Interview: Tango Alpha Tango’s Nathan Trueb

If we didn't manage to get Tango Alpha Tango in to the 'Stand to record, I'm pretty sure Tiger House's Bill Scharmann would have stopped being friends with us. After seeing Tango Alpha Tango a few months back at White Eagle, I couldn't help but agree with Bill's assessment of Tango Alpha Tango as one of the best live bands in Portland, and knew that they had to be documented live. Well, we're proud to announce that they will be, in secret, sometime this month. We hope you can be out to see them record live at that secret date and time.

For a little more on Tango Alpha Tango, we interviewed frontman Nathan Trueb about the band and their thoughts on recording live.

Banana Stand: How long has the band been together in its current form? How did it come together?

Nathan Trueb: The band has been together in its current form for about 3 years.

BS: How would you describe your sound? What are your key influences?

NT: Our influences are all over the map with everyone in the band, from jazz to rock n' roll and everything in between. We have lots of bands and musicians that we've all listened to for years, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, but I find in the writing of the songs they come more from my experiences, and sometimes others' experiences around me.

BS: Tell us your thoughts about recording live. What makes you interested in recording live at the 'Stand?

NT: We all love to record live. Recently, we've started recording two new albums and both of those records are being recorded live, no click, and just a few takes. It changes everything. You have to put everything into the performance. You're as good as you sound. Everything you've learned, every show you've played, it all comes out in those few takes. When you don't record live there's a certain temptation to make it MORE perfect, which arguably may get further away from perfection. A large majority of music being put out today is “perfect” by industry standards, and incidentally has lost all of its humanity.

BS: What's your favorite memory of a live show? Least favorite?

NT: My favorite memories of live shows are too many to count. There was a basement show in Corvallis where absolute mayhem occurred… in a good way. Kids were singing, partying, the line between the “stage” and the crowd was blurry, in more ways than one, which made it an absolute blast. It's the moments where the unexpected happens. It could be a technical malfunction that turns the song, or whole show into something else. I broke a guitar once on stage, accidentally; the electronics were dangling out of the body, and by grabbing certain wires a magical noise happened, I played the instrument in a way it was not intended to be played, but it was musical nonetheless.

BS: What are your favorite live albums?

NT: My favorite live album would have to be The Song Remains the Same, by Led Zeppelin. I learned a lot from their ability to travel over a jam, make parts memorable, like planned chaos. Also, Bob Dylan, live at the Gaslight. Almost performance art; funny at times, and heartbreaking as well. I've always loved those contrasts that are present in great art.

BS: What other projects are you all involved with?

NT: I don't know that I'm involved in any other projects. I record for people when they hire me. I often go to the Dookie Jam in Portland, which is an R&B/Gospel/hip-hop jam in town. Other than that I just write, practice, and play.

BS: What are you working on lately?

NT: I mentioned earlier that we are recording two albums in the studio right now. If you want to get involved we've got a Kickstarter going up soon, so keep your eyes posted for that.

Thanks a ton to Nathan for participating in our interview. Tango Alpha Tango is Nathan, Aaron Trueb, Mirabai Trueb and Walker Beckman. They're recording live at the 'Stand, in secret, later this month.

For more from Tango Alpha Tango, please support their Kickstarter and check them out on BandCamp, Facebook and MySpace.