By Ryan Meehan
Murder By Death’s path began in the early 2000s as most Midwestern college-town groups do, by playing to small crowds at ratty venues and frenzied house parties. While many of their formative-year scene-mates failed to make it much further than campustown’s borders, Murder By Death translated their anonymous beginnings into a 10+ year career founded on a bedrock of five full-length albums, tireless D.I.Y. touring and performing ethics, and, most importantly, a dedicated, cult-like fanbase.
Since the band began in 2001, their audience has blossomed due in part to extended tours alongside similarly hardworking musical kin such as Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, William Elliott Whitmore, Ha Ha Tonka, and others. Through more than 1,000 performances across the United States, Canada and Europe, Murder By Death has gained word-of-mouth devotees and support from the likes of media outlets like SPIN Magazine, who said of the band:
“They brawl like Johnny Cash’s cellmates or dreamily swoon like Nick [Cave], stomping saloon floorboards in 4/4 time as grand strings fade into high noon.”
What resonates most with supporters is the band’s energetic, unique, and altogether consistent sound and conceptualized vision.
RM: For those who aren’t familiar with the group, how long has the band been together and how did you all meet? And the head of that vision is Adam Turla, who has been kind enough to sit down and talk to us today in 5 questions.
AT: 13 years. We met at college in southern Indiana. I used to throw a lot of parties and house shows.
RM: What would you say is the biggest misconception about your hometown of Bloomington, Indiana and the areas that surround it? Is it safe to say that you contribute to proving that regional stereotype to be incorrect?
AT: hmm. I would say many people haven’t heard of it! Bloomington is a strange town, that’s what I like about it. It has the university, but it also has a very independent side of it that completely ignores the university and the kids. It’s a small town, but there are a lot of interesting people that make their home there. It’s a curious blend of Midwest and southern living. I always say it is either the first city in the south or the last in the north.
RM: What percentage of people who come across your band name online would you estimate expect that you are a metal band?
AT: 99%? That’s what happens when you name your band when you are twenty years old and you didn’t listen to metal. Whoops.
RM: The album “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” came out about a year ago this week…Twelve months later, how do you feel about the overall response to that record? And what does the material that you have written since then sound like?
AT: I am glad people still give us a chance after so many years in music and so many albums. The response has been great from a critical and fan perspective, the trick is finding new listeners! I feel like our work is getting better and better and hope to be given the chance to still make music for a long time.
RM: Who put together the art direction for the video for “Lost River” and how long did that video take to assemble?
AT: Gabe Darling, of our friends band O’Death made it. We have admired his video work for a long time and were glad to get to work with him.
Video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8AlodMnjk
RM: What’s the most uncomfortable thing that has ever happened to you guys on tour? Do you ever worry that it will happen again?
AT: hmm. There are so many moments of exhaustion and uncomfortableness, of weirdos and creeps, robberies, and shady people- but in the end it is worth it. In thirteen years we have seen it all, but we drew still doing it. A good show just puts a spring in your step.
Official Website: http://www.murderbydeath.com/
Murder by Death on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MurderByDeath
Murder by Death on Twitter: https://twitter.com/murderbydeath
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