Gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, we can’t wait to get back to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia, for none other than FloydFest! To get everyone ready for this one-of-a-kind event, we’re interviewing some of our favorite FloydFest artists on the road to FloydFest 17 ~ Freedom (July 26-30).
Along the way, we will stop at the Giant Jam Sandwich: A FloydFest Family Picnic, taking place at the picturesque Elmwood Park Amphitheater in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. This all-day “picnic” will last from 12-10 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, and feature a sampling of the tastiest jam bands that FloydFest has to offer. In addition to being the co-existing with our first two interviews in the series, from BIG Something and TAUK, be sure to check The Poke Around for coverage of that event, as well as ticket giveaways!
Our second Q&A is with Charlie Dolan, bassist of TAUK, a four-piece rock-fusion band from New York, most recently touring in support of their new album, Sir Nebula.
So y’all have played FloydFest before, how excited are you to get back?
This will be our third FloydFest. The first time we went there was for one of their contests, and I don’t think we won, but they asked us back the next year anyway, which we were super pumped about. FloydFest is actually one of the first festivals where I was like ‘Oh shit, this crowd is awesome,’ and really got that feeling from the crowd that they were giving us energy back. It was definitely one of those moments I’ll always remember. I’m definitely happy to get back, it’s one of my favorite festivals.
Giant Jam Sandwich: A FloydFest Family Picnic is coming up on June 4. You’ve got quite a stacked lineup to share the bill with, including The Mantras, People’s Blues of Richmond, The Werks, Big Something and Sol Searchers. I know you’ve been on the same bills with several of these bands in the past, whether it be the many festivals you’ve played together, or even one-night gigs. Will this be a family picnic of your own, in a way?
Absolutely. You know the great thing about festival season, especially festivals and events like this, where you do get to see your friends, who most of the time if you do see them [throughout the year] it’s only for a second, is that you actually get to hang, actually get to jam and play on stage together, so it’s always something that I look forward to.
Y’all are on a bit of a break right now, then it’s right back into festival season at the end of May. Will you speak on the differences of being on your own tour as opposed to the summer festival circuit?
Completely different. The fact with being on the road for weeks at a time, is that there’s a certain kind of energy that you build up from that, a certain kind of tightness. Even the other side, where we’re playing shows over and over again, sometimes you might have a stale night here and there, where as with festivals, maybe we’ll play three sets in a weekend and then we’re off for another week, so there’s definitely a different mindset and preparation going into it. But then [during the summer] we get to be home and practice more and work on new material. Personally, I love playing outside, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Especially as a bass player, I feel like it translates completely differently. I’m looking forward to the summer, we have a bunch of cool events, these two included.
The newest album, Sir Nebula, was to me, one of the most carefully crafted, smoother sounds I’ve heard out of you guys yet. Was there anything you did differently with the creative or recording process?
Yeah. With Sir Nebula, I think what was different about it was that we actually sat down and just did the whole thing. We worked on pre-production, to just getting in the studio, into doing overdubs, and then into mixing, and we never really stopped. Whereas in the previous records we kind of had to cut those things up a bit, whether it be gigging or festivals or whatever other things we had to do. So that’s what I enjoyed the most about this record, the continuity of being together and focusing on the record. I think it showed itself in a lot of ways and brought out different parts of our sound and made us grow, in a way, and made us a lot tighter.
Had you all been playing the songs on Sir Nebula live for a while before recording, or did you hold out some for the release?
We definitely had a few songs that we were playing, we are even playing some newer songs now that will probably be on the next record. It’s usually about half-and-half, and we were sitting on Sir Nebula for a bit, so it was tough to do. There were a few songs we just held out from the rotation for once we did release the record, which is kind of painful to do but, now it’s here so we feel good about it. You always want to bring fresh tunes to audiences’ ears so holding stuff back is tough.
As you continue to gain momentum, has there been talk of a TAUK festival? If so, what would that look like?
Well, every time we play a festival I’m like ‘this would be great,’ and then I see one go wrong, and I’m like ‘I would never want to do that ever’ (laughs). I’ll never say never, and we do have a name, it could be called TAUKtoberfest.
Written by Richard Oakley
Photograph by Dylan Langile