Interview with Tallah’s Max Portnoy

Nu-Metal is back and better than ever, and at the helm of it, is PA-based “Tallah” Tallah is the definition of “Hardcore nu-metal” or, as their social media describes it, “nu-core” Alonna caught up with founding member and drummer, Max Portnoy, son of original Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy, to discuss humble beginnings, influences, the story behind the unique band name, the next five years, and much more!


Credit: Tallah’s facebook.


A: Let’s start with a general introduction!


M: I’m Max Portnoy, I play drums in Tallah, we’re kind of like a nu-metal/hardcore band.


A: What is the significance behind band name, who thought of it?
M: Back when the band was starting we were trying to find a cool name, we had lists of different ideas, and they were either all taken or we couldn’t agree on a name that everyone liked.  I was filling in on drums for Dollskin, and we were in Texas, and I had a sign up on their merch table that said “Help me name my band” and a girl put her name in, and her name was Tallah. We ended up using her handwriting as her well for our logo, so that was really cool. 


A: If you could play a dream tour, who would be on the bill with you?
M: There’s so many great bands I would love to play with, my dream band would be Slipknot, but I feel like Denzel Curry would be a cool mix, as well as Knocked Loose, Scarlord would be great as well.


A: Who is one artist you want to collab with?
M: Definitely someone outside of the metal scene, because I feel like metal musicians get other metal musicians/vocalists and it’s kind of lame. Denzel Curry or Post Malone would be cool. Overall just someone outside of metal.


A:Who are some influences for you? Personal and musical?
M: Personally, my dad is a big influence, I grew up watching him play drums, play shows, go on the road, record. And he never pushed me into it, it was mainly just me wanting to play drums in the first place. Musically,  my dad as well, and Slipknot because they were the first band I got into as a fan of metal and metal bands, from there I also got into System of a Down and Korn, and Korn is a big influence to me and obviously other members of the band as well.


A:  What is your favorite/least favorite venue? Why?
M: We did a couple tours going all over the country so we’ve seen some really cool places, but The Machine Shop in Michigan is really sick, and the fans are great, they have a great metal scene, so the place always packs out really nicely. Least favorite venue? I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus by calling them out but we played this venue in new york and they gave us so much crap, they wouldn’t let me in because I was 19, even though they knew that when they booked us. Then they gave Justin(our vocalist)crap, and he gave them his drivers license, and he’s from Massachusetts, so they thought it was a fake ID. And then they told us our merch table sucked. Overall, they were just harassing us. 


A: What’s your favorite song of your own? 
M: Theres a lot of songs on this new album that were going to record, so I can’t really say that yet, because we didn’t announce the tracklist or anything yet. But, from the EP, I really like playing Kungan, it’s a ton of energy and it’s really fun to play live.


A: What are some favorites in your spotify, currently?
M: Korn, Varials, Kublai Khan, Orthodox, just a lot of hardcore bands basically. 


A:Why’d you choose music as a career?
M:Pretty much as I said earlier just growing up seeing my dad do that as his career, it was just something that I decided that I really wanted to do as well.


A: What is something you would say to your 16 year old self?
M:I think I looked at music a lot differently than I do now. Like, when I was 16, I would just write something once and be like “yup sounds good” But now  I put more time in to music now, I’m constantly doing rewrites and making sure everything is perfect, so I’d probably say “spend more time to shape your ideas into something better.” My mental state is pretty much the same, just grinding music pretty much, so I think that would be about it.


A:If you could play any instrument(other than what you already do), what would it be and why?
M I always say anything except drums, even though I love drums, I hate the fact that I have to stay in one place during the entire show. So I’d probably say guitar or, bass or anything that I can move around on stage with so I’m not in one place because having to sit down the entire time is really annoying.I play alot of guitar and bass during Tallah writing sessions, so I know I could do it, but I’m naturally a drummer.


A:If you could only have one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
M: My computer, I can do everything on my computer, I can get in contact with people, I can play video games, I can do music, you know?


A:What is one must-have for tour?
M: Your phone, don’t go on tour without your phone, it’s a necessity. Trust me.


A: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
M: I hope Tallah would be getting on even more tours, with at least 2 albums out, like the one we’re working on now and another one, hopefully touring alot more, maybe on to bigger stuff.


A: Is there anything else you want people who haven’t heard of Tallah to know?
M: We’re going back into the studio so make sure you follow us on our social media to keep up with that. Also, we are playing a show this Saturday(9/28) in Jermyn, PA, with alot of other really great bands. It’s gonna be our last show for a bit, because we’re going to be spending a while in the studio, but once we get this album out we’re going to try to tour as much as possible. Just make sure you follow us on all of our social media to keep up to date with everything we have going on!
Keep up with Tallah on social media for all the latest updates, including tour dates, new album, etc.
Facebook: Tallah
Twitter: @tallah__
Instagram: @tallah__
Spotify: “No One Should Read This EP”
*Questions written by Alonna Weaver for 5-7-0 Press, all rights reserved.

Photo: No One Should Read This Album Cover, (Credit: Tallah’s facebook)



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