29-Jan-2020 | James Taylor - Exclusive Interview
Exclusive Interview with James Taylor
Throughout Northern Ireland's 'Troubles' you were always frequent visitors on tour. Had you ever any worries?
WE DIDN’T ACTUALLY, WE PLAYED IN THE EARLY 80’S WITH MY FIRST BAND ‘THE PRISONERS’ AND CONTINUED TO PLAY REGULARLY IN BELFAST FOR MANY YEARS WITH JTQ, THEN IT WENT QUIET FOR US THERE, I DON’T KNOW WHY. WE NEVER FELT NERVOUS OR HAD ANY TROUBLE, ON THE CONTRARY, WE MADE GOOD FRIENDS WITH MANY PEOPLE AND ALWAYS HAD A GOOD TIME. THE BELFAST CROWD WERE THE MOST EXCITING AND RESPONSIVE IN THE WORLD AT THAT TIME.
The Northern Ireland gigs were always well attended. Where you always aware you had such a big following over here?
IT WAS A SURPRISE IN THE EARLY DAYS TO GET SO MANY BIG SHOWS THERE. FOR SOME REASON OUR KIND OF MUSIC CLICKED WITH YOUR CROWD, IT WAS A HAPPY COMING TOGETHER.
I've seen you many times including a date at the University in Coleraine but it's been a while since you last played over here. Any particular reason?
I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHY, SO MANY GIGS IN THE SOUTH BUT NOTHING IN THE NORTH FOR A VERY LONG WHILE, PARTICULARLY AFTER SO MANY GOOD YEARS THERE. I GUESS PUNTERS GROW UP AND HAVE KIDS, SETTLE DOWN ETC. OFTEN THESE DAYS OUR PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE WHO USED TO COME WATCH US, THEN HAD KIDS, NOW THE KIDS HAVE GROWN UP LEAVING MUM AND DAD FREE TO PARTY AGAIN.
Will the Belfast show be a 'hits', type gig?
WE'LL AIM TO PLAY SOME NEW STUFF, OLD STUFF, HITS, OBSCURITIES, A WIDE RANGE OF MATERIAL REALLY.
All these years later is it hard to retain the enthusiasm for travelling all over the world playing shows?
I LOVE PLAYING SHOWS BUT I GET EXHAUSTED FROM TOO MUCH TRAVELLING SO I DO FAR LESS THESE DAYS.
What does the future hold for JTQ? New albums in the pipeline?
WE HAVE A NEW ALBUM OUT IN MARCH, THE SINGLE IS OUT ON JAN 31ST ‘PEOPLE GET READY'
Apart from the obvious - that the band is quality - why do you think you have retained your popularity when so many other bands at the start of the Acid Jazz scene, faded away?
MIGHT BE BECAUSE WE FOCUSED SO MUCH ON THE LIVE SIDE OF THINGS, WE WERE NEVER DEPENDENT ON A RECORD COMPANY. WE RETAINED OUR AUTONOMY AND THAT GAVE US FLEXIBILITY TO ADAPT TO CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES AND STILL BE ABLE TO PLAY A GOOD SHOW WHATEVER. BUT REALLY, I DON’T KNOW, I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO OUR PUNTERS AND WE ALWAYS TRY TO REPAY THEIR LOYALTY BY PLAYING HARD AND WELL.
Starsky and Hutch remains your signature theme tune. Many bands get fed up having to play their 'main song' night after night. Does it bother you?
WE DON’T ALWAYS PLAY STARSKY, BUT YES, ITS BEEN A BIG TUNE FOR US. HOWEVER MOST BANDS WANT A TUNE LIKE THAT IN THEIR SET SO THEY CAN MAKE THE LIVE SET KICK OFF, ITS REALLY BEEN A GREAT HELP FOR US THAT TUNE SO I NEVER FEEL TIRED OF IT.
There have been too many releases to mention but if you had to pick your own personal half a dozen favourites, what would they be and why?
THIS NEW ALBUM IS A WINNER, ITS OUT MID MARCH, ITS CALLED 'PEOPLE GET READY'
THE LAST ONE WAS COOL TOO…SOUNDTRACK FROM ELECTRIC BLACK
I WAS PLEASED WITH THE CHORAL ALBUM ‘ROCHESTER MASS’, I DEDICATED IT TO MY FATHER WHEN HE PASSED AWAY SO IT MEANS A LOT TO ME.
THEN GOING BACK, SUPERNATURAL FEELING WAS A WINNER
I LIKED THE MONEYSPYDER TOO
ABSOLUTE WAS GOOD.. THE LIVE ALBUM..
SOME OF THE PRODUCTION MUSIC ALBUMS ARE COOL. ONE CALLED ‘THE HUSTLE’ I REALLY LIKE
And your favourite live shows/destinations?
CAN BE ANYWHERE, ITALY IS ALWAYS NICE,, VENICE, BOLOGNA ARE MY FAVES DOWN THERE, WHEREVER THE PUNTERS MAKE US FEEL WELCOME WE LOVE IT!
Thanks for giving me your time and supporting our website. Hopefully grab a quick chat with you before the show in March.
GOOD STUFF MICHAEL, THANKS SO MUCH. LOVE TO ALL UP THERE AND WE CAN’T WAIT TO COME AND PLAY FOR SUPERFLY FUNK AND SOUL BELFAST.
Interview by Michael Anderson.