In the midst of a new single & music video being released, tour plans and a new EP on the way, we were lucky enough to catch some time with Talay to chat about what we can expect with the new release and future tour plans.
What were your musical inspirations for the upcoming EP?
I could honestly go track by track when it comes to musical inspirations… and now I will do just that! I think the guitar riff for “Parents’ House” came out the way it did because I’m such a giant fan of Weezer’s “El Scorcho,” so that song has a pretty Weezer vibe on the whole. The chorus of “Drummer of the Band,” believe it or not, was inspired partially by Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance.” It didn’t really come out sounding that way, but I think I was just kind of obsessed with that track when it came out and I had it in my head that I wanted to write something similarly catchy AF. In terms of producing it, we leaned more towards 90’s/ early 00’s pop/rock like No Doubt and Blink 182. Although, Paramore was also a reference for that track when it came to keeping the sound current. My producer Greg Mayo and I both loved the way their last self-titled record sounded. “I Hope Your Band Goes Nowhere” definitely felt a bit like a Nirvana song when I started writing it, so we played up that grungy vibe in the production. I actually started writing the syncopated power chord riff-based verses of “CITY” after I learned Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” The guitar solo on that track is also pretty 80’s inspired but I think the whammy pedal keeps it from sounding like too much of a throwback. The last track, “Miami Take Me Home,” is the oldest track and the only song on this EP that I’d written back in college a few years ago. It was actually a songwriting assignment that I had to model Sheryl Crow’s “Leaving Los Vegas.” So, I guess that was the idea to write a sort of inverse of that song, lyrically.
What was the writing process for the EP?
For the most part, I just wrote all the tunes and brought them to my band for us to arrange to play them live. And for the most part, those arrangements ended up making up most of what you hear on the EP. For two of the songs though, “Drummer” and “CITY,” I actually sat down for a little writing session with my friend Paul Maddision who helped take them from verse-chorus-verse-chorus song ideas to fully formed tunes with guitar solos and solid bridges. Zach Jones and Greg Mayo also contributed some great arrangement ideas when the songs made it into the studio. Adding or subtracting a few bars here and there – little details that made a big impact.
What’s your favourite track on the upcoming EP?
That’s such a tough question! Honestly there are things I love about each track and they’ve all had their time as my favorite throughout the recording process. Right now, I probably enjoy listening to “Parents’ House” most because its the one that’s out and that people have started getting into….. but if you asked me my favorite in another week or so it would probably change!
How would you best describe the new material compared to your previous EP?
If I’m comparing the two, I’d say this EP just has more teeth than the last one. It hits harder, the songs are a bit tighter in terms of pop arrangements and more clever lyrics. I still love that last EP, but this one represents where I’m at now as an artist.
With your new songs presenting a change in style from your Piece By Piece EP, are there any other styles you’ve written songs in/ other styles you would like to explore?
Sure, I always imagine that my sound will continue to evolve over time. Or at least, I hope it does! Lately I’ve been writing songs that are a little more thoughtful and laid back than this self-titled EP which is super snarky and a little aggressive. So I guess I’m starting to split the difference a bit between this latest EP and the first one. I’m always looking to improve as a guitarist too, and that generally drives my songwriting to a certain degree. So I guess rather than aiming for a specific style, I’m aiming to incorporate a totally badass tapping solo into one of my songs someday.
Do you have any upcoming tour plans such as bands you’d love to tour with and new locations you’d want to tour most?
There are some new(ish) punk(ish) bands who I’d totally die to open up for. Like The Front Bottoms and PWR BTTM, who both have a similarly fun vibe to their music and would probably be a great time on the road. Paramore would also be a total dream to support. In terms of where I’d like to tour, the answer is honestly everywhere and anywhere! Right now, I’m trying to prioritize college gigs and regional touring in the US. But I’d love to make it over to the UK sometime soon!
Do you have any pre/post gig rituals?
Post gig ritual is typically beer! Ha. Kidding (kind of). I honestly wish I had a better pre-show ritual, and I’m hoping to get on a better routine for that soon. These days my most typical pre-show ritual is putting my makeup on at the bathroom of the gig because I’m running late.
Favourite on stage moment/crowd interaction?
I don’t know if I have a specific moment that jumps out in my mind. I really just love when I have an animated crowd that makes for a lot of back and forth. All kinds of calling out and heckling me is welcomed.
After the release of the new EP, what’s the next step?
Well I’m actually meeting up with my bandmates very soon to chat about the next record already – It’ll probably be another EP. So we may get into tracking that by the summertime. But I’m also looking to get out on the road for a good portion of the summer – hopefully hit most of the major cities solo along the east coast, and set myself up for coming back in the fall with some full-band touring.
Coincidentally, Talay has recently announced a run of shows in Philadelphia at the venues below (links included) with three solo sets and one full band show in May (More info at Talaymusic.com)