Tap Tap Interview (Part 1 of 2)
Reading's Tap Tap is quickly becoming a substantial band if not in terms of sales and popularity, at least in terms of what it signifies. The style of the music implies and allows for a return (although in a different way) to a D.I.Y. aesthetic approach to music making. Thomas Sanders -- the man behind the solo project -- approaches music with a sort of twee style, but absolutely does not allow that to limit him in terms of musical pallet. This is the way things are going, I hope ... soon, I think we'll be bombarded by more and more fantastic releases that have been made earnestly but with curiosity and artistic ingenuity and talent. People will continue to make "better" music, keep changing it and altering it, but not be confined to something like the studio or the record release again. As it was in the days of punk -- when people were finally able to record because costs went down -- the prospect of making meaningful and important music is completely viable.
I'm happy. The future looks good.
Read on for a phenominal interview with Thomas himself. He's got quite a spark within him, and I only see good things ahead.
(1) Hey guys ... thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me! I'm going to start it off with, hopefully, the easier questions ...
(2) How'd the band start? I understand that Pete & the Pirates did not feature all of you. So how'd you come together and create Tap Tap, and how serious has it become for all of you? Like, is Tap Tap the only thing you're working on now ... ?
TAP TAP: They are essentially unrelated. I can’t really remember how it started if I’m honest but we only ever played 2 gigs, and one was in a tiny back room of a local pub. After nothing came of that I carried on knocking out songs on my own under the name of Tap Tap. I write and record the songs in my spare time. All my musical efforts go into Pete and the Pirates, but as there’s a lot of outstanding song writers in the band, a lot of songs I write don’t get used, or just don’t seem right for the band- they’re the ones that usually end up as Tap Tap songs, not because they’re rejects, but just cos they’re better suited to that. But the Pirates are obviously a priority; Tap Tap is kind of like my comfort blanket and an opportunity to be a control freak.
(3) And while I'm sure you get this often, I've got to ask it: where'd you get the name, Tap Tap!?
TAP TAP: There was a reason… it escapes me now.
(4) You released Lanzafame earlier this year through Catbird Records (a label that's strangely enough in the small-ish Ohio capital city of Columbus), with only 200 copies pressed. Since then, you've remastered the record for release on Stolen Recordings, but I'm still curious ... how'd the Catbird Records deal come up?
TAP TAP: Catbird is a small, very independent label which has a nice homely touch to their releases, which I thought fitted with the sound of the music from Lanzafame. They were like, "d'you wanna do a little record?" And I was like, "yeah, OK." It was a hard thing to do cross Atlantic etc cos I have strong feelings about how I want stuff to look as well as sound. But They put out a really nice looking record. Now Stolen, who Pete & the Pirates are signed to, are putting out bigger runs of the remastered album, and they’ll be putting out the next one too… I think.
(5) Some people have said that you hold some similar characteristics with the likes of older garage bands like the Kinks and the Byrds . This is clearest when looking at the song structure and the origins of your melodies (ranging from blues to jangly guitar pop). So I've two questions ... how true do you think these comparisons to be, and additionally, where do you draw inspiration?
TAP TAP: I don’t really know about the truth in those comparisons. I’ll have to listen to some of their stuff. I come from a town where there isn't really a music scene – it’s not a very inspiring place in general. I think this kind of gives you a neutral starting point which maybe lets the songs form themselves free from what’s going on around them/me.
My friends and their music is a massive inspiration for me; for me it’s the yard stick of how happy I am with my own songs. Also hanging round people who love to write and record is great for picking up ideas and techniques for recording. That’s why I think some people have said that Lanzafame has a "unique" sound; it’s cos I did it nearly all in my bedroom, and bits and bobs at mates’ houses.
People are too scared these days to make something that’s not highly polished and perfect, and I didn't really have the time or resources to do that anyway, so sometimes the drumming’s a bit crap or the singing’s not spot on, but that’s just how it came out and I think people like that. Basically the most important thing for me above anything else is the strength of the tune; I’m really inspired by anything that has a brilliant addictive melody.