Hello Suzie, how are you today and where are you?
I'm doing pretty well thanks, if a little tired. I'm currently in Sussex at my Grandmother's house drinking tea recovering from 4 weeks on the road. It's a nice break before the last show of tour in London on Sunday.
You are on an extensive solo tour of Europe, just how does the dynamic feel, playing solo rather than with a band?
I really enjoy both - and I enjoy the opportunity to play the songs in a different way with different instrumentation. It's hard to explain but with the solo shows at the moment I somehow feel more connected with the audience. My live show has changed a lot over time - sometimes with band, sometimes without. At the moment in Australia I play with cellist Gareth Skinner as a duo. I like having that flexibility.
Tell us how you would describe your music and just what was the spark that made you take a musical path in you life?
I'm still no good at describing my music - after 6 years gigging I get asked this and still say "rock kind of stuff". Ha, how eloquent - I'll work on that. Other people have likened my music to Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Mark Lanegan etc - I'd be happy to be in this company. Music is something I've always gravitated towards, it's a part of me - I've sung for as long as I can remember. I took my sweet time to start gigging though.
You come from Australia, whereabouts and does your hometown have any influence on your songwriting?
I grew up in Sydney but have been living in Melbourne for the past 9 years. I moved to Melbourne looking to find my feet musically, I had been trying to put a band together in Sydney for years and couldn't find the right fit - at the time I wasn't confidant playing guitar so would co-write and stay only on vocal duties. Melbourne has many more venues and a really strong music scene; it provided opportunities for me to get up play. I ended up doing this solo - but I don't think things would have worked out so well if I'd stayed in Sydney.
Photo by Liz Reed
“I heard someone say that they found a new ideology through the record. That's what it's all about to me.”
This week one of the best albums of the year, ‘Comfort Songs’ by Cloud, was released. We caught up with the man behind it, Tyler Taormina, to ask him some questions, and also spoke to label owner Jamie Halliday to find out how he came to put the record out. First up was Tyler:
Hi Tyler – where in the world are you and how are you doing?
Right now I'm sitting in my backyard on Long Island in the house I grew up in. I'll be here for about 3 more weeks before my big move to Los Angeles where I'll pursue my career in writing for TV. I'm doing pretty well. There isn't too much to complain about but just graduating college can be tolling in a lot of ways.
Is the "Comfort Songs" record solely your vision, or was it shaped and influenced by the people who played on it with you?
I guess it's mostly a vision but it'd be hard to say that without giving the credit to friends who came up with parts that made me reconsider how the song should be. For instance, my friend Jon Davies, who I'm in a drone band with called Fjords, was the one to suggest, "this should be slower.... I mean... real slow" while practicing Authorless Novel in Boston.
There’s a sort of hymn-like vibe to a couple of songs, not to mention the musical hints of ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ on ‘Stomach Pit’. Did you have what you’d call a ‘religious’ upbringing and if so is this something that still has an influence in your life?
I do. I was raised catholic and attended a Youth Group all throughout High School even when I fell out of touch with my religion. I'm mostly a nostalgic person and church being in my childhood so prevalently plays such a key role of the past-- especially with its connotations to purity. Also, I love thinking of my songs as ones that people have been singing all throughout time.
You’ve said that when you were recording this you were working at the Sheraton Hotel & driving around in your Grandma’s ’88 Cadillac Coup DeVille, which only played cassettes. What music were you listening to in the car?
Well I mostly have drone & noise cassettes but I don't prefer listening to them while driving. My favourites were friend's tapes -- Infinity Girl's Stop Being On My Side, For Serious This Time's When You're In It, and Giant Peach's People Don't Believe Me. So great.
A former boxer, does that help or influence your song writing?
Not really, but doing lots of monotonous training like skipping and jogging was perfect opportunity to daydream.
Does being an ex boxer, help with dealing with the ‘music business’ or has it been a pleasant experience so far?
It's all been good, but boxing and music aren't that different, they both require a certain amount of discipline, self belief, bottle and being able to adapt and not stay stuck in one mode for too long. Now I'm a musician I just don't get smacked in the head (as much).
Marvin Gaye has been quoted as a influence anyone else who perhaps you listened to during school days that still influence you today?
At school I was a big fan of Common, Mos Def, Lauren Hill, Finlay Quaye, Eryka Badu, but was opened up to all sorts of other music by my older brother like the blues albums from Chess, Arthur Lee and Love and lesser known 60's folk artists like Jim Ford and Terry Callier.
