Am Taylor’s music is rich and contemplative, with intricate, dreamy guitar layers that mirror the lyrics’ multiple meanings. Formerly the lead singer of the Atlanta band Sexual Side Effects, Taylor recently took a hiatus to launch their solo project, and today, they’re releasing their second single, “Bright Yellow Sun.”
In the hypnotic track, Taylor blends elements of psychedelic rock and early Radiohead, with powerful guitar riffs and echoey, drawn-out vocals. The singer/songwriter/guitarist played with guitar pedal sounds to give the song a “dramatic, explosive vibe,” they explain.
The original inspiration for the song came from a partner of Taylor’s who expressed suicidal thoughts; they wrote it about what they were feeling in that moment. But then, the imagery took on a life of its own, and it became about runner-chaser relationship dynamics and anxious and avoidant attachment styles, with the metaphor of the sun chasing the moon.
“I think a lot of songs I’ve written are love songs, but — and I think all musicians do this — they come from a place of some kind of psychological shadow they’re working through or something deeper within their psyche,” they say.
Back in the days of live performances, Taylor would play the song amid a cloud of fog with lights behind them for a “weird psychedelic other-worldly vibe.” The video produces the same effect, with rainbow colors swirling around Taylor along with images of ancient Mexican temples. They used a projector to create the cosmic backgrounds, aiming to visually represent the feeling of a bright yellow sun and to express their interest in New Age beliefs and the supernatural.
Since the days of Sexual Side Effects’ rock and roll, Taylor has been doing more acoustic songs and incorporating psychedelia and dream-pop. The dream-pop influences in particular are audible on their first single as a solo artist, “Driving on the Edge of Night,” where you can also hear classic rock influences and a slow, meditative beat a bit reminiscent of The Velvet Underground.
On top of their music, Taylor recently took some time to work on illustrations that incorporate their interest in the occult, which they’ll eventually sell alongside more traditional band merch on their website. “After touring and playing a lot and dealing with bands breaking up and all that drama, I kind of became a hermit and started doing a lot of artwork, and it was a lot easier to sit around and do art and not have to try to get publicity or go on tour,” they reflect.
Though Taylor is working on a full-length album that they plan to put out at some point, they’re initially focusing on releasing singles on Spotify in order to gain attention as a solo artist before the album release. They’re also collaborating with Jayne County, the first openly trans singer in a punk-rock band and the inspiration for the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, on several songs. Together, they’re preparing to launch a debut single called “I Don’t Fit in Anywhere,” which County wrote about her experience with gender identity.
Taylor, however, doesn’t generally write about being trans; they prefer to just let their life speak and be an inspiration for others. “I feel like my purpose within gender identity is to just be who I am as a person and let everybody else kind of interpret it and figure it out for themselves,” they explain. “When you’re just a human being and you’re being who you are and connect on that level, I think people see that, and if they had preconceived notions about what you’d expect, they can be shifted. I think my purpose in life is to just be who I am and let the world know it’s OK to just be who you are.”
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