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'First Contact' with Katie Mangiamele of Turkey Blaster Omega

Turkey Blaster Omega is a brand new Rochester-based ska band. The 8-piece outfit, led by frontwoman Katie Mangiamele, just released their debut recording - an EP entitled First Contact. I figured this was grounds for Lavender Haze Collective's first contact with the band, so I chatted with Katie a bit about the music.



EP: For your future listeners, describe First Contact in 5 words or less.

KM: Fun.


EP: Can confirm! So First Contact is your first release as TBO. How was your recording experience?

KM: We worked with Jason Wright with Flower House Studios in Buffalo. It was a truly amazing time. Jason is someone I cannot recommend enough. It’s very obvious that he knows what he’s doing inside and out and gives good suggestions without imposing on the creative vision of the musicians he works with. Experiencing your music being documented in any way is uplifting and motivating unlike anything I’ve really experienced.


EP: Woo! So cool it was recorded in Buffalo. Was your recording experience impacted by COVID-19 at all?

KM: Everything started to shut down right in the middle of recording. Luckily we were able to squeeze in the last bit before things got to serious.


EP: Recording aside, how have you been hanging in there during the pandemic? Being a musician who lives with musicians and is friends with lots of musicians, I’ve seen a range from prolific songwriting to total lack of inspiration. How has your pandemic experience been as a musician?

KM: I missed my band a lot. Because we’re a ska band and have 8 members we weren’t going to risk anything and withheld from practicing for a solid 3 months. However I didn’t see a huge difference in motivation with the composition aspect of the band. Everything has been flowing like usual, nothing more nothing less!


EP: I absolutely love your band name. Was there any particular inspiration for it?

KM: Funny story. We got booked for a festival before we had a name and when the time came to make the poster the organizer was like: “Well? What is it?” After spewing about a dozen names my bassist Jack said “Turkey Blaster Omega”. Initially we joked about it. Then we realized that we loved it and it stuck!


EP: I'm glad it stuck! I’d have to say Alive to Survive is my favorite track upon first listen. It reminds me of early No Doubt (DISCLAIMER: I am not a huge ska listener so forgive me if that is a super basic take). What would you say your biggest influences are?

KM: Anyone who knows me or Lenny is well aware that Streetlight Manifesto is one of our biggest influences. It’s actually how him and I met! My early experiences with ska were definitely Streetlight and No Doubt.


EP: What can we expect to see from TBO in the future?

KM: Anything and everything we can do. We’re playing around with the idea of a little tour during summer 2021 along with getting T-shirts, socks, and more merch in general. Hopefully we’re going to have enough original material for an album in the near future!



Alive to Survive is available NOW on BandCamp, Spotify, and more!

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