TAX RETURN formed in 2014. Originally a three piece, it was only a matter of time before they added a synth player!
Rod (guitar / vocals), Ed (bass), Seb (synth) and Sam (drums)
Playing fun, catchy, pumping indie pop, their ethos is to create a party vibe on first listen, with tight thumping grooves, addictive riffs and instantly enjoyable and accessible lyrics.
They are family friendly and can play at daytime summer fetes and festivals without fear of offending little ears or they can put on a highly energic sweaty late-night show for adults that gets feet moving and the drink flowing.
TAX RETURN live in Whitstable and play all over Kent (they even left Kent once) and are always interested in playing gigs for charity, beer or, you never know… money!
Get in touch via the contact page to book us.
What motivates a bunch of ageing hackers to continue making indie-disco-punk music long after the door of opportunity has slammed shut in their face? It’s a question TAX RETURN continue to ask themselves. Along with other questions like:
• What if we’d actually paid attention at school?
• Exactly how efficient is the human knee?
• How long does it take to get to the chemist, anyway?
• What will people make of us in 3000 years’ time?
These themes, and other interesting topics, are explored in TAX RETURN’s lyrics which gaily hop along the thin line which separates the sublime from the ridiculous.
Other thin lines which TAX RETURN doggedly hop along include:
• Being fun but not funny
• Being groovy while being devoid of the funk
• Writing interesting songs with almost no musical knowledge (except from Ed who actually knows about things like chords with more than 2 notes and ‘key changes’)
Yes, TAX RETURN’s motivations are clouded in mystery, even to themselves. But their strategy is clear; don’t give up, don’t compromise, don’t care. TAX RETURN is a beacon of hope to all those who dream of expressing their creativity while possessing absolutely no recognisable artistic skill or talent whatsoever.
JUST, as they say, DO IT.
If you would like to create the distinctive TAX RETURN sound yourself at home, here is a what you will need:
1. A very tall person named Sam playing wonky drum grooves (must be in 4/4 time only)
2. A short Scottish person called Roderick to read out lists of rhyming, but otherwise seemingly random, words while playing minimalist octave guitar parts
3. Someone in glasses (preferably with clip on shades) called Ed playing cleverly understated disco bass lines
4. Someone with a beard called Seb playing a synthesiser with a ‘post-Blade Runner’ setting
You will now have everything you need to write a series of 2-minute-long indie-disco-punk songs. To guide you, you can, like TAX RETURN, take inspiration from (shamelessly rip off): Kraftwerk, Jane’s Addiction, Devo, Human League, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Ed’s 12” single collection, Steely Dan (Sam only), Kyuss, lots of other unhip indie bands from before you were born, Adam Ant, Vangelis and above all The KLF. Under no circumstances should you listen to any music from the 21st century, preferably nothing recorded after about 1998.
The TAX RETURN’s formation would make for film script worthy of Hollywood (provided 95% of it is complete fiction). Ed put an ad out on JoinMyBand and Rod and Sam answered the call. Originally, Ed wanted to create a blues band, but they soon put him straight on that.
In the first of more strange coincidences to come (one more), it turns out that, although Sam and Ed did not know each other, they both grew up in the Norfolk countryside only 5 miles from each other and Ed had been in a band with Sam’s sister and even practiced at Sam’s house (Sam clearly too busy making 90’s rave music on his Amiga 600 to notice).
After 4 years honing their sound as a three piece adding synth lines when they recorded, they gave in to their destiny and put out another ad for a live synth player.
The paid-for Facebook ad was seen by over 4,000 people of Kent. TAX RETURN sat back and waited for the responses to come flooding in. In the second of the two amazing coincidences of the band’s formation, they only got one reply… from Seb… who literally lived 3 doors down from Rod. Because Rod spends all his spare time writing lists to form the basis of new TAX RETURN songs, he doesn’t know his neighbours. TAX RETURN wanted a synth player and expected to get keyboard players willing to play synth. What they got was possibly the UK’s biggest lover of synth-based music… ‘Seb Synth’.
