The members of Tally Hall are known for their dapper outfits, but the five musicians from Ann Arbor, Mich. are also master storytellers. Zubin Sedghi (bass, vocals) and Rob Cantor (guitar, vocals) spoke to North by Northwestern from a rest stop in Ohio as they trekked over to Evanston for Dillo Day.
Where are you coming from?
Rob: We just got off from doing nine shows. We’re doing the Chicago show, a Detroit show and then a Brooklyn show, but we’ve been mostly focusing on the new album.
It’s been about four years since you’ve released an album, though it was re-released a year ago. Is anything coming up soon?
Rob: Ugh. Thanks for bringing that up. It’s just taken a while for the record company to finance it and get into the studio to get started.
How is this one different from the last one (2005’s Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum)?
Zubin: The material’s going to be a little lighter, more eco-friendly.
Rob: It’s going to be a little more focused and the topics are going to be a little more serious. It’s hard to say but it’ll feel a little bit older. It’ll sound like we’ve grown.
You are from Ann Arbor. What did you learn about performing in front of college kids?
Rob: We learned how to respect an audience. When we first started performing we learned that every band had a specific way they were and they acted and it seemed like they were doing it for them and not for the connection between them and the audience. We try to make that connection.
Zubin: I also think that when we started out we played a lot of covers at frat parties and when we analyzed other people’s material we are really selective with the covers we play. There’s something we learn whenever we bring out a cover. There’s something exciting for us.
You’re well-known for your covers. Any hints on what you’ll be playing on Dillo Day?
Zubin: I’m not going to tell her, but I do have a hint. It’s encoded in all your other answers, maybe. I just don’t want to be confined like that.
You’ve started a television show on your Web site. How did that come about?
Rob: We’d always made videos in our spare time as a band and even before the band when we were just friends. Originally we didn’t have any specific goals. Then we found out we were being re-released and we decided to take that opportunity. We had about a year during which we weren’t expected to produce a musical album, and decided to make an album of video vignettes.
So, the ties. Why the different colors?
Zubin: It’s not so important to us what color we wear but that there is something uniform across the band and that there are elements that are distinct between the members, sort of like a balance between togetherness and individuality.