By Greg Phillips
On a typically brisk Melbourne morning not too far from the city skyline, Australian Musician�s Greg Phillips found Taxiride in a rehearsal complex preparing for their upcoming tour and promotion of their third, but first independently released album "Axiomatic".
Instant success for your debut album is a goal most bands aspire to. For Melbourne band Taxiride, that�s exactly what happened with their first disc "Imaginate". The band�s record company and management at the time, sensing larger unit sales in other territories, quickly shipped the band overseas, where they toured successfully and made a dent in huge markets such as Japan. The first twist in the Taxiride fairy tale came when frontman Dan Hall decided to leave and pursue his own musical experiences. To the band�s credit they regrouped, wrote a new album "Garage Mahal" and had further success with the single "Creeping Up Slowly". The international escapade continued, but in hindsight, perhaps to the detriment of their Australian audience. For many in Australia, their indelible Taxiride memory was of a major label pop band singing their heavily rotated hit single Get Set. Although the band�s personnel had changed, and the music had progressed, they were probably never at home long enough to change joe public�s short-sighted perception.
So six years down the track what do we expect of a third Taxiride album? To the four members of Taxiride, Jason Singh, Tim Wild, Andy McIvor and Sean McLeod, all they ask is that people listen to the new disc, "Axiomatic" without prejudice. The band�s request is a fair one. Taxiride 2005 is an entire world away from the band that created that debut album. Returning to guitarist/vocalist Tim Wild�s house, where it all began six years ago, the independently produced new album was a real back to basics effort created from the ground up. The result of the band�s twelve month toil (which includes collaborations with Chris Bailey and former Taxiride member Dan Hall) is a mature work, a disc not so much focussed on catchy hooks, although that pop sensibility is well and truly ingrained. "Axiomatic" is more about layers and sounds, featuring rich textures and an exploration into the world of electronics. A fine example of the new direction can be found in the first single "Oh Yeah" which includes the use of a Vocoder.
"I loved all the stuff from the seventies like 10cc and Alan Parsons" explains Tim Wild. " We wanted to put an electronic twist to the song without being too contemporary, still having a foot in the past. It felt like a good tie in thematically with the album being the second track."
But rather than focus on individual songs, the band was adamant this time in creating a �whole� record, a musical journey from start to finish.
"That philosophy came down to picking the songs in the end too because we recorded a lot of songs," said Wild. "Some of them felt like they were outside of that even though we really liked the songs, we didn�t feel like they were part of the album. We were really careful with the song placement too, the way it started and finished, almost like a concept album from the seventies."
The time spent in some of the world�s most famous studios with heavily credentialed producers gave Taxiride a real insight into the process of recording. It was with this experience on board that they approached "Axiomatic" with both confidence and fearlessness. Jason Singh expands. "We knew about the series of things that you need to do to make a record, like the writing and production, to drum tracking and bass tracking, all that sort of thing. We even built a vocal booth for this record. We went real back to basics. The first time around on �Imaginate� we recorded everything on 16 track, and did a fixed mix and kept a lot of the vocals and a lot of parts and put drums over the top, but with this it was all from the ground up. We learned about the formula of recording songs."
Bassist Andy McIvor chips in. "You�d hear the sound coming out of the control room in LA and you know that sound, and you also know that you could easily bring that back to Australia."
The band is looking forward to playing the tracks from "Axiomatic" live, and at rehearsal on this day were nutting out the intricacies of how they might present some of the multi layered new songs on tour.
In-ear monitoring and the Line 6 method of running the sound direct to front of house will be applied, avoiding any spill from the stage. Drummer Sean will be using his custom built Premier GenX kit, which is made of maple and four ply birch. His cymbals are all Sabian and sticks are Vater. Although he used classic gear like Vox amps and 60s Gibsons on the recording, Jason Singh will be taking his locally built Belman out on the road.
Tim will lug his American Tele, his Belman, a 12 string Rickenbacker, Taylor acoustic and the Nord 2 which will reproduce all of the Wurlitzer sounds which appear on the album. Andy is a MarkBass amp endorsee and will be using an SD800 head with standard 106HR cab, plugging his trusty Musicman Stingray 5 bass into that.
As the strains of "Play that Funky Music� performed by a school band in the neighbouring rehearsal room could be heard for what must have been the 25th time, the guys philosophised about what it means to be part of Taxiride in 2005 on the verge of the release of "Axiomatic".
Andy: "I look at us as even more independent than a lot of the so called "indie" bands. We just go about our lives. We don�t necessarily have a lot of relationship with other bands. There�s no fashion or fad involved. It�s just what we do, it comes from inside and just happens. A lot of people still see us as this manufactured thing by a label and it�s not that at all. We�ve been our own machine for the last six years and have done things that other bands never get to do."
Jason: "We�re the black sheep. Nobody understands us. Not even us. That�s fine because it leaves a lot of doors open. I�m really interested to see what people think of this record and interested to see if the general public have the spectrum and thought to be able to see that people do change, you know ... give it a go. I�d hate for someone to listen to it and say they are trying to be someone else, because that is just not true."
Andy: "It�s a grown up album. The band has grown up."
"Axiomatic" was released on September 5th. Check out the band�s website for tour dates: www.taxiride.com.au