Holed up in the studio for days at a time, the kids of Tally Hall might not be in school, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working. They’ve been sweating record-label pressure and recording at 40 Oz. Studios since the middle of July.
Titled Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, their upcoming album is a tribute to its namesake, an antique gaming arcade in Farmington Hills, where the members of Tally Hall spent a large part of their adolescence. One of the band’s three songwriter/singers, Joe Halley – alongside keyboardist Andrew Horowitz and guitarist Rob Cantor – explained, “It’s this really unusual arcade of oddities, of old school video games. It’s not like, ‘get the ball in the hole,’ it’s ‘grab this ball and then we’ll shock you’ or ‘put your hand in a cage and dog will try and bite you.'” Drummer Ross Federman added, “(It has) those old arcade games where you don’t even play anything. You put in a quarter and watch a guy getting his head cut off.”
Local entrepreneur Al McWilliams, a purveyor of Spanish educational videos, is fronting the money for the band’s recording budget and releasing the album on his own label, Quack! “Al’s giving us a sweet deal,” Halley said. “The way it’s working out is unbelievable, especially for a band like us, getting our first deal.”
With a cross-country tour planned, the band discussed shedding the ‘Ann Arbor band’ label. “People in Ann Arbor (think), ‘Oh it’s your friend’s friend who’s in it, or, ‘That kid was in my hall,'” Federman explained. “But on MySpace (www.myspace.com) and all that, to them (we’re) a legitimate indie band. They didn’t know we were still taking classes. For all they knew, we were already touring the country.”
“For us, the Internet has been amazing,” Horowitz added. “Rather than being a college band in Ann Arbor, we became a national underground band.”
“It’s do-or-die at this point,” said Halley. Right now, publicity is key to the band’s success.
Tally Hall will be playing The Blind Pig tonight. And their first album, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, comes out at the end of October.