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DJ Taco on breaking the shell

Living in a post-Odd Future world

Posted by Henry Owens

Taco is a jack of all trades. A DJ, entrepreneur, model, actor, and overall networking king. Having rose to fame in the Odd Future collective with people like Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and his sister Syd, it’s no secret as to why Taco is such an ambitious, innovative, and charismatic guy. This past year has been one of definitive success, having DJ’d all around the world as a solo act, as well as a part of Tyler The Creator’s entourage. But he’s not done yet, and before he rises to unreachable heights of stardom, he’s heading down to Australia for Alison Wonderland’s Scarehouse Project, a series of shows taking place in secret locations around the country. In anticipation of this crazy tour I got Taco on the phone to speak about everything from partying, to future ambitions, to legacy.

Hey Taco, what have you been up to today?

Man—not gonna lie—I just woke up. Had a big night last night, so I just been chillin’ all day. Plus it’s super hot in LA right now.

This is probably a super generic question you get in every interview, but how did you get the name Taco?

You know what? Everytime I give the same answer, I don’t even know [laughs]. For some reason, some people just started calling me Taco, and it just stuck. Even my sister calls me Taco more than Travis these days. It just makes sense that you call me Taco for some things now, and Travis for others.

Are you excited to come back to Australia?

Yeah man, I haven’t been out there since I was like 19 so I’m excited to see what’s changed, what cultures you guys have adapted, in terms of like branding, and what music you guys are listening to. It’s always interesting to see different aspects of these things, especially on the other side of the earth. I was just in South Korea and Japan, and it was the same thing, just trying to understand what’s going on and exploring.

What are you most excited to do down here?

Everytime I’ve gone down to Australia it’s been like DJing for Tyler, or Earl, or Domo. But this time it’s just myself, so I’m probably gonna rent a crazy house and have a bunch of parties. I plan on it being two weeks full of partying to wrap up the year. I want New Years to look like a three year old’s birthday party compared to this tour.

What can the fans expect from a Taco set?

Honestly, I don’t want to say getting hurt but I just want chaos. I don’t want to look into the crowd and see people just chilling or on their phones. I just want to see everybody lose their fucking minds! I’m nervous, excited, and anxious to see how it goes.

How do you prepare for your set?

I just kinda go through my iTunes a bunch and create a playlist I’m ready to DJ with, and from then on I just see what works with the crowd and what doesn’t. I test it really early, and throughout my set it just gets better and better.

What’s your go to song for a set?

‘Banned From TV’ by Lil Uzi Vert and ‘Watch Out’ by 2 Chainz. I feel like ‘Watch Out’ defines what I’m about, “You getting mad, and I’m getting rich.”

The Scarehouse project is definitely not your average set of shows. What are you most excited about for this tour?

Man, all my Australian friends tell me that it’s going to be some crazy shit, and I was like “what is crazy to you guys?” and they were like “nope, this is not normal crazy, this is like one of the most epic things you’ll ever do.” And with that being said, and Ferg, Alison, and Lunice being there, it’s going to be chaos. I’m just excited to add to that chaos. I’ve never played these types of EDM crowds before, so I’m gonna have to do some research, I don’t want to play the same set of songs.

How is touring as solo act different to being somebody else’s DJ?

It’s weird being 100% in charge, like being the one to choose where to eat and all that. Usually I’m pretty leisurely with that stuff as I always take too long to make decisions. So it’s weird being the one people to look to to make decisions like that. I’m my own boss.

You’re a man of many talents, ranging from a DJ to an overall king of networking. What do you have in the works right now?

Well right now I’m making an album. Not with me like rapping or anything, but as a curator.

Like a DJ Khaled-esque project?

Kinda, but his is a little bit different than mine, he grabs from a different group of people. Obviously I could grab Tyler and Rocky and put them on a song and it’ll be crazy, but I’d rather pull from kids that aren’t as big. Because what is the point of making somebody big bigger? What would I be doing to help them? What would they be doing to help me? It’s just a relationship I already had that I took advantage of, rather than building more relationships through music and seeing where it goes. Hopefully then one day I can start a label and really turn this shit sideways.

Is starting a label something that something your planning?

Yeah, starting my own label is my overall goal. I’d like to just take new artists who are good and place them with other new artists that are good and see what happens, and if I can help in anyway that’s what I want to do. I don’t just want to be like “Yo I need this and that from you” and expect a cheque. The money comes second, and everything else comes first. I don’t even think as making music as business, like obviously when there is money involved it becomes one, but it’s much bigger than that.

Odd Future was such a cultural phenomenon at its peak. Looking back, what impact do you think that Odd Future’s legacy has had?

I don’t want to say a lot of these new kids came from us, but I think they definitely grew up listening to us. I like how they took something they saw, and made it different. I like how they are taking things to the next level in hip-hop, and always progressing, opposed to copying what someone else does. Take Kobe and Jordan for example, Kobe watched Jordan play his whole life, and then got to the NBA and did it differently. It makes me happy seeing kids like Uzi encapsulate this unique, Blink 182-esque pop-punk style as a black kid with colourful hair and face tattoos, and see all cultures and people accept it. Obviously there’s older generations who don’t get it, but I think this generation doesn’t give a fuck about approval and I think Odd Future pioneered that.

Taco is playing Alison Wonderland’s Scarehouse Project:
Sunday 26 November: Brisbane
Saturday 2 December: Melbourne
Saturday 9 December: Sydney
Tickets available now.

 

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