Turkuaz “Ophidiophobia” melds Brooklyn funk and Talking Heads

Brooklyn nine-piece funk lords Turkuaz explore the space between beauty and poison with their new single “Ophidiophobia,” featuring Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew of the Talking Heads. They’ll debut the tune live this weekend during VIRTUAL ROO-ALITY, Bonnaroo’s Virtual music event.

Within this age of social distancing, Harrison and Belew added in their parts remotely, and the collaboration between Turkuaz, Harrison and Belew will appear on VIRTUAL ROO-ALITY as Remain in Light, an ensemble that was slated to tour the festival circuit throughout the 2020 summer.

We had always planned on doing a little bit of Turkuaz material in the upcoming ‘Remain in Light’ tour with Adrian Belew and Jerry Harrison. Once the pandemic hit and the tour was postponed, I started to think this would be a really nice track to have those guys on.

Dave Brandwein

Pronounced oh•fid•e•oh•fo•bia, what began as an instrumental groove originally titled “Dr. Jones” with a sinister, dark tinge turned into an Indiana Jones-inspired track, as recalled by Turkuaz bari-saxophonist and vocalist, Josh Schwartz. Another working title that Dave added was “Akar Saga,” but upon looking up the phrase and discovering it was a beautiful, tropical vine, Schwartz knew he was onto something special.

“A poisonous but beautiful tropical vine with red and black features reminded me of snakes, of which Indiana Jones is famously afraid, so I realized I could combine imagery and words from both placeholder titles to write a song involving snakes. When I found out that the fear of snakes is a word as beautiful and strange as ophidiophobia, I knew this song had to be written.


This was yet another great collaboration experience with Josh building on a groove/bassline that Taylor [Shell] brought in to some writing sessions we had here at my studio. I think most of us took a small amount of these mushroom capsules I had. Turns out they weren’t so ‘micro’ and some of us had a bit more of an experience than we’d planned for. But we carried on and tried to let the grooves take over! Once Taylor started on this bassline I think we may have just jammed on it for about 40 minutes straight.

Dave Brandwein

Tune into Virtual ROO-ALITY this weekend to catch “Ophidophobia” performed live.

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