That's a big subject.
For such a small country.
There are lots of hills and valleys. The people are generally really down to earth and quite humble. Wales is a Celtic land like island in Scotland so we've got a big Celtic heritage.
You also have a different language there.
Yeah, it's Welsh. Different parts of Wales speak more or less depending on where you go. Western South Wales, it's not so strong there. I think if you go more Mid Wales and North Wales, it's a much bigger Welsh speaking population. It's weird. Sometimes some of the people in North Wales kind of look down on South Wales for not actually speaking enough Welsh. We just got more Anglofied I guess years ago. To get to South Wales from London and from other parts of England, you just go in a straight line left and you'll end up in South Wales and perhaps that's why we're more Anglofied than North Wales. There's some beautiful countryside in Wales as well.
I'd love to go there sometime. I have a couple of friends from Wales. One lives in Cardiff and one in Swansea.
Cardiff is the capital of Wales. That's basically an hour drive from Swansea which is where we're from but actually our drummer Alex and myself are from Swansea and our bass player Chris is from Cardiff. Between Swansea and Cardiff, the soccer teams have a real big rivalry. I don't know if it's as strong as it was a few years ago but I do know there's a lot of fans in both cities that hate each other because of the football. Things have got very nasty at soccer matches so we bridge that gap. We're quite proud of that.
It's better to argue over something as fun as soccer than argue over shit that people are arguing over right now.
We're not really interested in that so we get on fine.
You guys formed Taint back in 1994. What led you guys to getting together and forming a band?
We were 17 years old when we started so obviously it being 11 years ago. It was because our drummer Alex and myself used to mess around and just play stuff when we were even 14 or 15 years old. We got a few of the local school friends to join us probably in '92 or '93. We started to jam and mess around. One of our school friends came up with the name which I'm interested to know your opinion about later. An old friend of ours came up with the name and we had a few jams with a singer. Eventually in '94 it just became the three of us because the other guys left and I ended up taking on the vocals just by default really. We started it for fun and the music. This band is fun basically.
So you guys turned into a trio then. Are you planning to stay that way?
Yeah, we became a trio. We always were a trio. It's just that before the band properly formed, we had a friend like I said that jammed with us a few times. Seriously we decided that yes, this is our band. Yeah, we've always been a three piece. We'll always stay like this I think. People over the years have offered to play second guitar for us and we never really wanted to. There's only maybe one or two guitarists that I've ever met and seen play in their own bands that I could possibly see playing with us. It would change things which isn't necessarily bad but we'll still carry on as a three piece.
Being a trio works out quite well for a lot of bands such as King's X.
And Rush and The Melvins.
That kind of thing works out. You guys came up with the name Taint which when I was on the Internet looking for stuff about you guys...
I bet you found some kind of strange website didn't you?
I came across the Wikipedia thing and it was talking about how that's the perineum which is the space between the genitals and the anus. I sat there laughing my ass off. The reason that was so funny is that I did an interview with John 5 who was with Marilyn Manson for a while. On his latest instrumental CD he's got a song called "Perineum" that refers to that.
Yeah, exactly. It's weird. Back in 1994 when we were 17 years old, the last thing that we knew was that it's some kind of North American slang which meant one of these. I think if we'd known, we probably wouldn't have called the band Taint. I'd only heard about that for the first time probably about four years ago possibly. We just have to laugh really. At least in the U.K. and Europe it doesn't mean that. Should we ever go over to the States and tour, I think we're going to have to be quite prepared for some heckling from the crowds. We grew up playing with punk bands and hardcore bands. We're used to combating such heckling. We'll just throw it back.
It also depends on how on the up and up people are about that sort of thing because taint has an actual definitive meaning that most people would associate that with. It really depends on how up and up people are on slang.
Is this popular slang in Texas? Meaning the perineum? Is it only in certain parts of the States?
I think it's only in certain parts of the States because I wasn't aware of it so I got a chuckle out of it when I saw it. It depends on if you get some smartass American who says "hey, you know what taint means in slang?"
We'll have to think up some good retorts.
You guys have toured with some pretty cool bands like Boy Sets Fire and Cathedral and Converge and Clutch.
Well, actually a lot of the bands that you listed have been more like one-off support slots. We've only actually toured with Clutch once for a mini tour of a few days. The actual tours that we've done have been with some English bands called Art Of Burning Water and Army Of Flying Robots. The other bands were more like bands we just supported once or twice as part of their tour. I think it's a bit misleading to give people the impression that we've toured with some of those bands. We've played a lot of gigs with a lot of different bands and yeah, they're great bands. It's been great really.
That has to be a cool thing.
Yeah, we've played with some of our favorite bands in the world, Clutch and as well Converge. That was quite a few years ago. That gig actually with Converge is what made me get into them. Up until then I hadn't heard that much of them. That's like some rewards when you get to play with some of your favorite bands. That makes it all worth while.
It absolutely does. You guys put out an album called The Ruin Of Nová Roma and this is your first American release. Why did it take so long to break into the American scene or did you guys just not concentrate on that in the beginning?
