If you were to write an intro for “Belong Together” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?

If you’ve been down before, a little bit of love goes a long way. Whether it’s a smile from a stranger or time spent with an old friend, that small connection can lift you out of darkness. This song is about that positive love. It’s too big of a world to go it alone, so reach out to someone somewhere and make sure they have a better day, and then I’m sure your day will follow. Because after all, we belong together.

6 Things You Don’t Know About Us:

Starting out as a drummer on the Dallas music scene to fronting The O’s before forming The Taylor Young Band. Which pop rockers from the ‘60s-the ’80s most influence you as an artist?

The Kinks, The Hollies, Big Star, Nick Lowe, XTC, I love them all.

How did your first album, Mercury Transit, showcase your genre-bending styles?

Being that Mercury Transit is a pop record written by a rock drummer born and raised in Texas who started playing psych-pop music as a teen, went on to become a well-toured acoustic folk front-man, and just found out how great electric guitars and amps are with his new full band + Toby, my bass player and producer, who comes from a strong 80’s linage of pop and a great ear for tone + big drum fills and synth lines to ripping guitar solos and tranced trip outs…we got it all on our first album.

Which is harder, writing about yourself or other people?

Easy to write about yourself, harder to write about others. Easier to write a sad song, harder to write a happy song. I think once songwriters exhaust themselves on themselves, we look to books, people in our own lives, fleeting impressions of complete strangers, to draw inspiration. There’s a lot to muse about out there, we just have to quiet our own voice so we can have the opportunity to listen and observe.

“Much in the way a great zombie flick isn’t really about the gory undead, but about the living people who are facing a weird, new reality, the best music from the pandemic is about the unique ways in which artists crafted their own takes on a universal experience.” How have your pandemic experiences inspired the upcoming album?

While we were all in the same relative boat during the pandemic, we had our own separate experiences, and that’s what I couldn’t stop thinking about. Maybe we lost someone, maybe we lost a connection with someone because of space, time, or a changing opinion. Maybe we were locked 50 floors up or trapped 5,000 miles away. A light was shone on the necessary and I think it’s more simple than we thought. This is my feeling going into our second album.

Something you were embarrassingly late to realize.

Loud amps are better.

If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

I wouldn’t have quit playing piano. I had some moves for a while as a kid, but the glory of rock’n’roll drums and MTV videos lead me to the trap set.

Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your lives and careers?

*Three songs for each bandmate = the 12 songs*

Taylor Young (lead vocal, guitarist, songwriter)

“Oh Girl” Chi-Lites

 

TomThis tune has been circling my brain since before I can remember remembering. Maybe that’s why I walk around with a melancholy vibe from time to time since the song is always in my head. Or maybe I’ve always been that way and that’s why I’m connected to the song. Either way, I’m sure you hear it in our music if listen really hard.

“Downtown Train” Tom Waits

Always reminding me there are a lot of ways to approach pop music, yet the core tenets of great songwriting remain the same. I used to only like the first few Tom Waits albums, I couldn’t get around the style adjustment later in his career until it got ahold of me. I become slightly crippled (in a good way) every time this song comes on. And I know that I can do music any way I want to do music, even if it feels weird at the beginning, you gotta go for it.

“Already Made Up Her Mind” Lyle Lovett

 

Reminding me I can still discover new music, even in my homeland of Texas. And that I still love playing the acoustic and there’s still a lot left to discover from that instrument. I talk about getting loud a lot, but there is equal power in quietness. The acoustic guitar has always been near and dear to me. It’s the drum of guitars, super percussive and responsive, and can really elicit some feelings. I just saw him play this song live in Deadwood, SD, and there were many, many feelings. Thanks for that Lyle Lovett.

Toby Pipes (bass, backing vocals)

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” Bauhaus

“Boys Don’t Cry” The Cure

 

“Hand in Glove” The Smiths

 

These songs influenced me to start playing guitar again after synths.

Austin Green (drums)

“Stand by Me” Ben E. King

“Drive My Car” The Beatles

 

Because those were the first two songs I really remember absolutely loving. Still love them. 

“Fire” Jimi Hendrix

 

Because it was the first song that the drums really grabbed my attention and made me want to start playing.

Michael Smith (lead guitar)

“The Rain Song (Live at MSG 1976)” Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same

 

Jimmy Page was my north star as a teenager learning how to play guitar, and as much as I loved him ripping solos over Rock and Roll, Black Dog, or Since I’ve Been Loving You, the lush, melodic soundscape of The Rain Song felt enveloping. The chords are beautiful, and the way Jimmy embellishes them with little melodies, particularly on this version of the song, is something I find myself instinctively trying to do as a guitar player. I think I watched this DVD every weekend in my formative years.

“These Days” Jackson Browne For Everyman

 

Jackson Browne is one of my favorite songwriters; he has a way of hitting me in the guts with his lyrics and melodies. This song is an introspection into the mind of a man both aware of his shortcomings and trying to make sense of them. David Lindley’s lap steel solo embodies what I strive to be as a player; it is intensely melodic, emotional, almost lyrical — like he is singing through his instrument. This is one of the first songs I heard on vinyl too, which introduced me into the magic of listening to music in that format. 

“6th Avenue Heartache” The Wallflowers Bringing Down The Horse

There is a bar right on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL my dad would take us to for lunch called the Pink Pony when we were kids, and I remember pumping all my change into the juke box to play The Wallflowers on repeat. Mike Campbell’s slide guitar part in 6th Avenue Heartache is one of my favorite guitar parts of all time, and Rami Jaffee’s B3 playing is the reason I own a B3, which I can’t even play! Jakob Dylan is one of my favorite songwriters and voices of all time, and we recently got to open up for them, which was supremely cool.

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