Hailing from the Long Island town of Oyster Bay, New York, Tauk is a band that’s always going for the next level. The instrumental quartet of guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist and organist A.C. Carter and drummer Isaac Teal have a progressive rock fusion sound that’s extraordinary. They make the kind of music that takes the senses to a different place. They also make the kind of music that makes the listener want more. With New Haven, Connecticut funk act Eggy opening things up, this talented act will be headlining the stage at The Met on 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket on September 30 at 8:30pm.
Carter and I recently had a conversation about Tauk originally having a vocalist, a band that few of the members were in while in high school, a new album they have coming out and looking forward to showing people the new direction they’re taking things in.
Rob Duguay: You, Matt and Charlie formed your first band in seventh grade. Was that band musically similar to what Tauk is now or was it completely different?
A.C. Carter: We used to play whatever so we were young pre-teen teenagers and we were just musical sponges. We were trying to absorb all that we can while getting introduced to a lot of different things. I remember when we used to run down from the lunch room after we finished our lunch to the practice room and play stuff from Blink-182, Oasis, Jimi Hendrix and a bunch of those “Rock 101” tunes. While I was in high school I started getting into Phish and more into rock music, so I was a bit different. I was listening to everything from P. Diddy, Biggie Smalls, The Lox, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli and Mos Def to classical music.
Charlie started really getting into The Grateful Dead and bands that are in the jam scene, which was part of the mix of music that we had going on. We were doing everything, really.
RD: Tauk initially started out with a vocalist until 2011 when he left the band and you guys became an instrumental band. What made you want to go this way when it happened? Were you guys just tired of finding a lead singer?
ACC: When you have a singer or a vocalist, unless you’re someone like Thom Yorke, your voice is kind of iconic. The band kind of lives or dies by the singer or that singer’s message through his lyrics, it becomes the narrative. A lot of times there’s the story of a band building up an identity and then a label comes to pick up the singer or another group and the singer doesn’t pan out or something like that. Then what are you left with at that point? We weren’t looking for a bunch of other singers but it’s time consuming so we just figured to build an identity as an instrumental band while still composing melodies and song structures like we would for a vocalist. We found creative ways to do that and to make it a little bit more interesting so we respectfully stuck with that.
RD: I know of some bands that use an instrument in place of vocals and it’s an interesting approach. Some of them do it with saxophones, a complete horn section or even keyboards to fill that role and I tend to enjoy it. On September 24th, you guys will be releasing your seventh album Chaos Companion. So far two singles have been released with "Moon Dub" and "The Let Out" coming out last month. What made you guys pick those two songs as an introduction to the next record?
ACC: Well, I think those two songs are a bit different than what we’ve done in the past. A lot of our material has been pretty performance based and in the past we haven’t used Ableton Live and digital audio workstations like that in a live setting. These songs are kind of presented with a different approach where we use a lot more tracks and layers to make them more cinematic. It’s kind of something that we’re leaning towards anyway and also with melody, which is a very huge piece and as an instrumental band it’s what weaves all the musical parts together. That’s something that both of these songs really focus on and it was nice to experiment with it and put it out there.There’s also a visual element too, we were able to work with a director named Dani Barbieri and portray the vibe of that song as well.
RD: What can people expect from the rest of the album when it comes out? Does it all have the approach you just described where it’s going to be very layered and have more digital elements to the sound of the entire record?
ACC: Absolutely. During the pandemic we had a lot of time to work on new material so we brought over 30 new songs into the studio. Then we figured out a way to divide these songs up into ways that they worked best with each other. Songs like “Moon Dub” and “The Let Out” have hip hop and electronic vibes to them and we wanted to let those songs speak with each other as a group. We’re capable of doing stuff with a metal or classic rock feel and we’re capable of doing more progressive stuff so we wanted to organize and create this collection to have it be manifested by the listeners and have them see what we’re doing. Also, going back to “The Let Out”, it was a way to show a different side of us so we take our craft seriously but not too seriously because it’s about having fun as well too through a bunch of experimentation on these tracks throughout Chaos Companion.
RD: After the release of the new album and the upcoming show at The Met, what are Tauk’s plans for the fall and winter?
ACC: The tour we’re currently on is going to take us all the way to October, hopefully everything is cool with COVID-19 so nothing gets postponed. After that we’re working on a winter run and we’re also already working on new music and we’re going to be working on a new record soon. For us, it’s just going to be a primary goal to put out content and share this new direction that we’ve been going towards and experimenting with. It’s great to be able to build on a sound that we’ve established but also take it to the next level as far as with guests, sit-ins and things like that. It’s a great thing about being instrumental, you can add different elements, different members and different guests while still maintaining your identity.