interview :: tally hall


Originally based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Tally Hall is a five-piece band that creates infectious music, self-described by the group as fabloo.  Known for their good humor and uniform of different colored ties, Tally Hall has built a strong fan base who loves their music, ideas and style all across the world. Recently, vocalist and guitarist of the group Rob Cantor, kindly collaborated with Music is Art to share in on a few questions and answers about the band. Enjoy!

Listen: The Whole World and You

MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?

ROB: The band took shape in our sophomore year at college, when Andrew and I ended up living together through a mutual friend. Enlisting Zubin on the bass (which, until that time, he’d never so much as touched), we played our first show in a basement theater in Ann Arbor – we got the gig because we could supply the PA system. Soon thereafter, we accrued the skills of Steve (our brief first drummer) and Joe, and began taking every gig we could find, most of which were at frat parties. Musically, I’m sure those shows were abominable, but there was a carefree feeling in the party gigs that we still try to channel.

MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.

ROB: We’ve recently re-located to NYC from Ann Arbor, MI. I’m not sure this new place is home yet, but there are certainly spots in Ann Arbor that well up band memories. The one that comes to mind most clearly is the dingy, dusty, crypt-like basement at our college house on Division Street. The floor was crumbling cement, the walls were caked in cobwebs, and the ceiling was unadorned floorboard underbelly, but we managed to coat in enough Christmas lights, posters, and cheap area rugs as to make it feel remotely homey. We’d spend hours down there working out the arrangements for the songs on “Marvin’s…” The transformation was such, in fact, that Seventeen Magazine, for a “On Campus” story of some sort, held a photo shoot down there — one photo from the shoot made it into the magazine, none of us were in it.

MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?

ROB: Performing live is half of the job, and it’s the more direct part. There is instant gratification in it, whereas writing and recording is a much more delayed and labored form of satisfaction. It can also be nerve-wracking, especially for someone so self-conscious as me. Not thinking too much while performing is the ideal – just feeling. We don’t have any special preparation practices – just rehearsal and such. Favorite song to perform live? Right now it’s a new one called “Never Meant To Know,” but this changes often.

MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?

ROB: My parents like everything we ever do; that’s very nice.

MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?

ROB: I can say that “some type of mood” is just the thing a song is trying to evoke. The arrangement, the lyrics, the instrument timbres and the little nuances join forces and transform into a singular, particular, and emotive idea- a mood of some kind. The process for our new album is still in the early stages – we’re writing and recording demos, and we hope to begin recording early in 2009. Not sure how long it will take when all is said and done.

MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?

ROB: Truth and Beauty?

MIA: Name some of your favorite music or albums to listen to.

ROB: I’ve been listening to old Soul and R&B music lately – Motown (especially Marvin Gaye and the Four Tops), Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and many more.

MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.

ROB: Bands We’ve Had the Pleasure of Playing With:
Summer Grof by Spinto Band
Presents by Via Audio
Hold It In by Jukebox the Ghost
Hard Times by Parlor Mob
Means To An End by De Novo Dahl

About The Author


“One glimpse is all it takes to tell you that Music Is Art is something special. You can start by judging this blog by its cover—it’s one of the best-designed, most aesthetically aware music blogs around—but there’s much more to it than just a pretty template. For one, Danielle Maree, the “dreamer/designer” behind MIA, focuses not only on excellent music, but on art, photography and writing and how they all intersect and inform the music. By sharing the sounds and sights that inspire her, she’s inspiring a growing number of readers on a daily basis. By documenting artists’ creative processes, she’s, in the process, creating a pretty substantial, always-evolving work of art herself.” - Nerd Litter

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4 Responses

  1. maddie

    I get to say that I LOVE tally hall

    And the whole world in you, good skipping song :]