms of a follow-up to this said release.
I have quite a few new songs partially written, some texts, musical ideas, melodies and themes of songs. I will probably need an incentive, a dead line to finish them… like doing concerts. I’ve also been practicing the piano these last 2 years. The piano parts were written for somebody who is much better at the piano than I am, but when the CD was finished I found I wanted to play the piano myself. So I needed to turn into a better piano player and that is where I’m at. It takes time, as usual much longer than I want it to.
13. What did it feel like to have written and recorded your debut album, it being that one album, that is always that ground breaking moment for a musician. What would you say was running through your mind?
Mostly two things:
“I need a break!“ I was pretty burned out and it took me about 6 months to recover. Besides making the album I had to earn enough money through teaching singing to live on and to finance the production.
“This is it, you’re officially a musician now! From here on everything will be easier.“ That did not quite become true, but all in all I am quite happy to find my way in the fascinating world of independent musicians. 14. You being from Freiburg, Germany, what does the music scene from this particular city look like and sound like, would you have any recommendations for us to check out.
We have lots of musicians here, lots of different styles. For Ska I would refer you to “the Nutty Boys“, for world music the wonderful frame drummer “Murat Coskun“, for Jazz the “Cecile Verny Quartet“, for Balkan Big Beats “Äl Jawala“ and for German Pop “Otto Normal“.
15. What does next year hold for turn turQuoise?
Polishing my piano skills, finishing some of the new songs to have enough repertoire for concerts and finally start performing again. First in small solo concerts and then hopefully with 2 or 3 other musicians. I might release at least a single, certainly make more videos.
16. Can you describe turn turQuoise in just three words, what would those be and why?
rhythm – flow – depth
rhythm: I often start writing songs with a beat or a groove, because initially I wanted all the songs to be dancable. While producing a lot of time went into programming the drums, finding rhythm loops and trying to substitute a real drummer.
flow: Many of my songs flow from one key or modal scale to another. That starts in my head, I hear what harmonies want to come next and look for a structure that holds it together.
depth: I try not to use cliches, to write about other things than love, sex and the lack thereof and to make the lyrics come from a deep place within myself.
By: Natalie Perez – nataliezworld.com – firstname.lastname@example.org