Interview with Tim

If there’s one thing that I’ll always remember about Timmy Taylor long after Brainiac has left this world to take their show to another rock-hungry planet, it’s that he’s one of the most gracious musicians I’ve ever met, always willing to give an interview, pose for a picture, or just talk. For someone who screams and scowls on stage, he’s one of the most polite people I’ve ever met. That’s why I felt comfortable pestering him about doing an interview in Beloit after their rockin’ set with The Delta 72 and Cash Money. Besides, he knew it was for the webpage, so of course he was gonna talk to me! 😉

DJ: How’d you end up on the Beck tour? (in Europe)

Tim: Actually, what happened was, we got offered to do an entire European tour with Beck in November, and we just couldn’t afford to do it, cuz we were gonna lose like 3000 dollars, so, y’know, we told them that we’d like to do it again in the future, but we just couldn’t afford it. And this came up, and we couldn’t pass it up twice, so we’ve just been like saving our pennies.

DJ: You tour Europe a lot, don’t you?

Tim: Yeah, we’ve been over there about 6 times now, probably.

DJ: Have you reached the popularity level of David Hasslehoff yet?

Tim: He’s a legend over there, so I don’t think we’re ever gonna top him. He has gold records in Germany, and a number of other countries…

Gomps: I hear he is big in Germany…

DJ: Yeah, that’s a tall order…

Tim: Yeah, I think you can go to Germany and just by channel-hopping you’ll probably end up watching Baywatch every 2 hours, he’s so big over there.

Kory: If you had a talking Trans Am that’d be a start.

Tim: Yeah. I’m working on it, you know. I’ve got a talking Chevy Vega, so…

Gomps: Why did you guys decide to print the lyrics this time? (on Electro-Shock for President)

Tim: Just because everyone asks me why we’ve never printed the lyrics before. (laughs) I mean, you know…plus I’m sorta rebelling against the previous records just because I felt like on our old records, like, not only were the lyrics not available but they were completely un-understandable, y’know, illedgible, so…I just tried to make the lyrics clearer this time and print them so…

DJ: I think that’s why everybody got frustrated because you’d try to figure the lyrics out but it’d be completely impossible.

Tim: Yeah, I figured, like, I agonize over those lyrics for weeks and weeks when I’m writing them, so I might as well at least let people know what’s going on.

DJ: So is there a chance we’ll get to see the lyrics from Bonsai and Internationale and Hissing Prigs at all?

Tim: Nah. Not a chance! I don’t even know if I could remember most of the lyrics to those songs if i tried.

DJ: So the lyrics are pretty much an ongoing process then?

Tim: Yeah, yeah…plus, since I actually have them printed (for Electro-Shock) I feel like I actually have to stick to them a little more during the show cuz people are gonna know if I change ’em. Like on some of the songs I just went in and just like “Blaaaa” [goofy Tim-noise] whatever came off the top of my head, but this time I actually had lyric sheets and all that.

Gomps: As far as the music that’s getting popular today, how do you feel about this whole electronica thing? Do you embrace that?

Tim: Um, yeah, I do, actually. I mean, I like just about anything that’s new. I think it’s getting a bit overhyped, like, for what’s gonna happen with it. I don’t think any of those bands like Underworld or Tricky really write like hit-type songs. There’s all this press about how it’s gonna be the next big thing but…it’ll probably be like what happened with the Smashing Pumpkins, where they were considered “grunge” or “alternative,” but basically they just sort of morphed into classic rock and became popular, but they still called it grunge or alternative. And that’s probably what’s gonna happen with electronic music. Some band’ll come along and they’ll just rewrite “Satisfaction” or something and do it with electronics and it’ll be like “Ah! The new thing…”

Gomps: That could be you!

Tim: Could be! I’m working on it…

DJ: So you don’t think you’ll ever evolve into a purely electronic band or anything like that?

Tim: I don’t think we will, because we’re too live-oriented, but I think we are evolving that way a lot.

DJ: There’s a lot more coming in on each release, a lot more electronics…

Tim: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think this was definitely the most electronic… y’know; I don’t think our next record is gonna be this electronic because we’ve already written some songs that are almost like a reaction against it, three straight-on guitar songs. But, the way we’re recording ’em, we’re demoing them in our studio now, and the way we’ve been doing it is sort of, um, bizarre, and it’s turning out electronic. Like, we’re recording a lot of the stuff directly into our computer–like, the drums are triggered and stuff, so even though it’s playing live we can put samples in it or add drum machine parts where we want ’em, whatever. Plus we have all the live sound there, too. So, I dunno how it’s gonna turn out, so…we’re just kinda gettin’ started on it.

