Baltimore indie/alt-rock trio Taller Tales have earned a reputation for their infectious melodies and honest lyricism. The groups seamlessly bridges the gap between traditional pop elements and visceral rock arrangements, with a palpable energy that is evident throughout their debut EP, Kalorama.
I got the chance to chat with the band’s vocalist and guitarist Bryan Kotsher about where the name Taller Tales came from, what it means for their debut EP to finally be out, what inspired their song “Bloodlines” and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what it is now?
We got together entirely through serendipity. I met Dylan playing basketball at the gym of all places, and we started getting together to do acoustic stuff from there. We jammed like that for about a year before I hopped on Craigslist the same night Matt posted an ad looking to join a band. He had just played drums for the first time in years and made that post the exact same time I went looking for a drummer, so it’s amazing how perfectly that worked out. We started gigging locally and just honing our sound gradually to what it is now, this gnarly blend of pop and alt-rock.
Where did the name Taller Tales come from?
It actually came completely out of nowhere. I was at the gym one day and as I was walking across the room – I remember the exact spot too – Taller Tales just popped into my head. The guys and I workshopped different spellings a little, but it just ended up sticking as it was. Alliteration, man. Can’t go wrong.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. Your sound would generally be described as alt-rock, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it
Alt-rock is definitely the closest we can equate to genre wise, but we’re kind of all over the map. We’ve really loved settling in that darker alternative space recently so that’s where we’ve been writing from. I came to a point where I realized early on in our career I was trying to write good songs that I thought people would like instead of writing songs that felt authentic to where I was at the time. You can actually hear the evolution of that over the record.
Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a group?
I’m not sure exactly what bands I would say are influences, but there are bands we really love and admire that are all over the spectrum. We’ve frequently been compared to bands like Highly Suspect. Dylan’s a jazz and funk head who loves Snarky Puppy and anything with a groove, while Matt grew up on early 2000’s pop punk, which you can definitely hear in his style. One of my all time favorite bands has been Paramore; they really can’t do any wrong.
Let’s talk about your debut EP, Kalorama. What does it mean to you guys for this project to finally be coming out?
Oh man, we waited so freakin’ long for this to be out. If we could’ve had our way, we would’ve dumped the music out there the day it was finished. The songs are super fun. They were so much fun to record and there’s a real noticeable progression from track one to six. We couldn’t be more excited to finally have it out there, but we’re already working on the next batch of songs.
“Bloodlines” is the third single to be released from the EP. What inspired this song?
Dylan came to us with this dark, choppy guitar riff that we loved right away. It ended up molding into the intro guitar you hear on the track. I wanted to write something vulnerable and the music had this really somber, like lamenting quality to it that made me think about fucking up, like really fucking up, and how we turn to family to save us from our own self-destructive behavior. Can you really be redeemed or forgiven after going so far down that path? How do you know they even want anything to do with you? It’s also got one of my favorite choruses on the record.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically?
We actually had the music for a while before the lyrics came. Generally, I like to have the music before I write lyrics and let the feel of the music dictate what they’re going to be . Sometimes, they’ll come simultaneously; other times, like with “Bloodlines,” I’ll be sitting on it forever before something comes. I knew where I wanted to go with it, I just couldn’t figure out how until it just clicked. It happens like that a lot. We have music from years ago we still don’t have lyrics to.
Was there any major changes made to “Bloodlines” once you guys got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Not really. Qe have a really strong idea of how we want a song to sound most of the time before we enter the studio. Eric Taft, who produced a number of tracks on the record including “Bloodlines”, always has amazing suggestions for little tidbits in a session that really bring out the life of a track, so he was definitely involved.
You guys are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
Personally, I want to play a stadium. I just feel like the energy of that would be incredible. We’ve gotten to play with so many talented bands in the short time we’ve been together. We really just want to keep putting out music as consistently as possible and play to as many people as possible. Playing live is our absolute favorite part of this whole thing.
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
Star Wars, dude. Star Wars. Episode IX is coming out soon, you’ve got The Mandalorian and the last season of Clone Wars coming out soon too. I mean, come on. Our creativity is going to take a major hit in November and December from that.