Michael Green Interviews... Vince Taylor
Here is a Q&A with singer-songwriter Vince Taylor. He talks about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
The Beatles. Showing my age but my mother tells me as a toddler I used to bash away with her knitting needles pretending to be Ringo Star. I didn't become a drummer but I guess the seeds were sown.
The big moment for me was the advent of punk rock. Prior to that it seemed you had to be a superb, experienced musician to perform then suddenly it was like a new dawn and anyone could have a go. Liberating – I got together with a couple of mates, formed a band, wrote songs and got out there making a racket. That influence still inspires me.
Who are your influences?
Lots of 60s bands (Beatles, Kinks, Who et), 70s glam (Sweet, Slade – Noddy Holder must be the best rock singer ever), punk (Damned, Johhny Thunder, Undertones, Buzzcocks etc).
I have been lucky to play in some great bands and my oldest band mates are superb musicians. They keep me on my toes musically and have inspired me for many years with their uncompromising attitude – loud, fast and “the whole has to be greater than the sum of the parts”. With my solo work it's the people who have supported me and advised me (you know who you are Michal Green, Mat Roberts, Sarah Chiari!)
With your music where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g. how do you start your songs & what's your process?
I doodle away and have a stash of chord sequences, riffs and musical ideas. Most of my songs start with an idea for the lyrics – a story from my life; something on the news; someone I know. Sometimes it's just a phrase or a silly rhyme. I then go back to my bank of doodles and see what will fit. Often the rhythm of the song is driven by the words rather than the other way round. I then spend a lot of time on the words refining them. I suppose the words are the most important thing in my songs so I don't want to waste any with a throw away line or an obvious rhyme. Poetry is a good thing to read to help with this whether it is Michael Rosen or Thomas Hardy.
Occasionally I dream a song and wake up in the night, rush to the bathroom and hum it into my phone. I think my ambition is to write the perfect pop song which is catchy, simple but credible – I'll keep trying !
A lot of my songs are traditional structure (verse/chorus/middle 8 etc) and I need to move away from this and be braver with different beats, instruments etc.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
Luckily I have two teenage children so they dominate the music in the car and at home. My youngest is into pop which I love and we sit around watching Katy Perry videos. My son is into drill and the music and rhythms are amazing and so creative. I struggle with the lyrics but I guess that's the point and my parents would have felt the same about the Clash and Sex Pistols.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Absolutely. Since I started doing solo stuff this year I have seen so many great performers – creative and talented. The creative ones inspire ideas and styles and the dextrous ones make you want to improve your techniques. I know many will disagree but I would always prefer to watch a performer doing their own songs “badly” than someone doing a note perfect cover - if I want that I'll listen to the original on Spotify !
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes writing songs and performing live?
I hear lots of people say they can't do it or don't want to perform their own songs. Bollocks ! If you can play a chord and have something to say (even if it's what you had for breakfast) get out and do it.
Share your thoughts and feelings but make sure you reach out and draw people in. I suppose a bit of stage craft is good even if you find it hard to do – looking out and getting eye contact makes people feel you care about them and want to talk to them even if you are actually worrying about hitting the right note on the guitar.
Don't apologise for anything. It may be your first performance and you may think you are going to screw up but people don't actually want to hear that. The fact you are up there doing it is more than most people will ever do.
Go to the open mics – it will be terrifying to start with but one live performance will improve you more than playing the same songs 50 times in your bedroom. The buzz is great. Even if only one person says they enjoyed it that is one person you have touched, communicated with, shared something of yourself with. Some nights you will feel wonderful and other nights less so but progress is not a straight line.
Be yourself – but if you do covers murder them ! Have fun !
Is there a website or social media you want me to link back to and what video do you want me to embed. Is there any certain pictures you want me to put on there?
Find out more about Vince below.
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