First Look: Tauk
As 2012 ends and a new era of music hits the radar, Tauk comes across the starting lines at the perfect time. While Tauk, a four-piece from upstate New York isn't new to the scene, they formed earlier this decade, they certainly bring a fresh perspective to music. Combining intelligent lyrics with heavy instrumentals that borderline a schizophrenic release, think Radiohead meets Henry Rollins, Tauk has a whole lot of unadulterated raw shake-up to their sound and style. In short, you won't know what hit you but you'll be glad it did.
Comprised of lifelong friends, Matt Jalbert, guitar, Charlie Dolan, bass, Alric "A.C." Carter, keyboard/organ, and realtive late-comer, Isaac Teel, drums, Tauk carries veteran status despite their youthful appearance. Kind of like the quarterback who got drafted from high school. They know the scene, they understand their music, and they have a distinct path they're taking to get their crowd to a place where they can hang. They've been extremely successful so far in their approach.
Legendary sound engineer, Dave Natale-yes, that one, of the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac fame, is the mastermind behind the recording of Tauk's latest album, "Pull Factors." After the band left the studio, Robert Carranza took the reins and helped create entirely instrumental tracks, saying of Tauk, "What's compelling is the raw power of the band, from their light moments to full-out jamming. music is a language that some feel and others speak-and Tauk do both very well."
Tauk borrows from all genres-funk, jazz, rock and pop and combines them with an experimental spirit that resounds from the very chords that are the lifeline of their unique talent. AntiMusic caught up with Tauk at the close of the year to kick off the new.
antiMusic: Talk about your bands beginnings. You met in high school?
Charlie: Matt (guitar) AC (Keys) and I (Bass) actually started playing together in 7th grade. We continued to play together throughout high school and even college during our holiday breaks. Isaac (drums) just joined the band almost a year ago.
antiMusic: Where did the name Tauk originate?
Charlie: Back in 9th grade we recorded our first CD together and sold it for a high school community service project. We struggled to come up with a name before our deadline. One day at the studio I was wearing a T-shirt that said Montauk on it, our friend covered up the "Mon" and we decided the name should be "Tauk". Montauk is the town at the very end of Long Island.
antiMusic: How long did it take to decide on that name? Did you do anything crazy to test it out or was it an "aha" moment?
Charlie: It was more of a "we finally have a name we can agree on" moment. For years we have thought and debated each other over changing the name. We had some pretty awful ideas and would always end up keeping it. Now we love it!
antiMusic: Where did you grow up?
Charlie: We all grew up in different areas and towns in NY. Matt, AC and I are from Long Island and Isaac is from Staten Island.
antiMusic: How have your roots been an influence on your sound?
Charlie: Huge influence, we all either have parents who are die hard music fans or play themselves. We all had music in the household from a young age.
antiMusic: What was it like when you were in college and planning gigs together since you guys went to different schools?
Charlie: It was just natural. We would coordinate when we would all be back home at the same time and book a show for then, always making sure we had a few days to practice before. Sometimes we would write songs and send them to each other while we were at our individual schools so we were prepared to work on it once we got back together.
antiMusic: In 2010, after college, you toured and shared the stage with some really great bands; what was your most memorable show?
Charlie: Thats a really tough one. I would have to say our set at Bonnaroo. The energy at that festival is so contagious for the bands and all the fans. I remember just getting on stage and just feeling completely comfortable and feeding of that energy. We had a great show
antiMusic: Recently you've had the opportunity to tour across the nation; talk a little bit about that. What did touring teach you?
Isaac: It takes hitting the road and making one fan at a time, to have longevity in the music business.
antiMusic: You've worked with Dave Natale from the legendary Stones; what exactly was his input on your album and how did he influence how your overall sound?
Matt: He really pushed us to play as a cohesive unit. Dave knows how to let the band do its own thing, which is refreshing because a lot of people might want to come in and switch things up right away. Dave was able to get the sound we were bringing to the table and have that come through as clearly as possible in the recordings.
antiMusic: How different would your album had been without Natale's guidance?
Matt: Working with Dave was great because he was ready to experiment with the sound as much as we were. He was able to take an idea from the band and make it happen in the studio. Being able to bounce ideas off each other really pushed the EP in the direction it needed to go. A lot of the weird effects and extra layers are a result of Dave helping out and taking the time to experiment with us to find the right sounds.
antiMusic: Were you nervous going into this recording session?
