Double-Edged Sword: An Interview with Takers Leavers



“The premise of the Taker story is ‘the world belongs to man’… The premise of the Leaver story is ‘man belongs to the world.’”

When David Baqi stumbled upon the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, the theme stuck with him to the point where he knew he wanted it to be the name of his dream music project. He wanted to find other musicians who were equally serious about the project and whether it was through mutual connections or playing alongside other bands he found Rob McDonald, Karem Idrees, Robby Friend and Mayauel Garavito.

What each member brought to this new project was all of their previous failures – and their determination to learn from them. It was their chance to start fresh and work on pieces of themselves that would better support each other as a whole.

“I think working with people, like everybody in this band right now, has helped me be comfortable with being not the right one or the final decision maker,” Baqi said. “It feels good to have others around me who will have the better idea or a better understanding. It's pressure off of my shoulders.”

While each member is confident in the other and their introductions into the band were like piecing a puzzle together, there was a point where Idrees said he was going to give up. They took chances on other people that didn’t end up working out and it felt like they were never going to find the right fit.

Luckily they found one another, and just released their first single with the current lineup, “Quiet/Chaos”.  It’s the first of a few songs that they have lined up for the year, and said that while it is near and dear to their hearts it is their least favorite compared to future releases. It is, however, the result of learning to take time between releases and focus on quality over quantity.

“I think we’re all learning the idea of patience when it comes to writing and releasing because it's everything,” Baqi said. “If we rush something out and we’re not ready then we just wasted all of our time and effort and resources. The fact that we’re all on the same page with that is really cool so I think we pulled away from the idea of needing to release as much music as possible.”

Previously, the majority of their creation process was playing the same piece over and over until they tired themselves out. It had its advantages, but the latest additions to the band really taught them how to stay organized.

“The beauty of jamming with people is you learn how to synchronize this weird, unspoken, indescribable, mental wavelength to where I can predict where something goes now as long as we're jamming and I've played with them long enough, but that being said, when it comes to getting technical and savvy and specific with timing and structure we would tend to get lost and not really focus on that,” Baqi said.

These days, Takers Leavers are excited about mapping out ideas, having a reference point and finding the right tools to create the perfect song. It was a rare moment that they took a chance on, according to Idrees, and it’s finally everything they were looking for.

“I really think we just took two really sharp blades put them together,” Baqi said. “Now we’re a double-edged sword.”