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Zoinks - Interview

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 3 / 10 / 2013

Zoinks - Interview


Much acclaimed American singer-songwriter Ben Taylor talks to Carl Bookstein about his fourth solo album, 'Listening'

Ben Taylor has just released his fourth album 'Listening' following in the fine tradition he began ten years ago with his 2003 debut 'Famous among the Barns.” Taylor’s voice is warm, familiar and welcoming. On 'Listening' Taylor explores styles and genres from folk to soul to country and western. Taylor is the son of famous musical parents, Carly Simon and James Taylor. From first listen, it is clear that Taylor has inherited exceptional talent. He has also put in the work to deliver on his promise. First hearing 'Famous among the Barns' in 2003, Taylor made a great impression from the onset. His vocals bear a strong resemblance to his father James, but are unique in their own right. Ben Taylor’s songwriting has also always stood on its own. Taylor’s songs are introspective and thoughtful, philosophizing about his own life and even speaking to the state of America. His is a distinctive musical presence. Bne Taylor answered some questions about 'Listening' from Pennyblackmusic. PB: Some of the songs on the new album were written four years ago, some within the past few months. How did the subject matter of these songs and your writer voice evolve over this time? BT: I am, for the most part, the subject matter and the narrator for the whole album. I like to make as much room for improvement as I can, with humility and reason, expect from myself. As such, the longer it takes to make an album, the larger the chorus of various Ben Taylors which eventually ends up delivering it. Don't worry though. Change though I may, I am just a new version of old me. PB: The lyric on the song 'Listening' states "I am trying to find myself/ All I need is a little help." Does songwriting come to your aid if you are in fact soul searching? BT: I do define myself by the songs I write. But with regard to 'Listening' I was referring to the type of "finding ones self" which requires another individual's perspective in order to triangulate ones own position in the cosmos. A question of the generosity it takes to hear some one, and the bravery it takes to be heard. PB: Your parents are Carly Simon and James Taylor. How has it been for you following in their famous musical footsteps? BT: It's been like jumping out of a speeding vehicle, and trying to hit the ground running. PB: Was music always around when you were growing up? BT: Music has always been around, even as the earth itself has grown up. Maybe it's just the way I was raised, but it seems to me that there is nothing in this world which doesn't have a song inside it. PB: The musical styles on the new album seem wide ranging from folk to soul to country and western. Do you see that you had an array of musical influences for this album, and who might some of those influences be? BT: Paganini, Paul McCartney, Andre 300, Nina Simone, Lanna from Oh-land, Water, the numbers 3 and 9, cows' milk and monkeys. PB: The latest album is your fourth. How do you feel your music has evolved since 'Famous among the Barns' and 'Another Run around the Sun' and are you pleased with the progress? BT: I'm not very good at being objectively insightful about my own music's evolution. As far as being pleased with the progress, I can, and will always work harder. PB: On the song 'America' you say "We can keep on dreaming/But there's so much to do." What do you see as America's primary task? What's first on the agenda? BT: America's primary task should be owning the responsibilities which come with the liberties upon which we insist. Americans need to figure out what they, as individuals, can do to improve the lives of their countrymen. It is, for example, within my power to help insure that the schools in my community provide students with the tools they need to express themselves creatively. PB: Do you enjoy playing live and recording equally, or do you have a preference? BT: It's best to kill two birds with one stone and record my performances. PB: Do you keep up on new music? What are you currently listening to? BT: I literally can't keep up. That's one of the downsides of an over-saturated market. Recent release-wise, I am currently listening to Oh-land, Kendrick Lamar, and Little Dragon. PB: Are you about to tour behind the new album and are you looking forward to that? BT: Yes and yes. PB: Thank you.

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Zoinks - Interview

Zoinks - Interview

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