Stepping into the Spotlight with Black Taxi

, Staff

Every week we like to spotlight a rising band from outside of New England. Today, we get to know Brooklyn’s Black Taxi. You can catch the indie rockers in Boston when they play the Middle East Upstairs on Saturday, November 19.

Band Name: Black Taxi

Band Members:
Ezra Huleatt: Vox, Keys, Trumpet (New York/Pennsylvania)
Bill Mayo: Guitar, Vocals (Maine)
Krisana Soponpong: Bass (New York)
Jason Holmes: Drums (New Hampshire)

We Don’t Know Any Better (due in 2012)
Things of That Nature (2009)


How did you form/start?

BM: Ezra had some songs he’d been working on with Krisana, and I joined them for a gig. We had a different drummer at the time. We were pretty terrible, but the music was really fun, and special. But yeah, we were terrible. If you want to come over to my house I’ll show you some old live recordings.  You’ll laugh. Then cry.

EH: I disappeared in the summer of 2006 to indulge in Kerouacian adventure. When I returned later that year (post Africa/Mid-East/S.E. Asia) my former band had moved on. Through chance connections, I met Krisana (bass) who had just returned from Thailand and, like me, had lost his band in the process. We started writing and playing downtown venues as a duo, but soon realized the White Stripes dynamic was not what we were after. Friends were petitioned to join our amorphous project and Bill (guitar) agreed. A few months later our founding drummer told us he was leaving to tour with Modest Mouse. Jason (drums) caught our last gig together and made the mistake of sticking around to drink with us. This was followed by a jam session. He never left.

Finish the sentence, someone would like your band if they like…

BM: …deep fried Twinkies

EH: …to dance. If they feel the present bursting out of their retinas and have a fine taste in whiskey and fast cars, they also might like us. People say they like us because we remind them of _____ (insert favorite band). Sometimes those bands mentioned are the Clash or Talking Heads. Most times it is bands I have never heard of.

What song of yours should people listen to first and why?

BM: Well, “Tightrope” is our album preview, so definitely listen to that one! It’s free, just friend us on Facebook and stuff. But stay posted, because our next single “Hand” is my favorite song on the new album. All our songs are pretty different, but I think that’s what our fans like about us. People are drawn to us for different reasons, and they all like something different. But those two songs are pretty representative of what we’re sounding like these days.

Walk us through your songwriting process.

BM: A case of beer, deli sandwiches, incandescent lights (no florescent lights allowed, feels like school), lots of arguing, a few ‘a ha’ moments, looking around the studio for weird instruments…  and bada bing… song.

Tell us a little bit about your latest album.

BM: We decided to take a different approach to this album. Previous recordings had been us standing in a room trying to get a good take down on tape (yes, tape). It used to be Beatles-style. But we definitely embraced technology on this record. There are more electronic elements on this record, synths, drum triggers, crazy effects. But god help us, we still sound like a rock band! I guess that’s a good thing. At it’s heart, the band is pretty pure and the songs are structured. It came out really slamming.

What has your most memorable moment as a band been?

BM: Touring out to the west coast and back was quite a journey. It changed the way we work as a band, and broadened our scope of where we want this band to go. There are a lot of people in this country, and the world. Just because a few taste makers seem to be cramming certain bands down our throats, doesn’t mean you don’t have an audience somewhere. Being on the road exposes you to people in ways the internet can never touch.

What has been the hardest part of building your name onto the national level?

BM: That’s not really something we think about. We’re just interested in being the best band we can be, and if lots of people catch on to that, great.

Who are the best bands from your hometown that we might not know about?

BM: There is a band, in Boston actually, called Giant Target. They have a new album. Super fun music.

What band would you most like to open for?

BM: U2, mostly because there would be a big crowd.

Who is your all-time favorite Boston band?

BM: Haha I had to Google which bands are from Boston! But now that I’m looking, I have to say The Cars. The band “Boston” sucks.

What are your thoughts on playing Boston?

BM: We love playing Boston. We’ve played TT’s, Middle East, Tommy Doyles, Church, etc. We also played Boston’s New Year’s Eve event, First Night, two years in a row. We got to play right on the steps of the Library. Crazy party.

What can people expect from your live show and why should our readers catch your next stop in Boston?

BM: It seems rare these days that bands are known for something other than a viral video, or some blogfamous single. But we get most of our cred from what we do on the stage. We’re able to reach people on a whole different level when we’re face to face. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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