INTERVIEW: TAUK chats their roots, festival season and the new EP!

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Boston Calling has been over for a week and as we’re settling back in to the slower part of the year, we just have a few interviews left from our time at the festival! We spoke with New York natives TAUK, guitarist Matt Jalbert in particular , to chat about the new EP that dropped in April, as well as the craziness of their festival weekend which included a midnight to two am set the night before their Boston Calling set just eleven hours after, as well as the roots of the band!

So the night before your 1 pm Boston Calling set today, you played at another festival last night from midnight to two am.
Yeah we played midnight to two am last night at Rooster Walk and then drove to the Raleigh airport which was at least two hours from there. Got on a plane, flew to Boston and then got here and basically set up and played. So we were waking up with everyone else.

Speaking of that turn around, are you guys able to hang out and watch anyone today or are you making the same jump? Maybe some one that you want to see today!
Yeah totally! Today, we played our set early and now we’re here all day. We have another festival tomorrow, Summer Camp, but we’re staying the night then getting out of here tomorrow. Which is cool, I want to see St. Vincent. I really want to see her, I’ve never seen her live before. Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White. I haven’t seen Jack White for a few years and it’s a totally new band now so it will be cool to see that.

Then speaking of your set today, you had a really impressive crowd for it being that early in the day. I know you were just on tour here, just played Brighton Music Hall a few weeks ago. How do you think the show went? Clearly saw some people that were really into it, that were there just for you.
I thought it went great! It was a pleasant surprise. For us, to come into a festival like this where there’s a lot of bigger bands that aren’t necessarily the kind of bands that we cross paths with regularly. Even in our festival circuit. So you get on a bill like this and it’s like okay, who knows us that’s at the festival? So to show up and have the first set of the day on the stage, and people were awake and engaged too, it seemed like people were into it. So it was definitely a pleasant surprise for us and it helped us! On no sleep, traveling like crazy, it’s hot outside. You want to have a good time when the crowd’s into it. It makes it really easy to do that.

Can’t believe you guys did that, the midnight set to this, but I’m sure that set was worth it.
Absolutely! It’s all fun.

Then the latest EP, “Shapeshifter I: Construct”, just came out in April with the last release before that being in 2016. How long has this EP been in the making, when did this record really start forming?
I think for us, we’re always thinking what’s next, what’s next? Even when we were mixing “Sir Nebula”, the last album before it, we had already recorded it, we were already thinking about the next thing. So we’re always writing music. So there are a few songs on that release that we had played live before but also some brand new stuff. So it’s kind of just a combination of things that we had been working on and some stuff that was sitting around for a while and then some stuff that was brand new. And it’s part one, we had a lot of material when we went into the studio so we kind of split it up in a way.

Then there’s part two to part seven! I don’t know how far it’s planned to go.
We don’t know! I mean that’s what’s cool about parts. It’s not a beginning and an end. There can always be another part. So the door I guess is always open. We’re always thinking ahead but maybe not always that far.

And TAUK has been a band for several years now, you’ve released so much music. Obviously an instrumental project so there’s no lyrics and that kind of thing but do you feel the songwriting process, does it still change for the band? Do you all write your own parts or do you come together and kind of hammer it out as a group? With like constructive criticism? How do you guys put the music together?
For us, there’s really no rules or set way that we write. Even as individuals. I know for me personally just being a guitar player and then starting to write music as a musician, it’s changed. And it’s always different and I feel like I’m getting better? For me the most important thing is consistency, really, it’s just doing it and doing it and doing it. And naturally things will evolve and you’ll start to figure it out. For me, it’s more about efficiency, whereas it used to take me a little bit longer to come up with ideas. As you keep doing it, you get a little better and then as a band too, we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other. I grew up with Charlie and A.C. so we’re just old friends. We’ve known each other for so long and Isaac, it just feels the same way with him. For us, the communication is really open and being able to bounce ideas off each other in a constructive way. Not just shutting people’s ideas down. Knowing that everyone one should get their say and make sure it’s really a group thing. But knowing when a song is done, I think we’ve gotten better at that over the years.

And I know you guys are New York based. Is it something where you were born and raised there or did you make that move and move there together?
Yeah, I was born in Long Island and I went to middle school with Charlie and A.C.. So we all grew up in very close towns on Long Island, Nassau County! So we’ve known each other forever. For us, it’s always funny. We’ll joke about it, it’s like we’re doing the same thing we were doing when we were thirteen years old. Not much has really changed. I mean somethings have changed but when it comes down to it, we’re doing the same thing! We’re just hanging out and playing music and we feel very lucky to be able to do that. Especially growing up together, for us it’s cool. We built this and we’re still doing it. Charlie met Isaac when he was going to college in NYC so we had met Isaac a few times, because we all went to different colleges. Then when we all got out, we really wanted to hit the road. We got together with Isaac and it just clicked.

I mean you can see it in your chemistry on stage. The love and how long you guys have been together.
Well that’s the thing, we grew up but we were playing music when we were thirteen, fourteen. We didn’t do it with any big ideas. It just felt cool to make loud noises in a room together. It’s fun and it’s fun as a group. You find a common groove or a common thing that clicks and there’s really no words for that. But for us, that’s really what it’s all about. Is having fun. So you’ll have shows or nights as a band that are rough but it’s all a learning experience. At the end of the day, we’ll sit back and say okay how do we make it better? That’s really what it always is.

Then you’re still so early in 2018, you just did the spring tour, you did the crazy late festival slot last night and you have another festival tomorrow. So I’m sure your summer is going to be pretty busy. Maybe focuses or goals, plans for these next few months to come?
It’s cool, it’s festival season! Over the last couple of years, we haven’t consistently toured during the summer. So we’re playing festivals on the weekends and then we actually get a little time at home and we really try to use that time to first of all, get off the road. Everyone gets to see their families and their friends, their loved ones and just be a normal person again for a little bit. But we’re always focused on using this time to write more and practice. So the festivals are exciting and then the next thing in mind is putting out part two and getting back on the road in the fall. Just always keeping that in the back of their heads through out the summer.

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.