Tonight Tax the Wolf unleashes their new album, Hold The Sun, onto Houston audiences at Mango's. In the wake of the band's Best Progressive Rock win at this month's Houston Press Music Awards, they have a lot to prove, a fact not lost on the boys.
Rocks Off's own Shea Serrano profiled Tax the Wolf last summer for his ongoing Artist Of The Week series, right after the band had made its first splash onto the Houston scene. You may have known them before as Wolves At The Door, and with the name change the plot thickened and their space-y rock stew got all the more heartier.
We talked to the shaggy and wooly boys, who are making a regular weekend of it with another show Saturday night at Rudz with Spain Colored Orange, about us unintentionally stalking them at the HPMA showcase, their hair, Twitter, and the otherworldly influences on the recording of Sun. They also hinted at what their upcoming Reduxion covers set may entail.
Rocks Off: We're sorry for unwittingly following you guys around during the HPMAs. We're sure that visage behind you wasn't the most reassuring thing.
Tax The Wolf: It was a better feeling than the scorching sun behind us. We hope you all continue to follow.
RO: We're also sorry for being enthralled with Afros. We think it's the fact that we are part white and balding.
TTW: We're part-Wookie and Hispanic. No need for apologies.
RO: You won Best Progressive Rock at the HPMA's earlier this month. Was that a thrill or did you see it as motivation, a kick in the ass if you will, to keep working that much harder?
TTW: We saw it as a thrill because it was a very unexpected moment. We never thought we could go against the other nominees. After that night we felt determined and motivated to keep pushing for something authentic and original for Houstonians to call their own. Finishing this first record is a goal that we finally reached. We have many more in store.
RO: As far Houston bands go, rock ones especially, the band is very active on Twitter. Do you think embracing social media has made a big impact on your popularity?
TTW: We try to use the efficiency and power of the Internet as much as possible. The social media monster is definitely a huge impact on our growth as a band. We've done live webcasts which were a convenient and amazing thing to jump on. We're trying to reach a mass audience and be up to speed with technology. A rock band shouldn't be twittering though, it's not hardcore enough.
RO: Tell us about Hold The Sun. You had said something to us earlier this year about the place you were recording it at being haunted. The album definitely has a spooky vibe to it at times.
TTW: This album has many stories behind it. We put a lot of physical and emotional efforts into every song. The first song on Hold the Sun was recorded in four different parts and three different locations.
"Freddy & Stephen Hawking's Great Space Exploration" had four different fully-recorded versions, and we decided to go with the first. "184 Chromosomes" was the most expensive song to finish in this album. "Hold the Sun" was the last song that we created before closing the album off.
There are many stories as any other album has. We had to adapt to our recording environments and it wasn't fun at times. The main space where we worked definitely had a surreal and spooky vibe to it. Audio files would go missing, guitars and equipment would get moved around, unexplained noises, and the overall movement of the vacant, recording house was an experience. It definitely had our ideas and hearts racing.
Would we go back and record [there again]? Fuck yes.
RO: What's the band's favorite track on the album? We know it's like a parent picking their favorite child.
TTW: I think "Eagle" is one of our favorite tracks. It's hard to decide but there's a bond that we have with the song. We spent a huge amount of time producing it and we're really happy with the end result. We feel like every one of our songs is a soundtrack to different scenes in a movie or something.
This song has a haunting feeling to it. From the piercing guitar mimicking an eagle to it's grand-layered outro with Indian chants. It's a fun song for the whole family.
RO: You guys are set to take part in Rocks Off's new Reduxion night in the next few months. What band are you zeroing in on covering for us?
TTW: This question is definitely the toughest. We have so many ideas and we're very indecisive. We're not entirely sure who we're gonna choose but we won't let anyone down. We have Gorillaz, the Velvet Underground, Radiohead, Dr. Dre and Nirvana in our sights. Rocks Off will be the first to know what we decide.
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RO: What's the plan for the rest of year touring and gig-wise? Playing with Dead Confederate tonight is a shot in the arm for anyone.
TTW: We're planning out our first tour at the moment and are aiming towards a November and December run. We've never played outside of Houston. Touring is going to be a challenge, but we're truly excited to play outside of our own safe zone.
Performing with Dead Confederate tonight will definitely be a hard wall to bring down, and we've played with them before and they're really nice people. We'll see how it goes down.
We're still gonna steal the show, though. We have fancy lights, new discs and cool shirts tonight. C'mon Houston...