On Saturday October 20, New York based band Black Taxi played at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The performance, filled with energy and crowed, was one of the highlights of this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. After their set, Untapped Cities caught up with the band’s bass player Krisana Soponpong as he described some of the spaces where he and the other members of the band write, perform and spend their days.
Untapped Cities: How long have you been playing together as a band?
Soponpong: About four or five years. We have released two full length albums and a couple EPs. The last one was January of this year and it’s called “We Don’t Know Any Better”.
How did you meet each other?
I met Ezra, the singer, in Thailand at a full moon festival rave. He found out that I was living in Brooklyn, and he was living in Brooklyn at the same time so he suggested we start playing some music once we got back to New York. We met up and started working on some songs. I met Bill, the guitarist, through a friend of a friend from college and that was three of us. We went through a couple drummers. Jason, our current drummer, was in the audience during a show and introduced himself after the set. The rest is history.
Where were you when you wrote the songs on tonight’s show?
We were in Brooklyn. Ezra was living in this really cool loft in Williamsburg and he had about seven or eight roommates. The whole thing was quintessential Brooklyn. There were a bunch of artists and hippies. They are still having parties there if you ever want to go.
Do you think that that space and the city had any effect on the music you wrote?
Yes, both where we were and what Brooklyn is, a bunch of different cultures and different styles. It has a lot to do with location but I also feel it has to do with our generation. Brooklyn and the whole of New York are a combination of all these different styles all happening at once and you get to pick what you like about it and get to make it your own.
The city has a lot of concrete. There are a lot of hard surfaces. If you play music or guitar it bounces off and there’s a lot of reverb. The guitars in our music have a lot of delay. We also grew up with lots of electronic music so we try to infuse that with real drums.
What’s one of your favorite venues?
The Bowery Ballroom. It’s this beautiful ballroom a couple blocks away. It’s almost like a church. It has dark oak floors and in the afternoon when you load in all the gear you can see the light coming in through the stained glass windows. It feels really reverent. It’s got a lot of soul behind it. We’ve played there like six or seven times and we’ve sold it out. It’s one of the best sounding, good looking venues that we play in in New York.
What are some spaces that you spend time in during a regular day as a band?
As a band, when we go on tour, the way it goes with our budget is that we spend a lot of time in the van. It’s a small space. We spend a lot of time traveling and it’s important to be as efficient with the space as possible. Our bags and gear and even our coffee cups have a place. It’s the most organized my life gets ’cause it’s so small. It’s the four of us too, so it’s important for all of us to be comfortable.
That and the green room, whatever city we are in. In the venues, they get really loud and there’s lots of talking. It’s important to decompress a little bit and have the room to yourself before, so you can put yourself out there.
What about as an individual in the city?
I live in a closet that I call my apartment. It’s cozy. I like it a lot. It’s in Windsor Terrace which is a really good neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s not Williamsburg, so it’s tucked out of the way. I love my apartment a lot. There are lots of plants and lots of sunlight. Sunlight is really important, specially in the winter time in New York. You don’t want to get seasonal affective disorder.
Listen to Black Taxi online at blacktaxi.bandcamp.com or catch them live on November 3 at Ulysses Folk House in New York. Full list of shows here. Follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.
Get in touch with the author @Hernando1.