Interview: Lily Taylor

How are you today?
I am doing well! Thank you for this opportunity to tell my story and hopefully reach curious listeners.

For those who may not yet be acquainted with your work, could you elaborate on the essence of
your sound and elucidate upon the prominent influencers that have shaped your artistic journey
thus far?
I am a multifaceted creative with several projects going and completed over the past two decades. Right now, I am promoting my album AMPHORA released on my own label, Lily Taylor Music. These songs are precious gems to me, some I’ve been performing live for years, now finally captured in studio versions, and other tracks are newer. Some tracks, like « EVER NEW » and « KEPLER WELLS », are in collaboration with musician and producer Black Taffy (Leaving Records). My hope was to create something accessible with a nod to my love of pop music, but genre-blending, dramatic, and haunting. In studying music in New Mexico, I was encouraged to choose a genre and stick with it for commercial purposes. As an artist, I just can not do this; I am too interested in what the wide-world has to offer. It is imperative to me that I allow the pieces to be what they are and not stuff them into predictable sonic spaces. Working with Black Taffy and Alex Bhore at Elmwood Recording allowed a freedom to develop each track in detail, layering sound textures, vocal parts, and production techniques to settle on the final sound. I am forever grateful for their time and talents in making this album possible.

In what ways has your geographical surroundings served as a muse for your creative
endeavors? Have you observed any discernible impact of your locale on the evolution of your
musical expression?
Yes! I love this question. I have lived in several states in the US at different points in my life, and my cultural surroundings definitely have an impact on my work. A few of the tracks on AMPHORA were written in San Francisco, CA; I had a tiny studio in the basement of our 1912 building in the Tenderloin neighborhood. We lined the walls with old curtains from the thrift store; I would spend hours down there learning the limitations of my effects and looping pedals, keyboard, and voice. Later, songs were written while living in Denton, TX while my husband got his Masters degree in New Media at University of North Texas. After he graduated, we moved to Dallas, TX which is where AMPHORA was recorded at Elmwood Recording in Oak Cliff, a neighborhood in West Dallas.

Your recent single release has garnered attention. Could you provide insight into the genesis of
this record and expound upon the narrative that informs its creation?
The album AMPHORA took a long time to come together. I began working on it before the pandemic, set it aside for a considerable amount of time, and then decided to move forward with it after the 2020 pandemic lockdown. The inspiration for the name came from the Ancient Greek vessel, the amphora, which served as a container for precious liquids. In this case, I am the vessel as an artist, delivering a musical experience that I hope is both powerful and delicate. The themes of duality, time, and introspection run throughout the album, creating a deeply personal and introspective atmosphere. The music videos are by three video artist whom I greatly admire: Sean Miller directed and produced the video for « J&Js », Julie McKendrick aka MOMWOW directed the video for « Kepler Wells », and Brian Tomerlin directed the video for « EVER NEW », I have also released the track « PEACE THERE » as a single.

How does your latest single distinguish itself within the context of your discography?
Furthermore, could you delve into the significance it holds for you personally?
All of my songs are little worlds in and of their own. The latest single, « PEACE THERE » from AMPHORA is a deeply personal song. I mean it when I sing, « I won’t always play the part that was expected from the start, but into my arms you’ll find peace there ». I see myself as a multifaceted artist and producer who needs to express myself creatively in order to live. I am not necessarily creating for you, I am creating for me, and I hope you dig what I’m doing. The expectations and responsibilities that have just been expected of me because of my gender or visual presentation, or whatever else, is just not my concern anymore. I don’t need to be someone else’s idea of success, I only have a responsibility to myself and the work that I create. In my arms, close to my heart, where I keep my most dear of ideas and where I pull my voice from, there is a deep sense of peace. At the same time, I hope for more peace in humanity as we enter truly worrisome, historic times. In the year 2024, humanity should not be using violence to solve conflict.

What aspirations do you harbor regarding the impression you wish your latest project to leave
upon its audience?
I hope that listeners can pull their own stories from my songs, that people hear things that resonate with them, to slow down a little and be in the present moment, when possible. I hope that people like the unique qualities of the album.

Can we anticipate the emergence of a new EP or, perhaps, an album from your artistic
repertoire in the foreseeable future?
I am always working on something. I am rehearsing with Gerard Bendicks’ project, also collaborating with Sean Miller in our drone/noise, audio/visual project called LOCATIONS, and I have a performance this fall with musician Aaron Gonzalez for a showcase Stefan Gonzalez is hosting in Dallas, TX. Later this year, the label Astral Spirits is releasing one of two LPs of the Dennis Gonzalez Legacy Band recorded live in Oak Cliff this past January. I also host a radio show every second and fourth Tuesday on KUZU LP 92.9FM in Denton, TX called BandwidthTX, www.kuzu.fm. Lots going on!

Looking ahead, what milestones do you envision accomplishing within the forthcoming five
years, both artistically and personally?
I hope to perform more and record, and generally keep projects moving forward! I keep updates on my website: www.lilytaylormusic.com for those who would like to keep in touch. Thank you again for this opportunity, LT.