TRAVERSE CITY — The members of The Hacky Turtles, hailing from Traverse City, have come a long way since their elementary school days, with the funk rock band having experienced the ups and downs of the music industry, especially during the COVID pandemic.
So it’s no surprise that the band – now based in Grand Rapids – is focusing on mental health at the center of its two new singles.
With mental health being “a hot topic” for musicians since the pandemic upended live shows, bassist Ben Steer said the band wanted to let listeners know it’s perfectly okay to experience the occasional downtime and to ask for help if necessary.
“It’s like it’s okay to be down and depressed sometimes,” Steer said. “It’s important to connect with people who matter to you in different ways and being able to exert that effort becomes increasingly important as the world has become more disconnected.
“It’s okay to recognize it and try to get through it.”
This hopeful nature drives the Hacky Turtles’ two new singles, “The Low Before”, which was released last week (October 14) and the upcoming “Hold On”.
“Stylistically, these songs are very close to The Hacky Turtles brand,” Steer said, noting that the band has actually been performing “The Low Before” on stage for six years. “It’s a pop song with a catchy hook, powerful beats and features – for the first time – vocals from all five band members.”
Those members include vocalist Marc Kanitz, drummer Erik Krueger, and guitarists Alex Rushlow and Austin Spencer — all of whom grew up in Traverse City — along with Steer.
The band officially formed in 2014 at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
When The Hacky Turtles returned to Adrian to record the band’s new singles, they already knew what they were getting into, and they were ready to get serious and have fun at the same time.
After composing tracks for the Grand Rapids funky rock band’s 2021 album, “Dichotomy,” the band members already knew recording studio owner and producer Jake Rye, who has run Adrian’s Social Recording Co. since 2016. .
“We’ve just built a really good relationship with Jake and a great recording process and system (the album). We’re really happy with how he’s able to sound and record us,” Krueger said. .
For his part, Rye said The Hacky Turtles “have this language between them that’s just different. What probably stands out the most to me is their musical connection and how they blend different rock influences to create their sound. … It’s really cool to be part of a session with these guys.
After playing a host of festivals and outdoor shows this summer, the band plans to spend the next few months writing, jamming, “experimenting with different sounds” and otherwise preparing for a larger recording project. in 2023.
It’s also likely that they’ll continue the fun, high-energy approach that powers their live shows.
“It’s been a big blessing for us to play in front of human beings and get all that energy out, to play the songs that we’ve been practicing for a while, and to play some new stuff that’s fresh for us and our fans,” Krueger says. .
Steer added, “Live shows are crucial to The Hacky Turtles productivity. It seems the group is most engaged when there’s another live show to look forward to. … Trying out songs in front of an audience is the best way for us to master new music before we record it.
For now though, the band has prepared promotion for their new music, including a radio campaign, social media marketing, and a music video.
“We’re much more intentional about the release plan this time around than in the past,” Steer said, noting that The Hacky Turtles is committed to “improving online play” over the coming months.
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