Sign : Scorpio
City : Athens
Taylor Ross is a multi instrumentalist and lead singer/songwriter for the band Surface to Air Missive. His third album “A V” will be released on Leaving Records November, 4th 2016.
What have been some of the most important personal musical influences in your life?
Max Dennison, the hip teen in Hocus Pocus, is the single most influential person to me musically, maybe even in general. I was probably 5 years old when I saw Hocus Pocus, and there was Max playing the sickest drum beat ever while his brat sister tried to nag at him:
I remember thinking that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Max was just the coolest and I wanted to be like him. I bugged my parents until they finally bought me a drum set. I credit Max with guiding me to this path I’ve chosen. Our album release show will be in Salem, MA., maybe I’ll bump into him if he still goes to shows.
Later: of Montreal, The Unicorns, The Cure, Smokey Robinson, Ariel Pink, Richard Hell, Donovan, Fairport Convention, Soft Machine, Incredible String Band.
What was it about these bands or styles of music that spoke you to personally as being different from what you’ve heard before?
I loved The Unicorns’ dark sense of humor, and the way Alden Penner plays guitar. of Montreal had
that darkness too, my first real rock n roll show was of Montreal when I was 15. Ariel Pink’s Before Today is a landmark, the production especially. That album opened my eyes to the modern music world, the blogosphere if you will. Very inspiring, challenged me to think bigger.
In the last 5 years, Fairport Convention, Donovan and Incredible String Band have had the greatest impact on me. Something about pairing ancient Celtic/British traditionals with psychedelic rock speaks to my soul. I can see Richard Thompson charging on horseback into a battle scene from Braveheart or something, wielding a sunburst Strat, with that crazy Celtic psych/blues style of his.
Your music videos come across to me like these little surreal, dadaistic, performance art pieces, both serious and humorous at the same time. Is art and theater performance in your background as well or is this just the best way you kind of see your music visually described?
As a kid I would make little horror movies with my friends with my mom’s Hi8 camera (which I still use). We’d make videos for school projects and try to pack as much blood and gore as we could into them. One time when I was like 10 years old we went around the neighborhood asking kids if they wanted to help make a horror film in the woods. Next thing I know one of the kids dad’s was chasing us down the street threatening to break my neck, thinking we were recruiting children for a snuff film or something. I think if I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be doing film.
With the music videos, I’ve always tried to inject some subtle humor into them, or in some instances make them so darkly absurd its funny (to me at least). I don’t think I’m capable of making a totally serious video.
What were some of the major themes or personal experiences you drew from lyrically for your new album?
A V spilled out of me during the darkest, loneliest, most hopelessly depressing heartbroken winter
I’ve ever experienced. It was really a blast! The album just wrote itself. My daily routine for 4 months – I would wake up at 6 am, my whole body physically aching in despair, just bouncing off the walls with dark energy, drink a pot of coffee and record till mid-afternoon. Then I’d walk down to the coffee shop looking/feeling like a freak, mumbling nonsense to myself, drink more coffee, work on mixing or album art, crying under my sunglasses. This nice old couple asks me how I’m doing and I snap “AWFUL” at them and they’d recoil in horror. Excellent! This was only earlier this year but I already look back on it with a warm fuzzy fondness.
What were or are some of your other musical projects? (Dream Love, etc?)
Before Surface, I never recorded two albums under the same name. I probably made 10 albums all under different names. I won’t list them all cause most of it was teenage garbage. Witch Porn and Chappaquiddick were not awful. Dream Love was the best and most popular of these one-offs.
Are you still releasing or collaborating on those projects?
No, part of the one-off limitation is never revisiting.
Are you the main songwriter in this (these) groups or do you write together with other musicians?
In Surface I write/record everything myself, with a few exceptions. I collaborate with Josh Martin on the classical “Swan” songs. There was one on the previous album and one on the new album. He’s the only person I know who’s on the same page with me regarding these “Fake Classical” compositions (Fake Classical is a genre we’ve invented – classical music made by non-classically trained musicians for a pop audience).
Josh Martin and Taylor Ross
Do you find it easier to write and work on music on your own or with (within) a group or band?
Definitely on my own. My work ethic is very obsessive and when I start working on a project I work on it all day everyday for months until its finished. I don’t know many people who are willing to go down that rabbit hole with me.
Have you been reading, listening to anything good lately?
I’ve been reading exclusively about Paganism/Wicca, Celtic myth, Druids. I’m not really that into it on a spiritual level, but the history is fascinating.
Music: Japan’s Tin Drum.
Fall Playlist by Taylor Ross
Japan – The Art of Parties
Human League – Do or Die
Visage – Blocks on Blocks
Japan – Quiet Life
Human League – Being Boiled
The Cure – The Walk
Human League – Darkness
Deux – Dance With Me
Website Link – https://www.stonesthrow.com/ne ws/2016/09/surface-to-air-miss ive
You can pre-order A V here: https://leavingrecords.bandcam p.com/album/a-v