Local singer songwriter Simon Taylor has already set the music scene alright with two releases from his 3 track EP Survival, itself a conceptual EP focused on mental health. In preparation for the EP release, and a live launch party, Simon caught up with Damian Robinson.
The “Survival” e.p is a great artistic concept, could you explain it’s concept and intent?
The “Survival” e.p is based on the theme of mental health. I was diagnosed with a mental health condition in 2001 and have experienced some challenging situations over the years as a result. I had written several songs that addressed this subject and thought it was time to collate them into one release. Hopefully me being frank about such matters is another act of normalising a subject that we are often wary of discussing.
There’s a strong intimacy on the EP both in terms of its sound and production. How did you manage to create such intimacy?
Vocally, I wouldn’t say I have a particularly powerful voice in terms of volume so it suits me to get up close to the microphone. But this can create a level of intimacy too. The e.p was often recorded by myself in a state of some isolation in my flat during various lockdowns. There were times I was recording songs when you weren’t even allowed to see other people. As a result there may be a level of intimacy as practically everything I had to say at the time was going into my performance rather than being discussed over a pint down the pub.
Intimacy also shines through in your lyrics, presumably supported by your background in song writing and poetry. What techniques did you use to create the EP’s lyrics/ melodies?
Very often the melodies come to when I am fast asleep. So it is handy to have a voice recorder by my bed when that happens. Lyrically, I try to get things written down at a reasonable rate following that and then edit where necessary afterwards.
You’ll be bringing the e.p to life with a live show in Newcastle on the 11th of February – do you have any plans yet on the staging of the show and how you’ll present it in a live setting?
I’m not really into too much smoke and mirrors live to be honest. Maybe that makes me a folk singer(!). Some table candles, dim the lights and the great sound they have at Bobik’s will all hopefully do the job. I might even throw some audience participation into the mix as I may need some harmony backing for a new song I want to perform…
Aside from the e.p and launch, what other projects may we see you in across the rest of the year? I’m chatting to a studio about the idea of recording some more new songs soon. The idea is for those to be a little more upbeat in contrast to the darker tone that was necessary for this project.
Survival is released on 4th Feb 2022. Simon plays Bobiks on 11th February.