When Wild Wild Wets frontman Mike Turi released the debut EP Everyday Obstacle from his solo project Emerald Rats last month, he opened a window into a cerebral world of psychedelia.
“It’s been exciting to be able to create on my own after years of always depending on guitar players and [other musicians] to make music,” says Turi. “Maybe one day I’ll learn the guitar, but with these small hands — arthritic from the [inflammatory joint disease] ankylosing spondylitis — who knows?”
Like minimalist dispatches from the collective unconscious, Everyday Obstacle explores a darker, more ambient and beat-oriented sound than those that Turi has pursued in the past with WWW, Trap Gold, and the Old In Out.
“It’s a lot of texturing for these [songs]. I just get high and weird and make simple chord changes and create a structure, then add what I feel [is] necessary to the song’s identity — usually starting with the drums —then the rest is mostly all synth, though I did mess with a bass guitar a bit on some of these tracks.”
“Heat So Heavy” really captures Turi’s distinctive, ominous, Jim Morrison howl (listen when he sings “Love is hot like a burning fire”), while his cover of the Kinks’ “I Need You” at the end of the EP showcases the synth-heavy aesthetic that permeates the album.
“The sound differs from the previous bands I’ve worked with because it’s more beats-driven. The simplicity of the loops gives it, for me, a sort of hip-hop/dance-music vibe underneath, but then I add a synth cherry on a mud sundae over it, add on the lyrics, then tweak the hell out of it and send it to Keith Sweaty [Keith Milgaten of Jamuel Saxon] to master.
Taking his name from a Kim Fowley lyric, Emerald Rats will play his first gig on Saturday, March 9, at the Casbah with Brooklyn bands Darwin Deez and Caged Animals.