GRIZZLY BEAR CHRIS TAYLOR TAKES TIME OUT FROM HIS GROCERY SHOPPING TO CHAT WITH CHRIS FAMILTON ABOUT HIS NEW SOLO PROJECT CANT.
Chris Taylor is a man with many strings to his bow. As well as being producer, bassist and multi-instrumentalist for Grizzly Bear he also runs his own label Terrible Records, produces bands like Morning Benders and Twin Shadow and can now add solo artist to his CV. Dreams Come True is the debut release from CANT – a fascinating exercise in art pop that manages to bring the disparate strands of organic and synthetic music together in one concise form.
With so many projects to keep him busy it would appear on the surface that Taylor is one of those people that wholly immerses themselves in their field of expertise yet his restless nature dictates that he isn’t prepared to commit to a life in music at the expense of other interests.
“It’s what I feel like doing now. I would never hold myself to doing it for the rest of my life. I’m just enjoying it for the moment and I enjoy other things like cooking. I try and move things around between the touring/performance and the writing and recording side of things. I like satisfying different channels of creativity so that I don’t feel bored or repetitive so I like to switch it up a lot.”
Making the move from the relative comfort of creating music as a collective in Grizzly Bear, CANT is the first time Taylor has attempted to put together a collection of his own music.
“Yeah it is a new experience, I’d tried to write my own stuff but without success and I’d never really been able to finish stuff so this was the first time I’ve been able to complete an album worth of songs. I just kind of went at it and didn’t have any exact plans. I worked on each song individually which is why there is a lot of variety on the album and I didn’t wonder how the songs would work with each other. I just kept working on things until one day I just sat down and thought about which songs I liked for the album and it was a really exciting feeling like “wow, I have a record”, he enthuses.
One challenge of going solo is whether to release music in the same style as the band you’re in or forge a new direction. Taylor is quick to point out he didn’t set out with that question in mind but rather he let his muse dictate the form of the songs.
“It wan’t an intentional desire to do something different. Everyone in Grizzly Bear has such different tastes and so this is my taste. I would never make music like what Grizzly Bear makes – only we can do that together and I couldn’t accomplish that on my own, its just not the kind of music I would make.”
With Taylor producing and recording Dreams Come True in his own studio the next natural step was to complete the circle and release it on his own label.
“I first came to the idea thinking that working on my own music I would want to release it on my own label and not have pressure from an outside label to require me to do things I couldn’t do. Grizzly Bear is a full-time job and so to do a solo record I had to do it on my own time. It was half that and thinking that as I was producing and recording other bands I should just put them out on a label seeing as I have a studio. It was an opportunity to make a really artist friendly situation so it’s been good fun and I’m really excited about upcoming releases.”
Taylor and band will be welcoming in the new year at Falls Festival and gracing the Spiegeltent as part of the Sydney Festival and making that transition from studio project to live band has successfully brought the album to life according to Taylor. “I purposefully picked guys who I love and respect what they do and thought whatever they do would make it cooler. They are good enough that I think it worked out.”
this interview was first published in The Drum Media