Interview: Charlie Dolan & Matt Jalbert of TAUK, Playing @ Terminal West 7/31


There are certain bands that come through the live music scene that you hear great things about, even if you didn’t ask. TAUK is one of those bands. Their unique, instrumental blend of melodic progressive rock and jazz-fusion is a sound that doesn’t go unnoticed, and with good reason. The New York City based dirty funk 4-piece band will be performing live at Terminal West tonight for a sold-out Phish after-party show.

We asked bass player Charlie Dolan and guitar player Matt Jalbert some questions about their song creation process, what five bands they’d like to headline a festival with them (someone please make this one happen), and what’s up next for the band.

How do you balance being on the road with creating an album?

Charlie: It’s definitely a tough thing to balance since we don’t get much time to practice new material on the road. We try to schedule practice time a few weeks in advance to get around that. Everyone also works on new music individually in their own downtime on the road.

Do you find that one influences the other?

Charlie: We like to play new material on the road before we record it. A lot of times, you will find the identity of a song if you just go for it live. We also try to take that energy from the road, and bring it into the studio.

What do you love the most about the experimental jam genre? What attracted you to that style of music?

Matt: We do experiment, and we do jam. So sure we’re an experimental jam band, if you say so. Both of those aspects (experimentation and improvisation) are qualities of music that I find necessary. We never want to limit ourselves to one sound or formula. Experimenting is so helpful to get us out of our own heads sometimes. That can mean a number of things such as working out a different way of composing, or trying out different sounds and textures. Getting outside of your comfort zone can really lead to things that you look back on and say, “Hey, that’s really cool. Let me try to incorporate that into something.”

In your songwriting and creating process, how do you know when a song is done and ready to be put on an album?

Charlie: We like the democratic method of deciding if a song is ready to be played live or in the studio. We also like to rearrange songs that have already been “finished” to keep them fresh and exciting to us.

What do you think is the biggest advantage to not having a singer and being purely instrumental?

Matt: The advantage is that there is no singular voice in our band. Anybody can take the lead at any given moment in a song. When there are vocals on a song, the listener will latch on to that first when they hear a song or a band for the first time. No matter what’s underneath, it’s hard to ignore what’s up front, and that can easily become what people think of as the sound of the band. But for us, we’re all on a level playing field. Our sound is all of us. So we can all take turns jumping into the forefront or meshing together to create a collective sound.

Let’s say you’re about to headline your own music festival. What five other bands would you most like to headline with?

Charlie: in no particular order, it would be Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, Snarky Puppy, Phish and Aphex Twin.

You’ve been through Atlanta a few times now, what has been your impression of the city’s music scene?

Matt: I always love coming to Atlanta. To be honest though, we haven’t had much time to explore the city since we usually have to get on the road after our gigs. It’s a shame because every place has something to offer. But I’ve been able to meet plenty of people at our shows, and Atlanta is absolutely one of those places where you can feel the excitement from people when it comes to music.

What can we expect to see at your show on Friday?

Charlie: An epically intense, sexy, beautiful, magical and explosive show.

What’s next for TAUK?

Matt: Well, we have a live album coming out later this year. It’ll be our first one. We’ve been really happy with our studio albums, but we are definitely a live band. There are things that happen at our shows that we just can’t do in the studio. So this will be the first time that we get to share the feeling of a live TAUK show with people. Beyond that, we’ve had some time over the summer to rehearse and work on new material so look out for new songs in the near future.


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