Julian Taylor He’s Never Gonna Give it Up

Cashbox Julian Taylor June 20.png

Submitted by Lenny Stoute

The sparkling and soulful leadoff single on Julian Taylor’s excellent Tech Noir album is  titled ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ While on the obvious level it’s about skin-to-skin love, it also refers to Taylor’s hardworking, never give up approach to his career. The twin engines driving this are the urge for success and the desire to make music both pleasurable and positive. On the phone from his East Side digs, Taylor is happy that aspect of the music’s getting noticed.

“At the core it’s an album made for people who want to feel good, feel uplifted. That’s the feedback I’m getting from a wide age range of people and I’m glad it’s appealing to a wide spectrum of listeners. It’s satisfying because we were building a new sound for Tech Noir and didn’t know how it would be received.

“It wasn’t all smooth sailing. When we went into the studio, we weren’t even sure we could capture what we had on the demos. It wasn’t until about four days into the sessions that we began to get the feeling we were nailing it.”

Julian Taylor LiveJulian Taylor LiveWritten over 2 years and recorded in two weeks a year apart, Tech Noir is at once a summation of all the musical influences which have touched Taylor and The Next Step. Taylor owns a distinctive delivery that’s raw and emotional, drawing on blues-rock and island rhythms for the backbone of his sound. All that’s still here except it’s been more amalgamated and updated with the smartest aspects of modern soul. For this Taylor heaps much credit on producer Saam Hashemi.

“Saam was just amazing. He brought a ton of ideas and skills to the sessions; as an engineer, arranger, helluva guitar player and a great coach. He wouldn’t let me settle for anything but my best.”

Taylor also recruited fellow East Sider, poet/songwriter Robert Priest for added lyrical heft. An important addition,  given Taylor’s criteria for which songs made the album.

“I was looking for songs that were soulful, fun and had lyrical content that was either provocative or positive.”

In Taylor’s skilled songwriting hands, ‘provocative’ doesn’t mean ‘confrontational’ as he deftly demonstrates on “No Guns”, where he puts out the idea that to surround one’s self with love is the surest barrier against the guns.

In addition, a Julian Taylor Band former member and bass player, Ben Spivak, currently playing with rising stars “Magic”, has several song co-writes and also plays on Tech Noir, joining the current lineup of Julian Taylor (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Elliott (drums), Steve Pelletier (bass) and David Engle (keys). Keysman Engle also had a significant role in the writing of the album.

To date the album’s debut single “Never Gonna Give You Up” has been well received, logging airplay right across the board. That’s rock, alternative, AC Top Forty and scoring better than 300,000 views on YouTube. That’s the spread nicely covered, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the next single, the aptly named “Heatwave”, didn’t follow suit with the airplay.

For Taylor, all that’s gravy as his expectations for the project are on a different level.

“We set out to create a new sound for the Julian Taylor Band and the result met our expectations so much that for a while I was wonndering what I was going to do next.

Still, what I’d like from the album is for it to open more doors for me. I’d sure like a little more commercial success,  that would be nice.”

Julian Taylor Tech NoirJulian Taylor Tech NoirThe success thing is a bittersweet topic. JT was one of those fortunate artists who achieve a success first time out, in his case with the band Staggered Crossing. He feels at that time, youth and confusion led to the band’s undoing, noting “Staggered Crossing was brought down because we were just too young to handle success. I was 19 at the time.  We were unsure about the business side of things and didn’t really understand who was doing what on our behalf. Or not.”

It’s left unsaid but there’s no mistaking the implication that when it comes around this time, the seasoned musician, band leader and dad has the tools to maintain a steady  course.

With the weather warming up it’s on the road again time. The JTB band celebrates Canada Day weekend at Ottawa’s The Elmvale House June 29. For the homies, Julian stages a special album release party Wednesday, July 23rd at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern. The party starts promptly at 9.00 pm, with the Motown-meets-innovative, soulful sounds of JTB, followed later by the groove-oriented sound of Los Angeles-based ensemble Orgone.

“I love touring. I mean, the live show, that’s the thing, that’s where you sell albums. I’d say the toughest thing about being on the road is staying healthy and missing my little family.”

Finally, about that title. Tech Noir refers to a film genre combining the styles of "Film Noir" and "Sci-Fi". This includes classic flicks like The Terminator and Blade Runner.

The term was coined by James Cameron and was also the name of the nightclub that was the scene of the famous shootout between a Terminator from the future and Kyle Reese.  It’s the futuristic aspect of all this which relates directly to Taylor’s mission on this album, to chart a path by the splicing of two genres to create something which partakes of both but is dictated by neither.

Apart from the dates above, here are some other places where you can catch the Julian Taylor Band this summer.
June 21 Redpath Waterfront Festival Sugar Beach 6 p.m.
June 28 Toronto Jazz Festival  Shangri-La hotel 8 p.m.
July 27 Toronto Beer Fest CNE Bandshell 3 p.m.

The Julian Taylor Band would like to thank FACTOR for their generous support in making the new album.


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