Interview With Tiki Taane
He rose to prominence as the frontman of Salmonella Dub, but now Tiki Taane has branched out on his own. We also find out that, although he is now a dad, he’s still a badass.
“It’s blown my mind,” he says about the birth of his little boy. “I heard so many dads say it would change my life and I thought ‘yeah, whatever’, but it really has put everything in perspective. It crept up on us and it was a beautiful mistake.”
Salmonella Dub have always been a favourite of Australian and New Zealand festival-goers and I ask Taane what made him take the bold step in 2007 of leaving the band.
“With Salmonella Dub we were sort of playing the same card over and over again; the albums were starting to sound the same,” he replies. “We were originally known for pushing the boundaries; then we got into a comfort zone and really didn’t push the envelope at all. Given the nature of the band, too, I couldn’t really bring my solo songs into that space and expect them to want to play them, so I knew I had to leave.”
Salmonella Dub have made the unique decision to keep the band going with drummer, Dave Deakins, filling in as the vocalist. Time will decide whether or not this decision is a wise one. “It’s been wonderful, I have had people come up to me and say ‘man, Salmonella just aren’t the same without you’, so that feels validating,” he laughs.
Now in his 30s, I ask Taane how he approaches touring nowadays. Once known for his partying ways, being a dad has slowed the debauchery a little. “In my 20s I was living the rock dream, getting wasted and partying. But now I really have to focus on the art and the business side of things to keep it together.” He goes on to add. “Hell, I’m still a badass, but it’s more stable now.”
It’s hard to tell if that last line is serious or tongue in cheek, although it was revealed recently on the New Zealand TV show 20/20 that he is a reformed car thief – perhaps a little badass then.
His solo album, 'Past, Present, Future', is a gritty and raw album that, despite having strong dub influences, errs on the side of rock. It is a fusion of bass-heavy beats and traditional Maori instrumentation, and Taane couldn’t be happier it has seen the light of day.
“The big question during this album was whether I could actually do the whole thing by myself. Could I write it, arrange it, produce it, release it and get the band together? Somehow, I did it.”
Taane invited his dad along to sing on the album and join his touring band, and he can’t believe the response his father is getting. “I’ve got my dad coming on tour with us; he gets up for three songs, but you’d think he’d been up there all night. Taking him on the road is great, ay,” he adds, laughing. “The only problem is all these people come up at the end of the show and they want to meet my dad and not me.”
Check out Tiki Taane live this weekend! For more info, get to the Tours page