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The Story of TAUK Moore: Interview with Kanika Moore and Alric “A.C.” Carter

TAUK Moore backstage at Peach 2023. Photo by Andrew Hutchins.

If you’ve been around Charleston, or any festival in America that Kanika Moore of Doom Flamingo is in attendance for, you have likely seen her performing with a variety of different artists. Kanika brings a powerful presence to any group of musicians that she joins in the live setting — and that’s without even bringing Doom to the table.

While Kanika may join many artists in the live setting, it’s not often that she steps into the studio to record an entire album with a new group of musicians. Her recent collaboration with Long Island, NY-based instrumental quartet, TAUK, represents a special blend of friendship and creative partnership that doesn’t come around so often.

TAUK Moore, the debut album from the group was released this past June. The album combines the electronic groove of TAUK with Kanika’s widely-influenced lyrics and vocal melodies, resulting in a fusion of rock, electronica, R&B, funk, and soul that feels both fresh and nostalgic.

The album has been paired with a big tour that included some festival stops this summer (great set at Peach), and an anticipated stop at Kanika’s hometown venue Charleston Pour House on Thursday, September 7th.

We linked up with Kanika and keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter of TAUK Moore to discuss the collaboration as well as their origins, which go back to the 2018 festival circuit, leading to Kanika sit-ins with TAUK at Electric Forest, Summer Camp, Hulaween, and more.

TAUK Moore at Peach 2023. Photo by Andrew Hutchins.

The Initial Collaboration

“The first time I heard something that we did together, I just craved more of it,” Kanika says. “And then once the original writing started, I was like, “Oh, we’re on to something.” Like, it wasn’t a planned tour or anything like that. It was just every time we got together and we even took a pass at doing something together, you could just tell, you know, on a business level and on a friendship level that there was potential to do more.”

Kanika explains the backstory of one of their earliest collaborations, featuring a performance of No Doubt’s “Hella Good”.

“You guys [TAUK] hit me up right before I came into town, and I just got off the plane, went backstage, learned ‘Hella Good’, and then jumped up there. Somebody caught a clip of the song, and it was on my Instagram, and I just watched it over and over and over. And I would watch it to motivate me for my next show. And I watched it so much, I was like, ‘We should fucking do some more music. We should do real, like, original music together.'”

This connection Kanika speaks of led to her taking a six-day trip to Long Island to write and record with TAUK. It was in TAUK’s studio, built inside of what was an abandoned carriage house in Oyster Bay, NY, where the music that became the album TAUK Moore came alive.

Kanika Moore live with TAUK at Peach 2023. Photo by Andrew Hutchins.

Writing & Recording TAUK Moore

“It doesn’t happen a lot. Even, like, coming down here for six days. That’s not something that I do,” Kanika says. “I could feel the connection with the band before that even happened, which is why I, you know, came out here for six days. We were really only supposed to try to work on a couple of things, and then it just sparked off.”

Kanika showed up at the studio with some ideas ready, but soon after arriving she scrapped them all and decided to start fresh.

“The only song that we worked on before I actually showed up was ‘Supernova’. But everything else, I wrote some ideas down, had some lyrics for everything, but again, as soon as I got here, the connection just grew stronger. You know, we just talked, we were upstairs in the kitchen, we all broke bread together, and then that’s when I was like, ‘I’m going to throw all these lyrics away, and I’m just going to write from the experience of being here in the studio with them.’ So, like, right at that first day that we got inside of the studio, I decided to throw everything away and rewrite.”

The ideas that Kanika was initially writing to were based off demos that TAUK had sent her, all recorded in that same studio, which TAUK completed during the pandemic. Alric “A.C.” Carter offers some insight here.

Alric “A.C.” Carter of TAUK, live at Peach 2023. Photo by Andrew Hutchins.

“You know, we had the pandemic, obviously, and we finished the studio in the pandemic and we just wrote and wrote and wrote,” Carter recalls. “So we had about 30 instrumentals that we started recording, and from those 30 instrumentals, we tried to break out a bunch of different releases, and we sent Kanika maybe about 15 to 20 of those. And from some of that, some of those songs that we sent her, along with the ideas she came through with, TAUK Moore was birthed, you know? Which was pretty cool.”

On Writing With Kanika

TAUK prepares for their set at Peach 2023.

TAUK has been an instrumental powerhouse, running strong without a vocalist for over a decade at this point, and seven studio albums released as a four-piece. Kanika joining them in this way represents a significant milestone in their career, not only as a compelling project in itself but also as something that differs from their usual format.

However, Carter says that even while working with Kanika, TAUK’s approach to songwriting has remained very much the same.

“We all have really big ears, meaning there’s no idea that doesn’t get heard, you know? So far as the writing process, it’s been somewhat of the same. Say I bring in an original idea, I can write 99% of it or even 100% of the song, but it’s still not ours until everyone gets their paws on it. And that’s something that has been consistent.”

He then explains how Kanika’s contributions to the group interacted with TAUK’s existing creative process.

“Kanika writes lyrics, and she also writes melodies, and that’s just part of her skill set. So adding that into the collective skill set as a group only makes us stronger, you know? So it’s been cool to be able to communicate and still maintain some of what has been working. And I think that’s part of why TAUK Moore is picking up steam and also works creatively.”

What’s Next For TAUK Moore?

TAUK Moore Live at Peach 2023. Photo by Andrew Hutchins.

With this much creative steam behind the project, it’s difficult to imagine TAUK Moore stopping after just one album. Kanika and Alric. indeed confirmed that they have been writing more music, some of which they have been, and will be performing on the upcoming tour.

“We literally were writing at 1:29, what, 30 seconds before this call,” Carter says. That’s exactly what this tour prep, these three days, are for. These are writing days, and we sent Kanika another 15 ideas. [laughter] The TAUK camp, we don’t stop, man. We continue to chug, that’s who we are. We’re musicians, and this is our lifestyle.”

In addition to this, both Kanika and Alric “A.C.” Carter confirmed the likelihood of a second TAUK Moore album in the not-so-distant future.

“It’s gotta be,” Kanika says. “It doesn’t seem like the momentum has slowed down yet, so I would say it’s highly, highly likely.”

“I mean, to be honest, we already have, like, three songs that we haven’t even played. And, like, we’ve been playing new originals at some of these festivals that aren’t on the TAUK Moore record. So, yeah, we’re already like, three to four songs away from another album.”

Not to mention, TAUK has plans to release an instrumental record this fall.

“It’s just, like–I mean, now’s the time,” carter says.

Stream TAUK Moore below, get tickets to the tour here, and see their full set at Peach 2023 below that.

Charleston Pour House Show

As a hometown show for Kanika and Extra Chill alike, we’re especially looking forward to the TAUK Moore show at Charleston Pour House on Thursday, September 7th, featuring support from Sicard Hollow on the main stage and Electric Kif on the deck.

Kanika had some words to say about this show in particular.

“Every time the guys ask, ‘Where do you want to go in Charleston?’ I’m like, ‘You already know. I want to go to Pour House.’ There’s obviously other great venues there, but Pour House is where I started up at, so I’m really excited about that one.”

Get tickets to the Pour House show here.