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Interview with TAUK

By Lea LeFebvre

May 20, 2015

To some bands, the abrupt departure of a lead singer can mean turmoil, resulting in a debilitating setback—especially for a band still in its infancy. This is not so for the New York-based heavy instrumental rock fusion group TAUK. After lead singer Alessandro Zanelli’s departure, the remaining members decided to embrace the very foundation that “jam bands” were found upon and just go with it. However, like many of today’s improvisational groups, TAUK refuses to be boxed into the moniker “jam band.”

Pulling inspiration from hip-hop, heavy funk, up-tempo jazz, progressive rock, and ambient, TAUK cannot simply be classified by a single genre of music. With psychedelic face-melting jams topping at an impressive twenty minutes, heavy synth nu-disco dance tunes and a few unexpected covers ranging from The Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy (I Want You)” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” you never really know the boys are going to do next.

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In just a few years, TAUK has released three studio albums, embarked on a few national tours (including support for jam-rock veterans Umphrey’s McGee), and played slots at most of the major festivals. They’ve even fostered a loyal following, which are affectionately and appropriately referred to as STAUKERS.

CLTure had the chance to talk to bassist, Charlie Dolan and keyboard/organist, Alric, “A.C.” Carter about the band’s accomplishments so far, as well as their hopes for the future.

CLTure: A lot of bands talk about special moments or certain shows or festivals that everything just kind of connects. Is there a show, festival or transcendental moment you can peg down that TAUK really came together for the first time?

Charlie Dolan: Absolutely! Our first set at Floyd Fest two years ago was one of those moments. We were playing during the headliner and we figured nobody was coming to our set. 10 minutes into the show the place was full, we even had crowds behind the stage going nuts. It was maybe the first moment where we really fed off the crowd’s energy to elevate the entire show. We have had a bunch of moments like that since and that’s definitely the most addicting and rewarding part of playing live music.

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CLTure: Reviving that same energy from a live show in the studio can sometimes be difficult. How does the band approach this challenge?

Alric Carter: Creating music in the studio can be a tricky process. We’re always looking to take the most accurate picture of who we are as a band at that moment. We’ve learned that harnessing that live energy in the studio can open doors we didn’t think were possible, but also make us aware of elements that need improvement. The “live” element of our music is a huge part of our sound, and in the studio we’ve learned to not to force it and let it flow organically.

CLTure: What did you do differently with Collisions from the previous album Homunculus?

CD: For Collisions, we tried to capture more of the live intensity and sound, while still having a focus on composition. Instead of working out songs in the studio, we road tested most of them for a few months. We also took more chances with open sections and solos.

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CLTure: As you start to wrap up your spring tour and lead into festival season, the band has a continuously busy schedule coming up, but has there been any talk of another studio album?

AC: We’re hoping to put out a new studio album at some point next year. As busy as we are, we still find time to write new material and we’re excited to see how these new tunes will develop throughout the year as we get closer to recording them.

CLTure: Speaking of festival season, you guys are playing some legendary venues and big time festivals such as Jones Beach with Widespread Panic and Umphrey’s McGee, Electric Forest, Wakarusa and Jam Cruise just to name a few. Is there one show or festival in that you’re particularly looking forward to?

AC: To be honest, it’s hard for us to pick one. We’re equally humbled to be playing all of them! But DEFINITELY Jam Cruise and Red Rocks!

Catch TAUK at the Chop Shop on Thursday, May 28.

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