You have toured with Emeli SandÃ©. How was that experience and did you learn anything on that or other times being on the road, that have really stuck with you?
Touring with Emeli Sande was cool it was good to see how a market for your music is built and being on the road has taught me the same as what selling clothing has taught me, which is that the creative stuff happens at home, or in the studio, then that is your product and then you get in your car and try and put it in front of as many people as possible to see who's going to come with you.
Hi, I hope the sun is shining for you today, where are you?
How would you describe your sound to people that have not heard your music yet?
I think we’re a band that needs to be seen to be understood. But I think we've stepped into a territory where without being or sounding too arrogant, I would describe our sound as Exit Calm. I think we've really become something more than the sound that comes out of the speakers. Were much more than that - were all about connecting with people and communicating a way beyond words and descriptions.
There are a lot of bands, making a lot of noise out there, what makes Exit Calm different?
Were doing exactly what we want to do. We’re not a part of any scene, movement or fashion. We make the music we want to make and we do it with absolute honesty.
How did the band come together and when?
With fate and luck we got together about 6 years ago. Were about to release our second album in September and it all feels as good as it ever has done.
Where was your first gig and, what are the key memories?
Our first gig was in
Hi there. Hope all is well with you today, where are you?
I'm en route back to
Fourth Album and you have Bobby Keys and Catlin Rose on the
record, happy?.. how did that come about?
Well Caitlin and I have been together for close to 3 years so that's an easy one.
With Bobby, we'd played a couple shows with him in
Fingers tribute night, so we struck up a friendship and he was kind enough to assist
us on the record.
Did you try anything new in the studio this time around that you
hadn’t onthe other three records?
Overall, we just spent a lot more time recording this time around. We
didn't want to settle, and I don't think we did. Also, we did this record
on protools as opposed to analog for the previous three. It allowed us to
focus a little more on vocals and it streamlined the whole process, by our
standards of course.
What are the Up’s & down’s of being based in
The central location of
close to a bunch of different markets which makes touring so much easier
and more economic then say, doing it out of
the scene is so saturated that it's easy to feel like a drop of water in
an endless sea.
There seem to be a strong influence in your music from the Stones,
Eagles and Tom Petty; is that a fair assessment?
No matter how hard we try, it's hard not to come across as a heavily
classic rock-influenced band. I'm over fighting the label, I think it's
just in the genetic makeup of the band.
Hi John, how are you today?
Not bad, thanks. I hope all is well with you.
Your new solo album ‘Revise Your Maps’ has just been released in America under the moniker ‘Perhapst’ Why not use your own name and, why ‘Perhapst’ ?
It is just a personal preference for band names versus actual human names... 'Thin Lizzy' sounds better to me than 'Gary Moore', as far as records and performances are concerned. However, I am certainly not trying to get people to call me Perhapst in the course of an average day (like 'Prince' or 'Flea', for example). Ha.
This is you second solo album, are there any majors changes from you self tiled 2008 release in either the song writing style or instrumentation?
I was attempting to make this one a little more concise, and a little less layered... I doubt that I succeeded! Who knows?
Who design the album cover for ‘Revise Your Maps’?
I took the photo, and did the drawings associated with the cover. It was all put together with the expert assistance of Rob Jones at Jealous Butcher Records.
Being a member of the Decemberists and Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks amongst others, do you find working on a solo album relaxing or is it more intense?
I am just happy to get to do it. As much as I love playing with these fantastic songwriters, there is always an urge to try it myself. It has always been an intense interest, but I suppose I have lacked the confidence to pursue it with much vigor. I put a lot of energy into the creation, so I guess it is an intense experience.
Where you are today and how is the Euro tour going?
Today we are in
How long have you been playing together in
We've been gigging since 2009. Touring everywhere is full of surprises. But, of course, the road between shows is a lot less here than back home. There's so many more people & venues in
When and where did you record your second album and what do you think are the major differences to your first record?
We took our time with our second album, piecing it together with sessions in our own home in the rainforest and at a couple of really beautiful studios with some great players. We made our first album in 4 days. So the time makes a difference. There's more space to think about songs & arrangements & sounds. And also more time to scrutinize the process! Which I think is both important & natural but at times a little gruelling.
Any interest in the Ashes? The Duckworth Lewis Method has now made two records around the sport of Cricket. What sport would your songs be most closely connected to and why?
Paul is a big fan of test cricket. But he generally doesn't like corporatized nature of modern sport. Apparently there are 2 Ashes series in six months this year. That's a bit of an overkill I think! Some of our tunes were penned throughout epic backgammon games - but lawn bowls is slow and green - a nice match for Laneway.
