Tracing Around the Artist. An Interview with Chris Taylor. 11/13/01 by paul soupiset

If Chris Taylor has seemed a little hard to find lately, it is mainly because he is busier than he's ever been before. Taylor is launching two new compact discs this month, working as the music and arts director for the cibolo creek community — a San Antonio congregation modeled loosely on the willow creek phenomenon in Chicago — he's also recently moved into a new pad, and had some significant life changes. We caught up with Chris so that you could bring yourself up to speed with Chris.

Q: Brand New Ache. Lo-Fi. So, why two albums at once?

CT: well... the project actually started with "lo-fi". went into the studio and just got going... i think we tracked like... fifteen songs or so. the ones that had the most consistency in the themes behind the record made the final cut. although, there were some interesting things that didn't. we came out with a VERY grass roots bootleg version of "lo-fi" a while back but it was meant to be a recording to be taken seriously... the idea of turning it into a double disc rolled around in my head but i wanted to write new songs, with more hooks and discipline as far as the structure was concerned. so in april; of this year i called shane and justin and we started playing the songs in my living room as a band... booked us in the studio and called some friends to round it all off. the double disc idea was done away with mainly due to cost, but also... it just felt like two different cd's to me.

Q: How would you distinguish one from another?

CT: "brand new ache" the title for the proper album... has a beginning, middle and end to it and has actual songs (with verses and choruses!) so that sets it apart from "lo-fi". even more so, "lo-fi" is definitely a response to the questions and woes raised on "brand new ache". it's almost like a voice of comfort to all the pain of loss and break-up.

Q: Where are you at currently with your touring and performance career? Are your other obligations going to prevent another tour on the scale of what we saw in 1999 and 2000?

CT: as far as touring goes... it's always been a bit here, a bit there. so there has never been a major tour in the sense of a bus, crew and demand for ct live. but we've managed to book dates around festivals like cornerstone and such. right now, my life is taking some drastic turns in both the personal and professional sense. i'm working with cibolo creek community as their music and arts director. that is an outlet that allows me to train and build and inspire others to bring the best out of themselves... and i get to be creative too. do stuff most people wouldn't do in this type of setting. i'm involved with video and some drama too.
but... that's not to say i can't break away for some strategic gigs here and there. these two records aren't meant to be on the same level of radio and marketing as the rhythm house cd's. and i went into that knowing this would come from my own pocket and some private investors... so to do some grass roots stuff, selling it through the net or out of the back of my car... i like that idea -- as long as the investors get paid back, that is! (laughs)
i'm not really doing these as demos to shop or any of that nonsense. just the pure joy of making music and getting it to the people who want to hear it...

Q: So, are your label days over?

CT: my label days are not over... i'm still a Rhythm House artist... they are doing whatever they can to promote "worthless pursuit" and although i'm still tied in to that big process of making a record for distribution and
mass marketing, i felt it worthwhile to make a record (or two) for the fans who've been into my stuff for a while now.

Q: Can you comment on your relationship with Rhythm House Records? Have things changed since the label uprooted and moved to Nashville?

CT: things have changed for them and as far as a relationship goes... there's not much of a back and forth communication. they are so busy trying to keep it all up and running and trying to make the best decisions for the label... we don't get a chance to catch up. i wish the best for them in the most genuine of senses... but i gotta live and eat and everyone i know has the last two records... i gotta get something else out there. plus... i write tons of songs and to only put out 10 every year or so...

Q: You've mentioned here and onstage some major changes in your life, including a new job, a separation, a seeming shift away from searching for national or international fame and fortune. Have you found others in the industry who share common experiences? Where do you go for comfort and solace?

CT: these days finding comfort and solace is hard to do. i find them in places most wouldn't think... a u2 concert, hangin' with friends in the church band, at lunch with justin or dinner with [manager greg carnes or drummer shane kyle] ... getting to pour yourself into a body of people as i have been doing weekly at cibolo creek community is a way of investing that has a huge return in ways i just can't explain.

as far as the industry goes... i don't have a clue. i just sense that after sept 11th... artists and entertainers in general are digging in deeper, they know their place and it's only about healing and compassion for the ones who lost their loved ones and gave their lives for this country we live in.

Clear blue goodbye

You kept the note until the morning
and it came without a warning sign
After ten years with him girl
such a lonely string of pearls
haunts your mind
And it’s obvious to everyone but you…
why, why, why
On this clear blue goodbye

For all of us here stuck in traffic
Watching the cars pile and stack
We wonder where we’re all going
And if we’ll make it back
What’s the hurry? What’s the deal?
Let go of the steering wheel and fly…
On this clear blue goodbye

Why are you feeling down… oh my soul?
You put your hope in something
you could not control

Tonight may be another night of rain
But it feels as good as the sun
Soak it all up, soak it all up, soak it all up
For the long trip back home

Leave room for the angels to work…
their heavenly stuff
Leave room for the radio ‘cos ya know…
it’s all we’ve got
Leave room for the joy…
to invade your tired young heart
And when it comes,
let it come, just let it come
And soak it all up… SOAK IT ALL UP
Soak it all up, soak it all up, soak it all up
Gotta get it into your heart…
gotta get it into my heart
Tonight may be just another night of rain…
But it feels as good as the sun.


Q: Tell us about the day you wrote Clear Blue Goodbye.
it was rainy and cold and i was in nashville, tn with justin and we were touring with the normals. it was one of those reflective, inward days and the lyrics were a first draft. a couple of hours later, justin and i sat in andy's living room workin' out harmonies.

CT: ...Have they gained a new meaning for you?
oh yeah... some nights it's almost impossible to sing without falling apart.

Q: Once the CDs hit the street, what's next creatively? Are you writing?

CT: i'm writing a song everyweek for paul's messages here at the church. very relevant to his teaching... maybe ask all the right questions to get people thinkin' about their spirit and God and the bigger picture... that's fun but takes a lot of discipline.

Q: Are you producing other people's CDs?
CT: not right now... i still wanna produce yours! although justin graves has a project in the works and i forced him to let me play harmonica on a song. he could have done it himself.... but i begged.

Q: Are your music video days over? Any truth to a rumored collaboration with short-subject filmmaker Storme Wood?

CT: i haven't asked him officially yet... so storme if you read this... give me a call! (laughs) i'm always up for a camera crew to follow me around.

We'll try to run more short-format interviews like this in the near future. If you have a specific question you'd like answered, write to us.