Tabah, a Minneapolis based 5-piece make music that is transportive. The band’s newest single “Curtain Call,” is a track that is difficult to categorize. At some points it feels like contemporary jazz, at others it is ultra chill indie pop. The synth playing is bubbly and calls to mind spacey ambient music. And then there are the captivating vocals of Cecelia Erholtz, a vocalist who sings with in a rich mezzo-soprano, reaching for notes at the top and bottom of her register.
Erholtz sings about the passage of time and how it changes the earth she occupies. As she sings these opaque and beautiful melodies it is easy to get lost in the depth of her voice. “Curtain Call” was recorded live to tape, which gives the track an unmistakably lo fi aesthetic. It is a track that is pure loveliness and will make you want to contemplate your own existence all day long.
We got the opportunity to ask the band some questions recently. Find out more below!
Why music? What’s in it for you?
Cecelia Erholtz: Music acts as it’s own language of emotional expression. Intervallic communication bringing understanding and connectivity to life’s temporary overtones. We use it to express thoughts and feelings that we might find hard to convey without it. Music, outside our own playing, can provide a starting place to search for universal meaning, but also provides a platform for TABAH to share our personal experiences on matters of life, death, relationships, destruction and perseverance. By capturing those vibrations together, we create something that is a tangible representation of our thoughts and feelings.
Do you have an official origin story? If so, what’s the unofficial version?
Charlie Bruber: In the summer of 2013, Charlie and Cecelia were playing in a Minneapolis folk group called Chants & Seas. That summer they decided they wanted to push for a project that they could expand their musical boundaries. From a jazz gig, later that summer, they met Murphy and began playing gigs as a trio. Soon after, Andrew joined the group on keys. We wanted another guitar to compliment Cecelia, someone who could intertwine with her intricate guitar parts. She had a great friend, but he lived 4 hours away, so for a year Jeff drove that 4 hours each way to jam on weekends and play shows. Moving down to the cities in October of 2015, Jeff was a part of the family and the 5 piece ensemble was complete. Alongside the band, we have been building a studio space in Minneapolis that will truly be our temple. A labor of love that has helped us grow in ways we never thought possible and hope will continue to push our creative efforts.
We’re NPR lovers ourselves. How has it been, having the support of your local station?
Andrew Seitz: It’s been amazing to have the support of our local station! They’ve helped us tremendously by spreading our music and expanding our listener base. The encouragement we’ve gotten from them has given us confidence to keep pursuing our dreams.
You’ve solidified what some would call a ‘mystical’ following in your hometown. Now that you’re pursuing a nation-wide tour, how does that change your mindset?
Jeff Ley: We hope to bring that same energy to every show while we are on the road. The title “Tabah” that we’ve given to ourselves gives a sense of constant evolution. Our goal in bringing this on the road is to meet new friends and fans (trying to coin the term frands) that we can learn from and share with. The Twin Cities have provided us with a home to cultivate our sound, and now we’re seeking experiences from our travels to inspire fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.
Symmetry Somewhere is out just over a month from now. What will you be doing in the meantime?
Murphy Janssen: We continue to work as hard as we can to get our name out there, whether by making and releasing videos for this record, writing new material for records to follow, and engaging with our listeners to create friendships. Right now we are working with local Twin Cities artists to design custom record jackets for a special edition of Symmetry Somewhere. It’s been a good way to channel some of this pre-release energy while collaborating with and supporting those artists who have helped us throughout this process. We also just purchased an RV, so we’ll be learning how to operate and parallel park a big rig!
How do you stay inspired to continually create new music?
Charlie Bruber: Life is pretty short. Understanding the brevity of it makes us want to put out as much content as we can, while we can. We are all constantly listening to different music and sharing from the experiences in our own personal lives. With five of us in the group there is always someone with an idea or experience that we then can collectively feed off of to create something new as a unit.
Where do you feel most comfortable as artists? On stage, in the studio, on the road, or somewhere else?
Jeff Ley: Each place has its own unique feel to work within. We came up with some inspiring material in the studio. Welcome to 1979 provided us with a creative environment where we felt at liberty to try anything. The stage is a different sort of canvas, one where your creativity is limited by the forward motion of time. When you know you can’t do another take, it’s best to adopt a mentality where you don’t have to think, but just express, knowing that you’ll be in good hands with four of your best friends around you. This upcoming tour is our first big road trip, and we’re excited to see what it brings. We’ll let you know what it’s like when we get there!
Is there a particular state of mind a listener ought to have to best connect with your new album?
Cecelia Erholtz: Perhaps a state of openness and self-reflection? We’re not saying you need to listen in dark isolation with candles and incense! This record was made by friends and you should listen to it as a friend amongst friends. It’s not simply a melancholy album, although there are parts where you might find yourself reflecting silently. It is not a party album, although there are some catchy songs that make you groove. With this first full-length we tried to encapsulate a lot of the emotions we’ve felt in these first few years of being a band. Keeping in mind we are all human, the differences amongst us fall to the wayside and we are able to embrace honest expression.
Any funny or memorable moments you could share from the recording process of Symmetry Somewhere?
Cecelia Erholtz: With this record being our first two-week session in a studio setting, there were a ton. From some tense and cathartic moments of our Synth Boys working as a team, to Murphy finding an old Linn Drum machine and creating an entire percussion section on a track. Outside of recording, Chris allowed us the amazing opportunity to listen to one of our favorite albums, Dark Side of the Moon, in quadrophonic. We also had some of our great friends come down and film a couple of days to make a mini-documentary of our experiences, so hopefully everybody can get the vinyl which includes a link to download that video.
Anything else you’d like to let the readers of Impose Magazine know?
Charlie Bruber: We hope you enjoy ‘Curtain Call’ featured in this interview. That song comes from the early days of this band and has grown along with us since. An older version is featured on our debut EP we released in 2015, Time Will Come. If you are intrigued by Tabah and our music, that is the place to start. We hope you’re excited for the upcoming record, because we certainly are. We will be touring throughout the US this year, so follow us and we hope we can see you out at a show!
Keep up with Tabah here.