Taproot - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Stephen of Taproot. We discussed writing new song “(V\CT\M \ PLAY)”, being in the studio and the recording process for the upcoming album, favorite parts about creating music, plans for upcoming shows, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.


Thank you for the help and promotion, no worries!

You recently released your new song “(V\CT\M \ PLAY)". Can you tell me about writing and recording the song?


I wrote this one to be the trademark Stephen/Taproot rhythm  opening type of song, both album and live. I wanted a new "Smile" like on GIFT version, but also share the point that most fans and listeners are unaware of who wrote the heavier guitar and drum riffs and time signature. A lot of people think that this album will not be the same minus an original member, but this was the "here ya go" as well the return to writing how/what I love. Most of this album was written years ago to be the next TR record, but this one I wrote around the time my Mother was passing away, and this title's term was thrown my way a couple times (Victim I Play), but how can someone judge how I feel and the reality of my existence? "I can't win either way" sums it up both arguments.

Do you have a favorite lyrical or musical moment from it? Why?

I guess the "hey there long time no care from you" is a great opening line to the song being our first release after so long, but I suppose the same I previously mentioned, I guarantee a lot of others listening can relate to the meaning of the chorus.


The song is from your upcoming album. Did you try anything new with your writing process this time around and/or what was your approach to starting this album? 


I'd written most of this album to be the next TR record prior/while on tour for our 6th (The Episodes which was collaboratively written), but this is actually the only music written for us since 2007, I've written most material for Plead the Fifth and this one SC\SSRS. The approach for SC\SSRS was originally just me tracking everything on my own for a small release for those that cared to hear, but in the end that wouldn't be fair to the TR name, I wrote these for TR and now it is. It was rough, took me 6 years as I could only work 3 or 4 hours a week w/ a real job and family schedules, and luckily finished the guitars before a major injury leaving my right arm half numb from pinky/ring fingers to my elbow (cut off my "funny bone" signals, and had to move the nerve to over the elbow. Also, most of the vocal takes are actually just a scratch/first time take, so forgive my 6:00 AM first try through voice! haha.

Is being in the studio stressful or is it more of a fun experience for your band?


This time was stressful wanting to hurry and make the best I could, but taking forever and not really knowing the ins/outs of the studio controls, but going with it. It was a fun experience for me to try to learn, failed as I'm still needing help w/ mixing/mastering, still trying to rush and let others finally help me. As far as the band, since Welcome, it's been fun for the most part. Blue Sky Research sucked (60-80 songs written haha), but we got to meet and write with other musicians as well, Billy Corgan, Nick Hexum, Stephen Carpenter, Jonas Motrenga (SP?!).

Do you have a song from the album that you’re most excited for people to hear? Why? 


Most honestly. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a few "album tracks" haha, but V\P (heavy opener/classic TR), Favourite Song (catchy SINGLE type of song w/ a well known special guest that EVERYONE can/will relate to the lyrics), We Cuntrol Our Destiny (heavy different/modern style), Love Without You (accoustic/I fucking played terrible solos haha, and a guest female artist type of ballad) and Ma (heartfelt lyrics towards my Mothers' passing, and lots of 3 part harmonies). 

You’ve been a band for a long time. At this point in your career, what do you think the most important aspect of making music and playing shows is to the band? What’s your favorite part of it all?


Just connecting with our fans honestly. Writing much hasn't happened as much lately, but through our run personally I've had so many people grateful and relate to my bitching and moaning lyrics and whiny vocals haha, but at the end of the day, we beat rough odds to even get the chance to get to where we are, even not in our "hayday", but that people want to share our energy/time/and connections is all the same, from 2000 until now and whenever it ends. Without support, we don't matter to many, but it’s a chance for us to reconnect even when far apart, and create/play as musicians which is why we began playing music in the first place. There is power behind enjoying what you do, no matter who/what/where, it's an outlet to share with people. Friends, Fans, Family, that's what LIFE is all about to begin with. Love comes from all of those and that's way more important than any hate going on in the world these days.

You’re playing some shows, which will be your first shows in six years. How have you been preparing for the shows? What can fans expect from the set list?

Sharing the new material with the guys to figure out, preparing our new guitarist for whatever is in store and eventually a couple rehearsals haha. The set list is killing me, we have a couple of back to back shows that we'll want to NOT play the same every night for fans at multiple, but then also a couple sets probably 5, 7 and 9 song sets trying to figure out how to make the best of fulfilling fans. We've got our "go to’s", but also want to include some stuff our fans haven't heard every show they've come to for years. Promote the new album, play succesfull singles, but also include some less performed songs before. But still a lot of energy by a bunch of old dudes haha.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?


Thank you again as well. The time is a pleasure, it's fun to think about stuff I haven't in a while, and amazing to have you/anyone still care, aaaaand the promotion for SC\SSRS the new album is very appreciated. This album means a lot to me, even to the point that any hate or harsh words honestly won't bother. My band has my back, most fans will as well, and I just want to share us with the world again and hopefully to appeal to anyone that can or wants to. Life is short, let’s just support each other, too much hate seems promoted and relevant. Let's move on and see where we all go together. Thank you for the outlet to share!

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