Robin Taylor


1. At first, please tell us about your personal development as a musician...

It's the classic story: I got my first (electric) guitar, when I was 12, and formed a group with a couple of friends from school. The year was 1968, and we wanted to play like our heroes, Cream, who were very big at the time. We had no experience at all in playing music, so we just made a lot of noise. It just didn't lead us anywhere, so we split the following year. After a couple of years, I was asked to join another group as their bass player, so I jumped in the saddle again and had to learn (by myself) to play the bass guitar, which became my main instrument all the way through the '70s, where I played in various local rock groups - quite unnoticed, as we weren't particually good. The others were satisfied, just playing covers - but it started to bore me, so I began composing my own tunes, which didn't go well with the other band members. They were very poor players and didn't understand my ideas, so I built myself a home studio (using some lousy equipment) and started out recording my own music - more or less alone. At the end of the '70s, my recordings - through better equipment - had improved to such a degree, that some of them were selected for airplay on a monthly show on Danish Radio; a show for upcoming artists, that still had to deal with the 'amateur' label. I became a regular guest on the show, where several of my works were aired - until the programme was closed down in the mid '80s. This was the reason I gave up music for the next couple of years.

2. You didn't release any albums at young age; when did you start, and how many albums have you released til this day? For what reason did you wait such a long time - and when you suddenly got started, your output has been enormous - where does it all come from?

Yeah, I was a late starter - not because I wanted it to be like that, but because I had a very bad self-confidence in my younger days. I didn't get much encouragement from people around me, which probably had a lot to do with their own jealousy, so I just kept on hitting myself in the head, saying: Making records - that's only REAL talented people, who can do that (ha-ha-ha)! If someone back in those days had told me, that I one day in the future would sit and not be able to remember the exact number of albums carrying my name, I would have brought this person to an asylum for lunatics right away. Well, my most recent release, Worn Out, is my album no. 31 since the debut in 1991! Where it comes from? From an urge to be creative, I suppose - an urge to share the emotions I have so many of inside. I had been carrying this emotional stuff around for such a long time, not being able to let it out - so when the opportunity finally was there, the bubble burst, so to speak. I have never found myself in a situation, where I've been asking myself: What will be my next move; what's going to happen next?

3. You don't have a 'real' band (in the traditional sense) - rather a group of individual musicians, when you record your albums. Do you also work on their projects?

No, I haven't done so far, and I would probably not be the best choice either, as I don't see myself as an instrumentalist as such. I do play a lot of different instruments in the studio - but I'm not a person with great skills on any of them - today. What I find most important, is to be sure, that the music ends up as I heard it in my head, in the phase where it was composed. I always have the actual players in mind, when I start out a composition; I make the arrangements, so they will fit the individual player in the best way. I typically start out laying down basic tracks on keyboards, then I ask the drummer to play, what I had in mind; I will add bass and guitar, and last I make it up to the soloists (horns or guitar) to improvise in the spots, I've kept open for them. I know the players well, so I know what I can ask from them. In the last phase I give each track a very critical view to be sure, anything isn't missing; sometimes I add some more keyboards, guitar or percussion, to make it more coherent - and that's also when the mix gets the final touch.

4. Who is Louise Nipper?

Louise is the owner of the Soundscape Studio in Copenhagen, where almost all of my albums have been recorded. First time, I did some work there, was, when I recorded some demo stuff back in 1988. Her father was in charge then, but Louise took over the premises for about a decade ago, and she runs it quite successfully today, doing all the engineering herself. She's also an artist herself (in a singer/songwriter tradition) with her own career, as much as time allows it. You will hear her voice on my recordings from time to time, when I've been needing a little bit of the human voice.

5. You have a style, that is very much your own. How do you work, when you are composing, and how do you get inspiration?

Earlier on I worked at home. I also recorded basic tracks in my home studio, before I took them to Soundscape, where they were transferred to the studio's 24-track. That was in the analog days... Now it has become digital, and that's a completely different way of working. In later years, I've done most of the composing in the studio; when I arrive, I have a theme or two in my head, perhaps a mood that I try to develop into something concrete, when I sit down at the piano - and suddenly the ideas come washing in over me: I build some structures, melodies turn up, rhythms and so on. Before long, I've added so many layers, that I'm almost certain what the piece will sound like in the end, so from there it's just to decide which other instruments are going to do what. Don't ask me, where it all comes from!

6. Do you ever play live?

No, not any more; I don't need it. I actually hate it. Taylor's Universe have never performed live, and the group was never supposed to. In the beginning of the new millenium, I had a side project called Taylor's Free Universe. The idea behind this group was to go out and play totally improvised music in front of a live audience. The music could be described as free jazz with lots of electronics; very avant-garde, weird... We played about a dozen gigs - some of them were rather exciting - but it was very hard getting jobs, and also very hard for the venues to attract peoples attention to this kind of music. We also released five albums - of which one was nominated for a Danish Music Award - but nobody cared. That's how the situation is in Denmark!

7. Your music is mainly instrumental. Is that because you prefer music without lyrics?

I don't care all that much for lyrics in music, and I'm hopeless at writing songs in the traditional way. That said, I made a song structured album not so many years ago. It was released under the moniker Art Cinema. Many of the players were the same as in Taylor's Universe - but the material was written by some people, that even I didn't know. I arranged the songs and did the usual producing job - but it was a terrible experience for me, because the main songwriter was a stupid asshole, who acted like he believed, the album would make him world famous. He was originally going to be the singer, but suddenly changed his mind and left, when there was no way back. I brought in a female singer, I knew, instead, and that saved the album - seen from an artistic view. I think, it turned out quite well - but it was sadly ignored.

8. Your music is very dark and melancholic - is that on purpose - is there a reason for that?

That's my nature: I guess, I'm a dark and melancholic person...

9. Is there anything, you have never been asked about your music, that you'd like to tell your fans?

People rarely ask me, where to buy my music (and that's probably why, so little of it is being sold), so please demand the music of Robin Taylor at your regular record dealer - or make a Google search for dealers! Believe it or not: Also musicians have to eat; otherwise they can't work!

10. What are your future plans?

My plans, so far, are to make a return to the studio in a matter of time, so I can finish up a new album before the end of the year.