to start off, I am incredibly impressed with “It never Ends”. It is by far the most exciting album I have heard this summer/fall. Thank you for making such a quality peice of work, as well as taking the time to awnser these questions.
Let me start by saying thank you so much for your incredibly kind words.
TGH: You teased us this spring with “Lost at Sea”. I called it “optimistic”, which you seemed surprised by. After thinking about it, and listening to the song alot, I decided that just due to the place I was in emotionally, that it was sort of a “fuck you” to all of my own demons. Again, thank you for supplying that bit of therapy. Are you exorcising your own demons through-out “it never ends”?
Without a doubt. I think we tried to strike a balance with songs that simultaneously served as therapy and yet sounded triumphant. Almost as if by embracing my losses I could finally be done with them; songs that could alternately celebrate and lament.
TGH: “Kali” is a beautiful song. Can you talk about the back story to the lyrics a little?
Aw, thanks. It’s a song that took me close to twenty years to write. It’s really a song about teens going through things they don’t have the emotional ability to cope with. When great losses happen at that early an age I think it’s simply a survival instinct to sweep it all under the rug. As a result, you’ll wake up a decade later and and realize that the unresolved grief has corrupted every corner of your life. “Kali” was an attempt to sweep those cobwebs away.
TGH: I didnt realize how much I missed hearing guitars until I heard “Mid-Season Replacement”. The song is masterfully written and layered. How are you able to strike such a balance between delivery of your lyrics and the musical framework? The bridge is awesome by the way.
We set out to make a more synth forward record, but we couldn’t help it, I suppose. You can’t keep a good guitar tone down. Mid-Season was the first song we wrote for this record. The lyric simply showed up and the “start and end” theme really seemed to be in line with what I wanted this record to say.
TGH: What form did these songs first take? Do you start with a lyric or a melody first?
It’s always different. The best songs just sort of present themselves. I suppose a vast majority of songs start in the shower, where everyone sings, right?!? One phrase or line will attach itself to a melody and then I try not to kill myself as I run for the phone.
TGH: “Mulholland Drive ” is another absolutly gorgeous song. I heard two traces of other bands on it. You may hate me for it though. The guitar reminds me a little of Third Eye Blind, and it has the feel of a Stars song, the melody and the beautiful vocals. Please feel free to correct me.
No corrections necessary! I have absolutely no shame in my game. I adore Third Eye Blind. My last band opened for them a couple times and that was always a feather in my cap. And Stars are fantastic. I wasn’t consciously thinking of those bands but we’re always stealing from our favorite thieves in a sense, I suppose.
TGH: What type of music did you listen to growing up that led you down this dark and twisted path of awesomeness?
Hahaha! Well said. I have a sneaking suspicion Morrissey is to blame, but there are countless others we could call to the stand.
TGH: What are your top 5 guilty pleasure songs at the moment?
I can give you two and assure you that I feel absolutely no guilt blasting these, but I think I get what you’re asking. “Nothing’s gonna stop us now” by Starship: just a classic pop song and it was brought back into consciousness for me thanks to Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in “The Skeleton Twins”. Fantastic film and one of the greatest lip-sync scenes I have ever seen. Also, “Shake it Off” by one of my absolute favorites, Taylor Swift!
TGH: What are your hopes and dreams for TAXES?
When I started Taxes, I promised myself that I wouldn’t worry about all the noise, that I would simply make things I was proud of. I wanted to make things that made me more than a thing. What good is the curse of consciousness if we can’t sometimes use it against itself? Sorry, it’s difficult to phrase. Oh, and also, all of the Grammys and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I kid, I kid.
TGH: I always ask this, is there any Taxes x-mas music floating around out there? (I’m working on my Holiday playlist (important shit, obviously))
Amazing! I actually do. We wrote a x-mas song called, “Missouri Loves Company”. I have an old, lo-fi acoustic version somewhere! I’ll send it your way ASAP!