TAYLOR LOCKE – “Time Stands Still”
The Debut Album Out 23rd Feb (Lojinx)
“Time Stands Still” is the first solo offering from ex-Rooney guitarist and vocalist Taylor Locke and despite it’s title, the record is a testament to creative momentum and personal growth for Locke. While it’s Locke’s first release as a true solo artist, it’s not your typical singer songwriter fare.
“I think the term ‘singer-songwriter’ sadly evokes a white guy in a coffee shop strumming a fucking g-chord all day,” explains Locke. “I think this record sounds more like a band record…the band just takes occasional smoke breaks.”
Locke knows bands. The Los Angeles native spent his youth running all over town, sneaking into shows and taking in the boom of alternative bands that flowed through the city in the 90s. Locke began promoting and playing his own all ages show before he was a teen and by the time he graduated high school, his band Rooney, had inked a major record deal. Locke set out on a decade long trip around the world through bars, theaters, arenas, and recording studios of all shapes and sizes.
Once Rooney finally slowed down in 2012, Taylor built his recording studio, and began writing and cutting songs with his side project Taylor Locke and the Roughs at a furious pace. In the two years they were together, The Roughs churned out 3 albums and a whole slew of b-sides. Locke then began to focus on his producing and engineering while he waited for inspiration to strike. And strike it did, in the form of a lyric journal from the iconic rock n’ roll svengali Kim Fowley (The Runaways, Gene Vincent, Alice Cooper, Kiss).
Locke explains, “I was given a notebook of lyrics from the legendary songwriter and manager Kim Fowley and decided to use those as a jumping off point. I was in sort of a loner mode and unsure if I wanted to start another band. I searched through the Fowley lyrics and showed the ones I liked to my friend Kelly Jones who had impressed me with her recent solo album Alta Loma. We wrote a couple songs using the Fowley lyrics but quickly exhausted that source and began moving in a new direction. We were going to call this project the Fowleys and make it a band thing but Kim said he’d sue the shit out of me. That made the decision to go solo pretty easy. I guess Kelly became the female J.D. Souther for this project.”
Although Locke’s bombastic and dynamic guitar playing has defined him up to this point, it is his song construction, personal story telling, and boyish tenor that come to the forefront on “Time Stands Still.” His guitar playing, which falls somewhere between the melodic drama of Brian May and the creative counterpoint of Joey Santiago, can still be found but it is the quiet moments of the album in which Locke expresses his thoughts on love, loss, nostalgia, and ultimately, maturation.
Locke elaborates, “Working with a female collaborator was more sympathetic in a way. Kelly and I would talk about the feelings and emotions we wanted to put into the songs and then start from there. We adopted an old fashionedNashville songwriter type mentality where we would work in focused sessions and finish songs on the day. I knew I had to come to the table with something every day.”
It’s the lyrically specific moments on “Time Stands Still” that jump out at the listener and draw attention to the fact that much of the album is autobiographical. Whether singing about the passing of young rock stardom (“Going, Going Gone”, “Time Stands Still”) or his personal LP collection (“The Art of Moving On,”) Locke realizes it’s these small, specific moments that can draw the listener in.
“A lot of songwriters that I like – Elliot Smith, John Lennon, Mike Viola, Kurt Cobain – use overtly personal references which you think would narrow the appeal, yet strangely, these slice of life moments often make the work more relatable,” states Locke.
Ultimately, Locke and his co-producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist partner Kyle Fredrickson, took the finished songs into the studio, and created a beautiful and concise pop record that is both timeless and contemporary. A wonderful blend of high fidelity sounds and home spun performances that evoke a range of emotions. The lyrics remain at the forefront of the album, leading the charge for the well arranged instruments to follow. In the end, this album is the sound of Taylor Locke moving on.