Grateful Web Interview with Rock-Fusion Quartet, Tauk

With the recently released EP titled Pull Factors, the New York based instrumental rock-fusion quartet Tauk has exploded on the music scene. But long before this summer’s myriad music festivals, Junior High friends, guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, and keyboardist Alric "A.C." Carter cultivated an eclectic collective. Pull Factors harnesses diverse genres of music into a singular sound that ultimately give voice to Tauk’s crystalline instrumentals. Propelled by drummer Isaac Teel (joined in 2012), Tauk builds from ethereal phrases into darker, embroiled moments of dense arrangements. This is best exemplified in “Side Project”, which shifts in tones before accelerating into an electronic-perpetuated climax. “Home To Me” opens the EP with jazz fusion influences reminiscent of 70’s artist. Yet, Tauk is able to articulate their unique musical vocabulary, a composite of over a decade playing together. Pull Factors was recorded by veteran sound engineer, Dave Natale (Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac), and mixed by Grammy-winning producer Robert Carranza (Jack Johnson, Mars Volta). The EP is available as a free download at http://taukband.com

This summer, Tauk is on the road supporting their recent EP along the summer festival circuit. Grateful Web was fortunate to catch up with them for this interview:

GW: Hey Guys, thanks for speaking with Grateful Web. I just want to jump right in and talk about “Pull Factors.” There is a great balance of genres in your sound. Dynamics of a band are always interesting, the personalities of members and their musical influences, how do these factors pull on your sound as a whole? How do you reach such a great balance?

Tauk: All those factors pull on our sound in many different ways. All four or us are different people from different backgrounds, and each have something unique to say. Each of us uses our varying influences to make an individual statement in terms of what we bring to the band. However, what is more important is how we blend each voice into a composite sound that we can identify ourselves by. We try to do what comes naturally and feels the most comfortable.

GW: You guys have degrees from some of the top music universities and conservatories, what kind of music did you study and how did it alter your sound, say from your earlier years?

Tauk: While away at school, we were exposed to a plethora of genres and styles of music which had a great affect on how we approached our sound. Studying world music and culture was huge for me because it exposed me to musical techniques that are not implemented often into western music. I tried to pull everything from rhythm to texture and harmony from my college experience to enhance the dynamics within our sound and compositions. Though we always tried to incorporate other influences when we were younger, being able to learn how to actually apply these techniques gave us a much better appreciation for music.

GW: On Pull Factors, you worked with a couple of veterans: sound engineer Dave Natale (Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac), and producer Robert Caranza (Jack Johnson, Mars Volta). How did this opportunity arise? Also, describe what it is like to work with them. Was it intimidating to voice your opinion when you are working with these big names?

Tauk: We’re very lucky that Robert and Dave both came across our material and even luckier that they wanted to help us achieve our musical vision. As two well-established contributors in the music business, the kind of exclusive insight they were able to share with us has been priceless and enlightening. In no way did we feel intimidated to voice our opinion despite their respective track records and I believe that speaks to the kind of people they are. Everybody is on the same team and in my mind and Robert and Dave become another member of the band respectively when we’re working together. I don’t believe they would work with us if they didn’t believe in what we’re doing. And for that I feel truly thankful and blessed.

GW: A lot of artists are releasing free albums. I see you have a free download for “Pull Factors” on your website. Do you see more accessible music as way to meet new audiences? I’m sure your fans appreciate it. What’s your philosophy behind that?  

Tauk: Absolutely. The more accessible your music is, the easier it is for people hear your music. What better way to get it out there than giving it way for free. Personally, I think the CD should be an appetizer for the live show.

GW: After forming 10 years ago as teenagers, you are playing the summer music festivals. Years ago, did you guys ever make any summer road trips together? What were some of the festivals or concerts that you guys remember from your more “informative years”?

Tauk: Whether we were playing music festivals or attending them, we’ve been all over the country chasing music. I recall my first time attending Bonnaroo in 2006 and the following year playing at the Gathering of the Vibes. Also, seeing the Beastie Boys and Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden. I could go on and on...

GW: Hanging out as youngsters, what were some of your dream venues or festivals?

Tauk: Playing at Radio City Music Hall and/or Madison Square Garden has been on my list for a long time now. Still working on it.

GW: Speaking of the summer music circuit, festivals you have played include: Bonnaroo, The Hangout Fest, and The Summer Camp Music Festival. That’s quite a line-up, what are some of the more memorable moments so far this summer?

Tauk: At Bonnaroo I enjoyed seeing the bands I look up to like Radiohead, The Roots, Little Dragon, BlackStar, and John Medeski in such close proximity. Being able to see how and what they do and the pleasure it gives them is truly inspiring. I never got a chance to see Jack White prior to The Hangout and was really impressed by his set. His energy and focus really came through. And last but not least, seeing bands that are workhorses when it comes to consistently touring like moe. and Umphrey’s McGee. Seeing the loyalty and dedication their fans have makes me want to work even harder.

GW: With the release of the EP, and a great reception on tour, do you have any plans to release a full-length album that your fans can look forward to?

Tauk: Yes we do. We’re always working on new material and its getting to be that time where we’re planning to head back into the studio. So keep an ear out for new material!

GW: Thanks again for speaking with Grateful Web, I like to leave the last question open ended to let you speak directly to your fans. While you’re on the road, is there anything you’d like to share?

Tauk: We truly believe in what we’re doing and to be in a position to share our music with fans and listening audiences is something that is very personal and very special. Some of the best experiences and lessons we’ve learned, whether on road or in our daily lives, can all be attributed to the power of music. This is a lifestyle and an attitude we all want to continue. Much thanks to our friends and families and fans for your consistent support!

Download the EP, Pull Factors.

Find Tauk on Tour.