This week our featured artist is rock band, Black Taxi from Brooklyn. With the recent release of their second full-length album We Don’t Know Any Better, the band is keeping busy with their current tour, hitting up venues from the East Coast, to the South, and over to the Midwest. We spoke to Jason Holmes (Drums) and Bill Mayo (Guitar) from the band to speak about their newest album, how it feels to be a band from Brooklyn, what they have planned for 2012, and more. Get to know more about Black Taxi below and check out their latest album if you haven’t already.
And be sure to catch Black Taxi in DC for the first time at DC9 on May 8th!
1. Could you give us an introduction to who the different members of the band are and what they contribute?
Jason: Ezra is our lead singer and frontman, riling up the stage with various percussion he also plays trumpet and keyboards front and center. Bill plays guitar and loops, he also sings lead on many of our songs. He and Ezra being the singers write most of the lyrics. Krisana plays bass while simultaneously keeps his finger on the pulse of pop culture, and Jason plays the drums and sings harmonies on all the songs.
2. The band is heavy on that Big Wave-Dance Pop-Rock sound, with its infectious melodies and harmonies. Can you tell us a few of the musicians that inspire you as a group, as well as your sound?
Jason: We tend to be influenced, above all, by our creative friends and friend’s bands. Bands like The Bright Light Social Hour out of Austin, TX and Deadbeat Darling who are our close friends in NYC represent certain styles and we have found our own unique sound in this musical landscape that we are a part of here. Of course we’ll always be referencing and taking our cues from the bands that have inspired us to play – think The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Franz Ferdinand, Beck, The Clash, etc, etc, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin.
3. Brooklyn has tremendous credit for the amount of amazing bands and music that come out of it, how do you all feel about being a part of such a powerful music scene?
Jason: It feels great… and it’s true, Brooklyn is a really, really creative place right now. It’s very inspiring to have so many close friends who are in bands, and to be able to network and connect and influence and be affected by other bands around us. It’s also inspiring to know that there are so many bands that we don’t know living right here, in our neighborhood – on our block. The knowledge that there are so many other bands and other good ideas tends to push us to develop our songs, our performance, put everything we have into them. There are way too many bands and too much talent to stand out here if your not really trying.
4. To continue on that note, how do you set yourself apart from all the other bands?
Jason: We spend a lot more time trying to find things in common with other bands than trying to set ourselves apart. The fact is, like any band, our sound a unique combination of parts. We each bring our own sounds and tastes, ideas and abilities to the mix so the sound we create together is unique to begin with. Our live performance does often set us apart from other bands. We feel strongly that a live show can be an incredibly powerful experience so we really pour ourselves into live shows. I think our live show and delivery set us apart from many bands. It’s always pretty exciting…
5. The four of you have recently released your second full-length album. How has the reception to We Don’t Know Any Better been so far?
Jason: It’s been overwhelmingly positive! We’ve done a bunch of interviews all over the country for radio and blogs, etc. Our fans back home in NYC loved it and they’ve been with us from our first EP so that means a lot. We, ourselves are really proud of this album, and I think it speaks to who we are as a band right now, and the experience of the people around us.
6. Where did the band cut the record and who produced it?
Jason: We recorded it at The Bunker in Brooklyn. Aaron Nevezie was the producer. He’s got great ears and spirit.
7. Was the recording experience any different in comparison to Things Of That Nature?
Bill: When we made our first record “Things of that Nature”, we were basically just going into a studio to track a collection of songs we’d been playing live. We knew what all the parts were meant to sound like, all the vocal harmonies were decided in advance. It was the four of us in a room, playing our tunes until we got a take we liked. But in putting the finishing touches on that record, our producer, Aaron Nevezie encouraged us to push some boundaries with synths and percussion and effects. Those were some of my favorite moments on that old album, when we allowed ourselves to use the studio as our instrument and create new sounds on the spot. So when we set out to create “We Don’t Know Any Better”, we embraced the idea that great moments can come about when you leave space for them. We actually left some sections of our songs blank in the songwriting process, knowing we could have some fun once we started recording. In general, we embraced technology a little more on “We Don’t Know Any Better”. There are so many sounds you can make when you look beyond just guitars. But after all our experimentation, I’m happy to say that this record still sounds very much like Black Taxi.
8. Any favorite track off of the album?
Jason: I have two favorite moments on the album. On the song Becoming the build going into the chorus and then the chorus itself do it for me, also in the song Vultures after the main body of the song finishes there is this long, mostly instrumental section the that still gives me shivers.
9. Now that you all have two EPs and two full-length albums under your belt, what does Black Taxi aspire to accomplish as a band, or what are your goals for the rest of 2012?
Jason: One thing for sure is that we sill be touring a lot! We are already booking out our THIRD national tour this year! We’ll be playing more down the East Coast and the South in FL, TX, NOLA and the midwest. Also, we’ll be releasing a remix of the song Friend and we’ve had some music videos out and there will be more. We’re also already working on some new songs, so it would be rad to get recording some new music!
10. Black Taxi has sold out many of the well-established clubs out in New York,Boston, and New Orleans, while also playing the big festivals. Do you prefer the intimate clubs or is playing in front of large crowds more of what you all aspire to play for?
Jason: I know I always want to be finding new things and growing and exploring so I’m really eager to be playing big stages and huge venues. We’ve don so, so many shows where we’ve been falling over on another so large stages are such a joy to play on. It has to be said tho, that some of my favorite BT shows have been on tiny stages with bad sound systems. Being all packed in a space together is pretty rock and roll the way I see it.
11. We’re pretty pumped to see that Black Taxi is coming to DC in May, have any of you played here before?
Jason: No, we haven’t, but are really psyched to finally crack into DC! every time we driving by it on our way to shows down south we ask each other “Why the hell aren’t we playing in DC?”, so we finally are. Tell your friends!
12. Thanks for taking the time to let us know more about you. We’ll see you in May! Any last shout outs to the readers?
New store up at www.blacktaxi.com . finally shirts and other merch are available outside of our shows!