TARANTULA HAWK interview

TARANTULA HAWK


Give us some background to Tarantula Hawk. Who are you? Have you played in any other bands or is this your first?
Tarantula Hawk consists of three (originally four) old, good friends. We are essentially nobody. We like to play music together (sometimes). Members of Tarantula Hawk have been in Struggle, Locust, and the Tito O'Tito Band.

What is a Tarantula Hawk? Is it anything apart from a nice sounding band name?
The Tarantula Hawk is a southwestern (united states) desert insect. It is a wasp that paralyzes tarantulas, drags them to their burrows, plants a single egg on their back, and the larva eats the tarantula alive as its first meal. Unlike many other symbiotic relationships in nature, the Tarantula Hawk has a one to one ratio with the tarantula; for every tarantula hawk you see, one tarantula has died. I'm glad you think its a nice sounding band name, though.

Obviously you're not creating your music to become the latest cool metal band for everyone to mosh to or become the latest indie rock band who are "cooler" than everyone else. So why do you make the music that you do? Do you get much of a reaction from people at gigs?
We make the music that we make because its the music that comes out of us when we get in the same room with eachother and intstruments. Our friends and us have been playing fucked up music together for years. Tarantula Hawk has just managed to get a record out and hold it together long enough to have people discover it.
As far as reactions at gigs, it can be mixed. Sometimes people love it and go crazy. Other times we clear the house.

I'll have a wild guess that you're all into prog rock. How did you get into it? Any favourites? Any recommnedations apart from the bigger bands?
We all enjoy progressive rock, yes. But its far from the only thing that we listen to. The kind of music we end up playing just happens to fall best into that catagory. I cant speak for the other guys, but I imagine that the story is similar. As a tot, I was exposed to lots of 70's music by my parents. Mostly the beatles, but there was other stuff, too. The 70's were a weird and wonderful time for oddball musical expression, so I think I subconsciouly got a heavy dose of it by proxy. Then I got into punk rock, the antithesis of prog. Shit, I didnt even know what prog rock was, but looking back on it, my favorite bands were the ones that had a prog element to them: Subhumans, Descendants, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy's, the usual. Then the whole early/mid 90's hardcore revolution came along, and there were these bands like Neurosis, Rorschach and Man is the Bastard, etc. essentially playing really heavy prog rock. This kind coincided with my discovery of the prog of yesteryear. As far as favorites, I like the bigger bands the best, believe it or not. I truly think that Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rush, etc, are the some of the best, but theres definately some obscure stuff that rules as well. I like "Anglagard" of Sweden.

More guessing games - you like synths? What ones do you use? What ones do you like? Who are your favourite synth players/records etc?
We like synths. However we are not audiophiles by any means. We like screwed up sounds more than vintage equiptment that costs a lot. Tarantula Hawk is all digital when it comes to synths. Dylan (main keyboards) uses an Alesis QS6. That keyboard overdriven through a 150 watt Traynor tube head and a Jackson 4x12" cabinet has more balls than you could ever get out of a MOOG or ARP. I use a Yamaha sampler from 1987, controlled by a homemade MIDI footcontroller. Those are where the low drones and some of the less ambulent synth sounds come from. Our drummer Dave also uses a sampler, but his sounds are less synth and more sampler oriented.
I think we'd all like any synth for awhile, but for the band it all comes down to versitility and portability.
I dont know if the other guys have any favorite synth players, but we all like Tangerine Dream and Aphex Twin, so I guess that counts. I also enjoy the synths/players in the aforementioned prog bands.

Is there much of a prog scene around where you're from? Do you get to play with Yeti? Is there some kind of hidden scene with loads of amazing prog-rock-harccore-fucked-up-noisy bands? If so, please tell us about it!
Theres not a huge prog scene in San Diego, no. But were pretty lucky to have some great prog and otherwise bands locally, such as Upsilon Acrux, Tourettes Lautrec, Aspects Of Physics, The Locust, and Black Heart Procession. Thats not bad for one small border town, is it!
We did our first tour with YETI in 2000, and hope to find our way out to Texas or get them out here to Califonia in the very near future. I dont think this "hidden scene" exists, at least not yet. Thats the kind of shit that will happen about 5 years after the last contemporary prog band breaks up. I think its definately coming up, and has been for a long time. By expanding your idea of what you consider to be prog rock, you could say that yes, there is a HUGE scene of music with all sorts of crazy bands. But THAT scene has been happening since the late 80's. The "experimental" thing has held on a long time. Everyone now seems to like the quirky math rock, which I believe will be a flash in the pan. Its music for people with no attention span, and those people will move on to something else before too long. (negativity)

It's anniversary time for 2 events "that changed the world" (princess di's death and Sept 11th). Any feeling son these issues?
Geez, I can't say I feel anything about Princess Di's death. I thought it was unfortunate when it happened, but shit, if I was still wallowing over it I might have to check myself in. September 11th was definately the gnarliest act of war that I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. I think most people my age could say the same thing. As far as a political stance on the subject? Its not my war.

How do you see the media assault after both these events in hindsight?
I find the Princess Di thing to be a tad more ridiculous, considering that it was the media chase prior to her death that ultimately caused her death that led to the frenzy following her death. I think we're still IN the media assault after 9/11, so I have no hindsight on it yet.

How do you feel about the impending war with Iraq?
Again, its not my war. I just hope we can all stay out of the crossfire.

Anyting else to add? What's your future plans for Tarantula Hawk?
Personally, I hope to continue making music that accurately represents the creative urges and feelings of the people that are playing it. We have a new record coming out on Neurot Recordings on November 26th, and are doing a west coast tour in early November. Hopefully Europe soon, too.
Thanks for the interview!
-Braden
Tarantula Hawk


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