NEXT UP: Berlin Taxi
Origin: New Orleans, Louisana
This week we had the pleasure to talk it up with Berlin Taxi, a band based in New Orleans. Mashing synthesizers and lo-fi vocals together, Berlin Taxi explains their creative process behind it all. Check out a snippet of the interview on our IGTV / Youtube or read the full interview below.
So what do you guys do for those who don’t know?
MIKEY: I'm Mikey and I sing, write, and synthesizers basically.
MORGAN: I'm Morgan. I play keyboards and we all kind of produce.
GREG: I'm Greg. I play synth bass.
How did the band develop their style/meet?
MORGAN: Mikey and I used to be in a band years ago and we both got into more electronic music and then we went to Germany together and I came back and started writing electronic music for a year. And we did a show, just the two of us and it wasn't what we wanted it to be at. And then Greg, we shared a practice space in this big warehouse.
MIKEY: I've known Greg since I was a teenager.
MORGAN: Greg was practicing in another band and they practiced down the hall and he just came in to jam with us. And basically, that's how he joined the band and it was a year and a half ago. Maybe even two years ago at this point.
Are those the starting songs that you guys basically created like "Last Night"?
MIKEY: Those are the first songs because we had other songs. We were going through weird phases where we were trying to get it together. We were a little bit more indie rocky.
MORGAN: He figured out a way of writing and was able to put together a ton of songs that we produced. And then that was the first EP and there are so many demos too because it took a while to figure out exactly what style, how to make things consistent, and how to make a full piece. Once we figured that out, we added writing, everything came together really well. And then once Greg joined, it was really good, you know?
How was the creative process making "In Pursuit"?
MIKEY: A lot of those songs were written even before we dropped an EP, maybe even three or four of them.
MORGAN: We were going to do five songs and then we went on tour and we had all these other songs that we could work on. And somebody was like, "Oh, why not do a full album then?" So we came back and put almost a year into finishing all these songs.
MIKEY: We did two tours last summer and somewhere along the second tour, we had conversations about making it a full length. So then when we got back from tour, we had this really concentrated idea of everything sounding similar.
How about the cover art?
GREG: Uniformity is a big thing. We wanted everything to look the same. If we were to collect the singles with the full length, we didn't want it to be a hodgepodge. We wanted to have the foresight to make it all look uniform. So, they actually knew this guy, Paul Norman, who works at Thibodeaux's Floral. We got all the arrangements and basically the idea is that the singles were going to be different sets of flowers, but on the album, it's going to be a bouquet of all singles.
MORGAN: Paul is a true artist. We met with them and we're like, "this is what this song's about". And he immediately had ideas. We sat outside for a long time and we talked about the music and he really wanted to try to convey the feeling of the song with the flowers.
And the photography?
MORGAN: That was Greg and I. We got the three bouquets that became one bouquet. We got those three one day and we shot it at the perfect time when the sun was coming through the windows. We actually messed around with it at a bunch of different spots and then we finally tried out this corner of the room and it was perfect. So then we had to do that for every single flower.
GREG: We had 10 rolls of film and we decided to shoot it all. And with hundreds of photos where we got to find five that we liked.
Is there a message or something that the band aims to deliver?
MORGAN: Honestly for "In Pursuit", the vocals are really deep and I did that intentionally. We wanted people to be dancing. We were definitely thinking about the live aspect of it so that we could make it translate into four minutes. I don't where it came from, I have no idea. Depeche Mode and other bands that are known for that sound. That's sort of why this band is a thing.
GREG: I think we also figured out that we all like rock music and pop music and we can be those types of bands, but with the synthesizers. If we use the skills that we've learned from being in punk bands and just apply it, you got a pretty cool synth-pop band, you know?
How has quarantine been affecting the band? More creative or less?
MORGAN: We were trying to plan a tour and we were considering the next step to promote this album. Right when this happened, we don't have to worry about that anymore. We've been writing new stuff basically. For a while, we didn't really meet up cause we didn't know what was going on. And we started meeting up regularly in Morgan's house and his garage. We've been writing some cool stuff. We're excited to release new stuff. Hopefully this year we don't really know how many songs or what it is. Quarantine sucks in a lot of ways, but it has been great creatively.
Have you guys been listening to specific songs or music or been around specific things that have inspired you?
MIKEY: I've always loved David Bowie, and it's not a modern musician. Also, Ariel Pink. I love John Baus. I like what he's doing. There are so many artists I can name. I don't just listen to synth music. This past week I've been listening to 50's rock and roll because Little Richard died. I've been diving into that personally.
MORGAN: I think we get it from everywhere, even film scores, and just living in New Orleans, you hear a lot of different shit.
How has being from New Orleans impacted you guys?
MORGAN: It's sort of the reason we're all here. We all live here because we wanted to pursue music in a really good environment. I think it's really impacted everything.
MIKEY: New Orleans is definitely why we met, but I think I was always interested in music at a very early age. That's common for a lot of people in New Orleans. And honestly, I can't really imagine life without it at this point. It's cool growing up in a city that has such a rich history, especially musically. We're not jazz musicians. We're not worthy, they're so good. I've never pursued anything like that but New Orleans music has definitely inspired us for sure. We love all kinds of music, honestly.
Don't forget to check out Berlin Taxi on Instagram!
Photography by Stevn.