Artist Interview with Taupe who are performing at this year's festival
19 September 2019
Taupe is a high energy trio who are performing at the festival on Saturday 12th October at 6pm on our New Stream Stage. Through drums, alto sax and guitar, they draw from free jazz, math metal, hip-hop, post-bop and skronk to take the listener on a journey of exploratory improvisation which builds both in energy and tempo throughout to a spine tingling crescendo. They first performed at the festival in 2015 and since then have shared the stage with artists from across Europe at the prestigious 12 Points festival.
We caught up with Jamie from the band to find out more about the band, their music, and to find out if jazz is dead . . . .
Q: What brought the three of you together?
We were all studying together at the same university. I guess our interest in the slightly noisier side of things led us to talking about the same music, running into one another at the same gigs and we took it from there.
Q: Where does the name Taupe come from? What does it mean?
Taupe is the most popular colour for leather sofas. It also the average colour of a French Mole. It means a few other things, and we derive most of our definitions from the simple English version of Wikipedia. Essential reading.
Q: Give us your Taupe elevator pitch – or tell us how you would describe Taupe to someone who hasn’t heard of you before
Taupe are a trio playing noisy, riffy and sometime jazzy music. Influences like John Zorn, Meshuggah, Zu and cool Japanese band called GOAT who everyone should check out!
Q: Your band photo’s are unusual – what was the inspiration behind them?
Adam’s house used to be used for the ‘cultivating of illicit substances’. Not by him, I should add, but a couple of tenants previously. So the basement is still a bit sinister. We went down there for a couple of hours and just saw what came out.
Q: How does the band create music? What’s the artistic process?
The music is collaboratively written, which is quite a challenge given we each live in a different city. We get together for intensive sessions, swap ideas and try lots of things out. These then get uploaded to a folder so we can all go and practise, think some more and lick our wounds.
Q: What can people expect from your performance at Marsden Jazz Festival?
We’ll be playing some brand new music, which is really exciting. I often think Taupe gigs ‘unfold’ – each time is a different navigation. So come and see us both playing, and playing with, the music. It takes a different path each time.
Q: Where else have you either already played this year, or are playing in the near future?
We did a little tour in March – all over the UK! Then straight after Marsden we’re off to Birmingham and Edinburgh before recording a brand new album in late October. Expect a big tour next April!
Q: Have you been to Marsden Jazz Festival before either as audience members or as artists? What is unique about Marsden Jazz Festival?
We have! Our first ever booking outside of being a ‘uni-band’ was at Marsden in 2015 so we feel a great fondness and affinity for the place. The way it takes over the whole town is amazing – it feels like a truly immersive cultural happening.
Q: What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
That’s a very difficult question, and I don’t think I can pick. Different gigs are good for such different reasons! We always have a good time playing in Newcastle, though.
Q: Who is an artist that you really admire right now?
There’s a great Norwegian trio called GURLS who I was shown the other day. Vocals, bass and saxophone. Really great!
Q: What is the last song you listened to?
As of this interview, Thirsty Sponge by Tiny Hazard. Another killer band!
Q: Is jazz dead? Discuss.
No – although if it looked in bad health then you’re best asking someone will a better knowledge of CPR to keep things ticking over.
6-7pm, Saturday 12th October
New Stream Stage at the Royal British Legion
£5 age 17-29
£1 age 16 and under
© 2019 Marsden Jazz Festival