Taylor and the Apes are an unsigned band and have filled us in on how they formed, their fascinating three-take method while recording music, and their favorite times as a band. Read more below.
Where are you from?
All over the place! Taylor Elliott (lead singer/guitarist) was born and raised in Indiana; Rob Morison (lead guitar) is from Connecticut; Giancarlo Caccamo (keyboards) is from Oregon; and Daniel “Chud” Chudnovski (bass) and Josh Salant (drums) were born and raised in Brooklyn.
How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
Taylor first met Rob at an open mic in Brooklyn about four years ago. After jamming for a couple months with just drums and guitar, they found a bassist and a drummer, and formed the Taylor Elliott Band. After about a year of bumming around and playing dive bars, Josh replaced the original drummer. Gian and Chud came aboard soon after that. The band name came from the fact that Taylor was named after Charlton Heston’s character in Planet of the Apes, so it only seemed natural.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
Pure, raw rock n’ roll, with honest lyrics. Think the Replacements mixed with the Stones, and add a dash of Patti Smith.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
We self-released our first LP, Just What You Are, in April 2016. We recorded it at Josh’s studio, Salant Sound, in Canarsie. We did it really fast—all live, three takes of each song, then pick the best one. It only took a couple of days. We also recently released a live single called “Bobby Loves Kristina,” which is sort of like our “Jack and Diane,” only with less Bible men and more alcohol and strippers.
What is your writing and recording process like?
Most of the time, Taylor writes the lyrics and chords. The band then fleshes out the song, with everyone coming up with their own parts. It’s a fun process, because each member gets to add their own identity and style of playing, which becomes the Taylor and the Apes sound. At the same time, we like to keep it simple. If we start overthinking things, Taylor will start taking out chords left and right. Recording is always done live, for the same reason. If you spend too long on a tune, 99% of the time it turns into a big hunk of crap and you hate this song that you used to love. And where’s the fun in that?
What are current projects you are working on?
We recently started recording a new album. We’re taking our time with this one—we’re still keeping the same three-take method, but we’re spending time getting the right tones, experimenting with mic placement, etc…Since we’re doing it at Salant Sound, we have the freedom to sort of record whenever we feel like it. We’re hoping to release it this summer, though. We also have a lot of cool shows coming up. We’re playing Bowery Electric on March 31, The Elektra Theater (the off-Broadway theater on 43rd St. and 8th Ave.) on May 5, and Arlene’s Grocery on May 27. We love playing live more than anything else, so the boys are really itchin’ to get on the road. Hopefully we’ll get a nice little tour in this fall.
What is your favorite memory as a band?
When we’re in the car on the way to a show and we’re blaring music, hanging out, and busting Chud’s balls. We’re all pretty close, which is great because if we’re stuck in traffic for four hours in Chinatown (true story), we’ll find a way to entertain ourselves. Also, that moment when you cross the Williamsburg Bridge and you see the whole city and you know you’re gonna rock some faces off. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
What are your goals for the future as a band?
To expand our fan base as much as possible. We also want to make a few music videos for the new tunes and hit the road, like we mentioned earlier. Basically, we want to become the best damn rock ‘n’ roll band we can possibly be, without any self-entitlement.
Where can readers find your music?
We’re on Spotify, iTunes, Instagram, Bandcamp, you name it. You can also check our Facebook page for upcoming shows and ticketing info.
Be sure to check out Taylor and the Apes in New York at The Bowery Electric on March 31, The Elektra Theater on May 5, and Arlene’s Grocery on May 27.