DJ: Yeah, the whole analog/digital thing brings up so many issues, but we’ve only got so much tape!

Tim: Well I’m pro both analog and digital, just for the record.

DJ: We had a big conversation about that in our audio production class a week or so ago. We decided there were good things to both.

Tim: Yeah. See, I think that the only thing that’s bad about digital is when it tries to emulate analog. Then it’s just gonna fall short cuz it’s not analog. But digital can do so many things analog can’t do that…why even try to separate the two? Y’know, just like if you’re recording digitally, once you have the stuff in there you can just chop it up and do anything with it, y’know? It took people like 20 years to figure out all the things they can do with analog, just to sorta like stretch the limits of it, and digital has only been around for like 4 or 5 years, so…it’s gonna be like 15 years before anybody, like, takes it to where they can do something and say, “wow, this is something you could never do on analog.”

Gomps: What are your plans for the new album? Is that gonna go in a more electronic sort of way?

Tim: Y’know, that’s a good question. I don’t think we have any plans right now. I think it’s probably gonna be, just like from what we’ve written now–and it could turn out completely different–personally it sounds to me like it’s gonna be somewhere of a cross between Electro-Shock and Smack Bunny Baby. Cuz the songs we’ve been writing are more like melodic-oriented, more like pop songs or whatever, but they have more electronics. It seems like we’ve always kind of done, like, like we’ll have traditional bass and drums, and we’ll just throw over the guitar and electronics or whatever. It kinda like goes over the top, whereas now it’s like a lotta the stuff we’re working on starts purely electronic and we throw the guitars on top, y’know, so…who knows?

DJ: I heard a couple people saying it was gonna come out later this year. Is that set in stone?

Tim: No, no, there’s no way. That would be nice, but, I mean, we would have to have it recorded by pretty much now. We’ve pretty much been on tour nonstop since we did Electro-Shock so…

DJ: Do you guys ever sit at home? It seems like you’re on the road constantly.

Tim: Yeah, we’re on the road a lot. I mean, I don’t like to be at home. If I’m at home for two weeks, I go nuts, so…I try not to sit at home if at all possible. Just go home, like, write the next record, and go out again.

DJ: So give me a good road story. Anything?

Tim: Tonight was kinda fun, with the guys dancing and pinching my butt…(laughter) this is a good road story, it’s not pertaining to us, but we played with, uh…are you a fan of US Maple at all?

DJ: Yeah!

Gomps: We saw them last time [when Brainiac was in] Green Bay.

Tim: Yeah, ok! Yeah…personally, like, they’re my favorite rock band that’s happening right now, but some people have no idea how to take them, you know?

Gomps: (laughs) Yeah, I wonder why!

Tim: …And we have some friends who came and one of our friends actually came to the show and she was so disturbed by their music that she went and threw up, cuz she was, like, so disturbed by what was going on! It affected her viscerally, which I thought was pretty good! (mass laughter)

Gomps: When you have people throwing up, that’s a good thing!

DJ: I don’t think a band can hope for a better reaction than that!

Tim: Yeah, exactly! If you can get people on that level, it’s like, “wow!” It definitely has some effect.

DJ: And they didn’t have to impale anyone or anything!

Gomps: Is the new album coming out on Touch and Go?

Tim: That is a good question. At this point, I’m not really sure. We’ve talked about doing something with a major label, so it could happen for this album. We could do the next album on Touch and Go. I dunno.

DJ: Have you been getting interest from majors at all?

Tim: Yeah, actually, even before we signed with Touch and Go, we were considering going with a major. We’ve considered it after every album, it just didn’t seem to make sense, y’know? I mean, we would like to do a record on a major label someday. It’s sort of a goal. But we would probably completely change…

DJ: That happens with the majors sometimes…

Tim: Yeah, I know, and I wouldn’t see us trying to do the same thing we’re doing now on a major label. If we did do a major label record it would be because we’re tired of what we’re doing now. We’d wanna do something different.

DJ: Would you try to do something more straightforward or try to really push things, or…?

Tim: I don’t know. I mean, that’s a good question. I think I would approach it not so much that the music would change but just sort of take a different approach to how we do it.

Gomps: You could take more time with things…

Tim: Yeah, that’s true, y’know, almost every record we’ve done we’ve finished early, so it’s not a big thing. Cuz we have, y’know, we do the records ourselves on 4-track or 8-track before we go in there so we know what’s going on. Then we get in there, and it’s pretty easy. We take a lot of time before going in.

DJ: Any last words for your audience?

Gomps: What do you wanna say to the kids of America?

Tim: I wish more people would get up and play on my keyboard, that’s all I can say. That was a blast! I like it when people get involved in their own way, it’s always fun.

DJ: We’ll remember that next time…