If you haven’t heard Pray (Andy’s ridiculously euphoric funk anthem with vocals from Louisa Rox), do me a favour – click on this link and have a listen to it on Andy’s Myspace player – you might have to scroll down a bit. When you get back to this feature – let me know if you can think of a reason why this man is still unsigned.
Now based in Glasgow, DJ and musician Andy Taylor’s soulful breakbeat collaborations with singer Louisa Rox (like the recent Pray and spanking new tracks Society and Purple) are pure fire. Some of his stuff has appeared on Refo Recordings releases and his track Jah Mambo was featured on BBC Radio 6’s Craig Charles Soul & Funk Show. Andy’s also been Djing for around 10 years and regularly plays sets that feature classic funk, hip-hop, breaks and …ahem…house. Monkeyboxing caught up with Andy to have a few words:
Monkeyboxing (MB): You’ve got a fine ear for danceable breaks and a catchy hooks – who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?
Andy Taylor (AP): As a musician JB’s are probably the biggest influence. I got into them during the whole Acid Jazz thing that kicked off in the 90’s, there was a classic funk night in Chester that we used to go to and dance to that sort of thing. The DJ probably used to play about 4 or 5 JB’s tunes a night! I was also hanging out with people at college in Manchester learning a lot about breaks and where they came from. The JB’s are probably the king of live bands, being run and conducted by James Brown probably helps! From a production perspective, I would say that I’m probably influenced by a lot of different stuff such as Pharcyde, Mr Scruff, Pepe Braddock, Bunny Lee, Ninja Tune, Plaid, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Recloose. I could probably go on as I have such broad tastes but these are the ones I thought of off the top of my head. I think I might review my Myspace influence section and simplify it a little!
MB: You and Louisa make a great team – how did you hook up with her?
AT: I met Louisa through my mate Barry Jackson who now runs Refo Recordings. It was 2002 and we had been jamming in the studio playing some of his house stuff with a view to doing some sort of live project with electric bass. Louisa was over doing some housey “Oohs” and “Aahs” for one of his tunes. We kept in touch. When I was writing Pray I was originally going to do an instrumental track but I was struggling for some sort of focus in it. So I called up Louisa and she laid down some vocal tracks. It sounded great so we’ve been working together on and off ever since.
MB: How’s recent label interest been?
AT: Wouldn’t want to talk too much about any label interest as these things are all a bit up the air. There has been some interest in the past and there is some interest at the moment. If nothing gets sorted then the fickle finger of fate is slowly pointing towards releasing it myself. I’m not keen on this due to the fact that I have no means of funding it at all.
MB: We’ve talked before on formats – are you a vinyl die-hard – have you even considered Serato or laptop Djing?
AT: I haven’t had a go with Serato but it looks like a great idea. I still play a lot of old funk records at the moment so Serato would probably be a great idea for me, because as far as I know I could switch between vinyl and digital during my sets. A lot of dance music is still quite disposable so it sometimes seems a bit of a waste buying it on vinyl if you’ll only play it for 6 months. I do still enjoy buying new 45’s, but maybe I’ll get it in the future once I have a better laptop.
MB: What’s next with you? Is there an EP or LP in the works?
AT: The only release on the horizon is a jazz house release called Balance on Midwest Hustle Music. This should be out in December. I’ve pretty much
stopped producing house for now. Although I’ve enjoyed house music over the
years it is very much a labour for me to do these days. There is nothing else planned at the moment.
MB: In your DJ sets you like to ‘house’ the clubbers now and then – I know we’ve chatted about that before too but now it’s time to defend yourself in public! What’s the fascination with house music?
AT: House music…I’m basically into a lot of different music. House music for me is just a progression of disco and can be as soulful, funky, and jazzy as you like. It is a good bridge for a number of different styles. A lot of acts such as the Jungle Brothers and DJ Spinna have done it too so it’s not that far removed from hip hop. I have been into funk and hip hop for years since the days of Acid Jazz etc. I got into house and detroit techno when I was about 19. When I got to Glasgow I went through a bit of a drum n bass phase, then back to house, breaks and techno. During this time I still listened to funk and hip hop a lot. Over the past 2 years have really gone back to my funk and breaks roots (I am sure now that this isn’t just another phase!). I still like all the music I have listened to and bought over the years (I’ve even got some indie records!). But house music is something that always comes back to me from time to time. Most of my breaks tunes are structured the same as house tunes. I can’t handle a whole night of it and I am very picky about what house tracks I play, but it often works to finish a set with a few soulful classics or new stuff.
MB: I respect a man who can justify himself! The last word is yours. Anything you want to say?
AT: Cheesecake is great.