Jay: So to those unaware of the TaunTra train, tell us who you are and what Tauntra do?
Steve: Well, I’m Steve and we play music which has changed a fair wee bit since first we began. Without wanting to be pre-judged I suppose we play ska-punk music.

Jay: Does the term ska punk do you justice though?
Steve: This is a tricky one to answer. We aren’t ska punk it the terms that you expect with “happy go lucky ” music but I wouldn’t really know how else to go about describing ourselves. I think we have a bit of fun with it and don’t really worry too much about it.

Jay: How does it feel to be getting such positive praise from both critics and fans alike at the moment? ”Stories Set to Sound” has gone down a storm…
Steve: Yeah, it’s been great so far. We haven’t had that many reviews, but what has been said has been great and its nice to read such positive threads on forums such as Punktastic and such nice feedback from all kinds of people who we respect. There has been a few people who can’t quite get into it but I’m really pleased with how things are going and the reaction that has came from it.

Jay: Do you feel the type of music you produce, helps or hinders your progress through the ranks of unsigned bands?
Steve: It is hard to say. People have been saying we are doing things a bit differently from other bands, so maybe that has helped us get noticed a little more but a lot of effort and work has gone into everything. I think when we are first described as a ska punk band it restricts people from giving us a chance which can be a little frustrating, I’m not sure. What do you think?

Jay: I agree to the extent that you are initially pigeon holed as ska punk, but you’re a million miles away from the likes of Reel Big Fish, was it a conscious decision to be different when the band were initially formed?
Steve: Actually, when we originally formed we were planning on playing lots of ska punk music in the similar vein as RBF. It was of the time when we lost our drummer and trombone player and we gained Scott on drums in his place that we finally began creating our own material and it has just carried on and progressed from there well beyond our original expectations. I think now we are definitely getting a lot more of a reggae vibe. The two new tunes we are working on at the moment are very different. One is reggae as hell and I’m not sure about the other, kinda like At the Drive In with The Police maybe. Not really what I’d call ska punk but who cares.

Jay: With your last EP “Stories Set to Sound” there was definite progression from “This is my Heart in Sound”. What are your plans for the follow up?
Steve: There is a pretty strong progression from one CD to the next which has just happened naturally but I do think it’s quite important for bands to progress. Our music is just growing with us and we are getting interested in making interesting music with slightly more adventurous ideas which we enjoy. Right now there is plans for the next CD and we are working on new tunes whenever we get the chance which sadly isn’t as much as we would like. So far we have a mass of ideas floating around and at practices we usually play around and work with them and they develop into songs.

Jay: Any timeline on when we may hear any new material? (It isn’t long since your last release but the public are thirsty!)
Steve: Although we only just released it recently (Stories Set to Sound) it feels like ages since we last recorded. I think it was Easter this year that we actually went and recorded the new CD. I am really looking forward to going back and working with Johannes (Producer) again, he was great the first time and we really want to repeat it again. Right now we have definite plans to record again before the end of the year and you may soon hear of where those plans lie and what will come of them. There is new tunes though in the pipeline and we are enjoying playing about with them and different ideas and I for one am excited for people to hear them once they come about, so keep checking back.

Jay: What are your current thoughts on the UK music scene?
Steve: There has been a lot of bands have splitting up lately and there seems to be lots who don’t seem to be doing so much but on the other hand there is a lot of promising bands out there who are coming through and making a huge impact. The first I’d mention would be failsafe who are really exciting and I’m loving so much. Another thing I would mention would perhaps be the unpredictable turnouts at gigs. We played one night in Birmingham and it was amazing and pretty busy whereas the night before in Leicester it was completely empty other than a couple of folk. Then later on we played down in Norwich with Howards Alias and there was maybe around 40 or 50 folk there I think and in Edinburgh previously on their tour there was sadly only about 20 there.

