Mon, 23 Aug 2010 07:29:23
"We think of ourselves as a rock band, but we enjoy the fact that we cross some boundaries," says Tauk frontman Alessandro Zanelli.
Tauk doesn't just cross boundaries, they bend them on their new album Brokedown King. Rock music, jazz, funk all bend to Tauk's whim, often within the same song. The record seamlessly integrates flourishes of jazz into traditional anthemic rock 'n' roll structures. Plus, each song comes to life vividly and visually. It's cinematic in the purest sense of the word.
Tauk mainman Alessandro Zanelli spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about creating jazz-driven anthems, Brokedown King and There Will Be Blood in this exclusive interview.
Does the creative process always begin with jamming or is it more song-oriented?
It's much more song-oriented. Usually, one of us will bring a sketch of what the song is going to be. Matt will bring in a song and sometime it will have a melody line and other times it won't. I'll put the melody line and lyrics to it in that case. Or, Charlie will bring a song and he'll have a full melody, and I'll just write the lyrics to it. It's very collaborative. Everybody has a say in what's going on. We talk the songs out, and then they come together. Everyone has a lot to say and is a master of what he does.
Each instrument also stands out within the framework of the songs.
Absolutely! That's the sound we're going for. It's like a one-for-all mentality. Just because I'm the one who writes the words, it doesn't mean that everybody else doesn't have something to say.
What's the story behind "Too Soon?"
That one almost didn't make the album [Laughs]. The song is about how you'll wake up early in the morning and you'll do everything that you're supposed to do. In the end, you get home from work, and you're so tired you can't do some of the things you want to do. You end up wishing you had more time in the day to finish whatever it is that you wanted to do. It's about days ending too quickly, and you're wishing you had more time. I live in Queens now. For me, the subway is a way life. Because it's a way of life, it leaves so much time to think about what it is that you're not doing. It takes so much time to get somewhere. While you're moving, you think about what else you could be doing, what else you should be doing, what you need to do that day and what you wish you could've done that day. It's the only song on the entire album that's in a major key. For a time, we thought we were going to put it in the middle of the album. Then, after talking with the other guys, we realized that it rounds out the record really well. Keeping in line with the album title, Brokedown King, we all want to be kings of our domain. We all want to be people who own up to what it is we need to do in our lives and keep relationships up—but it's difficult to do that. You essentially have to be "brokedown" before you can fix yourself and understand what it is you're supposed to do. This is an ongoing struggle that everyone has. "Too Soon" resonates with that concept. Conceptualizing the problems with life is the first step. One of the big problems people have is spending too much time at work, on the train or doing things that they don't really want to be doing. Once you conceptualize those ideas, you can start bettering yourself and making it so you are just the king of your domain and you aren't as broken down as you may have been before.
If you were to compare Brokedown King to a movie or combination of movies what would you compare it to?
Very interesting question! There's this amazing Italian movie called Cinema Paradiso. My mom showed it to me when I was a little kid because she's Italian and she's very into film. There's a great comparison there because the Italians romanticize things really well. Ultimately, what's at the heart of this album is the idea of struggling through whatever it is you're going through. At the same time, there's an enjoyment of life that I hope comes through as well. You're enjoying the fact that within that struggle there's still the opportunity to do whatever you want with your mind. We are human beings, and that's a very unique thing to be. Cinema Paradiso does that really well. It's about relationships with women and men. It's about becoming friends with everybody and trying to put yourself out there to possibly do something that you never expected you would do but that you love. That's what the main character in the film does. The human element in that is amazing. There are also elements of There Will Be Blood involved as well because there's cynicism [Laughs].
Have you heard Tauk yet?