Today’s Feature – June 12-13: Tally Hall

June 13, 2008 at 6:15 pm (Today's Feature)

The gentlemen of Talley Hall own more than a colorful assortment of ties; they practically own Ann Arbor. Coming together at the University of Michigan back in 2002, Rob (yellow), Zubin (blue), Ross (grey), Joe (red) and Andrew (green) showed the world what they’ve been hiding up north when they were recognized by MTVu as one of the “Best Bands on Campus,” not so coincidently after they sold out The Blind Pig; one of the best rock clubs in Michigan.

Tally Hall has a different background than a lot of other rock acts out there, one that Michigan can be proud of. Growing up in school bands, ensembles, orchestras, choirs and theatre groups, the group of Wolverines weren’t exactly used to living the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Learning “how to perform together as a smaller less ‘academic’ group,” Tally Hall has excelled, sharing their buoyant sound with audiences across the country.

Their latest release, “Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum” showcases a more developed Tally, “warmer and more organic than its earlier counterpart.” Their refreshing take on today’s pop scene includes an ear-grabbing blend of rock, sonic sounds and big noise that lifts the spirit while jumping inside your head and making itself at home. And you’ll welcome it – it’s simply good music with good vibes.

You can find Tally Hall working on more than music, such as short videos behind their tunes (you may have seen the one for “Banana Man”), as well as finishing their new Internet show, “which will take the form of 10 episodes full of random video content, music videos, short skits, and documentaries.” Tally Hall performs at a lot more spots than Ann Arbor now, so look up a show near you as they support the new record. And get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Tally Hall

PensEyeView.com PEV: Tell us how Tally Hall first came together? Was an instant connection or did it take a while for the band to really form?

Tally Hall (TH): It was a little of both really. Some of us met at our various high schools, or early on in college as house-mates. Rob, Andrew and Zubin decided to join together and form a casual band, and over the next few months, the earlier connections formed together as Joe and I joined to bring us to the current lineup.

PEV: How have your abilities or style as musicians changed since your earlier days of playing music?

TH: Performing in a rock band is something that none of us had really experienced before, and it certainly requires a certain skill that many other performance environments do not. I grew up playing in a number school bands, percussion ensembles and orchestras, which is the case for pretty much everyone in the band once you add choirs and musical theater to the mix. But all of us had to learn how to perform together as a smaller less “academic” group.

PEV: Growing up in, what kind of music were you guys listening to?

TH: We listened to pretty much everything from classical to classic rock, 90s alternative, Jazz, hip-hop. Looking back, I think we were all lucky to be exposed to a lot of what’s out there in the music world.

PEV: Tell us about the earlier days in the music business for the band? Before you were playing regularly.

TH: At first, it was very much a side project from our classes. We all had our various studies and activities at University of Michigan, and would get together a few nights a week to work on new songs and usually prepare for concerts which we’d play every couple of weeks. It was casual, but at the same time, the infrastructure was there to buy music and attend our concerts, and I think that’s what ultimately caused everything to quickly spread throughout Ann Arbor.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

TH: It’s hard to say when that point was exactly, although a few events stand out that played a key role in giving some validity to the project. Good day won a song writing contest, we were recognized by MTVu as one of the “Best Bands on Campus,” and most notably for me was selling out the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor which is the token rock club in town.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music?

TH: Also hard to say. Some cities do seem to have a certain community. New York, Portland, Chicago come to mind first although some other towns like State College, PA often have a great venue which can put emphasis on local musicians and help create that community from the ground up.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for the band? Good parts? Bad parts?

TH: In general it’s been pretty exciting. You always get to see new places, cities, scenery along the road. The downside is that you often get to visit the same highways and rest stops over and over again. But at any rate, you get a chance to see a lot of the country that you wouldn’t get to otherwise, and also the chance to perform for fans from all over.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Tally Hall performance?

TH: We try to make our shows a fairly unique experience for the viewer. Unique not only relative to other shows you might attend, but also unique to the album as it exists in recorded form.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

TH: Check out the Spinto Band.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “MarvinÕs Marvelous Mechanical Museum”?

TH: It’s warmer and more organic than it’s earlier counterpart. A lot of what we couldn’t achieve with our resources originally, we were able to accomplish with the recent re-release.

PEV: How has your work on this album differ from your previous works?

TH: The material on this album has been floating around for a while through various forms of demos and early recordingsreleases, and it’s really our first “album” of material. In the future, it seems that the songwriting into album process will probably be a more streamlined one.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

TH: It really depends on each writer, but it’s usually somewhere extremely comfortable and surrounded by delicious food.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio right now, what would we find?

TH: As of right now, you’d see large cases scattered all over the floor.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find the band doing in their spare time?

TH: We spend a lot of time working on various video projects. At the moment, we’re just finishing up our Internet Show, which will take the form of 10 episodes full of random video content, music videos, short skits, and documentaries. We’re hoping to release it on our website sometime in the coming weeks.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is just go out there and perform?

TH: Someone gives a pep-talk prior to each performance. It’s generally one of us, but often it’s a guest speaker.

PEV: In one word, describe Tally Hall.

TH: Chickpea.

PEV: So, what is next for Tally Hall?

TH: A good deal of touring, and releasing the Internet Show. Then after that, back in the studio for a second album.

For more information on the Tally Hall, check out www.tallyhall.com

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