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HomeInterviewsDylan Taylor Opens Up About “Smoke Clears” and Signing with Bluewater Music

Dylan Taylor Opens Up About “Smoke Clears” and Signing with Bluewater Music

For Nashville-based Dylan Taylor, music has always been around in her life. From the moment her father taught her about the impact writing can have on how one interprets their life, she turned to the artists that she looked up to and followed their career paths by becoming a musician herself.

Her newest single/music video, “Smoke Clears,” adds a classic sound to her songcraft library, and encapsulates the time that rock ‘n’ roll was taking the music industry by storm. Between releasing albums to starting bands, she can connect with people who listen to her music by telling stories that they are unable to tell themselves.

In “Smoke Clears,” the universal feeling of being afraid of one’s own rage is captured and brought to life.

Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Dylan Taylor to talk about her unique blend of country and rock and her love of writing songs.

How would you describe your own music?

That’s a hard question! I’ve written all kinds of songs for all kinds of things over the years. I try to keep them honest. Writing them helps me dissect my own emotions and understand them better. Or at least get to know them better. So, I hope that comes through. I hope that my dissection saves someone else some time and energy.

Tell us more about “Smoke Clears.” What was your experience of making it?

Making the music video was fun! We did all the shooting in less than 4 hours. Celestine [the kid starring] was amazing! I’m stoked to watch her grow as an actor. We had a great team too. Marshall Loren shot it, Bryce Barker was our lights guy, and my sister, Madison Braun, produced it and helped me with all the props and the tent. Then I took it home and edited it into a video! I think the slime was the best part of that day.

Can you share the inspiration behind the track and the creative process involved in bringing it to life?

‘Smoke Clears’ is a moment in time. It’s the moment when you realize you have a very limited amount of time to find a safe place to lose your mind without inconveniencing the world around you. Truly breaking down is not something you can do around just anyone; you’ve got to trust that person or those people to love you at your worst. So, there’s a bit about that in there, too. ‘But shaky ground won’t hold, heavy hearts no, wish I could surrender in your hands…. But I know better than to break down here.’

With “Smoke Clears” what was your main focus? What did you really want to try and achieve with this track?

I just really wanted to express that emotion of feeling trapped in your own rage and finding a ‘good’ way to let it out. The producer of the song, R.S. Field, did a really great job manning the ship on that one. Dennis Drummond and Kenny Vaughn brought it to life with the guitars, I love the leads in this song. I think they do a really cool job of illustrating, with their sound, that search for a safe spot. The “OOOH AHHH’s” turned out really cool too. R.S. and Joe Costa (our resident music engineering wizard) put the magic effect on those!

What sets your sound apart from others in the rock genre?

Probably my country streak! Seems a bit too country to be 100% rock, and a bit too rock to be 100% country. You could say it’s a kind of rock that is firmly steeped in the Southern tradition. I think my lyrical style a lot of times comes from my country background, and my melodies may be a bit more rock or pop because of growing up with my dad, who was big into guitar-heavy rock-pop music.

What kind of guitar, pedals, and amps are you using?

In the studio, R.S. usually employs every kind of vintage guitar and amp under the sun. He likes to call himself a self-titled ‘guitarchitect!’ When we recorded ‘Smoke Clears,’ Dennis had his modeling amp and his Telecasters, and the great Kenny Vaughn used his old Vox. Catch this: it is the only Vox model made in America that has tubes/valves! How special is that? Kenny mainly played vintage Fender Telecasters, Jerry Jones 12-string, and Jerry Jones baritone guitars. For the electrics on my upcoming album, we didn’t use any guitar amps. Dennis, our lead guitar, uses a Fletcher modeling amp and it is so good in my opinion, that we didn’t even use an extension speaker cabinet. The Fletcher has a kaleidoscope of effects combinations that sound good to me. All of the acoustic instruments are played by Lex Price. He has an arsenal: Advantage Acoustics, mandolins, bazoukis, you name it.

Dylan Taylor
Dylan Taylor

What’s your definition of tone and has your tone changed over time?

I think the thing that has changed is simply that I know what tone is now, haha! I think when we’re young, we walk around using that term a lot of times without actually having heard enough ‘tones’ to know the difference. I don’t have the best ear in the world, but I know when stuff sounds wrong these days! And I’m super lucky to be surrounded by top-notch artists, so my taste buds stay pretty seasoned with good stuff.

Now, I do want to ask as well, what’s been the highlight of your career so far? Maybe touring or who you’ve played with, something that’s really stood out.

That’s a hard one too! I was really hard on myself for a long time, and probably still am before I signed up with Bluewater Music. I look back now and I’m proud of that past version of me for doing all the stuff I did back then and sticking it out long enough to find a good home for my songs. It was a rough road, to say the least… with a lot of good times too but it was rough for sure. Signing with Bluewater Music as a songwriter was a really big deal after being indie for as long as I was. Put some of my self-doubt surrounding my writing to rest and gave the songs a future.

Do you prefer the intimacy of a smaller venue or the spectacle of a larger venue? What’s your preference for that?

I definitely prefer the smaller-sized venues just because that’s where I’ve spent most of my life. I like being able to hang out with the door guy.

Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?

I enjoy them all in different ways! I think writing is the one thing that’s always been there for me and that I’m best at. So, if I had to pick one, probably that.

Based on your own experiences and lessons learned, what guiding principles or words of wisdom would you share with aspiring artists looking to carve out their own path in music?

In music or the music industry? Haha, I’ve found they’re two totally different things. I think if you want to be the best artist you can be, though, with any medium, you have to stay curious, hopeful, disruptive, and loyal to the honesty in your art. And just constantly be creating. Making versions of your thing. And appreciating the art of others and the world around you, so you can evolve and create even cooler versions of yourself and your art, inspired by your experiences in the world.

What’s next for you?

More music and art! I’ve been recording a whole bunch of new songs with Bluewater and R.S. Field, and I think it’s just getting better and better. I just put out another new song called ‘Damn My Heart’ and there’s a really cool music video coming out for it soon. I’m also going to be playing a few army bases this fall, so if you know anybody living near one maybe tell them to keep an eye out for me! I’m looking forward to meeting some new people at those shows!

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Randy Radic

Randy Radic is a former super model who succumbed to the ravages of time and age. Totally bereft of talent, he took up writing “because anyone can do it.” He smokes cigars (a disgusting habit) and has pet snakes (which is just gross). And some people say he’s aloof.

Randy Radic
Randy Radic is a former super model who succumbed to the ravages of time and age. Totally bereft of talent, he took up writing “because anyone can do it.” He smokes cigars (a disgusting habit) and has pet snakes (which is just gross). And some people say he’s aloof.
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