Rising stars Tax The Heat have been making big noises since the release of debut album ‘Fed To The Lions’ earlier this year. With noted admirers in Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham and Europe front man Joey Tempest, it seems that the band may very well be the future of rock. We caught up with singer guitarist Alex Veale and drummer Jack Taylor at Ramblin’ Man Fair festival in Kent, to talk about the album, touring, and keeping it “old school”. Learning to drown: Eamon O’Neill.
How are you both?
Jack Taylor. All right, yeah.
Alex Veale: Awesome, yeah. The sun’s shining, we just got here doing lots of interviews, but yeah, we’re looking forward to it.
It’s a great day for a festival, isn’t it?
AV: It is indeed. We did a nice sunny festival yesterday, and have another one today. We were at Steelhouse yesterday. It was a really, really good vibe; like everybody’s there for the right reason, which is rock and roll, and it’s so chilled.
JT: Such a labour of love, the guys that put on that festival, and it’s just a nice place to be.
It’s been a very busy year for Tax The Heat, hasn’t it?
AV: Yeah, the album came out in April, and we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy ever since, so yeah it’s been really good. We’ve got a few more shows coming up on this tour that we’re on now. We’re off to Chester tomorrow to do a show with Ash, and we’ve got a few of those coming up.
You’re sharing a stage with a lot of great bands today, including Europe and Thin Lizzy who you’ve had some great support from.
JT: Yeah, Joey [Tempest, Europe front man] has been a really big supporter of Tax the Heat, and Scott Gorham [Thin Lizzy guitarist] has said some amazing things.
AV: It’s really cool. When you’re in a new band, quotes like that really mean massive things, so it’s very cool.
The album ‘Fed To The Lions’ has been particularly well received critically. What does that mean to you?
AV: All I can say about that really, is that, we’re just here to do our thing and keep it rolling, and one aspect of why the album is called ‘Fed To The Lions’ is we were just throwing it out there and seeing what happened. We knew we’d made a good album, and we had faith in it, and a lot of that is brought on by having a producer that you trust as well, because you’re throwing ideas out to them and they’re the person that you’ve got to gauge; is this good, is this thing right? So we got good guidance there and we had so much material to choose from; we’d been touring so long and writing so much.
That’s the beauty of the first album, isn’t it?
AV: That’s the east one!
JT: You pick out all the songs that you’ve got, yeah, but we’re just really happy with the way it’s gone down, and happy to be out doing stuff like this; doing shows and doing festivals. We just keep on going, keep on doing our thing.
You’re keeping it old school too, aren’t you, because your first EP was a 10” vinyl release, wasn’t it?
AV: It was indeed. We’ll push and push vinyl far and wide! That’s out thing; we listen to a lot of our music on vinyl. It’s the best way to listen to it, we believe that so much.
JT: That is a point though; we’ve all been in bands, and the thing is, doing a vinyl release costs money, and I think that was one of the first goals was like; when we do something, it’s got to be on vinyl. Even if we don’t do much with it, at least we’ve got a vinyl!
What was it like working with Chris Goss on the EP?
AV: It was great. He put us on our path really, because at that point we had so many different ideas thrown around. We were trying to think about how we were going to write things, and he was the one that helped put us on that journey to get to where we got with the album, really.
And you worked with the single-monikered Evansson on ‘Fed To The Lions’.
AV: That’s right, yeah, the musical Banksy!
JT: Yeah, he was great to work with. We’ve known Evansson for quite a long time and done things with him over the years, and he’s just a great guy. He was awesome to be in the studio with, and he almost became like, that sort of cliché thing of the extra member of the band. He was always in the room with us, he was great to bounce ideas off, and I think that shows in the album.
That’s what you want from a producer though, isn’t it?
AV: Yeah, he pushed us, and he was as much a part of it as any of us.
JT: Everything to do with our set up is a sum of all of the parts. That’s the way we see it, that’s what all the old school bands that we love did it, and that’s how we want it to be. This is a band.
Jack, you’ve worked with Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy in the past. Have they given you any advice?
JT: Oh man, countless numbers of bits and pieces of advice, and yeah, I mean, just watching those guys play and do their thing every night, I mean, Ricky Warwick [Thin Lizzy / Black Star Riders front man] is just an absolute star showman. Just getting to watch that every night is unbelievably helpful, and chatting to those guys, all of those guys are a lovely bunch of guys. Damon Johnson is just an awesome guy, and his creativity and things like that, he’s a pleasure to be around. He makes you feel good.
So what’s next for you guys after the immediate touring plans that you mentioned?
AV: We’re doing a few headline shows on this little tour that we’ve got going now, and then we’re just going to try and keep ourselves as busy as we can. We’ve got some gigs coming up at the end of the year with Terrorvision in November, and we’ve got some other stuff coming up that we can’t announce yet, but it will be all on our website soon enough.
So exciting times for Tax the heat?
AV: Absolutely. Keeping the momentum going!
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'Fed To The Lions' is out now via Nuclear Blast.