INTERVIEW: SIMON TAYLOR | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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I guess it all started through Latin music. I love both European and English music, so this EP is a combination of both.”

Newcastle-based singer-songwriter Simon Taylor has combined inflections of Latin, folk and retro music with intricate lyricism to explore the multiplicity of mental health within his new EP, Survival. “I have a mental health condition, and I thought it was an appropriate time to collate all the material related to that particular subject to describe my experience through music,” Simon explained. “Instead of spiralling into darkness, I decided to put my efforts into recording.”

By creating complex songs that produce an overall tale of honesty and resilience, Simon reveals that the EP took 13 and a half months to record and mix, proving his skills and determination as a musician. The first two songs, Survival and Bad Times Are Through, examine the difficulties of getting through the winter months. “Bad Times Are Through took me almost nine weeks to record. I play guitar and sing but I didn’t know anything about keyboards at the time. There are so many intricate chords in the song and I was new to the discipline so I wanted to get it right. I guess that’s the perfectionist in me.” Simon goes on, “After writing those first two songs, everything just sort of came together.”

Instead of spiralling into darkness, I decided to put my efforts into recording

The EP gives meaningful insights into Simon’s struggles with mental health – a topic he is incredibly passionate about. “Music has most definitely helped me and almost given me self-esteem, as I can physically see myself getting better at it.” As a powerful healing mechanism, music allowed Simon to channel and communicate his emotions, and he hopes the audience will get as much out of the EP as he has throughout the entire developmental process.

As a way of rejuvenating his creativity, Simon draws on the power of prayer and meditation, noting: “It calms you down so much. I’m a stress-head, so I use it for both creativity and to get the right mindset before a gig.” You can hear this deep introspection on one of the EP’s highlights, Going Home, through the music’s serenity and tranquillity. “I write my music in a place that’s quite peaceful, so if I can bring anything to the world it’s peace. There’s a lot of noise about and I want this EP to chill people out.”

As a body of music that eludes to both personal experience and wider themes, enhanced by exquisite guitar playing, powerful lyricism and alluring orchestral elements, Survival demonstrates the necessity of following your dreams and striving for whatever it is you want to achieve in life.

Simon Taylor releases Survival on 4th February. He performs at Bobik’s, Newcastle on Friday 11th February.

 

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