WORDS: Dean Martin
TAX THE HEAT have been on the scene since 2013 and in that time they’ve secured themselves a solid fan base, played Download Festival, and are now headlining their own tour. We’re catching up with them halfway through this tour to see how it’s going.
What’s it like touring the UK, and just recently in Europe, in the run up to Fed To The Lions release next Spring?
Alex: Very exciting for us because we’ve been the support band for a long time, like, two or three years of just jumping onto tours and bouncing between things, and doing all that sort of stuff so for us to be out here doing our own headline run is great. It’s really exciting. We’ve been working really hard on the album, as well, so, that’s been quite a constant thing over the last couple of months so yeah we’re very much looking forward to that coming up next spring.
You mentioned jumping onto tours; do you often get breaks between them?
Jack: It really depends on what time of year and if there’s more touring going on. We have been really lucky to get lots of really good support slots on tours that we’ve done. We’ve been really lucky with that. It just depends.
This is your first headline tour, have any dates been particularly special to you?
Alex: So we’ve just done two, London was the first night a couple of days ago and that was really cool to see everyone singing along and all of that stuff and last night was a home town show in Bristol and that was sold out so that was fantastic. There was a just a great atmosphere and yeah, it’s been really good. We’re looking forward to playing Birmingham tonight like we always have a good time in Birmingham.
That’s something said a lot, everyone seems to love Birmingham.
Jack: Yeah, it’s great. Rock and roll seems to really work in Birmingham. People are really there for the music which is great, you can really tell. Yeah, we’ve had a couple of great gigs already and we’re looking forward to playing tonight.
How is this tour different to your festival appearances?
Alex: Well, it’s a very different thing. You’ve got a lot longer for a start, like throughout the day as well you’ve got more time to prep thing because the thing is when you’re doing the support stuff and festival stuff there’s no time and a lot of the time stuff, like equipment, go down and you’ve deal with things pretty quick, which you get good at doing, but when you’re doing shows like this you don’t need to worry about that because you’ve got time to sort it out. It’s a more relaxed thing, I think.
Jack: It’s a bit easier, in a way.
Alex: Just as fun, they’re both fun things, but, very different. It’s nice to be able to play some of the songs that we don’t get to play on those festival slots and on the support slots, it’s really nice to play some of them and even see people knowing the songs from the EP and stuff that we don’t get to play so often it’s a great experience.
Which do you think you prefer? Tour or festival?
Alex: Errm, I would say I’m waiting for the headline of the festival. That, that would be the one! But no, they’re both great. I mean, we’ve only done two headline shows but they’ve been pretty special. I could get used to this.
You’ve supported on quite a few tours in the last couple of years and gained many fans this way. Now you’re headlining, are you worried about attracting new fans?
Alex: Yeah, sure. It feels way different now that we’re doing our headline shows and we know that people are coming out specifically to see us and we’re really appreciative of that. Obviously it’s a great feeling that are coming out and people are knowing the songs, singing along, and stuff like that. It really is a great feeling but we’ve been really lucky with a lot of support that we’ve had from those guys that we’ve supported that have really helped us along the way and from Planet Rock Radio and Classic Rock Magazine who have both been really good to us and featured us quite a lot and those things have really helped us to build a bit of a fan base and still seems to. We released a new single recently, Some Sympathy, and we’ve had a lot of people coming to the gigs saying they’ve just heard the new single recently and just had to get tickets which is amazing to hear and again there’s a lot of people singing down the front so yeah it’s been good.
You’ve played alongside AEROSMITH and BLACK STAR RIDERS in the past, which are tough to beat, but is there anyone you’ve always wanted to tour with?
Alex: Well that actually was the case with me for AEROSMITH, I mean that’s been my favourite band since I was like ten when I went to the cinema and watched Wayne’s World 2 and that just like changed my life, I became obsessed with AEROSMITH and started playing guitar so when we ended up doing that gig, that was just ridiculous, I was so happy to do that. There’s stuff, like the ACDCs of the world and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE like it would be amazing to do those but I mean getting on the bill with BLACK STAR RIDERS was incredible and those guys have supported us since the beginning as well and getting to play on the same stage as Scott Gorham was pretty amazing.
