TAUK is heavy instrumental rock fusion created by Matt Jalbert (guitar), Charlie Dolan (bass), Alric “A.C.” Carter (keyboard-organ), and Isaac Teel (drums). The transcendent instrumental band from Long Island, NY seamlessly brings together genres as diverse as melodic rock, fusion, gritty funk, progressive rock, ambient, classic rock, hip hop and jazz. See what they have to say about their music, methods and mayhem.
Axiom-Nation (AX): Recently you guys have made quite the impact on the festival world, how would you explain this emergence? Where do you see this success expanding to?
Matt: We really don’t focus so much on the what ifs. We’re working on getting the sound out, getting the name out and playing as many shows as possible to fulfill that. Certainly keeping it fresh and exciting is a huge part of what we do as a a group. It is nice to see that people are starting to catch on, but we really need to stick to what we do best and the rest will come.
A.C: This is something that I know we all want. We are hungry. Very determined to create and show everyone what we can do. It’s something that we all enjoy sharing with people so we wouldn’t do all this if that wasn’t so.
AX: Different night, different city. Your tour is absolutely relentless- what drives this group?
Isaac: As rigorous as the schedule may seem we really enjoy the road and have a lot of fun doing it. Getting to perform our music with new energy from a new crowd in a new city and a new scene is exhilarating to see the reaction. Maybe they’ve never seen us, maybe even just heard of us and we really have to earn their support by doing what we do on stage.
Charlie: To be real though, the first few nights were really rough. Our trailer broke down so we had to drive way far out of the way to fix it and that was exhausting, but its all part of the experience. Once you get on stage you can forget all that.
AX: I saw you’re playing Harvest MF in Ozarks, Arkansas. Do you have a bluegrass set lined up or something?
Charlie: (laughs) No we don’t. Thank goodness we’re playing a night set. This year there are some other electronic/funk groups out there such as Lettuce and Tea Leaf Green so we won’t be the odd ones out. We actually played Floydfest this year which is a folk/indie event and turned some heads; people must have been like “What the F***?”
AX: Your latest release “Collisions” encompasses a markedly different set of tones from the previous couple albums. Tracks like “On Guard” and “The Drop” are very experimental. How did this come to about?
Matt: Its something that naturally happened. We like to experiment with different tones and push our limits as a group. It’s one of the best parts of being in a band- the emphasis on growing or evolving our music together.
Charlie: Whenever we play in the studio its all about finding those sounds that are unique and playing with them as a group to let the track organically come together. When you have a particular set of sounds and strictly use them than things get old quickly. We want to push the envelope to see where we can go with these different accents then see what that’s going to bring.
Isaac: We come from Long Island where the cover band rules. Plenty of people listen to the same musicians recreating the same sounds over and over again.We’re trying to expand these boundaries of what music can be.
AX: There was a very compelling component to “Homunculus”, what new ingredient would you say was added for the new album?
A.C: The energy was different for this one. We had just finished a 26 date tour and went directly into the studio after that to lay down the rhythm section so summoning this energy was an entirely different way to approach the recording process. Also, incorporating the elements we brought in from live shows and capturing that aesthetic was vital to creating a fresh and unfound sound from us.
Isaac: To elaborate on that, when we returned from the road all of these songs were set and we knew which parts grabbed our audience and which parts needed tweaking so we really mapped out the whole album in a pre-production stage. This element was huge to making of “Collisions”
AX: What sort of themes do you postulate with completely instrumental tunes? How do you convey this to the audience?
Charlie: Most of our recent creations have been open-ended and groove-oriented tracks. The composition is still very important itself, but now we have learned to step back and see where we can take things live.
A.C: From an improvisational standpoint- being able to simply play and let the listener interpret the music is what its all about. We’re not coming out writing about girls or preaching this and that or taking a stance on some political activism- we just play and let everyone else decide what it means to them.
AX: In your opinion, who is the perfect match for you to tour with?
Isaac: Snarky Puppy would be great.
A.C.: The Roots would be cool.
Charlie: To be honest- Umphrey’s Mcgee.
Matt: Phish… but I don’t know if they would be in that.