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

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As a teenager advancing to a young man, Simon Taylor dabbled in poetry and played the guitar a little. However, it was not until the age of 24, following challenging mental health problems, that musical thought started to arrive with ease, along with a wish to take the subject more seriously. “Writing helps me to articulate things that I might suppress both within myself and to others in real life.” He says of his craft.

Over twenty years, Simon has retained the essence of his style yet inevitably added elements along the way. “From the start, I had a desire to mix Latin and Anglo-Saxon influences and create my sound. This remains the same, but I have also started to write more chorus-heavy rock and pop songs recently.”
He is affected by his immediate environment in terms of devising, allowing his surroundings to lead his art. “I have written songs based on my travels that convey the feel of where I was at the time –
songs like Ibiza Nights on the EP. These ‘travel’ songs can be more laid-back than songs I’ve written in the more intense, urban environment of Newcastle.”

New EP Under The Volcano features material from a peaceful period, which can be heard in the lyrics of opening track Ibiza Nights: “Hope, hope, made it back alone“, although the song has a more melancholic beginning, written as a necessary method to stay connected to music after a desperate situation. “I had a breakdown in 2018 and it ended up changing my life. I wasn’t fit enough to continue with my band, but I still had many songs that I wanted to record. I developed a home recording set-up and decided to record the songs I had written during my solo travels before I became unwell. The inspiration for it was to simply get back to recording my songs again after a frustrating period when I had been unable to.”

The inspiration for it was to simply get back to recording my songs again after a frustrating period when I had been unable to

The resulting EP features four low-key, calming songs, warmed with a Spanish flavour. Formentera Dream is lighter in mood as he finds peace on the isle, and Bolero Loco’s pretty time signature acts as the waves of the Mediterranean sea gently brushing the shore. The EP’s closing title track is a compelling number that adds variation to the three before. “The EP features nylon string guitar and percussion amongst other sounds to create that Spanish flavour, but the title track is quite different. The song itself came from a place of some distress as I wrote it when I found myself effectively stuck on the island of Tenerife mentally unwell after I had unwisely decided to travel there by myself. Recording that song was a cathartic process.”

Appealing to listeners with an interest in World music, Latin vibes and cool jazz, and sitting comfortably alongside some of the region’s revered acts including The Baghdaddies and Weekend Sun, Simon’s sound is nonetheless resolutely his own. Simon shares a goal: “My aim is to one day perform my music with myself on piano alongside an orchestra. I can’t really play piano yet, so I’ve got a busy few years ahead!”

Simon Taylor releases Under The Volcano EP on 5th February


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