Influenced by artists like Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Sen Jorge and Antonio Carlos Jobim, multi-instrumentalist Simon Taylor is sharing his unique brand of folk-rock. We speak with the UK-based artist about his EP Survival, future plans and more!
Why did you decide to become a musician?
The inspiration behind me becoming a musician actually stems from a single incident in 1998. As is often the case with me, Spain is somehow involved. I was in Benidorm on holiday (aged 19) with my girlfriend at the time, and at one stage I saw a little plaza and a man was teaching another man how to play flamenco guitar. Soon afterwards, inspired no doubt by this scene, I was talking to my girlfriend about the idea of playing guitar and, God bless her, she managed to get me a beginner’s one for my birthday for £60 a couple of months later with the assistance of her musical father.
What inspires you to make music?
Well, very often the songs come to me when I am fast asleep. I have had a difficult time recently with things happening in my personal life but it seems to have led to more creativity and inspiration. On the flip side, during the pandemic when I was often in lockdown alone I barely wrote new songs. I didn’t panic though. In order to write you need to live and I was only surviving at the time.
What is the backstory to your EP Survival?
Well, the title track itself is a bit of a summary of some of the challenging mental health situations I’d faced in recent years before recording it. I had a breakdown in 2018, which was precipitated by a very challenging holiday alone in Tenerife when I began to feel unwell mentally. The line in the EP title track: “Listening to a melody/ To keep me from infinity” is about me listening to chillout tracks on my headphones while I was travelling on the bus to the airport in Tenerife in a pretty terrible state, for example. So that was the background to me making ‘Survival’. Three songs were written that were influenced in one way or the other by my breakdown in 2018. One (‘Angel of Mercy’) was written before in 2015 and was also on the issue of mental health. And the final song, ‘Going Home’, isn’t about mental health per se but works in the context of what I was saying before: I’m coming home, the trip is over, time to get better.
Do you have a favourite track on the EP?
I’m proud of them all but I do like ‘Going Home’ as a tune to listen to I must admit.
What about a least favourite one?
I’m proud of the lyric writing in ‘Survival’ but it is perhaps a tougher listen than some of the other ones, intense and sombre perhaps? I wouldn’t put it on to chill out to, for example (unlike ‘Going Home’). Sometimes a point needs making and it’s not all about easy listening.
If you could perform with any musician, who would it be?
Woah, good question. Melody Gardot.
What advice do you have for emerging artists?
Be an artist.
What are your future plans as a musician?
I have lots of songs stored away that I can’t wait to record. So, the plan is to record them to the best of my ability. If I give myself the option of retiring somewhere sunny to watch the waves go by by the time I’m 63, then sign me up.