Relocating to West Michigan from Chicago, the Traverse City-bred band plays Founders Brewing on Thursday and Grand Armory Brewing on Oct. 20 while creating new songs for its sophomore album.
THE BAND: The Hacky Turtles
THE MUSIC: Funky, organic rock with a folk essence
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids (opening for The War & Treaty); Oct. 20 at Grand Armory Brewing in Grand Haven; Oct. 26 at Workshop Brewing Co. in Traverse City; Oct. 27 at Bonobo Winery in Traverse City
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO, AUDIO OF THE HACKY TURTLES
When the Traverse City-bred Hacky Turtles decided to relocate their musical nerve center from Chicago to Grand Rapids, they were pleasantly surprised to find “an artist-friendly home base” in West Michigan.
“Although Chicago is a phenomenal city for music, the cost of living was daunting,” said lead singer and harmonica player Marc Kanitz.
“The group made the tough decision to move from Chicago to Grand Rapids in September of 2017 to take up the centralized position between the Midwest cities they know so well.”
Now, the band with an “organic” funk-rock and folk approach is quickly spreading its “fun-loving musical sound” across the region while gearing up to eventually release a sophomore album, the follow-up to 2016’s “Astro Blastro,” which was recorded at Pieholden Suite Sound in Chicago, a studio founded by the late Jay Bennett of Wilco and Titanic Love Affair.
“The band is constantly creating new material and currently developing tracks for a second album. … but first want to make an impact in the Midwest by playing live shows all over Michigan, Illinois and the neighboring states,” Kanitz said.
“The group is eager to spread their message of positivity, emotion and joy through music to new ears. The commitment to full-time musicianship is well under way.”
TRAVERSE CITY ROOTS, UPBEAT ENERGY, FULL-TIME COMMITMENT TO MUSIC
The genesis of band – which opens for The War & Treaty at Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and plays Grand Armory Brewing in Grand Haven on Oct. 20 – can actually be traced back to elementary school in Traverse City with classmates Kanitz, guitarist Alex Rushlow and guitarist/banjoist Austin Spencer, who later performed in the band Audio Monarch.
Officially, the Hacky Turtles formed in 2014 at Michigan State University with fellow Traverse City native and percussionist Erik Krueger, then moved to Chicago the following year “pursuing full-time careers in the transportation/logistics industry while performing music around the city,” Kanitz said.
Band members eventually determined that “the corporate job and musician balance was not working well enough,” he added, so all four of them quit their jobs to become full-time musicians.
The music they uncork is hatched from “a very collective writing and creating style,” Kanitz offered. “This format has existed since the inception of the group during rag-tag basement concerts in East Lansing. The band does not have a narrow focus of genre, but rather takes inspiration from the individual interests of each member.”
The vibe that emerges is sort of like the Red Hot Chili Peppers taking a road trip to the Appalachians with John Mayer. Their live shows tend to be upbeat, lively and full of smiles. “All it takes is a riff, melody or beat to get started,” Kanitz said, “and the group works off of the energy from each other to build toward a complete song.”
And while tickled about setting up shop in Grand Rapids, band members – who all graduated from Traverse City high schools – still love returning to their northern Michigan roots. They play their hometown regularly, with upcoming shows Oct. 26 at Workshop Brewing and Oct. 27 at Bonobo Winery.
“It is a blast to play around our hometown,” Kanitz said. “The level of support is truly humbling and we are always excited to display new material and energy for the crowd that has heard us since the beginning. It is incredible to feel the city rooting for our success.”
VIDEO: The Hacky Turtles, “Compost”
AUDIO: The Hacky Turtles, “Astro Blastro”
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC