Jake Najor plays to the beat of his own drum -- thing is, that beat can change on the daily. The man’s got his drumsticks in musical pots across the board. He’s up in L.A. doing sessions, getting called on to drum for records that TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek is producing, playing in lord only knows how many bands -- and now Najor’s got a new project. It starts on Tuesday at the Merrow.
Taurus Authority -- with Najor on drums, DJ Greyboy on turntables and drum machine, and Judd Nester on keys and vocals -- begins a weekly Tuesday residency at the Merrow. We called the drummer up to get the dish on his new project and to learn just how, exactly, he found his way into TV on the Radio’s inner circle.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz: What’s been going on with TV on the Radio?
Jake Najor: Last week I was asked to fill in with TV on the Radio. We did a show called World Cafe that’s on NPR, and then we did KCRW. We taped that on Thursday, and that’s gonna be airing on Nov. 20.
HLS: And I’m guessing you got asked to fill in because you recorded a few tracks with them last year?
JN: A friend of mine named Todd Simon who lives in L.A., he recommended me for a record, and Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio was producing it, and that’s how I was introduced to him. We hit it off, and two months after starting on that record is when I did the tracks for TV on the Radio. And he calls me from time to time for records he’s producing. I’ve known him from about a year and a half now, and we’ve become pretty good friends. Their drummer couldn’t make it [to the World Cafe recording], and it was a last-minute thing, so he asked me to fill in.
HLS: What about locally -- what are you getting into?
JN: I've got a new project. It’s called Taurus Authority. It features me and DJ Greyboy and my friend Judd Nester -- he plays keys and sings. We just had our first show last month, opening for Mos Def, and we’re actually doing a residency at the Merrow starting [Tuesday] night -- so every Tuesday this month. Next week, P.O.D. is going to be playing with us. They’re doing an acoustic set because they have an acoustic album coming out.
HLS: What is Taurus Authority’s sound like?
JN: It’s kind of interesting. It’s, like, it’s definitely influenced by hip-hop, with the beats like that. Greyboy plays turntables, and he plays drum machine, too. Judd plays keys, and he also sings through a talk box. So it kind of just gives it a different sound. We’re definitely going through a -- I wouldn’t say EDM necessarily -- but just like hip-hop and groove-based tracks. We’ve only just started getting together in August. So it’s a pretty new venture, but we’re having fun with it. We recorded some stuff in the studio, just working on that. Trying to get that finished.
HLS: You’re already in the studio? That’s fast!
JN: It’s easier with three people to get stuff done. Greyboy already had some tracks and ideas for stuff, and we would just work on it and tweak it until we got it to where we wanted it. We only wanted to do material that we were stoked on. It’s kind of been a cool experiment. We wanted to put something different out on the table.
HLS: And the name?
JN: Greyboy kind of came up with it. He’s a Taurus -- actually, he and Judd are. But there’s nothing too deep behind it.
Taurus Authority begins a weekly residency at the Merrow starting Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 9 p.m.; free with RSVP, otherwise $5; 21+.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.