Many argue that the rise of social media, streaming platforms and YouTube has been the death of music. TAX RETURN would argue that it has created a revolution in musical creativity and freedom. Whilst all musicians secretly fantasise about being given a multi-million-pound recording contract and 6 months to write their next album in a top LA studio, this is no longer required to make recordings and music video on shoestring budget that (almost) compare to the pros.
They record all the music themselves using not much more than a few mics and a laptop. They don’t have the budget for expensive outboard analogue recording equipment, but luckily software today is getting so good at analogue emulation, you can get pretty close to faking it, and that’s good enough for TAX RETURN.
The videos, they also shoot themselves with heavy use of green screen, trying to cram as much into them as possible to cover up for the lack of strong artistic direction. Making the videos are a huge amount of fun but it is time consuming and it can feel like the pain of birth (they imagine) rather than the fun of conception.
With Seb, a professional director, joining the band, the quality of the videos has certainly gone up a notch. Thankfully he enjoys a busman’s holiday.
TAX RETURN are all in their late 30’s/early 40’s and are immigrants to Whitstable. Like the people of Faversham accepting people moving from Whitstable, they like to think the people of Whitstable have accepted them. In a pattern common to most people living in Whitstable (who they know anyway) they all came here to bring up families. They moved from different parts of the UK in late 2000’s early 2010’s and all have young kids at nursery and school. The band being a much-needed release from the joys (!) of family life and full-time jobs.
All though Ed started the band, it’s fair to say that Rod is the driving force. As the energetic and likeable frontman, this is somewhat inevitable. Rod grew up in Edinburgh and has not lost his accent, which he uses to great effect to melt the hearts of the female, male and other audience members. He largely writes all the songs with regular input from Ed and increasing contributions from Seb. Songs sometimes start with a jam in rehearsal, but more often than not, Rod brings a largely complete demo track (maybe one day they’ll release an album of demos to delight their millions of global superfans)
Ed the bass player, as mentioned above, grew up in Norfolk. Certainly, the most musically proficient, which as a music teacher for a Kent College, you would hope. In the tradition of many great bass players (accept Flea) Ed practices the art of standing perfectly still whilst performing, forcing Rod to move around twice as much to compensate.
Sam, who also grew up in Norfolk, makes almost no contribution to the song writing process and pretty much plays the same drum beat on every song. He makes up for this by producing the most sweat on stage and being the powerhouse behind the recording, mixing and mastering of their musical releases. Producing music is his passion and he has been in many bands playing many different instruments (none of them very well). He used to play keyboard and samples in a similarly dull-named band ‘Street Policy’ and you can find their album “I’m Not An Accepter’ on YouTube, Spotify etc. He also produces his own beats and DJ’s under the name OctaMED.
With help from his amazing friends, he is building a small but perfectly formed recording studio in his back garden. Due to work and family life, it’s taking longer than he would like, now in year three of the project, but maybe, just maybe, this could be the Summer that he finally completes it (maybe).
Seb previously living in South East London and has only recently rediscovered his love for making music - he was the lead singer in a few metal bands in his youth - but has now gotten into synth music. As a horror movie fan (and director) he loves the music of John Carpenter and Goblin and is enjoying the resurgence in synth music from the likes of Survive (composers behind Stranger Things).
He makes and performs synthwave under the name 'Seb Synth'. He brandishes a bright red keytar for TAX RETURN and has enjoyed working synth lines into existing TAX RETURN material as well as working on the new material. In style the synth parts are heavily influenced by 80s synth bands of his day: Depeche Mode, Erasure and A-ha.
TAX REUTRN now finally feels like everything is in place and it has hit its stride. After retreating into the shadows for 2019 whilst they worked the synth into the live set, 2020 is to be the year when they put their foot down on the accelerator and go hard on giging, recording and making many more music videos.
TAX RETURN hope you all join them for the ride. It’s going to be a lot of fun.