SRJC band of the week: Sloth & Turtle

Members of Sloth & Turtle hang outside of their practice space in rural Santa Rosa.

Estefany Gonzalez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Some Native Americans believed an animal guide follows each person throughout their lifetime to lead them on their journey. These animal totems created the beginning of a musical career. Sloth & Turtle formed from what founding members consider their spirit animals.

Guitar player Nico Molinari and drummer Linden Reed started out as an instrumental duo in May 2015.

Reed used to live on top of a mountain in Guerneville. It was there  his roommate Noah came up with his spirit animal. “It was kind of rare that I would leave the mountain,” Reed said.

Sense of time also played a role in discovering Reed’s spirit animal. “We used to have to lie and say we had to leave an hour ahead of when we actually had to be at a certain location,” Molinari said. “I’m a turtle because I have a strangely elongated neck and bad posture, so I think I resemble a turtle more in physical appearance than in spirit.”  

The two said their lineup didn’t become complete until later that year when bass player Brian Kincaid played a Halloween show with them. 

“Brian doesn’t have a spirit animal; he’s the ‘and’ in Sloth & Turtle. I made a snake out of the ‘and’ then put his face on it,” Molinari said. 

Band members describe their sound as “post-rock” and “math-rock.”

“It’s extra filled out guitar, it’s pretty slamming drums and kind of back-bone style bass,” Kincaid said.

 Each member balances multiple musical projects with work. Molinari is a nurse in San Jose and Kincaid and Reed pick up small jobs to make ends meet. For these three musicians, making music is a constant. Regardless of their busy schedules, they’re dedicated to making music together. “If we have a show, we practice before the show, but we don’t have a regular schedule,” Reed said. 

What makes their project work is their friendship outside of the band. “Sometimes we just have to hang out instead of play,” Kincaid said. 

As Sloth & Turtle gear up for their upcoming tour with Horders, they offered fans insight on future plans, what inspires them musically and more.

How many other musical projects are each of you a part of aside from Sloth & Turtle?

Reed: I’m in David Luning Band and Sharkmouth.

Molinari: I’m in Horders and Couteaux.

Kincaid: I’m in a bunch of bands. My bands drift in and out of being active. I play in a band called Horders, in a band called Mean Girls and a band called Hautahuah.

Reed: We’ve been working on a bunch of music that Brian wrote.

Kincaid: We all generally write music. Nico probably has tons of music that’s not being played in Sloth & Turtle, Couteaux or Horders.

What sets Sloth & Turtle aside from your other projects? 

Kincaid: I think the chemistry is totally different, and it shows our friendship chemistry and our creative chemistry. This band does have a way we write music together. Usually Nico will write a few riffs and bring them to Linden and they hash some stuff out. When I come in, I’ll try to write bass lines or there will already be bass lines written that Nico wrote.

Reed: Not all of it. All the new stuff is all together.

Kincaid: There’s a very Jello-like form that can be twisted around. We usually just go in and spend a couple of days on it, and we’ll like it after a couple of sessions of working on a song and it’s done.

Reed: We’ll restructure it together and sometimes add parts.

Kincaid: That’s been the theme as far as our writing process. That would set us apart from all the other bands. Whatever that process is creates whatever the sound that we have is.

If you had to pick between vinyl, CDs or tapes which would you pick and why? 

Molinari: I think just straight eight-bit. We’re gonna get as hipster as we can and just go ultimate low fidelity.

Kincaid: Not to be lame but I like MP3’s. I grew up with CDs but at one point when I was 23 I moved a bunch. I didn’t have a specific house for a while. Throughout all the moves all of my CD’s got scattered around all these different places I was staying and I just kinda gave up, so now I just download music.

Reed: Originally I grew up listening to tapes. I had a Walkman and all that. I like how tapes and vinyl have a different sound, but I have no particular preference. They’re all different and kind of unique. None of us have a record player. I used to have a tape player in my car, but I don’t anymore.

Kincaid: We’re the least hip hipsters in the world.

Who would you want to be stranded with on an island? 

Reed: Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.”

Molinari: Is it cheesy if I say these guys?

Kincaid: I have a friend from high school named Ryan Smith who’s a sheriff now. He used to be a fireman. He’s kind of a badass.

What inspires you musically?

Kincaid: What inspires me personally is people’s different personalities and different takes on music. Other musicians inspire me.

Molinari: For this band, what I like about it is that I don’t have to worry about pleasing the audience. I just get to write whatever I want.

Reed: I think that whenever you write music with vocals in mind, you hold back a lot. You’re able to be more creative when you don’t have anything in mind ahead of time. You don’t have to write something a certain way; you’re just writing music.

If you could play any venue which one would you pick? 

Reed: I’ve always wanted to play The Fillmore.

Kincaid: As funny as it sounds, I’d like to play at Slims or The Great American Music Hall.

Molinari: I’ve always wanted to play at Bottom of the Hill.

Kincaid: I’ve played Bottom of the Hill. That would be pretty easy to do.

Molinari: Obtainable goals.

Future plans?

Kincaid: We have a tour kick-off show with both Horders and Sloth & Turtle at The Orchard house on March 11, and we’re going on tour for a week from March 16-23.

For more tour dates and information about upcoming shows visit their Facebook page.