Interview: Adam Turla of Murder By Death Jun23


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Interview: Adam Turla of Murder By Death

Leading up to Murder By Death taking the stage at the legendary, Martha’s Midway Tavern in Mishawaka, IN. we were lucky enough to get MBD vocalist, Adam Turla on the telephone for some one on one time


13308722_822486357881409_205081921375183266_oIt’s been aalmost a year and a half since the release of Big Dark Love. Murder By Death has typically ran on a two year release cycle so, where are you at with a new album?

 AT – Actually, nowhere and that’s the plan. Its been about fifteen years now where we are constantly moving on to the next thing and we just wanted to take some time between records. Right now we have a handful of shows set up and that’s really it for a while. Its just one on those things where you just say, “if we slow down it might make things better.” Once we take this break, ill most likely start writing songs next year (2017). But for now there aren’t any plans. For our entire adult lives, we have had this absolute plan for things. We toured extra at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year so we could afford to take this time to take care of things at home etc.

 Murder By Death was started in Bloomington, IN and based there for a long time. Recently, you and Sarah Balliet (cellist & wife) recently moved to Louisville, KY. Has the move impacted the way that you write songs?

 AT – I think when writing changes the most is from you look at a body of work that you’ve had for so long try to look into Murder By Death and create something refreshing for us and our listeners. I tend to look at it in terms of, “this is our seventh album, what is something that we haven’t done for a decade or never done?” There have been songs that I’ve written six or seven years ago and they were ready to go but I just didnt know how to present it and over that time span it fits into something we wanted to do at the time.

How much stock do you put into reviews of your records?

AT –Everyone wants to be celebrated or told that they’re great. When we started the band, our first record didn’t get reviewed by anyone and our second album got review about a year and a half later. By the time that our third record came out we had “real” fans and people that were into what we were doing so, I didn’t really focus on it. We came from such a DIY scene that we didn’t really need for it to happen like that. Nowadays, it seems like bands rely on reviews to bolster record sales and touring. I don’t really like most music that is out now and I really don’t like most music journalism either. We have been pretty lucky to have gotten positive reviews from some mainstream outlets.

 Murder By Death has set some really incredible marks via Kickstarter. Did you expect that type of response?

 AT – Well, Kickstarter has a number of ways that you can use it. Our plan is use it as a presale avenue for our records. What drives it for our band is our fans. We took some of their ideas and requests and made them options that they could purchase as add on’s and they responded really well.

 MBD has done some really interesting things in terms of recording and live shows. Where did those ideas come from?

AT – Playing a live show in a cave was my idea and the weekend event we have at The Stanley Hotel was mine also. The songs on the “As You Wish” covers record were chosen by our fans. We really tried to take direction and from some of their suggestions and ideas. What’s great about the Stanley show is that just going into Rocky Mountain National Park is an experience. The concert experience is only about 10% of the weekend.

It’s no secret that MBD loves whiskey. Now that you are in Kentucky, is there any local brand that prefer or could recommend?

 AT – I think the thing that you start to learn when you get into KY bourbon is what brands are put out by the same company, who is using the same barrels etc. Its really hard to keep track of because companies change hands and so forth. One thing that I learned from living in southern Indiana and spending a lot of time in Louisville is that there isn’t one specific brand that’s really better than the other but rather there’s just a lot of great bourbon coming out of Kentucky,They’re so connected in so many ways. I really just jump around. There’s certain bottles that get notoriety but the biggest battle is, what’s really good for the cheapest price. At least that’s what my friends are looking for!

 Bloomington plays home base to several well known indie record labels such as Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar & Dead Oceans. How did you not get signed to those labels being so close to their home base?

AT – It’s funny, we would see Chris, Ben Swanson & Darius Van Arman around but they are part of a different scene. We’ve talked several times but their general rule was that they wouldn’t sign bands from Bloomington. They’re more of a mainstream sound and we came from a basement/house show/punk background. They do bands that get played on the radio & that’s not us.

 Murder By Death seems to have found the perfect home in Bloodshot records. Is that the case?

 AT – There’s a story I like to tell about Bloodshot & one of the owners, Nan Warshaw. We were heading to Chicago for a festival type show and when we left Kentucky, the weather was beautiful. When we got to Chicago it was rainy and freezing so obviously, we weren’t expecting or prepared for this kind of weather. Out of the blue Nan showed up with ponchos and dry clothes etc.



  • One really cool organization that Murder By Death’s Sarah Balliet is working with this summer is Girls Rock Louisville Check out the great things they’re doing and give generously if you feel so inclined.