written by Austin Allen
A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to catch guitarist Matt Jalbert and bassist Charlie Dolan of TAUK at Summer Camp Music and Arts Festival. The boys discussed the creation of their first live album, got candid about the state of radio music today, and indulged in some nostalgia for legendary artists of the past. Take a read, and grab their album on their website, iTunes, or Spotify.
Festival Squad: I’d like to talk to your about your newest album Headroom, which was your first live CD. Is there anything in particular that inspired it?
Matt Jalbert: Opening up for Umphrey’s last year gave us the opportunity to play in some big rooms with good crowds and good sounding spots. Something that we can have a system in. At the same time were gonna focus on [the tour] for a few months and mix everything down, listen to it, and pick the best parts.
FS: I see. You guys just got off your winter tour with Umphrey’s. What would you say was your favorite place to play during that tour?
MJ: It was a cool tour because they took us to the west coast for the first time. So they took us to some new places we got to play. There were some cool venues we got to play. Like was it The Fox in Oakland?
CD: The Fox in Oakland was awesome.
MJ: That place is beautiful. It’s just some big theatre-like venue with epic shit all over the walls. Sounds awesome. LA was really cool. The Wiltern. There’s also some spot in Austin that’s like some BBQ spot that had an outdoor stage and it had a festival kind of feel to it.
CD: Definitely one of my favorite venues for sure.
FS: You got free BBQ then, right?
MJ: Discounted BBQ! Actually, yeah not quite. Almost free.
FS: I thought the cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” that you put out on the album was really sick. Any plans to cover any more great songs like “In Bloom”?
CD: Were actually going to be doing a cover today!
MJ: We’re always looking for new covers to do. It’s a challenge because we’re an instrumental band. With covers it’s mainly about picking a song that we feel like we can develop the melody and make it interesting as an instrumental band, without the words.
FS: Honestly, when I was listening to your cover of “In Bloom” I could actually hear the words within the music.
MJ: That’s what we strive for. Even though it’s not our work, it’s a melody that you can latch onto. That’s why covers are important to us, and picking the right ones. The ones where the crowd can actually participate. When you hit that chorus and the crowd just sings along…it’s awesome.
FS: When you guys picked a cover, did you have Nirvana in mind? Or was it something that fell into place?
MJ: We thought Nirvana was just a good choice. I think I brought that one in and said, “Let’s try that.” I don’t know…I think growing up when I did, Nirvana was one of those bands that I listened to. And it’s also one of those bands that people can just connect to. I feel once you get older and you hear those songs, even the ones that you didn’t like from the 90’s, you get that nostalgia factor and you can just appreciate it. Especially listening to what shit is on the radio today, it’s like I have an appreciation for the shit I didn’t like because I feel that it’s better that the shit that’s out now.
FS: I totally understand. I feel like back in the day there was a certain level of artistry.
MJ: Yeah, because there were actual bands. Now it’s just like, “Alright points for playing an instrument.” I didn’t think our standards would have to be like that, but now it’s just like…well shit.
FS: I have one last question, and I’m glad you guys are sitting down because this is a really good one. If you could see one artist who is no longer alive, who would it be?
MJ: Oh man, I was thinking about that the other day. Shit. I know there’s so many good ones. I got to see Prince so I consider myself pretty lucky. Hendrix was definitely on my list.
CD: I think going to a James Brown show would be sick.
MJ: Oh I actually got to see him! Like an actual James Brown show back in the day. People goin nuts…it was some crazy energy.
CD: What about Bob Marley?
FS: There are so many meaningful artists across all genres. Bob Marley, Tupac & Biggie. Like we were talking about earlier, back in the day there was just such a collection of really good artists with really good messages.
MJ: Yeah and I also feel like going to a show it would be such crazy energy. Seeing Bob Marley in Jamaica it would be the real real shit.
FS: Agreed. Anyways yea thanks so much for taking the time and coming out and talking to me I’ll see you guys later today.
MJ: Yeah man, anytime!