So much music waiting to be written – An Interview with Taylor Batory
Watching ‘School of Rock’ with his parents made Taylor Batory excited about entering the world of (rock) music. This passion brought him to eventually studying and graduating music and nowadays you’ll find him working on a plethora of solo projects but he’s also involved in handling recording and production for other people’s music. We know you’re always curious to see how young and aspiring music professionals are finding the drive to keep going in an industry that can often be quite tough to read the whole story below.
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you become a musician?
Hi, I’m Taylor Batory. I’m a solo artist from Richmond, MI, which is a middle-of-nowhere type town about 40 miles from Detroit. I had basically no interest in music until I was about 13 years old. My parents took me to see the movie ‘School of Rock’ in the theater. You know, that Jack Black movie where he’s a school teacher who shows his students how to play rock music. As cheesy as it is, I left the theater wanting to learn how to play guitar and rock out like the kids did in the film. My parents ended up getting me a starter guitar for my birthday, and in hindsight, I’m kind of surprised that I stuck with it. I started taking lessons from a local music store called Southern Thumb Music, and I even went on to teach there for a year or two when I was older.
Following high school, I was lucky enough to get to attend the summer program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. It was a great experience, but I couldn’t stand living in a big city. So, I decided not to go there and study full time. Instead, I eventually landed at Wayne State University in Detroit, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music and Minor in Media Arts. Since my graduation, I’ve been investing a lot of time and money into my home recording studio. I even started my own business called tB Audio LLC, in which I offer my recording and mixing services to clients. Amidst all this, I still write and record my own music and I’ve got many projects in the tubes.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!I’ve got a lot of albums planned, but I’m currently working on a record I started back in 2014. I’m not a huge anime fan by any stretch, but the album I’m writing right now is based on ‘Last Exile’, which is kind of a steampunk-themed show. It’s my first attempt at writing a gapless album, where each song segues into the next. It’s been a challenge, but I’m excited to see what I come up with for the last few songs.
I’m also recording my first EP, which is called ‘Space-like’. It’s a collection of three songs that I worked on and wrote during my time at Wayne State University. I’m currently in the process of playing/recording drums for it, so it still has a little way to go.
Outside of my own music, I’m working with clients on recording and mixing their music. So far, we’ve been working on some jazz fusion and gospel type music, which is fun because it’s outside of my comfort zone. I’m really excited to get their music done and out to the world!
How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all the time?
Honestly, sometimes I’m not even sure myself haha. There’s a lot of music I want to make, even though most of it is still unwritten. And all of it will remain unwritten and unheard if I don’t put time and effort into it. So I guess that’s what motivates me to keep at it. It helps that music is a passion of mine too haha.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
Haha, this question is a little tough for me because I’m not really aware of what is going on around town in terms of music. If we’re talking Richmond, MI, there are only a few kinds of musicians around. There are a few bar bands that just play covers, the teenagers who are trying to be rappers, and there are some student groups here and there that stems from the music store I teach at currently, KO Music Studio. I don’t really fit in with those groups because I’m a solo artist and I write and record progressive rock and metal, which isn’t a super popular genre in most places.
If we’re talking about Detroit, there’s great jazz and classical scene there. So many amazing musicians playing out and getting an education from either Wayne State University or Detroit Institute of Music Education. However, I don’t feel I fit there either, even when I studied jazz at WSU. If you want to be a jazz musician, you have to eat, sleep, and study jazz. And I was not that kind of guy. I respect jazz and I enjoy the sound of it occasionally, but there are certain reasons why I didn’t study it further after I graduated.
What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?
This is a tough call. One album that comes to mind is ‘Scenes from a Memory’ by Dream Theater. It’s not my favorite album of all time, but the song ‘Dance of Eternity’ shaped my entire descent into the progressive metal genre. I didn’t think things like that were even possible. Time signatures other than 4/4? Ragtime music in a metal song? Who knew?
But if I have to pick an all time favorite album, a good contender for that might be (see, I’m still indecisive) ‘Colors’ by Between the Buried and Me. That was the first gapless album I’d ever heard and I was blown away by the sheer concept of an album consisting of a continuous piece of music. By today’s standards, the album might use the same texture a bit much of heavy guitars and screaming. But the riffs are killer and the arrangements are so out there that it’s hard not to take notice of it.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
I use Pro Tools 12 for music production. I’ve achieved great sound with Waves plugins so be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for deals and offers (I’m not sponsored by them, I swear, I wish I was though). I also really enjoy the Audient iD14 USB interface because it’s got flexible digital functionalities via its downloadable app. Lastly, I really like the AKG P420 large diaphragm condenser mic. It sounds great and has a lot of features for a decent price.
What is your songwriting process like?
It’s a complete mess haha. I like to try to have a basic idea of what I’m going for before I start writing a song, but I usually go through phases when it comes to writing. What I mean by that is that I’ll be working on a song one night and then before you know it, 8 months have gone by and I haven’t worked on it at all. So, sometimes I focus more on recording than writing, but I’m trying to fix that. I usually have lyrics written well in advance and I’ll try to fit them into the music I write. I mostly just write the music as I go though. Most of my music doesn’t repeat too much, so I kind of just make it up as I go.
Which one was your most memorable live show and why?
I don’t have many to choose from, honestly. The most memorable might be my first show ever. A few buddies and I played at our high school talent show and we did ‘Californication’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers. We were maybe 14 years old at the time, and I had only been playing guitar for a year. We tried to look like the actual band, but I had this hideous looking Ibanez guitar that was totally unlike anything John Frusciante would play. But it went over well and we sounded as good for a high school band haha.
What is your biggest musical goal?
I’d just be happy if people listened (and hopefully bought) my music. I’m not looking to get rich or famous off of my music. I just like making it for whatever reason and I guess my biggest goal is to find a way to make a living working in the music industry. Whether it’s writing or recording it.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
It’s helped me get my music to an audience that might appreciate it a bit more. But it’s also a great way to network with people and potentially collaborate on music together. The promotional tools are pretty cool too, especially since all of it is free! I think Drooble has opened up opportunities for me to share my music and connect with people that I would have never reached otherwise. And for all that, I’ve been pretty happy with my experience on Drooble thus far.