THURSDAY
March 19, 2020 | doors at 8:00pm
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Triple Ds presents:
AM TAYLOR - SINGLE RELEASE SHOW!
Jayne County
  • $10
  • $12
  • ADVANCE
  • DAY OF SHOW
Am Taylor - Single Release Show!
Destruction. Rebirth. Reinvention. It’s a cycle present throughout the world in which we live, and within ourselves, when we are brave enough to follow it. It’s the journey Am Taylor has undertaken.

Recently re-emerging on the music scene after a self-imposed hiatus, Taylor is now embracing her creative calling as a stronger, smarter solo artist entrenched in indie dream pop, psychedelia and post-punk. The last few years have been deeply transformative for the Atlanta-based singer-guitarist, and she’s come out the other side with a wealth of new material colored by these experiences.

“There’s a key theme of me being reborn,” says Taylor, who as a transgendered person, intrinsically understands the power and often necessity of personal metamorphosis. “We’re born with this newness, and we live our lives and everything is awesome and great, and then something comes along and completely destroys and crushes us. That’s what gives us empathy. This is something I’ve gone through that’s given me a sense of renewed empathy for others, and it’s also healing.”

For Taylor, the time for healing was long overdue, coming during a personal and professional crossroads. Taylor is best known as founding member of the Sexual Side Effects (SSE), which formed in Atlanta in 2011 and released its debut album, High Maintenance, that same year. Over the ensuing years, Taylor and SSE shared the stage with the likes of Fuel, Royal Bliss, the Georgia Satellites, Girl in a Coma, Electric Six, Hunter Valentine and many more. She was also a touring guitarist for Brother Grey, and recently began writing new songs with punk legend Jayne County for a new forthcoming project. And while she is still collaborating with former SSE bandmates, this new direction marks Taylor’s ascendance as a solo songwriter and performer, free to create and execute her vision.

“We spent a long time with the old band. I was the primary songwriter and just kept going through different players and different iterations of things,” reflects Taylor. “So I took a hiatus for a while and became a hermit, after touring a lot and going for it for a long time. I went into songwriter mode and had a lot of life experiences that really crushed me in a lot of ways. So this is like the phoenix rising from the ashes, and deciding to let go of my old band name. It’s really the same band, but rebranded as me as a solo artist.”

Just don’t expect her to stand on stage all alone, armed with only an acoustic guitar. Although she’s now 100% in the driver’s seat, Taylor’s pulled a talented group of cohorts into her circle for the project, starting with veteran producer Andy Reilly (The Cult, Iron Maiden, Gary Numan), a British studio icon who’s based near Taylor in the Atlanta area. Taylor says she was drawn to the gargantuan drum sounds that Reilly—himself a drummer—is known for capturing.

“He does a lot of metal and modern rock, which is always driven by the drums; they’re big, loud and in your face, like you’re really at the show and they’re just smashing away,” says Taylor. “Even though I am primarily inspired by dream pop and psych rock and have a singer-songwriter approach to writing, Andy adds a bombastic rock ‘n’ roll edge with his loud drum sounds, and his harder-edged background giving my music a fresh perspective and sound.”

Taylor has also assembled a gifted group of players to collaborate and perform on the tracks, some of whom are familiar faces to Taylor’s fans, while others are new additions to the family. Instead of settling on a permanent lineup, for now she is keeping her cast of musicians open-ended, with the studio contributors and live performers evolving as the project matures.

“I decided to get different people to play different things,” Taylor explains. “I also plan on getting another guitar player; I’m just playing my own guitar parts now, but when I play live, I want another guitar player, so we can do some of the dreamy, cool textures and lots of interesting stuff like that.”

This latest creative phase for Taylor also bears deep personal significance, as a kind of musical microcosm of her own evolution. A few years back Taylor purchased a new home, with the intention of building a recording studio, and creative sanctuary for her illustration work, but soon found herself deep in the throes of both personal and homeowner woes. As she worked to repair and replace major building components—like the roof and HVAC—she also turned inward, where a different kind of healing needed to occur.

“I had to just focus on my life for a year or two, to build my new foundation,” Taylor says. “I came out of a situation where I was really heartbroken for a long time, and that just takes you down. A lot of these new songs are me recovering and healing from that, and being able to move forward into a new chapter of my life.”

It’s not just a new chapter in name, either. Taylor is eschewing the traditional LP album model for these new songs, planning instead to release a new track roughly each month over the course of the year. The first to drop will be leadoff single “Driving on the Edge of Night,” which is especially meaningful for Taylor when encapsulating her life’s progression.

“That song was written about my own abandonment, and then also facing your psychological human shadow,” says Taylor. “Even though there are very simple lyrics, there’s a much deeper meaning beneath.”

Some of Taylor’s other compositions take a less autobiographical approach, and are just as diverse as the players and influences informing these new creations. For example, she explores her love of history on multiple tracks, like “Blood Moon,” sung from the perspective of Julius Caesar, thirsting for vengeance from beyond the grave.

“It’s about his experiences of being Julius Caesar, and his ghost getting his revenge,” Taylor says. “It gets to the chorus, and it’s his ghost, saying, ‘Hey, do you guys remember me? Blood moon…Do you remember me?’ It’s a statement, then it’s a question and then it’s antagonizing, like, ‘Remember me? I’m gonna come back and find you in another life.”

There’s also “The Darkest Hour,” inspired by the eponymous 2017 film, which chronicles former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s difficult decisions in the early stages of World War II. Taylor watched the film on a plane while flying home from Arizona, where’d she’d been visiting her dying mother. It had a profound impact on Taylor during this period of personal darkness.

“I realized when I got home that I had gone through a lot of experiences that resonated with the film,” she says. “Can you imagine being in World War II, and the Nazis are gonna invade and destroy you? But Winston Churchill was like, ‘Hell no. We’re gonna fight, and we’re gonna die, and who cares, because Hitler’s not gonna win.’ In a way, that’s inspiring. I ended up taking about two or three weeks to study all these different things to reference within the song, so it was like writing a report for school. I watched two movies, read a couple books and referenced some of the things that happened in his life.”

Other tracks take a more intimate lyrical approach, like the ambient space-rock of “Bright Yellow Sun,” originally written during Taylor’s SSE days. Towering riffs and mythological metaphors combine to take the listener on an otherworldly journey in the song, but its genesis was far more terrestrial.

“I wrote that about a girl who told me she wanted to kill herself,” Taylor reflects. “It just broke my heart, because I really thought she was amazing. It ended up turning into this story idea in my mind, about how the sun is chasing the moon…. It has the kind of vibe that I want to write more of; once I get some more players we’re gonna do more of that kind of that kind of stuff, where it’s a little looser and dreamy.”

For now though, Taylor is busy blazing a new path toward her destiny, emboldened by having already endured multiple trials by fire. Once all the new material is complete later this year, she will then focus on potential touring, with each performance a celebration of the singer-guitarist’s reincarnation.

“I’ve been reborn many times in my life and I’ve gone through a lot of really hardcore stuff. I’ve been through tragedies and I’ve had to fight every day. At one point I almost died, and that’s part of my journey,” says Taylor. “I’m reintroducing myself as a solo artist re-emerging from the ashes of my last project. It’s a new dawn, a new chapter of my life and I’m a new person. I have a mission in this life, and I will follow it, both renewed and refreshed.”
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