We're thrilled to introduce you to our newest writer Fin Taylor. Fin is a musician, composer, perfomer and teacher with a wide and varying knowledge of all things music and a huge passion to match.
Who is your favourite band/musician/songwriter of all time?
My favourite band of all time is, with no contest whatsoever, They Might Be Giants. TMBG grew out of the Brooklyn alternative college radio scene in the 80s and laid the foundation for “alternative” as a genre in a way nobody had really done before, championing the idea of individualism in music above notions of genre, theme or mood. There’s one particular interview where one of TMBG’s songwriters speaks about the band getting passed off as a novelty act, when in reality they were simply attempting to do something that was interesting to them at the time. This blew my mind at the time - the idea that it’s possible to do bizzare and outlandish things artistically without it necessarily being a ‘joke’ was the idea I’d been waiting to hear my whole life.
Who is your favourite local band/musician/songwriter and why?
My favourite Brisbane band has long been a group called the Jakarta Criers, a progressive/alternative pop-rock group that (to the best of my knowledge) is no longer active. Their second EP Regal Twin is the best thing I’ve heard this city produce in years, and it’s mostly down to the way they match mood to concrete musical ideas. Their ability to introduce an interesting lyrical concept over a solid, straightforward musical framework, then reshuffle the elements over and over again to support the development of the lyrical/emotional theme, is something I’ve always greatly admired in a group and no easy feat.
Where is your favourite live music venue?
Favourite venue would have to be the (now-closed) New Globe Theatre. Growing up in the Brisbane music scene and having a venue that would always book my band, have pretty much anyone onstage, and let pretty much anyone in (within reason) was a crucial element for fostering a deep sense of community amongst the other players. The New Globe, in its heyday, represented everything that a beginning young band/artist could want for developing confidence and resilience as a performer - purely by the fact that it felt like it was okay to fail there. I owe most of my confidence as an onstage performer to the fact that I got to make all my mistakes at the New Globe, where the stakes were low and if we cocked up a song, we could just count four and start again.
What bands have you played in yourself?
From 2013-2017, I fronted the alternative rock group Dave Is A Spy (formerly Tesla Coil) and we ran a decent two EPs that are still available on bandcamp and Spotify. During that time I also played in the folk-rock group Ocean Leaves, the Irish punk group Dangerous Folk, and the musical comedy duo The Fin And Kelton Show. Currently, I’m playing and co-running a horror-blues/psychobilly group called Shakes Fear and the Skeleton Gang, along with backing band duties Your Man Alex Smith, and various other session gigs. Additionally, I’m the residential accompanist for Kristian Fletcher’s Roaring Twenties Silent Cinema, and a composer for musical theatre, with my first show Don’t Call Me Ishmael premiering at UQ in early 2018.
What was your favourite show to play and why?
Big question... I’d have to say my favourite gig thus far was the debut of the aforementioned musical Ishmael. The production sold out the Schonell Theatre and featured an eight-piece ensemble, performing to a crowd of 420. I’m a composer at heart, so hearing my work realised with full scope was a magical experience.
How did you get involved in the music community?
My first exposure to performing would have been playing the trombone in my primary school band. I quickly realised performing was something I liked more than anything else, and after teaching myself songwriting I decided not to wait around and started my first band at age 14 (Dave Is A Spy). From there, I entered the gigging community and joined more bands.
What would you like to see more of at shows?
The things I feel like I miss the most in current Brisbane music are tightly structured songs and sets, vocal harmony, thematic vision (don’t be afraid to thing BIG with your concepts) and generally more people being weird in an interesting and engaging fashion. Bands that make an effort to have specific, memorable things about their set always stick in my mind for weeks, sometimes years.