Maria Taylor Doesn't Even Care About This Interview...

ALLSTON, Mass.—The last time Maria Taylor came to the Boston area she brought a completely different band, she had a completely different record to promote and she played at a very different venue. While so much has changed since her visit last June, one thing has stayed the same the entire time: it is, and always has been all about the music.

The 32-year-old singer-songwriter played to a hefty crowd at the Great Scott in Allston last Tuesday night on a tour that will take her through New York City before she heads back home to Los Angeles. In a quick interview before her headlining performance, Taylor spoke about how this tour has been fun, how the economy has changed the music industry, and how, at the end of the day, nothing is more important than the music she makes.

“There’s just this different thing,” Taylor started off, with a smile on her face and a vodka and soda water in her hand. “Usually I have fun on tour but there’s a side of me that gets stressed out. There has been no
stress and no tension,” she said.
Much of the added relief this time around is due to the company she has with her on this tour. Whispertown2000, also from Los Angeles, are an indie-band with whom Taylor has a long history. The two bands share several band members, making for a very tightly knit group. Among them are Morgan Nagler, Whispertown2000 lead singer, who affirmed, “We are all in love with each other.”

Taylor brings different people on tour every time. She says that if she is going to play music as a solo musician she sees no reason to keep herself around the same people all the time. “For one, I have so many friends that don’t get to travel like I do. I want them to see what I get to see. And for me it just makes it more fun so I’m not around the same people,” she explains.

The mixing of members also does something for the music. “Every tour sounds different because people add their personalities [to the songs],” Taylor said. It also helps to keep things fresh to a young woman who has been playing some of the same songs since the release of her first solo album, “11:11,” in 2005. “When it came to ‘Song Beneath the Song,’ I was like, ‘we have to change it.’ So we changed the key and I told people to play whatever they want during the interlude,” she said.

Despite the need for a mix-up every now and then, the music still holds a personal connection with the Birmingham, Alabama native. “I have my babies,” she says, speaking of her favorite songs, “and I’m so emotionally attached to them.”

She wastes no time writing music, immediately tossing out ideas for songs that she doesn’t like. “There are some people who have 20 songs [on a record] and they don’t care for some of them. Pretty much every song I have I put on a record,” she said.

It’s this kind of love for her music that keeps Taylor writing music, going on tour, and playing the “game” she calls the music industry. In a tough economy, Taylor maintains that there is nothing else for her to do, despite that she expects to make less money on this tour than on past tours. “It’s weird,” she says. “’Cause you want to progress in your career, you know?”
Taylor’s manager insisted that she take a tour manager along with her on this tour. She says that she has so much fun on tour that she often forgets to get paid.

“This is absolutely what I would do for fun and that still amazes me. And sometimes I feel like I don’t take it as seriously as I need to ‘cause it’s my job and my career and I don’t have a family to fall back on. I need to grow up,” she confesses.

Not every day is a walk in the park, though. There is an aspect of her career that she has no taste for: the music industry. “My whole thing with this industry is that I love music and I want to be a part of it but the industry grosses me out. I have to play the game a little bit but I don’t want to,” she says. Little attention is paid to album sales, profits made, or ranks on billboard charts. “I don’t give a shit,” she says with a smirk on her face. “I don’t even care about this interview.”

Just before it’s time for Taylor to take her place on the stage, she pauses for a picture with two fans—a debacle in which Taylor insisted that the picture be taken several times. “I look so drunk!” she says. “We have to do it again.”

As the lights dim and the house music is cut any signs of inebriation are far from noticeable. The small room is filled with cheers and screams while camera flashes light up the air previously lit by only the neon beer signs that line the rustic brick walls. Drunk or not, Taylor affirms what she said in the interview: she is overcome by an honest look of pure contentment. The night ends with a Whispertown2000-Maria Taylor collaboration and a rousing round of “Happy Birthday” to Casey Wisenbaker, who played drums for the majority of the night.

There is a definitive atmosphere in the room that Taylor predicted before taking up her spot behind the microphone. “People come in and you feel the energy and then every song is like a different song every time.” Even without such an atmosphere, though, it’s clear that she would be set back only very little. “Even if no one was here, though, we would be having a great time,” she says. “That’s how you know it’s going to be a great tour: even if no one comes, we just have fun with each other.”

The Economy and the Music Industry

ALLSTON, Mass.—One thing is clear about the state of the economy in the United States: business is down and people are spending less and saving more. In the music industry, though, the change may not be as obvious or predictable as expected.

Morgan Nagler, lead singer for Whispertown2000, an indie-rock band out of Los Angeles, spoke about the current economic climate on Tuesday before playing at the Great Scott in Allston.

As [the economy] gets worse the arts and entertainment become more important to people,” Nagler said. “People are struggling and it’s important to connect to people in the world and share your experience right now.”

This is all part of what Nagler called the “economic backlash” in which people come together to unite in their troubles. However, her suggestions do not mean that this is the time to drop out of high school and start a band. Tod Adrian, guitarist, bassist and drummer of Whispertown2000, says that they expect the same profits from this tour as tours in the past.

“There are definitely more people coming to shows, and that’s partly due to the fact that we’re still a new band and we’re still getting more fans.”

To Adrian and Nagler, having more people at their shows across the country does not add up to more income. When asked about financing the tour, Adrian says this tour has been what they expected.

“I want to say normal just because more people know who we are than on our last tour. I don’t know if more people are buying shirts and stuff. Gas is $2 cheaper than last time. Mostly just our personal finances are different, which is what everyone is thinking about.”

Things look different for a band that isn’t just getting their feet wet and has been firmly planted in the music industry for some time. Maria Taylor, who headlined the show at the Great Scott on Tuesday, said that this tour has been noticeably different.

“I’ll make less money on this tour, which is kind of weird because you want to make progress,” the 32-year-old singer-songwriter said.

Taylor, who got her start in the Omaha music scene as a part of the duo Azure Ray, is used to a certain amount of fan support that may not be as strong as it used to be. “Even for shows people want to see, they’re like, ‘oh, I’ll see her next time because I have no money.’”

Despite less fan support, Taylor is still in it for the long haul. “My whole thing with this industry is that I love music and I want to be a part of it; but the industry grosses me out. I have to play the game a little bit even though I don’t want to.”

Maria Taylor and Whispertown2000 are saving money on this tour by being resourceful. The two bands share members as well as a tour van that holds all 9 people. Less band members means their paychecks get split fewer ways. It is by no means the famed life of a rock star that the public admires, but it isn’t a poor man’s life either.

“We have gotten to a point where you can’t sleep on couches every night. This is our life and we’re adults,” insists Adrian.

Though this tour may not have accrued the same number of fans Maria Taylor is used to on her cross-country musical voyages, the concert at the Great Scott may have marked the backlash that Nagler foresees. The venue filled almost to capacity with an enthusiastic and engaging crowd by the time Taylor took the stage. Nearly every voice in the small venue—lit only by the neon beer signs that hang on the brick walls—was singing along to every song, including those off of Taylor’s latest album, Ladyluck, which came out only two weeks ago. Just before midnight, Taylor stopped in the middle of her last song, in order to lead the audience in a round of “Happy Birthday” for Casey Wisenbaker, the drummer for her and Whispertown2000.

Even if such a backlash doesn’t occur, it seems to be of little importance to Maria Taylor and her friends in Whispertown2000. “Even if no one came we would be having a great time,” Taylor said. “That’s how you know it’s going to be a great tour, because we just have fun with each other.”

Today and Tomorrow, Tonight and Forever

Looking for something to do tonight? BU student and folk musician Spitzer Space Telescope is playing at the Morse Auditorium to celebrate the release of his full length album. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Facebook event here.
Spitzer Space Telescope here.

If you can't make it, don't worry. Spitzer will be on the show tomorrow. So don't forget to tune into between 4-6 p.m.

Mondays Become Thursdays

Because of Marathon Monday, the Fleshy Fresh will not air tomorrow. Instead, it will air on Thursday at its usual time (4-6 p.m.).

Now, my hope is that you've seen this video already. It's gotten millions upon millions of views. If you haven't, then promise me you'll watch the entire thing. Ok? Ok.

(They won't let me embed the video, but there's the link: here).

Unsigned Artist of the Week: Jenny Owen Youngs

If you've been with the Fleshy Fresh since before this blog originated, then you'll notice that I'm cheating. Jenny Owen Youngs has already been our Unsigned Artist of the Week. But if you haven't, well, you wouldn't know that if I didn't just tell it to you. Anyways, who's to say that she doesn't deserve a little extra attention via the internet?

It is my understanding that Jenny is in fact signed, but really, who gives a shit. Just check her out.

Jenny just put out a new EP, Led to the Sea. What people loved about her previous release Batten the Hatches is still there: her voice is delicate but ear-piercing; her words are insightful; and the actual music--it's pretty damn catchy if I do say so myself.

Led to the Sea may not be as blatant or straightforward as Batten the Hatches, but what she lacks in word choice she makes up for with solid song composure. The arrangement of her songs is more sophisticated and elegant. It's no surprise that this 27-year-old, New Jersey-native is making ripples in the land of female indie singer-songwriters.

"Led to the Sea" is clearly the best song on the 4-track EP, and you can listen to it if you go to her myspace: However, "Nighty Night" (which you can also hear on her myspace) comes in a close second, reminscent of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek." To get the last two songs on the collection you're gonna have to head over to her page on iTunes and download the thing. Trust me, it's worth the 4 bucks.

Show Re-cap, Maria Taylor, and Making the Time Pass By

Hi Peeps. Here's the rundown for yesterday's show:

TBS Countdown: "Cute Without the e (Acoustic)" from Punk Goes Acoustic Vol. 1
Countdown to Blink: Reckless Abandon from Take off Your Pants and Jacket
Love is for Losers: Maria Digby - "Girlfriend"
Fleshy Flashback: June - "If Kenneth Could Speak"

Our unsigned artist of the week was none other than the lovely Jenny Owen Youngs. She put out a new EP called Led To the Sea. We'll have more on her later, but until then, stop by her website and visit her on iTunes.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, and in honor of Maria Taylor's show at the Great Scott tomorrow night, here is her video for "Time Lapse Lifeline." Got any questions you want answered by MT? Let me know!

It's a good time to be a BU student

Also, don't forget about the show tomorrow!
4 p.m.

Everyone. Everywhere. Dance!

BU Hockey

If you don't like BU Hockey you aren't a real BU student.

The Pills Have Finally Kicked In

In case you haven't noticed, I love talking about Dave Smallen. He was our unsigned artist several weeks ago, but he keeps giving me more things to share with you.

As I mentioned before, he is releasing each track off his latest record one at a time. The newest addition to an already superb collection of songs: "Waiting For the Pills."

I've seen Mr. Smallen play this live, and ever since I've been anxiously waiting for him to share this with the world. And sharing it is exactly what he's doing; for the song is available as a free download on his site during the month of April. Don't miss this opportunity!

If you do download it for free, do him a favor and spread the word. Good musicians like him deserve attention and recognition.

Listen to the song here.

The Last Lecture

Tune in tomorrow for Intern Take-over Day!

For those of you on or around the campus of Boston University:

Dr. Doe West: The Last Lecture

The inaugural event for this annual series, hosted by the Undergraduate Psychology Association, invites a faculty member to come give a lecture with the premise: "If you knew you only had one last lecture to give, what would you say?"

This year, we welcome Doe West to the stage. This event will be a great opportunity to hear from a truly remarkable and inspiring woman.

Admission is free, but the speaker suggests bringing a small donation to be given to local domestic violence shelters. We hope to see you there. Doors open at 6:30PM.

Partially funded by your Undergraduate Student Fee.
7:00pm on Wednesday, April 8th 2009
End Time
Photonics Center - PHO 206 (8 St. Mary's Street)
Undergraduate Psychology Association
Sponsored By
Undergraduate Psychology Association

Wild Things Are Where?

Thank you to our musical guest on Monday, Allison Francis! We did record the performance so you'll be able to hear it soon.

Next Monday is Intern Take-over Day! So Shareen and Brian will be running the show. It's bound to be interesting, to say the least.

Here is something that makes my heart sing with anticipation and joy. If something sounds familiar, it's probably "Wake Up" by the Arcade Fire.