Jay: Do you think this is maybe a reflection on bands touring too much, and as such it is having a knock on effect of paying customers thinking they’ll simply catch them next time? Or does the blame for poor turnouts lay at the door of poor promotion?
Steve: I think it falls on both avenues to be honest. I think you do get some bands that perhaps tour too much where it reaches an extent where people find that they will have the chance to see them more than once in the coming months so they decide to miss out on one time and to catch them another.

Jay: With the likes of Failsafe, Rhythmic Coughing, Mistake us for Friends and yourselves all making breaks forward is there a new wave of bands set to replace those of old on the UK Scene?
Steve: I think those three are certainly the top three I would mention. We have played with the ‘Safe a good few times and always have a great time with them and I think they are the best band about right now for sure. They have a huge presence and energy and are doing something very different. I’m not too clued up on it all but along with Rhythmic coughing and others there is a lot of bands breaking through which is great.

Jay: Sum up the life of an unsigned act touring CD’s without a deal.
Steve: The summer so far has been great. It was a lot of hard work to get the tour dates sorted but the internet was the key and sites like this help so much. We had to pump a fair bit of cash into getting the CD printed and pressed and an awesome guy called Liam was a star in helping with the artwork. I was just hoping to sell as many CD’s as we could on tour and try and make the money back on them and not loose money from the tour. I think we pretty much finished it the same as we went into it but having the van breakdown and missing the last four dates was so disappointing and lost us a bit or money and we missed some awesome shows with some great bands which we were really looking forward too. But it has done us the world of good in spreading our name and the CD and I have just made the money back I put into it with lots more to sell so come and buy them.

Jay: You’re all still relatively young, how do you juggle your lives outside of the band?
Steve: Personally, Tauntra is pretty much my priority right now. I only have a job for about 20 hours, three days a week and the rest goes into the band really but it can be hard for the others and us as a band as they are all at Uni which makes things pretty tricky. Obviously you can’t really push for both properly and we managed to build up a bit of momentum over the past few months and it would be sad for it to slow down again. We still manage to fit in shows whenever we can and practices weather it means heading up to Glasgow or back here at home in Annan in Iain’s lovely front room.

Jay: You must’ve of experienced various highs and lows over the last couple of years, tell us about some of the more sobering and exciting moments…
Steve: There has been some great things happen such as getting to open the main stage of the Wickerman Festival for bands like Aereogramme and The Buzzcocks last year but I think this tour was a real high point for us as we had this CD as well and it was our first time away in with our van and things which was ace and we had the best time of our lives but then when it all ended a bit prematurely with it breaking down we were gutted and had no choice but to miss some shows that we were really looking forward to so it also provided us with lows too.

Jay: What CD’s are you guys currently listening to?
Steve: As mentioned before Failsafe, can’t wait for the album. Howards Alias and RXB are constants but right now I’m really digging Matisyahu who needs to be checked out if you haven’t already.

Jay: I asked Mistake us for Friends this and they were diplomatic, but Scottish football, any hope at all?
Steve: Shit yes. I support Motherwell Jay.

Jay: Ah, Terry Butcher, legend. Reckon the Old Firm monopoly may be broken this year?
Steve: I think that Scottish football and Motherwell are punching well above their weight but i also think that unfortunately it is not given half the credit that it deserves and that the old firm will come back again. It is still going to be between them at the end of each season but gap is narrowing and the rest of the league is very competitive outside of the Old Firm. Last season there was about four teams who could still have been relegated coming down to the last few games and I’m sure you know what Motherwell did, haha amazing stuff.

Jay: Finally anything you would like to add? People to thank?
Steve: I want to thank and mention Liam Rutherford for the huge help with the artwork for the new CD as sadly where it says his name on the inlay it has printed too dark and can’t be made out so please check out www.nortago.com Also, please check out our myspace page at www.myspace.com/tauntra and we still have lots of CD’s and shirts left to sell so “c’mon, do it!” Huge thanks to yourself also for lots of help with everything and the support, it’s been great. Think that should maybe do but cheers to everyone else as well.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]