BLACK TAXI is a band poised for great things. Their 2012 sophomore effort, We Don’t Know Any Better, was groundbreaking and after relentless touring they’ve proven to be one of the best, most energetic live acts around. Finally the rest of the world seems to be paying attention with the their most recent video for “House On Fire” being featured on MTV’s “Buzzworthy” blog. In the midst of some more touring with a stop at Cambridge’s Tommy Doyle’s on July 5th, guitarist Bill Mayo recently chatted with us via phone about what to expect from BLACK TAXI in the coming months:
Does the release of “House On Fire” indicate a new album is on the way and when?
The new album is an EP not a full-length like we’ve done in the past. We don’t have a specific date for it but it’s looking like August.
What’s the appeal of doing a series of EP’s as opposed to a third full-length?
When we first came out with a full-length four years ago in 2009 everyone was telling us it’s a singles market and we were like “Screw you guys, we wanna do a full-length!”. Then we did another full-length in 2012 and it’s really fun to do a full-length but actually, we’re really enjoying this approach of just doing a smaller batch of songs and getting a really cohesive, small collection of tunes that sound good together. Also, it allows you to release the material over time so we come out with an EP, people get excited about it for a few months and then it sort of fizzles and then we have another EP come out a few months later. If you’re coming out with a full-length record you’re not going to have the time or money to come with another record in two months like you would with an EP.
“HOF” is definitely BLACK TAXI but very synth heavy and in general an expansion of your overall sound, is this indicative of how the new stuff is sounding?
Yeah, we’ve been using a lot more synths in the new stuff. You know, we wrote a lot of this music while we were living in Austin, Texas and I think we had a lot of time to experiment with new sounds that we hadn’t had time for in New York. In New York the pace of life is just so busy so when we got together it was just bang, bang, bang and we had to write really fast and crank stuff out where as in Austin we kind of had time to experiment and delve into these new sounds and play with synths and add that character to our sound which we had been wanting to do. It’s funny, when we’re all together touring around, the stuff that we listen to is very synth heavy. It’s very rare that we listen to regular old guitar rock. We really like electronic music and we really wanted to incorporate electronic elements so I would say that it’s definitely indicative of what’s to come.
The band tends to tour/play shows relentlessly. What do you get out of touring and what do you hope your fans get from a BLACK TAXI live show?
As far as for myself it’s kind of the whole purpose of why we come up with the songs that we do. We write high energy songs because it’s fun to play. For me, the bands that I like to listen to aren’t necessarily gonna be good to see live. Like, I don’t care about seeing a Radiohead show live. I think the album is going to sound better and I don’t think they’re going to give me a whole lot of energy on stage so I’d rather just sit back and listen to the record with a bottle of wine, y’know? But for bands that you actually wanna see live, that’s an experience. For me, it’s actually being able to experience the music that we’ve written over and over again in a way that is fun and satisfying and when people receive it well, it’s especially fun.
As far as what the fans are getting out of it, I mean, this tour especially we’ve seen the cities that we’ve gone to once or twice or three times that every time we’ve gone back we’ve grown our audience and some places are still small for us but there are other places that have really blown up. We’re not selling out theaters but we’re selling out rock clubs in some places and that’s been really cool to see. I hope that, as the word spreads, people get excited about it and people get excited to come see us twice or three times.
Why should music fans check out BLACK TAXI?
Well, because there is absolutely nothing like it going on. You listen to mixes that Urban Outfitters gives you and it all sounds the same or you go on the top four or five blogs and all the stuff that everyone’s cramming down your throats is all the same and we don’t sound anything like any of those people so I hope that that’s a good thing for us.