Matt: Not at all. Once you get to know Dave, you see he not only has a love and passion for good music, but he's a genuinely nice and approachable guy. One of the most important things for us when we go into the studio is to make sure that we feel comfortable to do what we want and we knew this would be the case going into Dave's studio.
antiMusic: You also worked with Robert Carranza, what was he he was he able to pull out of you guys as far as your sound, your vision?
Matt: We had worked with Robert before, so we know how good his ear is. We really trust Robert with our sound and how he is able to make it come to life. Robert really understands the puzzle of how sounds fit together, so bringing him the tracks to mix only felt right.
antiMusic: At any point did any of you feel like you were in over your head, or did you just go with it?
Matt: It's easy to start to overanalyze things when you're in the studio. There were definitely a bunch of times where it would seem like we would spend a lot of time on one thing and it wouldn't seem like anything was happening. You just have to take a step back sometimes and be able to trust somebody when they tell you that it's the right part.
antiMusic: How did you select the first song that was going to be on the album? I mean it sets the overall tone for the album so how did that choice come about?
Matt: We went with "Home to Me" because of how it sets things up. It starts of really calm but is powerful by the end. So it kind of has a nice way of easing you into the music.
antiMusic: Is the album meant to be listened to independently of each other- of all the tracks- or is it meant to be listened to in one listening session?
Matt: This is definitely something we talk about a lot. It's really important to us that the album really fits together as a whole. We want there to be a good flow from beginning to end. Some of the songs have transitions into the beginning of the next one, that kind of thing. However, we still want each track to stand up on its own.
antiMusic: What song or track do you think is the defining or pivotal track on the album?
Matt: All of the songs have something unique about them, whether it's the form, a certain effect or anything like that. I think "Side Project" stands out as a defining track in a way. It's got a little bit of everything that we do in it.
antiMusic: Do you have any regrets with the album? Tracks that you wished were left out or in?
Matt: We're all really proud of how the album came out. You can always look back and hear something that you wish was different, but this will always happen. We look at recordings as kind of a picture of our music at the time. The songs continue to evolve, but you just try to capture it as best you can at the time.
antiMusic: What sort of creative clashes did you have to overcome (or were there any), and was the writing relatively easy or did you find yourselves coming across creative blocks?
Matt: There were no big clashes making this album. Everyone seemed to be on the same page basically the whole time. We kind of knew right off the bat that it was going to be the five songs that made the cut, so we went into the studio with all of the material ready. It was more about getting the right takes and finding the right sounds. So far in this band, we've been able to get over differences in opinion quickly and move on. Sometimes you have to trust the band and be able to compromise on your ideas.
antiMusic: Your "About" page on your website says that Tauk is going to continue to "push the envelope of your musical vision" what does that mean exactly?
Matt: We want this band to always be growing in one way or another. At this point we feel like we're still uncovering the surface of what we have to offer musically. Everyone in the group is always trying to bring in new ideas, whether it be materials, a new sound, a new idea for the show, anything to keep the music moving forward in the right direction.
antiMusic: Who were your influences growing up- whether they be music or film or novels- where did you draw your inspiration from?
AC: My mother introduced me to music from an early age and taught me classical piano for a while. I found that to be a great foundation for composition and it pushed me learn about new concepts in school. I remember enjoying the music in the animated television shows I used to watch like Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop. Whatever it is, I always try to take something out of a new experience.
antiMusic: What kind of music were you exposed to as young kids?
Matt: My dad listens to a lot of different music, so I was always hearing a variety of things. I started to get into classic rock when I was around ten. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Pink Floyd. Now I listen to everything. Miles Davis, Radiohead, Battles….
antiMusic: Talk about some of the relief efforts you're doing with hurricane Sandy?
AC: When we returned home from tour we wanted to help people in need. We planned to play a show once we returned and thought it would be best to raise money and gather coats. All Hands Volunteers and The Red Cross received the money and coats respectively and the venue Spike Hill helped everything go smoothly. It was an uplifting evening and I'm glad we got a chance to help, but there is still a lot more that needs to be done.
antiMusic: Where do you see your music headed?
AC: I think we have a few different options with our music. We love playing live shows which is part of our sound we'll always maintain. Aside from that, we're interested in music for film, television, theater, and other collaborative projects.
Check them out online here.
First Look: Tauk