Taxiride Interview

Taxiride Interview
After a noticeable two year absence from the music scene, TAXIRIDE are back with their second and perhaps finest studio album to date, "Garage Mahal". Filled with signature harmonies and infectious hooks, Taxiride's latest album is a mixture of deep guitar sounds and catchy rhythms. Taking time out recently from their busy schedules, Jason Singh, Tim Wild and Tim Watson chatted to FEMAIL about time away from the spotlight, their musical journey so far and their plans for the future.

Femail: "Garage Mahal" is an interesting title for an album; does it hold any particular meaning for you guys?

Well it does, it's kind of a crossroads of where we feel like we're at in a way. Sometimes it's more majestic like the Taj Mahal, other times it's more like a garage. So the two words together kind of summed the band up really well for where we are now.

Femail: You decided to release "Creepin' Up Slowly" as the first single from your new album. Has the reaction to the single been positive?

T. Watson:
It's been fantastic, we've been out of the limelight for two years so we didn't know what to expect. Our biggest indication on how the single is going has been the charts and listening to radio and people seem to be very positive about it.

Femail: Take us back in time, how did you all meet and how was Taxiride formed?

T. Wild:
We were all playing in local bands around Melbourne, so that's how we met. And we just started writing songs together at a studio, we started recording and it sort of took off from there.

J: These guys had been together in a band for around five years before I came onto the scene, so I am still the new guy - they won't let me live that down! (laughs)

Femail: Did you ever imagine that you would achieve great success in such a short amount of time?

Yes we did imagine it but you never expect that it will actually happen.

Femail: So when it did happen with your first album, that must have been a pleasant surprise?

T. Wild:
That was a true shock when it went Number One on release. Obviously Number One is what you hope for, but it's difficult to get there. I remember when I heard that we had gone Number One, my jaw literally dropped to the floor and I walked around the house not quite knowing how to feel.

J: And we didn't know what it meant then, you don't really know what you're doing at the time. You figure it out three months down the track, when you look back and reflect on it.

Femail: As you mentioned before, you have been out of the public eye for a couple of years, was this an intentional thing?

T. Wild:
It wasn't intentional, we didn't plan to stay out of the music scene for that long. Two years ago we spent a lot of time in Europe and Japan, then last year was spent writing music and going in to record this album. It was a case of we weren't there because we were doing other things.

Femail: So you never really stopped completely?

The last gig we did was New Year's Eve 2001. That was kind of pulling the pin on the live scene and touring but it was all systems go for our next record.

T. Watson: We did get offers to perform around Australia during that period, so it was definitely a conscious decision not to do them. We felt it just would have been the same material, which would have got boring for us eventually and for the people coming to our shows. We wanted to disappear to reappear.

J: It was time to change anyway.

Femail: Were you concerned at all that your absence from the music scene might have had a bad effect on your music career?

T. Wild:
The record company was but we weren't.

J: It didn't feel like a long time away, it's like in a blink of an eye, here we are doing it all again.

Femail: Were there a lot of people hounding you to bring out the next record?

T. Wild:
Yeah but no one more than us really.

T. Watson: We're just lucky that we have a good relationship with our record company and they knew that we had to take time to get this album right.

Femail: Following your return, do you feel you have to work harder now because of the long delay between albums?

T. Wild:
It's been relatively smooth sailing. We spent a lot of time on the mechanics of making a record and doing the videos, that sort of thing. You know everything is a hurdle, but it's all going pretty good and we're really enjoying ourselves.

T. Watson: We did come in with the attitude though of because it's been such a long time, you just don't hold back. We've got to do this like no one has heard us before and that's the best way to do it because then you come back in with a fresh approach. You're not gauging yourself against the last album, nor are you trying to ride on your own coat tails. You're just coming in and going "right we're nobody again".

J: We actually took the time to step away from it so much that we became "real" again because it's quite an unreal lifestyle in the way that you're not sure if you're in a dream or if you're actually awake.

T. Watson: For awhile there I was a Japanese Cartoon! (laughs)

Femail: For your second album, you decided to all be apart of the writing process, which differed from the "Imaginate" album. What prompted this change?

