I Dream of Vinyl

Music News, Reviews and Views


“Each song was going to have its own identity” – an Interview with Lily Taylor

Dallas-based vocalist and experimental-pop chanteuse Lily Taylor releases her anticipated new album Amphora today (July 21st). Her first LP in nine years, this stunning musical journey is sure to captivate listeners with its mix of avant-pop, ambient pop, and experimental sounds. Recorded at Elmwood Recording in Oak Cliff, Amphora was produced by a dream team of talented producers, Black Taffy, Lily Taylor herself and Alex Bhore. The track-listing includes ten original songs, each one a masterpiece in its own right.

We were able to catch up with Lily to talk about the new record and the other projects she’s been involved in recently.

Hi Lily! How’s everything going right now?
Right now, I am living the dream… so much has gone into this project, Amphora, I am ecstatic to be releasing the album into the world this July!

What classic album cover is your current mood?
The cover of Paul Simon, Graceland. It’s part nostalgia, part excitement of hearing the music, and part just basic, strong design.

Your stunning new album Amorpha is released this week. When and where did you write and record the songs?
Thank you! I am absolutely thrilled about this release. The album Amphora is a collection of songs that I’ve been working on in many different ways and a few new tracks in collaboration with musician and producer, Black Taffy. Some songs were written in a basement studio in San Francisco in the Tenderloin district, others were written on one instrument and then transferred to another, other songs started out by messing around with the looping pedal and improvising lyrics and melodies. We recorded the album at Elmwood Recording in Oak Cliff with Alex Bhore at the helm of the console, but this has been a true production collaboration and musical journey with a lot of nuance.

An Amphora was an ancient Greek vessel that served as a container for precious liquids and seems an apt name for the collection of tracks you’ve created. When did you decide on the name for the album?
I have been tossing the idea around for a long time now. As I worked on this material, it became apparent that each song was going to have its own identity, and that might make things tricky when putting them together into a cohesive album format. The metaphor of collecting the songs together helped me focus artistically, as well as the idea that my most compelling work seems to come through me …like a vessel… rather than forcing a musical idea into a corner that doesn’t work for the recording or listening experience.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
I’d go off the deep end if I could only listen to one record. I am always on the hunt for new music; it’s part of the process of having a freeform radio show that I am constantly seeking out cool sounds I haven’t heard before or music I think people haven’t heard enough of. I have a silly amount of LPs and cassettes, and a ridiculous amount of digi downloads. Honestly, I could never choose! BandwidthTX happens every 2nd and 4th Tuesday 7-8pm, CST on KUZU LP 92.9FM Denton, TX or www.KUZU.fm.

It’s been nine years since you put out your debut album The Ride but, judging from your timeline, it seems like you’ve been incredibly busy. What was the favorite thing you’ve been involved with during that time?
KUZU LP radio in Denton, TX is a nonprofit organization that truly supports local music by airing work, organizing events, and giving a platform for the DJs to create their own magic with very little rules. As a DJ, I can play long songs, for example, or I can play a wide variety of genres in a short period of time. Being a part of something that has been so culturally significant to the North Texas area feels like a once in a lifetime honor. I am also proud of the events I’ve been able to curate as a booker at traditional and nontraditional venues … over 1000 in DFW, alone! Showcasing the wide variety of talent that is thriving here was a personal mission for a time. I wanted to shout from the rooftops about how diverse and rich the scenes are… many acts not getting the recognition I felt they deserved. I am taking a break presenting showcases for now.. and not sure if I’ll pick that up again, but I’m so proud of the effort I gave to try to make a difference, as scenes and culture are built and cultivated one event at a time, over a long period of time and it truly takes a village.

What were you listening to when you started getting into music and how have they influenced your albums?
I’ve been immersed in the teachings of Jay Clayton recently after an opportunity to do an online workshop with her.Her philosophy is that everything we hear affects the music we are able to produce with our own instruments, and in my case, my voice. I have a ravenous appetite for music and a curiosity about what it is that I am hearing that I notice may be a little more extreme than the average person. I want to know what the time signature is, if I can follow the breakdown in the bridge, was that Dorian or Harmonic Minor; why does the snare sound like that; I wonder what microphone was used for this part; I wonder if I’ve heard that sample before… and other questions of a hyper focused music lover. My parents had a small record collection with Tina Turner, The Beatles, Ravi Shankar, Chet Baker,Billie Holliday, among others. I also spent hours listening to the Boston area radio which featured a lot of college stations that played underground or obscure acts. 1980s pop music had a huge influence on me, as well as. acts like Enya, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush who at the time seemed to be just a tad off to the side from traditional pop. I loved Sheila E, Sade, Klymaxx, De La Soul, Mary J Blidge singles. I got into 1970s acts and Diamanda Galas, PJ Harvey, Yoko Ono, Liars, Mr Bungle, Aphex Twin, Erykha Badu, Bob Dylan, Snoop Dog albumsOlder Jazz-Greats albums like Coltrane’s Love Supreme and Miles Davis’ and Bitches Brew. I could go on for days about music that has influenced my work and what I listen to! I haven’t even touched on the more contemporary acts that have influenced or inspired me as a musician like How I Quit Crack, SRSQ, Lorelie K, Nicole Marxen, Mattie, Python Potions, Troller, Secrecies, anything Reece Mcleen is involved in, Skullcaster, Future Blonds, Psychic Killers, Yells at Eels, Deflowered Electric Flesh Bride, Young Mothers, M’ress, Wanz Dover, Cygnus, Momwow, Emotional Indulgence, Small Town, Concussed, Kitbashes, even Jon Falvo and His Daggers and Atom and EV. I’m leaving so many names out…  but you get the idea that the map is large and I’m all over the place.

Do you have any plans to play the album live?
Yes! I have performed at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios in Denton, TX as well as Cheer Up Charlie’s in Austin, TX for the Nite School showcase. I have performed some of these songs at Pete’s Candy Store in NY and Kessler On The Green in Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX. Right now, we are working on September dates in the Bay Area. Follow on social media for updates!

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
I love this question, as my husband became obsessed with making pizza from scratch during lockdown, and now we have all sorts of jokes and funny things associated with pizza making and different traditions / styles of pizza. Also, my husband hates onions, so I would definitely cover my signature pizza with thinly sliced onions on principle. Probably a Napoli style with fresh basil, light sauce, and gooey mozz. I’d call it the LT Breath of Fire.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
I am headed to the East Bay at the end of July to perform an improvised set with my surface transducer at the Outsound New Music Summit and we are confirming dates for Texas and California performances this fall. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to answer these questions and connect with readers! I hope you enjoy the music.

Lily Taylor was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Performance and Composition of Contemporary Music from College of Santa Fe in New Mexico in 2004, with a focus on vocal studies. After many years working as a professional musician, arts administrator, and private teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Francisco, California, Taylor released her critically acclaimed solo album The Ride in 2014 while residing in Dallas, Texas.

Lily is no stranger to the music scene in Dallas, TX, where she has collaborated with various musicians, performance artists, poets, dancers, artists, and designers, as well as booked local line ups for various venues around DFW. Her captivating vocals and performances create a unique and immersive experience for listeners. Taylor continues to teach private voice lessons and hosts a radio show called BandWidthTX on 92.9FM KUZU LP Denton, Texas

You can order Amphora from Lily’s Bandcamp page, find out more about Lily on her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news.

Feature Photo Credit – Daven Martinez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *