> Phillip Jon Taylor - De Nada Track by Track - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Phillip Jon Taylor – De Nada Track by Track

Driven by loss and life-altering revelations, five years ago Phillip Jon Taylor relocated from Glasgow to the sleepy beachside village of Dornoch on Scotland’s north east coast. There, PJT finally found himself with the space to practice some long overdue self care, and distance himself from the crutches of modern technology. Having spent a decade touring the world with much loved Glasgow band PAWS it was an opportunity to look inwards and take stock of where he found himself, and where he was heading.

His latest record De Nada sounds like a blend of everything that went before: a pinch of the lovable scrappiness of PAWS, the soaring ambition of his solo debut and EPs, and the electronics of his Coping Mechanism project. Oh, and lyrics that are naturally relatable, sweet, and clever, without cynicism or pose. It grows and blends into your consciousness further with each listen.

It’s an album to make a space for, soak in, and peel away the day.

Phillip Jon Taylor has written SNACK this beautiful De Nada track by track.

Please press play, kick back, and enjoy.

The Catalyst rolls out a kinda rosetta for the rest of the LP. I made the waltzing pop piano hook thing by recording the lick on my slightly out of tune upright piano and then resampled/cut it up. Was a nice fit above the tighter, warm, stoned rhythm section. This recording technique is revisited throughout the LP, I guess. Trying to juxtapose the recorded performance elements of acoustic instruments and electronic sampling ala Kieran Hebden, or Beck, or something.

I was trying to capture my own sense of melody and lyrical witticisms in the small everyday occurrences (good and bad) whilst merging all corners of my artistic practice to date. Making the space for songwriting, indie rock sensibilities, and my lo-fi electronica interests to all live harmoniously under one roof.

HAAR is a love song to the natural world. Living in close proximity with wildlife, mountain ranges, coastline and forestry away from the buzz of city sized civilisation undoubtedly has become a recurring theme in lyrical inspo. Philosophies in living action to the tune of Scottish poetry prose by writers ala Nan Shepherd for instance. Being ‘happy in a silence most couldn’t bear’ and asking curiously ‘how long can you bear?’. To be without the crutches of modern technology and being isolated. ‘HAAR’ blends a super-sensitive pop sensibilities and ambient electronica palette in a whispered love song to Scotland’s wild bits.

Turnaround, the first song I composed and recorded for the album, was written and recorded in an afternoon. There’s an increased conviction and delivery behind the drum set after learning to arrange/track from scratch on my record Essential Maintenance For Human Happiness. It’s a hands in the air mantra for the down and out. A celebratory feeling in the name of new beginnings and hope in disaster. I suppose, not dissimilar from the sort of positive manifestation present on PAWS’ No Grace album. Overall though I think it’s me at my most ‘Indie Sleaze’ embracing self.

Love In Plague Time, is a sentimental shuffle to the missing embrace of loved ones during governmental social restrictions implicated throughout 2020/21’s global emergency.

De Nada Artwork

Louvre Selfie: a mid-record palette cleanser of analog arpeggiators, vocal samples, desk bells and floor tom counter rhythms that touch base on my longtime experimenting with home modded electronics like cassette players and cheap discarded children’s instruments. Implementing these varying styles, techniques and approaches crafting the sonic-space that I’ve found producing ambient folk pop songs.

It’s about a lady I saw taking a selfie with the Mona Lisa without actually stopping to look at it properly whatsoever. Tick. Next masterpiece please.

A Buried Life, takes inspiration from the great American novel of 1929, Look Homeward, Angel: a lamentful return to a land once known so well, now aged. The song draws parallels to the order of the day in smaller, rural communities which I frequent as well as reside in.

Low (Your Big Heart) is a song of many past lives. First conceived as a rolling mid-paced track demoed for a planned collaborative project with Emily Maxwell, drummer and songwriter of Nashville’s based Daddy Issues. The pandemic halted a planned trip to Scotland to write and record at Achley Farm so the song was re-labelled for PAWS LP5. As the pandemic pushed on, the song was revisited for a third take in the form of a piano rooted hymn like track. Here, in its final form it sits somewhere between the original idea and how the song would have been delivered, should PAWS have recorded it. Lamenting a brutally cold Scottish winter of harsh winds and snow.

Similar rural themes are thought of in The Lambing Snow. Maybe my favourite song on the record.

Ambient ender Turnaround (Overture) was recorded by sampling the backing vocals on Turnaround to a cassette tape loop whilst accompanying cello string samples recorded for Love In Plague Time. Using a self modded walkman to adjust loop speeds as preferred. A live, analog, tapestry of sensitivity and self reflection.

De Nada is out now on Phillip Jon Taylor’s own Wish Fullfillment label

Featured Photo Credit: Wish Fulfillment Press

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