Profile: Jono Garrett of Turbid North

The Turbid North camp has been relatively quiet for some seven years and change now, but next month will see their fourth effort The Decline set free for all to experience. And what an experience it is! The RIYL list on this thing contains some of extreme metal’s heaviest hitters as well as various psychedelic rock legends, plainly put: Turbid North severs arteries with vicious deathgrind in one second and gazes into the great beyond the next. The storyline here is as deep as the album’s many riffs and serpentine twists which just goes to show that the last handful of years were not wasted when it comes to the band outdoing themselves, which they have. We expect this album to be an early contender for the best 2023 has to offer so be sure to check it out from the links contained within. We recently posed our set of Profile questions to the band and drummer Jono Garrett was kind enough to respond. And, since we’re in Best of 2022 season, he also offered his top five. PLUS, you get their latest video. So, head directly below to get the scoop behind this killer band that you need more of in your life.

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for? 

My fascination and passion for drumming led me into playing in bands at a young age, that would become the vehicle for my objectives which were unarticulated then, but direct enough to keep me on the same path. I wanted music to take me out of the small town I came from and show me what the rest of the world had to offer. I wanted to play with the bands I loved listening to, and tour around the planet with my friends. I wanted free beer. 24 years into it and I’m still having to fight with promoters about the beer but playing music has given me some of my best friendships, taking me to places I’ve never heard of, it’s definitely giving me a sense of accomplishment many times over. Playing to crowds bigger than the population of my hometown, being able to pay some bills from behind the drums, having conversations with musicians I’ve idolized weren’t meant to be measures of success, just something that happened through the pursuit. I’d like to hope that I never feel that I’ve achieved success because I’m not ready for the ride to be over.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

I remember my first band in 1998 would make full page flyers with the band logo on them and drive 80 miles to Dallas TX to pass out at concerts, just to get the name out so we could meet other bands, book shows, form our professional network so to speak… We had cassette tapes and eventually CD-R’s as well to give away. People would literally rip the flyers up and throw them on the ground in front of our faces, totally insulted and disgusted by our solicitation. We’d go to whatever national touring show was in town that night and try to get our demo into the hands of one of the members assuming that could alter the course of our band in some significant way. Half the time they’d take it and half the time they’d say, “What do you want me to do with this? Dude, I don’t want that.” 

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

I think the broader umbrella of metal music has always provided a sense of community for a lot of young listeners coming in and needing just that, a place to feel acceptance and inclusion. At the same time, for the seasoned listeners decades into the experience, a sense of community and pride as well. The worst thing about the metal music scene are the “scenes” themselves. Those involved that rely on staunch defined boundaries with the music and fashion to build a personal identity, oftentimes a very fragile identity, where they can put on a uniform and assume a posture of sonic superiority and legitimacy. The more TRVE than YVE approach. At that point it’s more about exclusion than inclusion, a paradox.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

Personally I’ve never been too interested in music used as a platform for personal agendas. Sure, there’s been a lot of great music written with a lot of great messages but generally for me, music hasn’t been a format that gets me engaged socially or politically. Everyone has an opinion about everything and I don’t have the energy to absorb those opinions when I listen to music so I tend to ignore a lot of lyrical content.

The first two Turbid North albums were conceptual in the way that the lyrics are a storyline and narrative for the music. When you get to a certain place lyrically, the music provides the backdrop. It works like the soundtrack to a short story. The new album has that same effect with the lyrics and music working symbiotically to maximize the expressions in the material but the content is driven from a more personal and literal approach. Less conceptional and more actual. Not singing a message but an experience.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

I have a brother 9 years older than me that had some heavy rock and metal in his music collection. I had access to it around the age of 10, maybe even earlier but that was my initial exposure. The more I got into drumming, the more I got into heavier and extreme music. 4-5 years later and I had a healthy collection of satanic death metal cd’s and t-shirts. My mom was definitely wondering when the possession took place! I think eventually my folks saw the correlation that scary music equaled fun drumming for me and they were just kind of excited that I had something in my life that I enjoyed.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Just an honest enthusiasm about the bands and music is appreciated. I’m always impressed when there’s attention to details.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know. 

I’ve always had a background in construction, it has facilitated and financed my time off and on the road many times over the years. In recent years, I’ve spent my time between two different cities and had to add a new trade to my arsenal so if you’re ever in the South End of Boston, come see me if your dog needs a perfect shave.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

Currently I’m listening to a ton of Milt Jackson and Gary Burton. The Dip Tse Chong Ling Monastery has a wonderful record that I enjoy when I need pure, uninterrupted, dark introvertedness.

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

We’re excited for this record to come out in January. After that mark your calendars for the 2035 release of Turbid North IV.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)


And now for Jono’s top five Best of 2022:

Voivod – “Synchro Anarchy”

Shock Withdrawal – “S/T” EP

Cave In – “Heavy Pendulum”

Mos Generator – “Time//Wounds”

Lung – “Let It Be Gone”

Many thanks to Jono and Turbid North for their time!

The Decline will be available January 20 on the band’s Bandcamp page. For more information on Turbid North, visit their Facebook page.

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