Interview with Taint
When corresponding via email with Taint main man Jim Bob, we discussed the band's history, their vast influences, the sounds heard on their new album SECRETS AND LIES, and what sets this UK trio apart from the rest of the rock contingent.
How did the band form and how did you settle on the name of the band?
We played our first show in Dec. 1994, after around 6 formative months together. The band name came from our first incarnation, and was thought of by the bassist of our first, embryonic line-up. We were 16 going on 17 around that time.
What distinguishes Taint from other bands? I'd say our dry wit, bronzed looks and crap tattoos. No, I'd like to think that we've managed to find our own sound somewhat, after over a decade of formative years. We combine our varying influences, and intuitive sense of playing together, and can't help but let our characters and personalities run throughout every song we write.
Who are some of your influences? Any we'd be surprised by?
Well, I'd say that the bands that were pivotal to our formation are Metallica, Zeppelin, Clutch, Helmet, and Quicksand. We grew up on classic rock as kids, thanks to some influential elders, and then moved on to metal, punk and hardcore. Al was also into hip hop early on. We've of course picked up more influences since '94, as that's 14 years of being music lovers. Our tastes change and become even more varied. I'm sure you'd find plenty of surprises on our shelves or in our computers. There's such a huge world of music out there, and we like the best of everything.
How does a typical Taint song get written?
It's usual that I'll bring a riff or two in to the jam room, and we'll get stuck into them. Chris and Al contribute with riffs, basslines and rhythms. I'd say around 50% of what we write is based on jamming and plucking riffs out of the air, as they feel so instinctive to follow the riff that might've been brought in from the bedroom. Also, as lyricist/vocalist, I might have final say on some elements in songs, in conjunction with my vocal ideas.
How has coming from the UK shaped your music?
I'd say it's given us a certain 'don't-give-a-fuck' attitude. In as much as we started out playing varied DIY shows in our hometown of Swansea. From day one we played with death metal, punk rock and doom bands, so it's given us a definite 'scene-free' approach to what we do. Coming from Wales has of course given us a certain outlook and sense of humor, but we've also lived in other parts of the country latterly, meaning we're fully aware of how to look beyond the confines of our homes. We also made a point of playing out of Wales very early on, as so many bands to this day get stuck in a local mentality and seems to either be scared or too arrogant to get out there, and work it for themselves. Speaking of influences, then I'd say our favorite UK bands are Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Fudge Tunnel and Acrimony.
How would you describe Taint to someone that hasn't heard of you before?
I'd say we're a heavy rock band, with all kinds of varying other influences. I'd rather that, than go with hardcore-pro-post-puke-boner-rock or whatever.
When I'm not in Taint, I'm...?
Scraping a living by designing album covers for bands, and other design applications.
What prompted the vast instrumentation used on SECRETS AND LIES?
Well, I'm not sure if our simple power-trio set up could be described as vast. Although, I think the sound we make together is pretty massive. We kept it simple, using our live/rehearsal set up, and the only extra instrumentation is the Flute, played by Will Summers on 'What The Crow Saw'. It was fun to work with him, and I think he added to the “end-time” feeling to the song.
Do you prefer studio or gigs and why?
They're both different worlds, and they both have pros and cons. Gigs are great, mostly. As long as everyone involved is focused and there for the right reasons. Recording is fun and important, and it's somehow therapeutic to put down something that'll hopefully last for years and years to follow.
What's on tap for the rest of the year for Taint? We've just come back from a European tour with our Canadian friends Ken Mode, as well as just played a triumphant set at the Roadburn festival in Holland. Great times. Now we're taking a month or two out, so I can sort my life out somewhat, before we plan more shows and tours in the UK and Europe this summer/autumn. We'd love to get to the States soon too, so will see which bands we can successfully pester the post to take us out over there.