Celeste Taucher is just trying to get her life in order. The young indie artist known as talker (a play on her last name) is hot off the heels of a busy weekend promoting WAX, her recently released sophomore EP. “It’s one of those things like any big project that you’re working on where it’s just such the focal point of your life,” she explains. “And then it’s done and you’re like, “Wow, what do I do with my life?’”
Written over a nine-month period, WAX is the result of multiple writing sessions spent with friends and fellow musicians. “It was a really organic process and I tried not to rush it,” she stresses. Taucher’s early musical influences are in line with any girl growing up in the 2000s. “I was obsessed with Avril Lavigne and I was really into Alanis Morissette and all those as well,” she says. “I definitely grew up very much listening to the cool rocker chicks and I still come back to them all the time, but it definitely has evolved. I think that when you’re growing up, your perception of older music is kind of just whatever your parents listen to. And so as I came out of that, I started getting really into The Beatles and I really love the Grateful Dead now. Not that they’re really an influence [for my music], but I definitely try to keep it branched out pretty well. I feel like I’m never going to be caught up.”
Much of talker’s music leans into that “rocker chick” aesthetic, in particular, while flirting with the emo world, “but it toes this line where there are a lot of pop elements,” often evoking the sounds of early Paramore. EP standout “Suck Up” features intense guitars complementing the track’s deeply personal lyrics. She sings, “I’m a thousand versions of myself when I wake up, and I don’t think any of them will ever be enough.” The track is about learning to be comfortable in your own skin and choosing to accept whichever version of yourself you may be on any given day—a seemingly universal struggle, as confirmed by the electric fan response to the song at her Bootleg release show.
On being open and honest with the world, Taucher admits, “it does come naturally now, but it really did not for a long time… It definitely was a practice where I had to force the issue and every time I was afraid to say something I was like, ‘OK, well, this is the opportunity where you’re going to say it.’”
“It wasn’t until I started making music under talker that I really felt like I was being honest and being really empowered. Which is why none of the other things got any traction. ‘Cause I was afraid, you know?”
The release weekend for WAX included a set at Los Angeles’ Emo Night and another release show at the Bootleg Theater. Though the weekend came and went in an exciting blur, it took a lot to get here. “The whole team worked super hard on this EP, getting the release done, and planning this big weekend,” Taucher stresses. In an age where most people consume music digitally via online streaming, the emo-pop artist relishes the chance to perform her latest material live for her fans, and even though her solo career is just starting out, Taucher is no stranger to the stage, having been making music and performing for essentially her entire life. “I feel really lucky that I never had to figure out what I wanted to do for my career. Of course, I had to pick one of the hardest things to do,” she laughs. “But at least I know that’s what I want. I put a lot into the live show. I think it really adds a new element for listeners.”
She’s recently gained plenty of big-venue experience touring and playing keyboard for the electro-pop duo Frenship. The chance to make music and perform with an artist on the rise turned out to be an invaluable learning experience, as she gained insight into live show production as well as the frequent decision-making process a new artist will surely face. “It was great watching other people make decisions—some of which were awesome decisions and some of which were inevitably mistakes,” she explains.“There’s going to be both when you’re starting out your career, and so it was cool to be in the background watching that. I definitely have still made plenty of career mistakes, but it’s been cool watching them grow and watching their tour process. I’m so informed by what I do with Frenship.”
But like many young artists, talker was hoping her upcoming showcases at South by Southwest in Austin would act as a launching point for her career. With the festival being the first major event cancellation in the US due to COVID-19, the singer, while rightfully disappointed by the situation, is trying to stay positive. “It’s a weird time,” she admits. “It’s super weird. I’m happy that the record is out and we had this amazing release weekend with Emo Night and the Bootleg, but I won’t lie, definitely part of the reason that we wanted to get it out in early March was so that it was out for South by. It is what it is. You just have to adapt and roll with it.”
“There will be one next year and hopefully things will continue moving and I can get the same showcases. If not, some bigger ones as well, and so just keep moving forward. It’s definitely a bummer, but I’m trying to look at it as now I have this week where I don’t have to go out of town and I can kind of get my life together a little bit here.”
While the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt across the globe, now more than ever is a great time to support young artists. Support talker and other artists affected by mass event cancellations by buying their merch and music! Throw them some money on Bandcamp!
If you head to talker’s Spotify bio, you’ll see her music is described as “songs to lay on the floor and cry to.” Frankly, I can’t think of a better vibe for social distancing. The indie artist has laid on her floor and cried to Death Cab For Cutie many times and, most recently, has gotten into Bombay Bicycle Club. “Lately, I’ve been lying on the floor and crying to not even a sad record— it’s a happy record! I’m obsessed with Bombay Bicycle Club randomly. Their new record is really good and I literally have laid on my floor and gotten emotional to it. I got that Spotify notification! Yeah, I’m in their top 1% fans in the world. That’s cool.”
Times are strange indeed, but the future of indie rock looks hopeful and bright, for now. Grab your neighbors (figuratively, of course), and scream from your balcony. Maybe you’ll get that Spotify notification too.
Check out talker’s new EP, WAX, below.