Tau Cross formed in 2015 after Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller disbanded Amebix, a band which inspired Napalm Death, Sepultura, Bathory and countless others. Michel ‘Away’ Langevinare from Voivod also joined the band and soon they had John Misery (Misery) and Andy Lefton, both joining Miller on guitars.
Their first album ‘Tau Cross’ came out on Relapse Records in 2015 quickly reached the number 1 spot on several ‘best of 2015’ lists from Rolling Stone magazine to Death Metal Underground among others. Having been a long time fan of Voivod and Amebix, I was interested in this band right from the start and approached them for an interview in early January 2016. This interview took place in a Facebook conversation over three months and it was an absolute delight to discuss about the band, their interests and what awaits their fans in the near future.
Transcending Obscurity (Dinesh): Hello Rob! from where did the idea of forming Tau Cross come from? How long have you guys known each other?
Tau Cross (Rob Miller): I was working on new Amebix material after ‘Sonic Mass’, but at the same time the band was beginning to disintegrate. I worked with Roy on some songs and then he got a lot of work, which left me on my own. So I began to look for people to work with, initially with little success until I talked with Andy who I had known for several years. He and Jon were on board straight away.
TO: We know that all the band members live in different parts of the world. So we are curious about your recording process. How did it come about?
Tau Cross: We decided to work with what we had, very little money and members all over the Planet. So the Internet was the answer. We used Dropbox and pro tools, as well as Skype to talk over the ideas as they came about. My friend James Adams here on Skye (the Smiddy studio) took the job of engineer / mixing and production as the various parts were assembled. Away recorded live drums in Montreal, Jon and Andy guitars in Minneapolis and myself bass and vocals in my spare room on Skye.
TO: How has the new lineup influenced the personal vision of each member? Is it a collective or does the music reflect the personal style of one person over the others?
Tau Cross: It is a melting pot, an experiment of sorts. We did not know how the material was going to sound until it was done, it was trusting the process. Predominantly I had the influence in this first album, but we are now writing together so we shall see.
TO: Can you tell us something about the really cool artwork on the album?
Tau Cross: We worked with Orion Landau on this, again a Skype conversation and passing him the demo tracks. He came up wit the idea for the Tau-Crow and produced that in wood, burlap and natural materials. He then sat it outside in the autumn weather to rot down until it took on this old appearance. Then he took it out on location! Some of the smaller pics inside the sleeve were taken by a friend Cavan Bligh when he visited Skye last Year and show some landscape and features here.
TO: Who are some of the influences on Tau Cross?
Tau Cross: For me personally, I like a lot of stuff,but have never really tried to base my own music on anyone else. However, there is some channeling of Joy Division / Sabbath and Killing Joke on that album I am sure.
TO: We know that Rob Miller makes swords. Tell us something about a day in the life of a swordsmith?
Tau Cross: That’s funny, I was in Bihar for a month back in 2014 traveling from Delhi. I soon learned that being a Blacksmith is like being an ‘untouchable’ in India. People prefer it if you say you are ‘In Business’, whereas in this country it is an honorable craft. I started 25 years ago and taught myself. My work can be seen at http://www.castlekeep.co.uk.
TO: You were in India? that’s great. What other places in India did you visit? it would be great if you could share a picture!
Tau Cross: I was in Bihar and Jarkhand three years ago with my Wife, who is a Satyananda Yoga teacher. So we went there to visit the School and also to work in Ashram. We traveled through Allahabad/Delhi/Varanasi. It was not an easy trip at all, quite an adventure for someone unused to large amounts of people. We came from a village of 60 people into the heart of Delhi, it was madness. We both ended up cutting all our hair off much to the hilarity of some Indian girls, who thought my wife must be a widow 😉
TO: We would like to know what music the band members are currently listening to and their favorite albums of 2015?
Tau Cross: Ooh, I am the wrong one to ask. Andy or Away are much more on the pulse, I still listen to a lot of old bands here. Have enjoyed some of Orthodox and Ruinebell.
TO: We’ve read in another interview where you had spoken about the trappings of genre. What are the limitations the band sees in genre specific music?
Tau Cross: There is a kind of introspective self awareness that can stop you from experimentation and opening yourself to the music that wants to manifest. Genre is a box, for some it is fun to stay in D Beat or some such, but I am not comfortable in anyone else’s shoes.
TO: Are there any plans to tour India in the near future? We would love to see you guys come down here!
Tau Cross: Not so far,but who knows? it is going to a rare to see the band live, but that also has its advantages.
TO: What is in store for Tau Cross fans in the future? tell us something about the road ahead.
Tau Cross: We will be touring ten dates in the U.S / Canada in March and April as well as playing at Roadburn in Holland. Meanwhile we are recording another album, we currently have around 14 songs. So need to see which works. 🙂
TO: Thanks a lot for taking some time off for the interview Rob!
Tau Cross: Thank you Dinesh.