I guess there are a few things really. Firstly it's our first proper full length album and we've had a lot of people say "how the hell did it take you 11 years to do your first album?" I guess there's some truth in that but the thing is that we were young when we started. We took things slowly. Our songwriting and our musicianship has gradually gotten better and better. A lot of reviewers have gotten the fact that we've released a mini album in 2000 called Die Die Truthspeaker. Then we did a split album with some friends of ours from Swansea called Black Eye Riot and even before those two releases, we released demo cassettes which we recorded ourselves. It has taken some time but to get back to your original point, the previous releases we have like the mini album and the split album, they just never had American distribution basically. They were quite small DIY hardcore labels or at least Die Die Truthspeaker was released on a DIY hardcore label Household Name Records and I think we got good sales in Europe and the U.K. They just never had any sort of connection with the U.S. basically but we have with Candlelight so it's great. We're over the moon about it.
I can imagine you are because now we get to hear you guys. Tell me a little bit about the new record.
The songs are somehow getting quite old now and we're already moving on from them when we play live. A lot of them were written with our previous bass player or some of them were. Some of them are four years old. It's a collection of songs from different times of the band. We recorded it in a week in Swansea and we paid for it ourselves at that point because we didn't have any idea which label if any would put it out. We paid for it ourselves. We asked Mr. Alex Newport to mix it for us. Alex used to be in a quite legendary British band called Fudge Tunnel and they were a three piece with a kind of sexual name. Something like that. He mixed the album and he's worked with bands like The Melvins and The Mars Volta. I think he did a really good job of mixing it and giving it a really good punchy sound. I've found a lot of good feedback over it in the U.K. and Europe as well. It's great.
It's cool to have an overall collection of different phases of the band. Of course the song that tickles me the most is the one called "I'm Going To Kill Henry Ford".
Yeah, right. That was a tongue in cheek title. It's simply the fact that I guess in some ways Henry Ford started the whole mass production thing. It's just poking fun. I guess the title is just meant to be a humorous thing but the lyrics themselves are a lot more serious. It's as if to say I'd kill that Henry Ford when I get my hands on him because he started off mass production. I'm constantly questioning contemporary society and consumerism. I just have to say as well I'm really ill right now. I'm finding it hard to concentrate. I've got some sort of flu so I'm finding it a bit hard to concentrate right now.
I think you're dong swell. That's an interesting point because my father is a Native American and I've always had people tell me that if the Whites hadn't come over here and technologically advanced this country my people would still be chasing buffalo. I tell them well judging by the way things are right now, that might not be such a bad thing. People talk about living in tepees and hunting buffalo like that's a bad thing.
Yeah, right. That's a lot of what the rest of the album, I mean the songs themselves may have a title which describes maybe one element of the rest of the lyrics but I often chalk and change as the subjects flow from one to the next even within a song. A lot of the time, a few songs like "Amaranthine", it's really all about the loss of purity today that we have. I guess I have some sort of romantic views of possibly a time that never existed anyway so I just wonder if like what you just said, if we could go back or even forward to some simple pure time. I don't know. It's weird. I can't quite describe it.
You're saying some of these songs are four years old so are you working on some new stuff and when will we see the new stuff?
Yeah, because the album was delayed, it was delayed for a year because we recorded it and then basically had to wait for Alex Newport to mix it. We're not angry because he did us a really good deal because he really liked the band and liked where we're coming from. He did it for a reduced rate therefore he had to prioritize other projects that he had which I can appreciate. It's almost like him being a freelance producer. The good thing about him being delayed is that it's given us time to write more and develop more. So yeah, we've got new stuff and I can imagine us being ready maybe in the next six months to a year perhaps. Again I guess that sounds quite slow but we all live in separate cities and the expense and hassle for us to meet, it does become quite taxing on us so I think that's why we've always had a slightly slower creative process than other bands who live together and play all the time. We're definitely ready for a logical progression from this album.
I don't think a lot of people realize what a long and tedious process putting a CD together really is. It's not surprising when people say that they'll have an album out early next year. There's so much shit that goes into getting the songs written, getting them recorded and mixed, getting the artwork, and all that shit.
It's weird. We all work jobs and we have to pay our rent. It's just that our jobs have taken to us to other places. I don't have the luxury of not having to worry about having a roof over my head and just do the band every single day. Realistically it's not like that for us. You've got to compromise to an extent.
A lot of bands are faced with that. It's hard to get those multi billion dollar contracts.
Exactly. You change your music to earn money. That again would be a complete compromise. We're not going to do that.
Absolutely not. Are you guys doing any gigs right now?
Yeah, we're getting ready for a two week tour in the U.K. and some parts of Europe in April. We've been over there before but we're going to go back to France and then to Germany, Switzerland, and even Sweden. We're doing a festival in Sweden which there are some really good bands like Cult Of Luna and a few other bands. Then we get back and we're doing two really big festivals in the U.K. which will be strange for us because we'll be playing with a lot of very big shall we say fashionable bands like My Chemical Romance and a few other bands. We're playing in Earl's Court in London which is an old huge venue where Led Zeppelin played and Metallica played. That fact is obviously interesting for Zeppelin fans and big old Metallica fans. That's going to be pretty cool. Then we have another festival in Belgium coming up in August. It's tough. We can't tour all the time because of our jobs. We just pick out little pockets of touring whenever we can.
That just makes life a little more exciting. Any other thoughts or comments?
I really hope we do get the chance to come over to the States and play. We've made small friendships with a few of the U.S. bands that we've played with so you never know. Maybe we'll hook something up with some of those bands and come over hopefully to play and get ready for the inevitable Taint heckles. We'll be prepared.
You have plenty of time to work on that.