Tap Tap Interview (Part 2 of 2)
(6) One thing that I love about your songs is the intriguing instrumentation. What got you into using accordion? Usually, the instrument's seen as archaic and certainly not pop-ready. But for you guys, it ... works seamlessly. So -- how'd it come about!?
TAP TAP: That accordion is a child’s toy that I bought in my local music shop. It sounds alright though. I love the accordion in general, it has a real bounce to it, and it can be one of the saddest or happiest instruments. My friend Dave (from the Pirates) had one in his house, so I copied him basically.
(7) Another thing I love about the songs is the drumming. You transition between so many styles and forms, it's really impressive. Sometimes you use a pretty rigid drum pattern, other times you're more spastic, but throughout all the pieces, the drums carry a lot of power in terms of changing the time and creating a really exciting energy around your songs. Why the stress on drumming? (Also, what sort of set are you using!?)
TAP TAP: Yeah, the drums are so important to me. I got criticized in one review for using repetitive drum beats, and I was like, that’s the fucking point you dick. I love to keep drums really simple, and to use them sparingly, especially cymbals. The sound of a kick and snare just keeping beat is often all you really need. Anything else I think is starting to verge on detracting from the melody. I've no idea what the kit is- it belongs to my brother Jonny (Pirates drummer) and it’s a real piece of crap. The only cymbal I had when I recorded "She Doesn't belong" had a massive crack in it, but ended up sounding really nice. I've got this snare that someone left at my house which is really cheap and battered to shit, but it sounds great in recordings if you put it on its side and play it with a pencil.
(8) I also really like the lyrics to all of these songs. They're witty, creative, and integrate perfectly with the music. Who writes the lyrics, and how does it fit into the bigger picture of creating music for you guys?
TAP TAP: The lyrics almost always come after the music. The lyrics have to sound like they belong in the song, and sometimes I play round the chords for ages just singing words that come into my head until I hit on something good. Other times I can have a melody and just write off 4 verses and a chorus in 5 minutes and it’s done and I’m happy. Whatever works really. I love words that conjure up images. I hate weak, stale words that go in one ear and out the other without causing any reaction.
(9) I guess this is the next logical question ... what kind of musical backgrounds do you all come from?
TAP TAP: I grew up listening to my dad’s vinyl which was mainly Scott Joplin, The BBC big band swing orchestra, and a copy of the white album. I still adore all of these records. I got given a horn when I was little and played in a big band until my folks couldn't afford to send me there anymore. That was fun. I think that’s as far as it goes.
(0) How do you divide songwriting? Is it a group effort, or do you come to the table with your own ideas and developments?
(1) What are you all working on these days? New album? New music?
TAP TAP: Doing Pete & the Pirates debut album. I’m in the studio at the moment actually. When that’s done I’ll probably record some more Tap Tap stuff. I've got some ideas that I keep remembering and forgetting. I need to write them down.
(2) And I've got to ask this one ... you're from Reading, I believe, so ... what sort of music's good from that area? Any British recommendations for us (they don't have to be from Reading ... )?
TAP TAP: There’s a band called the Hot Silk Pockets who I’m a big fan of. I wish they’d get their act together because they have great songs and a great live sound but are a lazy bunch of c_nts. Andy from the hot silks helped my out with some Tap Tap stuff actually. The Ghosts are another great band with beautiful, simple melodies. They've actually got a record out with catbird records as well who first released Lanzafame. I've just heard a band called Buttonhead as well who I think are pretty good. There are a few bands from Reading kicking about but I think that they’re generally quite cack. Apart from the Pirates of course.
(3) Alright, I think I'll leave it at this, but thank you so much for allowing me to take your time and ask these questions. I wish you all the best. You've a truly unique and exciting sound, and I hope you end up going somewhere with it all!
TAP TAP: Thanks.