of The Aireborne Toxic Event
text by Jolene Polyack
photo by: Frankie Leal
Living in Kingsburg, I kind of heard about Daren Taylor. But nothing I could really understand. Comments like, ‘he’s famous’, ‘he’s rising to the top,’ ‘he’s going to make it’ kept being circulated. But what did that mean? Traffic Magazine caught up with Daren and was able to talk to him about what has been happening in his life since he left Kingsburg.
Researching Daren’s band’s website, www.theairbornetoxicevent.com, one quickly assesses that this band and its Kingsburg Native drummer are clearly ‘on their way.’ They’ve got articles in USA Today, Billboard, and Rolling Stone. They’ve appeared on television and have sold out concerts throughout the world.
What follows is my interview with Daren. I asked for double the space usually allotted for Traffic’s Roots section because his short life has been so interesting. After all, how often do any of us get to talk to someone ‘famous?’
Tell me about your time in Kingsburg?
My family moved to Kingsburg from Visalia in 1984 (I was 4 years old) when my dad became the new chief-of-police. I lived there until after I graduated from KHS in 1998 at which point I moved to Fresno. My first band, Dr. Rocket and the Moon Patrol (featuring other KHS alumni), won the CSL talent show during my junior year.
Why did you move to Southern California?
I moved to Los Angeles in August of 2001 to attend school at the Musician’s Institute. I tried going to Fresno City College but it wasn’t really working out for me. I felt like I was back in high school which I didn’t really enjoy all that much in the first place. I knew that a school wholly devoted to music was what I needed, and I was right - it was the first time in my life I’d ever received straight ‘A’s.’
What did you do prior to joining “The Airborne Toxic Event”
Delivered flowers in Los Angeles. One of the greatest yet stressful day jobs I’ve had. Great because I learned a good deal about flowers and worked with some really wonderful people. Stressful because I had to deal with L.A. drivers.
What do you like best about being in a band that travels worldwide?
Traveling worldwide! Seriously though, when I began playing drums at 15, my earliest goal was to get involved in music in a way that would allow me to travel to places I’d never been. This year alone I’ve been to the UK four times; France, Germany and Belgium twice; The Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and ALL over the US - We’ve been to something like 30 states this year. I’m actually talking to you right now from a dressing room in Birmingham, England.
What has been the one most significant thing that’s happened to you while with the band?
There’s so much that I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one thing! I could say signing to Island Records; or I could say being in foreign countries and listening to crowds sing along with the songs; or I could say getting to go to Japan; or I could say getting added to the KROQ playlist in LA before being signed to a label.
What do you like least about being in the band?
Flying - sitting in a plane for 10+ hours gets a little old after a while, particularly when you’re stuck in a middle seat for the duration.
What will/would you do if the band dissolved tomorrow?
Look for another band, maybe? I guess I don’t know the answer to this question because it looks like we’ve got a way to go before that happens. Maybe look for studio work or find a band that needs a touring drummer. I’ll make myself some business cards that read, “Have drums - will travel!”
What does it feel like to be on stage?
99% of the time it’s the greatest, almost indescribable feeling in the world to look out at a crowd and see them dancing and singing along to the music I’m helping create. There is that 1% though where things don’t go right (e.g. equipment malfunction; rambunctious, drunk crowds, etc.) that can make a show feel more like an obligation rather than a party.
What’s the largest audience you’ve played for? What was that like?
The largest audience we ever played for was either in Chicago at Lollapalooza this past August or Boston (also this past August) at a WFNX radio concert. There was something around 30,000 people at each. It’s a real trip getting up in front of that many people though it’s sometimes easier than playing for a small audience. With small audiences, you can see that everybody in the place is paying attention to you. With larger audiences, there can be other things happening to distract from what is happening on the stage.
Is this what you’ve always wanted to do?
From the time I was very young, music had always been very important to me. I remember watching MTV in its early days (you know, back when they showed music videos) and being enthralled with the sounds and visuals. My father is also a musician but most of his live playing happened before I was born or too young to remember. Though he is playing again these days (post retirement) and has even built a recording studio in his back yard!
Any message you have for your friends and family back home?
I do find myself missing the Central Valley often.
Thank you, Daren for the interview. And on behalf of Celebrity Detour we wish you and The Airborne Toxic Event the very best.