Interview/Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
Music and storytelling go hand in hand so beautifully. Music and words. Two of my favourite things in the whole world. And for that reason, I have always been drawn to musicians who tell emotive tales through their lyrics in their music. I recently discovered Melbourne Folk singer/songwriter/storyteller, Kyle Taylor and I am hooked on his heartfelt, honest and beautifully written songs; lyrics; music. A self confessed BIG fan of the master of musical tales, Bob Dylan and also having supported one of my all time fave’s Josh Pyke, I just had to get to know Kyle better and find out more about where his musical journey started and what inspires him to create his music.
You’ve recently released a new single, Commander Mary, tell me about the song, when did you write it? What is it about?
In 2015 watching the news of the day. Donald Trump was considering running for the highest office in the United States of America. How the Catholic Church is rocked by the abused, by the children at the hand of the Catholic priests. The continuous mass shootings in America. The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, which is the reason why #BlackLivesMatter (Isn’t it funny that right this moment in time this is still big news) #GeorgeFloyd.
Domestically Australia was still in shock in the Sydney Lindt Cafe siege. All these stories plus many more caused me to think deeply on what’s happening around me. This is the reason why the chorus of the song ‘Commander Mary’ states; “Oh my God, what’s racing in my head.”
Your music and lyrical style is very much storytelling style. I love that. Words and music combined in a really special way. It’s like a two for one; a song and a story. Where did your love of this style of music and writing come from?
I spend most of my time alone in my room with no-one to talk to. In moments of loneliness and feeling alone, I write music in my head. And once I think of a few words I grab my guitar and using my old iPhone I record myself writing, both the lyrics and music at the same time. Once I have recorded a song on the spot, I learn how to sing the song properly. I tweak here and there.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Without a doubt it’s Bob Dylan. It’s Bob Dylan. It’s Bob Dylan. I said it three times, because that’s how big of an influence he is to me. And secondary influence that comes to head are artists, folk musicians and singer-songwriters who I have sung with during my gigs.
I read that you’ve shared the stage with one of my favourite storytellers, Josh Pyke. I had a chat with him in an interview a few years ago. Amazing man, very switched on. What was it like playing alongside Josh? Are you a fan of his work?
Well, as you have mentioned he is switched on. Which compliments me completely because I’m the opposite of switched on. I admire him as an artist, and to this day I considered supporting him was one of the highlights of my musical career, so far.
I was checking out your socials and noticed on your Facebook page you have announced a ‘Fatty Feelings Challenge’ which includes some workouts and a diet. Not only is that a wonderful and brave thing to share on social media, but you’ve also mentioned a 9 minute workout in honour of George Floyd.The heartbreaking murder of an innocent man. 9 minutes too long. You also linked a couple of songs in honour/tribute to George also, one by Les Thomas and one by yourself feat. IshQuan + Les Thomas. A beautiful thing to do. Tell me more about this? The challenge, the songs, the tribute, how it all makes you feel? What inspired you? I know this is a loaded question, feel free to give a long answer!
I know I am not the healthiest person around. I woke up one morning and I decided that I had to do something. No-one would really do it for me, but me. And I strongly believe if I make it public, it will push me to actively do something about losing my weight. I do not know how this is going to pan out, but I owe this to myself to do something about it. I removed the video of the ‘Fatty Feelings Challenge’ because that’s what I do. I always post something and delete it after a day or two.
Seeing the video on social media about what happened to George Floyd affected millions and millions of people, and that includes me. I believe as a musician, we are in a powerful position to spread the news, the discomfort and to some extent, anger… Who wouldn’t watching that video?
I’m the kind of person who absorbs everything. What I see, what I hear and what I read on the news always affects me, and what happened with George Floyd is no different. I decided to do something for him. I read Les‘ poetry about George Floyd, and I immediately spoke to IshQuan if he had any music available that I could use to put Les‘ lyrics and poetry and his music together.
The song I collaborated with Les Thomas and IshQuan called ‘Twin/GentleGiant/GeorgeFloyd’ our way of honouring George Floyd and his memories.
Music really is a platform for expressing your thoughts, feelings, passions, beliefs, protests, etc. Music is healing to both create, perform and listen to. Would you agree? What does music mean to you?
Without a doubt music is everything to me, I breathe it, I think about it, not a single moment that I do not think of lyrics and melodies. In my loneliest, music is next to me and my guitar is my companion. So I repeat, music is everything, to me.
When did you decide that music was going to be a big part of your life? Has it been with you from a young age?
My Grandma is by far my biggest influence in learning how to play an instrument. I grew up watching her play the piano and I decided I wanted to do the same and learn it. I have this inner expression that needed to come out, so I taught myself how to play guitar, and with that, I taught myself how to write lyrics and music. I believe that my Grandfather who passed away in February of 2019, wanted me pursue music because he must have seen something in my work and should I say sadly, not many did. I will continue to write music, to play music and to sing my music because I believe that is my destiny.
You have an EP coming out soon, ‘The Creatures’ – tell me about the EP? When will it be released into the word? Where did you record it?
‘Commander Mary’ was released into the world on the 1st of May.
‘The Creatures’, the title song of the EP will be released in July 2020.
‘Inn Thyme’, the third single off the EP will be released in September 2020.
The EP will be released not long after that. All songs were recorded on location that is listed at www.kyletaylorau.bandcamp.com
Do you love to perform live? Has it been hard not being able to with current restrictions on live music? What have you been doing to ‘scratch that itch’ while in lockdown/isolation?
Someone mentioned to me once, “That you should always sing in front of someone who is willing to listen” – and that actually is my motto. I have been doing lives on my Facebook page during this lockdown. I sing and play my guitar in front of my friend, my Mum, my dog and even when there’s no-one watching.
What music have you been listening to lately? What music is lifting your spirits?
Passenger, Dope Lemon, Melissa Ramsay, The Tallest Man On Earth and Bob Dylan of course. I like to go back and listen to my back catalogue.
If you could choose only one album to listen to for the next year, what would it be and why?
It really depends on my mood, but right now it would have to be Destruktor – ‘Nailed’. No, actually BOT – ‘Human Design.’ Because the new single ‘Dive‘ reflects what I feel at the moment. And the song blocks what’s happening in my head.
After your EP has been released, what can fans and followers expect next from you and your music? Will there be a tour when live music restrictions are lifted?
I will always be writing and making music, that’s in my blood. And that’s what I can promise to those who are supporting me and my music. Having this lockdown is not the issue. It’s finding people to believe in you, and to the music you’re making. This music industry is very difficult and very competitive, and you always need to keep pushing yourself to be noticed.
Pre order ‘The Creatures’ HERE
Follow Kyle Taylor HERE
With thanks to Firestarter Music