What is your name and role within the band?
Tyler Denning: guitar and lead vocals.
Jake Dane: bass and vocals.
Stephen Schultz: drums and vocals.
Mike Nivens: guitar
How did you start?
Originally we met at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Like many bands in college towns we got our start playing late night shows to drunk students in dirty bars. We evolved from playing strictly cover songs to recording a full length album of original songs in 2012, followed by a five-song EP in 2014, with new singles being released frequently.
We were formerly called Tyler Denning Band but changed the name to Taller Trees in December 2016 in an effort to streamline our sound and brand. As for the inspiration behind the new name, there are plenty of deep interpretations of what Taller Trees means to us, but the original idea came from a relative in Georgia with an extreme Southern accent. When he said “Tyler” it almost sounded like “Taller…”
Where are you based?
Please give an example of your music writing process:
Sometimes I’ll (Tyler) bring a finished song to the band and we’ll all edit parts and arrange the instrumentation. Other times I’ll just have part of a verse or a riff or something and we’ll all build the song together. Either way, a song is never really finished until we’ve all played through the song together many times, experimenting and tweaking each part as we go.
What are you working on right now?
Since we changed the name to Taller Trees we’ve been recording and releasing singles. We have two songs out so far and are about to finish and release the third— “I’ll Be Around.” Otherwise we consistently play shows around our home state of Florida and are working on new material so we can keep putting out new music.
What is your gear setup?
Tyler plays a Gibson ES-339 through a Fender Hot Rod III.
Mike plays a Fender Stratocaster through a Fender Hot Rod III.
Jake plays a Fender Jazz Bass through an Ampeg 4×10 cab and an Ampeg SVT 7 Pro head.
Stephen plays a Mapex Saturn Pro drum kit.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
We’re all pretty into being outdoors, particularly at the beach as often as we can be. Sometimes we spend too much time in local bars. We play video games. Sometimes we drink too much. We read a good bit; from Lord of the Rings to Hemingway to modern art magazines that friends recommend. The laid-back Floridian environment, late-night conversations about heavy topics we overthink, relationship troubles, episodes of Rick & Morty, and lots of Yuengling combine to add all kinds of colors to our music.
How would you describe your music genre?
We call it Soul/Rock. It’s a combination of blues, R&B, funk, and rock & roll, with melodies that lean towards pop music.
Do you know any music theory?
None of us has ever had much formal education in music theory, but between the four of us we manage to not get completely lost when our jazz musician friends start throwing around words like “diminished,” “augmented,” and “improvise.”
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to keep touring further from home, and a crucial part of that will be getting more involved in the thriving festival scene that we have here in Florida. We won’t stay in Tallahassee forever, and we’ve considered potentially moving somewhere like Nashville or Atlanta soon.
How did you get into music?
Tyler: Mom had me singing in church choirs as a kid, then my dad showed me a bunch of classic rock, which led me to blues music, which led me to the guitar and eventually to songwriting by the time I was 16.
Jake: Uncle got me a guitar, I took lessons until I got good enough to teach myself bass. Started playing live shows at 16.
Mike: My parents introduced me to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin at a young age. Then I got the video game Guitar Hero and I liked it so much that it inspired me to take up the real instrument.
Stephen: Apparently I was a “bull in a china shop” growing up. My mom wanted me to channel that energy into something other than breaking her household possessions so she got me a drum kit. I enjoyed singing in church/school choirs but thought drums were more badass, so I went that route.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Fleet Foxes’ new album “Crack Up,” Jordan Rakei, Lord Huron, Allen Stone, and always Stevie Wonder.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Half Moon Run
When are you playing next?
July 21 at Dunedin Brewery near Tampa, FL. 9pm-1am.