Dylan Taylor - Sound In The Signals Interview

Los Angeles-based drummer and producer Dylan Taylor garnered a lot of attention and success from the Youtube community. He creates unparalleled covers that combine his passion for drumming and EDM. He will be releasing his debut EP G.R.A.V.E.S. (Get Righteous And Vibe Every Second) on September 2nd. He has already released his debut song "Lost Hearts" featuring Cameron Byrd of Hollywood Ending and new track "Hurricane" featuring Jordan Witzigreuter of The Ready Set. He was kind enough to tell us why he naturally gravitated toward music, how the energy of EDM and Dubstep with a raw and loud drum beat behind it amplifies the song, and he teases what we can expect on the EP.

You've garnered a lot of interest and success from your covers on YouTube and you're set to release your debut EP soon. You started drumming while working with John Miceli (Meat Loaf) and Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit) discovered you through your videos. Tell us more about your background and music for those who may not be familiar.

I grew up on Long Island, about 45 minutes East of New York City. I have to give credit to where I grew up for helping me set outrageous goals and giving me the tools to achieve them. I naturally gravitated towards music because of my father.  He was back then, and still, in the Police Marching Band as a snare drummer, and we’ve always had musical instruments in the house growing up. Everything happened gradually, I started taking more music classes, even ones I knew I would be terrible at like ear training or piano 101. The goal was to surround myself with every single opportunity to learn and grow towards making me a better musician.  Fast forward to graduating and leaving for college, I really wanted to tour, and playing for different bands, basically make a living playing the drums. So I didn’t have much of a resume or anything to show for my playing yet, I needed to visually show people that I could play and sort of “audition” via YouTube.  Thus, my YouTube channel originally started as a resume of videos showing I can play various genres, have a particular image, etc. This is what lead to Wes discovering my Skrillex drum cover and flying me out to Los Angels to begin a tour with his band. The rest has been history, every opportunity opening doors for the next steps in my career.

Speaking of the covers on YouTube, how do you decide which songs you want to cover? Walk us through your choice of song to the final product we get to hear. Is there a certain cover you think would be a good introduction for new fans?

Choosing songs have always been such a difficult process. I try to take into consideration so many factors like how relevant the song is, will adding drums really bring the song to the next level, what level of production and filming should go into it, etc. For example,  one of my first successful covers was the Cinema by Skrillex video, and timing was everything. That song was nominated for “best remix” at the grammy’s or something, and I had just dropped the video a few days before. Also, I added some different visuals to make the video more than just a drum cover but like a music video.  Coincidentally,  he won the award and Google and YouTube searches for said song spiked and my drum cover got the secondary traffic from it as well. Now complete opposite story, I decided to do the Gotye video, really last minute and improvised most of my parts. The song “ Somebody I Used To Know” had already been out for almost 9 months, but KDrew did an awesome dubstep remix I thought making a drum video to would smash it! Turns on, my subscribers loved it, regardless of the timing, and happens to have over 4 million views to date. I recommend for fans to check out my channel in general, I try to cover as many genres as I can, whether you enjoy Macklemore, Skrillex, Crosses, Underoath, Electronic Music, or Lil’ Wayne; I have a little something for everyone!

You have a unique talent in mixing live drums with EDM, although you've also covered others including Taylor Swift, Underoath, and Pink. It's a great mix and it is very interesting to watch. How did you get interested in mixing the two?

Something about rock drums with EDM or Dubstep mixing really well naturally. The energy of both genres with a raw and loud drum beat behind it really amplifies the song. Whereas doing covers from other bands that already have a drum track, you’re basically following in that drummer’s footsteps and not giving your own style a chance to come forward. I think dubstep especially is rhythmic in all of the chopping synths and big bass drops that you can easily accent on the drums, making for a really awesome video to go with it!

Your debut EP G.R.A.V.E.S. is due out September 2nd. You've said "G.R.A.V.E.S. has been a culmination of sleepless nights and self-discovery of how best to showcase my passion for drumming and electronic music...I know G.R.A.V.E.S. (Get Righteous And Vibe Every Second) will give listeners the same excitement upon hearing it that I felt when I first started this creative process. Now, I'm ready for the world to finally have a glimpse into the mind of Dylan Taylor". While we wait for the release, take us into the mind of Dylan Taylor during the writing and recording process.

Well some days were easier than others to write this record. Obviously getting through writers’ block is always a task in itself, but after a year of playing around with different demos, or looking for the write sound, or becoming a better producer, I finally reached the songs I thought best illustrated the energy I wanted convey while I was in Europe drum teching for Mayday Parade. We would have these long bus rides going between different countries, and while everyone slept, I would usually stay in the lounge with my laptop and keyboard, writing until the sun came up. Once I had the skeletons, or basic versions of the songs, I got home from tour and really started editing the tracks and looking for singers to feature on some of the songs. It truly is a “process,” at least 15 different versions of all these songs, in different song structures, with different drum sounds, etc. Finally, I found the right combination an stumbled upon what will be the tracks on G.R.A.V.E.S. and I couldn’t be any more excited for people to hear them!

You've released "Lost Hearts" featuring Cameron Byrd of Hollywood Ending and "Hurricane" featuring Jordan Witzigreuter of The Ready Set. You've said "It's been a very humbling and exciting experience to work with such gifted artists on my debut EP; their voices help give my songs an identity and character that wouldn't be possible without their talents". The mixture of live drums, their voices, and the EDM beats is great. Explain why you chose them and what you think they add to the songs.

I’ve had songs that I’ve been working on for so long, you sometimes need a fresh perspective or ears on it to really bring it to the next level. Something about the difference between an instrumental track and a track with vocals really stands out in the EDM world. Some songs are just meant to hit the dancefloor as hard as possible, and others are to have the crowd sing as loud as they can and I feel like Cameron smashed that second goal we were trying to reach. I like sending the instrumental track to the singer, and saying “write whatever comes to heart, any theme, any melody, let it be natural.”  I think sometimes it can be forced if I direct the singer into like a “write about this broken heart that I have and talk about blah blah blah.” Also, at that point, I’ve spent so many hours hearing the same music and editing it and looking for different sounds that it needs a fresh set of ears to approach it from a different angle.  Jordan’s track “Hurricane” is a little sexier and about having a vibe.  He sings fast and smooth and his lyrical concepts really helped give the instrumental parts an identity. I know I keep using these words like “life,” “identity,” “character,” “energy,” when describing songs because I feel like instrumental tracks can be, not all the time of course, a little empty, or robotic. After adding a vocalist like Cameron or Jordan, the song morphs into a living and breathing song you can

Is there anything you can tease about the EP for fans who are waiting for the release? What's next for Dylan Taylor before and after the release?

Especially as my first official release, I wanted to give listeners a little of everything; Rebirth will attempt to blow the bass in your speakers from hitting so hard, Hurricane is a track you can vibe and dance to, and a track like Dream With You is going to make for a very sensual, sexy music video later down the road.  For things to come, I’m really focusing on my live performance sets. Incorporating drums like never seen before to electronic music, while also getting the crowd hyped and dancing! I am beyond excited and anxious to get this EP out and working towards the next steps of even more new music, touring, music videos, collaborations, it’s all coming soon!

Thanks for the interview. Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for the interview and I look forward to playing as many shows so that everyone gets to experience my Drummer + DJ performance!

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