So let’s start by asking you to describe your sound for anyone that has not heard your music yet?
Very diverse, we don't really like sticking to one thing, there's heaviness and sonic honey in there.
Your debut album is set for release in the autumn. What stage are you at with the recording of the record and where are you recording and mixing it?
It's 90% there on the mixing side; we are a one or two days away from finishing it. It's been a long time coming; we cannot wait for this to be out.
Where are your hometowns and do these locations have any influence on your song writing?
I don't know if they do anymore, personally I have been living all over the place for a very long time and I have a few places and faces I miss like home.
What was the spark that led you on a musical path for a career?
I don't know man; one fine day you pick a guitar up and for some reason it sticks with you.
Also I personally would never use the word career. I'm probably deluded, but I don't think anyone playing music should ever think of it as "work". Even if it is.
Did you change any of the dynamics in the studio when recording ‘Alone Aboard the Ark, as against your previous two albums?
Hi Matt how is life on the Thames Delta (Essex) these days?
Life is good, thank you. It’s been very humid recently, just warming up for the summer time.
The last time we spoke you were recording under the moniker of 'Whispering Pines', why the change this time around?
I’ve changed my recording name a few times now. Once I had completed this new album, it didn’t feel like a Whispering Pines album, it wasn’t as mystical or rugged so I thought it should be called something else, so I have decided to put it out under my own name M G Boulter.
You had a fabulous band around you to record the record, how did you get everyone by your side?
I was blessed with this record to get some fabulous musicians and also, friends to play with me. For the rhythm section I asked my Lucky Strikes friend, Paul Ambrose to play bass and Rees Broomfield, who recorded the album, to play drums. They play great together and were my compadres throughout the whole project. On harmonies are Lizzy O’Connor and Bryony Afferson from Troubadour Rose. They are good friends and we’ve played many shows together in various forms. They are just a wonder when they sing together.
For this record I was also honored to have a hero of mine, Pick Withers, play on a few tracks. Pick has played with Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and Bert Jansch among others. We met in Liverpool while I was on tour with Simon Felice a few years back and we kept in touch. It’s so great to have him on the record.
How do you find the spark or the inspiration to write a song and what comes first, melody or words?
A good question. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes words or phrases hit me while I’m on the train, or walking, or invariably sleeping. Sometimes, a musical piece comes and I save it until the words are right for it. It’s not an ordered process or methodical for that matter, it’s elemental! It comes to me and I have to manage it into a song. Sometimes it works a treat; sometimes it doesn’t quite reach where I wanted it to be.
‘Junction’ your second album is getting great reviews. What is the feeling now that the album is completed? Relief, satisfaction, or working on song ideas for album number three?
Yeah we are over whelmed by the Great reviews; the album took a year and a half to complete due to life and work commitments but well worth it. We have about nine songs ready to go for the third album and probably we will start recording again in October.
What did you learn from recording your first album that you took into the studio for the new record?
We learnt that by playing the songs so much in gigs it would be a lot easier to record them because we knew exactly how the structure and sound would be. And by having a different engineer/producer this time, he also would bring the best out of us and ideas that we didn’t think about.
Are there any particular stories you would like to share behind the songs on ‘Junction’?
Most of the songs are about relationships or like Junction is about a girl that is on a slippery road with drugs or alcohol and she is at a Junction and doesn’t know which way to go.
Lonely girl is about a film i watched called The Stoning of Soria. A dark film about a girl wearing a vale and being a slave to her husband, she was scared not talking to anyone. He then rejected her and lied about that she was having an affair. So the outcome was she was to be stoned to death. A happy song! Ha!
What is it like living the ‘Rock n Roll’ dream today.. Life in a band?
Being in a band is the best feeling in the world, being on stage getting a positive result. Travelling to different venues, TV, radio, meeting different people! Seeing people and they say "i love your album" can’t get better than that!
Hello Ãsgeir, How are you today and how is
I'm really good, thank you, The UK tour was a great experience. I had never been to the
Well, I don't know about that or if it's connected with the language at all. I think it has more to to with how few we are. No one is trying to please other people with their music so everybody is just doing their own thing. But it seems to be working.
What was the spark that led you on a musical path for a career?
Writing songs has always been my favourite thing to do, so I’ve always wanted to do something connected to that. However I was aiming for a career in sports when a friend of mine who listened to a few demos encouraged me to approach a producer and do something for real with my music.