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31-Different-Flavored Melodic Death Metallers Discuss Life on Road and New Material

Turbid North is partially a product of their environment and partially a product of open-minded musicians. Mellow harmonies, classic rock, western, psychedelic freak outs, doom-y sonicscapes all help enhance the group’s brutal death metal base. They present extreme music from opposite polarties. Much of the group’s writings pay homage to nature, a thing of abundance in the Rydlinski brother's (Adam and Alex) and Nick Forkel’s life before moving to Texas. The memory of Alaska’s permafrosted aesthetic led to writing hymns to nature. Like Cinderella once said, “You don’t what you got until it’s gone.”

Moving to Texas also instilled upon Turbid North a definite down-south swagger. Amongst its current ranks are former and current members of The Destro and Debri. Whether the Lonestar State’s tradition for bruising groove played a factor in their music or not, these sounds leave an obvious cowboy-boot imprint on their music.

Nearing the end of their U.S. tour, Metal Underground.com joined Turbid North guitarist Alex Rydlinski and Nick Forkel upstairs in Head Hunters’ patio. These Alaskan transplants described life on the road, new material and how the group merged all of these styles and members (bassist Chris O’Toole is originally from England).

Darren Cowan (Rex _84): Turbid North has been on the road for quite a while. You’re getting ready to wrap it up. How has the tour been? You’re almost at the end, so you can look back.

Alex Rydlinski: Yes, tonight is the 26th night. There were some ups and downs; I hate to say, but there were a lot of really good nights on tour. We met a lot of cool local bands from all around the country and met a lot of fans.

Nick Forkel: Saw a lot of cool stuff. We saw a lot of the country we have never seen before and been to places we have never been to before. Niagara Falls is pretty sweet.

Rydlinski: We got burnt to a crisp in Daytona Beach.

Forkel: Yeah, this was our first time visiting Florida. Anytime we are close to a beach town, I go to the beach.

Cowan: Are you catching up for all of those years living in Alaska?

Rydlinski: And Texas, too. There is Galveston, but it’s not like the coast.

Cowan: What do you have planned when you return home? Are you going to start recording an album?

Rydlinski: We have a lot of writing to do, but hopefully we can start recording as soon as possible.

Forkel: We already started writing some riffs, but we need to get together, put it together and get some songs going. We’re going to jump on that right away.

Cowan: Do you have a plan for how you want to release it? Will you be shopping labels?

Rydlinski: We don’t want to think about that right now. We have to focus on the writing part, first. Ironclad has been really good to us, so far.

Cowan: I haven’t seen much news on Ironclad lately. That label used to be a sub-division of Metal Blade. Are they no longer with Metal Blade?

Rydlinski: No, he [Trevor Phipps] has his own distribution deal now.

Cowan: The next album will be your third. How do you view your band’s progression?

Forkel: This is pretty much our second album. The first one we did was with a different singer, different kind of band. This one [“Orogeny”], the one that’s out now, we had just gotten a new singer, so we didn’t really know what we were going to sound like. Now, we know what we’re going for, so we’re going to try to do it bigger and better.

Rydlinski: As far as evolution, I think we have evolved in every possible way. We try to make the heavy parts heavier, the weird parts weirder, softer parts softer.

Cowan: Extreme softness?

Rydlinski: Yes, it brings out the heaviness.

Cowan: Does Turbid North still live in Alaska or have you all relocated to Texas?

Rydlinski: We all live in Texas.

Cowan: Ok, so since you moved to Texas, do you still find inspiration from nature? Turbid North writes songs with many natural elements, from the lyrics to the music to your imagery.

Rydlinski: I think being away from home has inspired us more than ever. We never wrote about that stuff when we were in Alaska. That stuff is for tourists. Once we moved to Texas we started missing home. We started thinking about that type of thing. It was something we could relate to. Once it was something we didn’t see everyday, all of a sudden a mountain becomes more important than when you’re driving to work in the morning and “there it is.” We try to go back when we can.

Cowan: Do you miss the polar bears and Moose?

[laughs] We don’t see many polar bears, saw Grizzlies, though.

Cowan: One aspect about “Orogeny” is that you play many melodies, but you also throw in a definite American death metal influence. I don’t hear bands take that approach. Most of the time, it’s the Gothenburg style mixed with melody. Do you believe that helps you stand apart from the rest of the pack?

Forkel: Yes, it does because, like you said, it’s not just one or two sounds. We try to throw in as many different flavors as we can. We all like different sorts of music—heavy, classic rock or whatever. We try to throw all of that in, but at the same time keep a death metal base.

Cowan: It can be tough to mesh various styles. Do you ever put something out to your band mates and realize, “Man that is not working”?

Forkel: It’s kind of weird. We just do whatever sounds good. If it sounds good, then it really doesn’t matter what style we’re using. If it sounds good, we keep it.

Cowan: Sometimes mixing styles can really change the tone or direction of your songs. Is this an obstacle you face when writing?

Rydlinski: We’re slow writers. It takes us a while. That’s why we don’t have a new album out right now. We don’t have any limits. We keep churning the ingredients until it’s right. There are a lot of variations. Hopefully, it’s not just us punching out a different part, like “here’s a death metal part” or “here’s a 70s part” or whatever. There is a little of that, but hopefully the songs feel like something on their own, like it’s not just experimentation. We’re trying to get better at song writing all the time. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve gotten so far.

Forkel: We’re excited to get started when we get back home. We can’t wait to get home and start writing to get an album out really fast. We’re not the fastest writers when it comes to songs, so we’re going to jump on that as soon as possible, and try to get something out.

Cowan: Did it take a long time to write the last album?

Forkel: Yes, because like I said we had just gotten a new singer, and we didn’t know what it was going to sound like. We wanted to do something different. It took a little bit to get the sound that we were looking for. Now, I think we have our sound; we’re just looking to get better at it.

Cowan: Are you going more for quality over quantity?

Both: Always.

Rydlinski: I would like to say thanks to everybody that came out for the tour. We met a lot of good people who were very supportive—strangers and old friends alike. We played many cities we’ve never played before. I want to say thank you to everybody that came out. Zack [Shaw] and Jerry [Graham] (The Syndicate) helped out a lot with publicity. Metal Sucks came out to our show in New York, which was great.

Forkel: We met a lot of good people.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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