In a similar vein, who would you say influences your style?
Alex: There’s so many, so many artists.
Jack: It’s one of those things we get asked quite a lot about our influences and I came off stage last night and a guy just came up to me and grabbed me and was like ‘who are your favourite drummers? I need to know! because I wanna play like you.’ But we listen to so much music and we love so much music and I think our influences as a band come from all of those things we listen to. We listen to a lot of old music on vinyl records and that’s where a lot of the influence comes from, from THE ROLLING STONES, THE BEATLES, THE YARDBIRDS. There’s lots of the old blue’s rock right through to the modern stuff, like Alex said, QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE is a big one for us. There’s a lot of stuff out there.
It’s nice that people are still listening to vinyl…
Alex: Yeah, it’s gotta be done. It’s getting bigger, I saw on TV the other day, like daytime TV, it was HMV their Christmas advert was just about vinyl.
Jack: Really? Great.
Alex: Really, it was really weird.
You dreamed big and secured Chris Goss as your producer, what’s your next big dream?
Alex: Errm, next thing. I guess the next thing for us, again when I was a kid, playing in bands the thing I always wanted to do was have a CD out in the shops. A proper CD, released by a record company and do a headline tour and we’re obviously doing a headline tour and that’s gonna happen so that’s amazing. What I would love for us to do is expand on that, so come back and do another headline tour when the record’s released and it be even bigger. All you want when you’re in a band is you wanna see it grow. That’s all you really care about, that’s all it is. And if you see more people coming back to the shows and getting into the songs then that’s like your payday really, that’s the thing that you work for. Yeah, that’s the next thing for me. If you wanna call it a dream.
It was a lot more moderate an answer than I was expecting!
Alex: Really? Well millions! Millions and millions! And a jet! And I want it now!
Fed To The Lions is being released next spring, what can you tell us about it?
Alex: Yeah so, we’re immensely proud of it. It’s sounding brilliant. So, like you mentioned, we worked with Chris Goss a couple of years ago on our first EP and that set us up working as a band in a studio and getting that done and it was engineered by a friend out ours called Tom Dalgety whose just produced ROYAL BLOOD and had a lot of success with those guys. So that set us up, we started to get a bit of buzz and then when it came time to make this album we recorded a track last with called Highway Home with a guy named Evanson who’s produced Robert Plant and Siouxsie Sioux, loads of people like that and we had a really good working relationship with him and got into the studio and it happened and clicked really well. The tracks sound massive, like really really huge. He’s got such a quirky, unique approach which brings out the best of TAX THE HEAT and how people hear the band, I think we definitely captured the energy of the band playing live in a room. It sounds exciting as well.
Jack: It’s a great experience to be in the studio with him, and working with him and we couldn’t really be happier with how everything is sounding and the way it’s all turning out and working with the label on getting everything done for the album. Yeah, I reckon it’s gonna be pretty good.
What else can we expect from TAX THE HEAT in 2016?
Jack: At the moment, we’re just concentrating on the gigs we’re doing and working on the album. There’s still a bit of work to do on that before it’s ready to release, but we’ll be back around before the album comes out. We’ll be releasing another single and when the album comes out we’ll do another tour for sure. We’ll be back around, definitely.
Alex: We’ll be jumping on stuff again, just because we’re doing this headline run and we’ll be doing another one, we’re still gonna be jumping on other people’s tours and try and poach as many fans as we can! You know, the good honest thing to do. It’s gonna be a busy one, for sure.
Jack: We wanna get out and get a bit further afield, we’ve just done our first gigs out in Europe we did a couple of gigs with EUROPE in Europe in Holland and Belgium and they were great We’d really like to get back out to Europe and, who knows, anywhere else in the world that’ll have us we’ll be there.
Thanks very much!
Alex: Thank you.