By Caleb Calhoun
TAUK is the kind of music that moves you by shoving it’s hand into your chest Temple of Doom style, ripping your heart out, and showing it to you while laughing menacingly.
This could be said of all of the music that TAUK has released to date, but it is especially true of the album they’re currently supporting, Sir Nebula. More melodic than their previous work, and more abstract as well, it showcases the bands significant progression since 2014’s Collisions. TAUK will make a stop at New Mountain AVL on Nov. 19.
Despite the ambient sounds and the open spaces, this album still manages to bring some unpredictability and an edge listeners have come to expect from these guys. A lot of that starts behind the drum kit. In fact, drummer Isaac Teel named the album.
“The other guys had named the other records so this was my turn,” Teel says. “I named it Sir Nebula because it gave me the feeling that it was taking me out into space, that this is what I would be listening to on a space shuttle.”
“I take music from everything.” he continues, “from train tracks to high heels hitting the pavement. I take inspiration from Tony Royster Jr., Anna Chambers, Questlove, Timbaland, Swiss Beats, Pharrell. To incorporate that stuff with rock fusion is so cool because people expect ‘jam bands’ per se to do things a certain way,” Teel says.
“I want people’s necks to hurt at the end of the night from bopping so hard.”
It’s easy to focus on TAUK’s formidable live act, but that would be unfair to the work they’ve put in in the studio and the strength of this record.
“This was the first record that we actually sat down and made away from tour. We had a big pre-production meeting right before this record. We spent a week and a half fleshing out the tunes before we even went into the studio, and that was super influential,” Teel explains.
“We wanted to take some risks on this record. I think that when we get into a room together and we have unlimited time, that we really push the envelope as far as different sounds and different dynamics” he adds
The chemistry these four share is superb. Teel is the newest face in the group, having met bassist Charlie Dolan when he was studying at Drummers Collective in 2010 or 2011. The rest of the group, Jalbert, Dolan, and keyboardist A.C. Carter have been friends, literally, since junior high. In fact, the name of the band, TAUK, is derived from Montauk, the name of the town in Long Island where the three of them vacationed as children.
TAUK does what they can to spread that chemistry to the crowd.
“I try to focus on people in the audience because I already know what is going on with the kit,” Teel says.
“I think making a connection with the crowd is so important. I love finding that person early on that is not used to our instrumental style, connecting with them and seeing how they progress throughout the show.”
Having sold out New Mountain AVL the last time they were in Asheville, and with this being the last stop of their tour, they’re excited to be back.
“It’s the last night before Thanksgiving break,” Teel tells me, “and we aren’t going to leave anything on the table. We’re throwing our inhibitions to the wind. We’re going to push the envelope a little bit, play some covers, go full blast.”
I will be there to see it happen. If you know what’s good for you, you will be too.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.