—article by Nina Clevinger
The year is 2016—Tumblr is the cultural bible to modern millennials and cheap cuisine, such as Mexican food and small, fluffy animals are all the rage.
So when I heard about the pop-punk-electro-godsend of a band, Tacocat, I knew I needed to talk to them immediately. Seriously, what better combination of words could there possibly be in a band name? Maybe it’s classical conditioning from growing up in the internet age, or maybe I really am just that basic—whatever it is, I’m sure Pavlov would agree: cats are dope, tacos are even more so, and punk rock bands kick serious ass.
After listening to a few Tacocat songs (the one that stands out in my mind right now is the period-power anthem, “Crimson Wave”) I knew for a fact they were a band I wanted to learn more about. I saw they were coming to Chicago for a show this month, so I got in touch with them to get a better understanding of who exactly Tacocat is before I get the chance to see them kill it live.
“Tacocat is Emily, Bree, Eric and Lelah,” said Lelah Maupin, drummer for the band. “We all met at different times in different ways, but I suppose we got together because we are all creative and weird and interested in music and culture.”
The four members of the band are also best friends, and they spend their time together traveling around the world, and jamming the hell out. It sounds like the ultimate way to spend one’s life—and, for the most part, it is—but sometimes life on the road does experience a bit of turbulence.
“It can be challenging to conduct your life and the choices you make as an entity of four rather than a solo human,” said Maupin. She adds that while it’s really fun “doing cool shit” with her friends, she does still get lonely and bored sometimes while on tour.
Speaking of cool shit: Maupin’s idol is Miley Cyrus, and she hopes to one day play music with her.
“Her show changed my life,” she said, reminiscing on one of Cyrus’s wild performances. “She is simply the best.”
Cyrus is just one of many musicians Maupin admires, her list of musical influences also containing names such as Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Mariah Carey and David Bowie.
Maupin’s favorite song by Tacocat is “Snow Day,” whose lyrics capture the joy that can come from unexpected delays in real life. Real life can be a lot to handle from time to time, and so we turn to fun and mischief to get our minds preoccupied. What better way to do that than to go out and play in the snow —real or metaphorical?
Another way to incorporate fun and mischief into one: playing live shows. Concerts are a reoccurring burst of energy, music and magic that either make or break a band and their presence amongst fans. Tacocat seems to be doing the job at having as much fun as possible during live performances, and even hopes to one day play on late night television—the epitome of having a good time.
"I would really like to play on any of the late night shows… Like I would say Conan, but he's out, right?” Maupin said, adding that she doesn’t watch much TV these days. “Is Saturday Night Live still a thing? That would be so tight."
The band is currently on tour, playing shows across the United States and simultaneously participating in hardcore sporting events, according to Maupin.
“Me and Eric have been highly competitive opponents in two sports for over a decade: Yahtzee and Tetris,” she said. “I hope we always are.”
While the gaming may get pretty intense from time to time, it’s never too much for Maupin, who plans on continuing with this band and with music for as long as possible.
“I suppose the plan is to keep going,” she said. “When we get home from tour, I want to get electronic gear for the drums so we can get a little more creative in that department. I just want to get weird.”
She adds that she will accomplish these things how she accomplishes most things: through dedicated intention and intuition.
Keep up with Tacocat by following them on Instagram at @tacocantband. Catch them play a show this Sunday, September 25, as well at Thalia Hall in Pilsen, Chicago. Tickets are available for purchase here.