Interview with Joshua Montoya of The Taxi Project



Interview with lead singer of The Taxi Project, Joshua Montoya


Band Members Include

Josh Montoya: Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals

Eric Thompson: Electric Guitar, BGV’s

Luke Ulavale: Keys, BGV’s

Justin Denweith: Bass

Kris DiNoto: Drums

Taylor Herhusky: Sax

Nick Bianchini: Trumpet


1taxiproject2SCW: When and how did The Taxi Project form?

JM: Eric Thompson (electric guitar), Justin Denewith (bass) and I (Josh Montoya) started jamming in 2007. We first saw our current drummer (Kris Dinoto) playing a sit-in gig with local band Matt Massih and the Messengers and knew from his first drum solo  that we’d love the chance to play with him. Nick Bianchini, our trumpet player was a reference from a friend and proved to be a perfect addition from the first rehearsal. Luke Ulavale (keys) is a long time friend of mine. We grew up together in Seattle and knew that keys would be the perfect addition to our line-up. Perhaps the funniest story is that of our sax player Taylor Herhusky. He was a friend of a friend that came highly recommended. He’s a UCLA student, so we planned on meeting him in LA the day of the show for an afternoon rehearsal. After being stuck in traffic for hours, we met him at our favorite Korean BBQ in Westwood.  We had never met him and didn’t even know what he looked like so we assumed the kid on the curb with the saxophone was him. We were right and even with a 20 minute run through before taking the stage he held his own and proved himself to be a valuable asset to the band.

Our band has formed through a series of random events but that’s the way we like it. We’re a diverse group of people who have been brought together by a love of good music.


SCW: Explain the meaning behind the name The Taxi project. How did you come up with it?

JM: The Taxi Project is a name I came up with to describe my desire to use music as a vehicle to meet strangers. As a band we are very diverse in age, musical taste, and background but we believe that’s what makes our sound unique. We want to create music that celebrates that diversity and creates a platform for people to meet and converse with people they wouldn’t otherwise meet. We all as people have a lot to learn but we’ve also got a lot to give and music provides a great platform for that exchange.




SCW: Who are your influences?

JM: Dave Matthews Band, Sting, John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Explosions in the Sky, Captain and Tennille, Kenny Garret, Brian Blade, Frank Zappa, No Doubt, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck.


SCW: What would you say is your favorite thing about Santa Cruz?

JM: The local small town feel. It’s hard to go anywhere and not run into someone you know…and the summer traffic is pretty great.


SCW: Name a couple of your favorite venues to play at. You have shared the stage with many bands, name a few of your favorite.

JM: – The Abbey is one of our favorite places to play in SC. The family is great and it’s the best listening audience in town.

– The Crepe Place has an awesome vibe and staff.

– We’ve played a few shows with Wooster and Sour Grass they bring THE HEAT every time.

– They guys from Iration were great and they played a great show.


SCW: You are the lead singer, do you write the songs?

JM: Yes and no. In the beginning I did write most of our stuff. I still write all the lyrics but our writing process is becoming more and more collaborative. I still provide the skeletons but they guys help flesh it all out.


1taxiproject13SCW: You are currently recording a Full Length Album. Where are you recording? How is it going? Do you have an expected release date?

JM: We’re recording with Andy Zenczac at his studio Gadgetbox on the West side of SC. It’s been an amazing week. I’m sitting on the couch in the studio right now listening to the final sessions of violin and waiting to get into the booth to lay down acoustic guitars. The whole process has been great. These songs have found new life this week and we’re very proud of the shape the record is taking. We’ll be anticipating the album release with a few singles that will begin coming out in June. You can expect the Full Length in September.


SCW: I heard there was a way to pre-order the CD and receive it a week before it is officially released. How does one o about doing this?

JM: We’re running a mico-donation campaign on If you go to the site you can see our ridiculous pitch video and also a breakdown of the incentives we’re offering for your donations. One of the easiest ways to help us get this project released is to pledge $15 and get the digital copy of the record emailed to you a week before it’s released on iTunes and other digital distributors. You can also chose to get a signed physical copy and many other items. You can find links to our kickstarter campaign on facebook, myspace, and our website Don’t forget to “like us” on facebook and stay up to date on our upcoming shows.


SCW: What does the future hold for The Taxi Project? i heard you are moving to LA?

JM: We are moving. With this record completed it will be time to get out there and get heard. Our goal is to be an even better live band than we are in the studio. We want to put in the time it’s gonna take to get there. We’ve got a lot of learning to do and a lot of experience to gain, and there’s no bypassing experience.  The bands we respect most are those who have paid their dues and played their hearts out, gaining fans with driven miles and broken strings, not just billboards and youtube videos. We wanna get out there and meet some strangers.


SCW: Do you have any advice for those aspiring musicians out there?

JM: Make art. Be honest. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and ask a lot of questions. Listen to as much music as is humanly possible. And at the end of the day go with your gut.


For more information about The Taxi Project please visit:





Enjoy a slideshow of their performance at The Abbey Music Lounge on 3.27.11 
Photos by: Shawn





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