T. Wild:
It wasn't different to "Imaginate", it was just this time we got more involved as a group.

J: It was more of a conscious effort - now that we know all the rules about making a record, recording it, writing it, touring etc...we said "let's all put our heads together and do it from the start".

T. Watson: The last album sort of came out of a studio and we had a lot less songs to choose from. Because it was our first attempt at making an album, we pretty much chose a lot of the songs we had. Whereas on this album we wrote a lot more songs and the way we selected them was to play them live and we then went with whatever felt the best. Everybody's individual flavour comes together more on this album.

Femail: What are your overall comments on the new album?

T. Wild:
I'd call it a band evolution.

J: Hopefully people love it as much as we do because I am pretty proud of it. It has come from such a weird place - the three of us together, there's just something going on there, I can't explain it.

T. Watson: It's definitely a step in the right direction for us, we feel like we know what we're doing.

Femail: Some of the lyrics on "Garage Mahal" are quite moody and abstract - is this the writing style you feel most comfortable with?

It's just the three brains I think; it will be different from the first album because there's different writers involved. The songs for me and to us, are just a snapshot of one moment, it's not really your whole being. You write a song and it's just about that one day or that one month at best, so the lyrics are just telling it like it is really.

Femail: Was there a driving force for the lyrics in "How I Got This Way"?

T. Watson:
Yes but we can't tell you because we'd have to kill you! (laughs)

J: It's kind of written about a family meeting I had with my mother and it was basically just about pulling my head in. She's cool like that. The song is reflecting on certain times...

T. Watson: [in character] You may be a rock star, but you're not too big that I can't spank your arse! (laughs)

Femail: Did the ideas for most of the songs on the album come from personal and life experiences?

T. Wild:
Sometimes, other times you can completely make up a story and follow through with that. But a lot of it is kind of reflective, if not obviously, then subtlely about lifestyles etc.

J: A lot of the songs on there for me are directly about family, I don't know why. I guess it's just writing about what's around you at the time.

T. Watson: I tend to write about collectives - lyrics of a song might be about 8 different people, because you take a collective experience and boil it down to something that sums it all up. Also that way, you don't get into trouble! (laughs)

Femail: What are your thoughts on working with such a talented and experienced producer like Fred Maher?

T. Watson:
Fred ended up being the right choice because rather than make suggestions in terms of 'let's do this', he'd come in and advise us on something, then we'd go away and write it and come back with the answer. And because we were all very involved in the making of this album, that was the best way to operate around us, to let us do it and push us in the right direction.

Femail: You have performed at some awesome venues across the globe; can you recall one standout performance?

I'd say performing in France in front of 80, 000 people - that was something else.

Femail: Taxiride are huge in Asia - how are the fans there different from Australian fans? Are they more fanatical?

T. Wild:
Everything is exaggerated in Japan, the fans are a lot more manic. They hang around the hotels for 10 days straight.

T. Watson: They are very, very loyal fans and extremely polite.

Femail: How do you like being referred to as a "boy band"?

I think it's good because it gives us another 10 years on our career! (laughs)

T. Watson: The term "boy band" suggests that you've been put together and you're a manufactured group and we're not exactly that.

J: We are a pizza with the lot and that's what I love about this band, it can be anything between today and tomorrow.

Femail: Which song off the album is going to be the second single release?

T. Watson:
"How I Got This Way", we just shot the video for that in the Arizona desert.

Femail: What do you miss the most when touring?

Family, friends, my dog...

T. Wild: And Australian food!

T. Watson: Definitely your friends, you miss calling them up.

Femail: Are there plans to tour Australia or will you be heading off overseas?

Absolutely - we'll be on tour from September 5th - October 10th.

Femail: Now let's get on a more personal level, which one of you is the shiftiest member of the band?

Watson! (laughs)

T. Watson: No way! A scammer yes, but shifty no!

Femail: Finally who snores the loudest?

Watson! (laughs)

T. Watson: No way!

- Annemarie Failla & Michelle Palmer

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