Taylor McCluskey Tells All

Here at 5-7-0, we get submissions from all around the globe, this article takes us to Montreal via email where Alonna did an interview with Taylor McCluskey about their most recent release, “Gladiator”, here is how it went!

1.) Introduction to yourself— whatever you want us to know!!

I’m currently Montreal based (by way of Sacramento, CA). Primarily, I’m a musician, filmmaker and actor and I’ve had the opportunity to appear in films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Star Trek (2009) and several TV shows. As a musician, I am the founding member of The Maddest Of Madmen and The MFICs and I have made four solo albums, the most recent being 2020’s Star God.
2.) How did you become a musician/band?
I originally formed a band in college, during my studies at UCLA. Along with one of my classmates and friends, we started The Maddest Of Madmen. In the early days, my friend Sam Madil, a sound engineer from Skywalker Ranch, and I went to Guitar Center where I bought my first Ephone Dot 2006. And from then on, I couldn’t put it down constantly writing songs with friends and testing out new sounds. The Maddest of Madmen was short-lived.

But after meeting some new bandmates, we decided to form The MFICs. We played local venues such as The Viper, The Joint and Molly Malone’s and The Whiskey A Go Go. During this amazing time we recorded Climbing The Hill together. Many more releases came with the MFICs which allowed me to build a strong salvo of albums and allowed me to really get into music full time.
3.) In terms of your band name, how did you come with it? Does it have a significant meaning?
I primarily go by Taylor McCluskey now but our original band, The MFICs stood for: “Motherfuckers In Charge” or for the kids “Madness Fuels Intense Creativity”.
4.) What was the songwriting process like for your most recent release? How long did it take to complete?
The writing process starts out with me in my home studio, usually playing my 1983 Les Paul custom, with some pro tools drums in my monitors. I’ll record the footage with my iPad Pro which I’ll then send to my producer Glen Robinson for a listen.
We’ll then jump on the phone and start to talk about life, which we call our “Therapy” and then we plan on a time to meet in his studio. We have a coffee and have some more
“Therapy”. He’ll throw on some drums and we plug in his Kemper with my Les Paul or his Fender depending on the type of sound we are looking for.
Then we attack each song until it’s fully formed crafting a solid beginning, middle and end. We really believe in close teamwork. While the pandemic has been hard we figured out a way to be very productive. We created 18 singles in 16 months remotely with our bandmates Zak St. John (drummer) and Andrew James (Bass) out in LA.

5.) Can you give us the backstory on your new single?
Gladiator is about the feeling I get being an artist. The competitive nature of the industry means constantly proving to the audience how strong you are mentally, physically and spiritually in order to keep the dream alive, continue the hunt and to conquer my goals.
6.) What is your current songwriting process like? Does it differ from the process from previously?
Music is definitely a more isolated and remote world in the post-COVID era.
But in spite of that, luckily after all these years I have found a great balance with my band of brothers and sisters.
Once Glen and I have a solid idea for a song, we have a session in the studio. Once we have tracked all the parts of the song, we send it to our bandmates Zak St. John and Andrew James in Los Angeles to record live drums and bass. Once it’s done, we mix and master here in Montreal.
7.) Individually, what was the turning point that made you decide you wanted to become a full-time musician?
I wanted to be honest about my place in the world and conquer my inner demons. I learned that I had to release my ego and let life guide me and my crew on a strong path. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that life is short, and we must enjoy the ride.
8.) How has the pandemic affected you as a band and/or artist ? Has it made you stronger, more inspired, or the same as you always were?
It’s been very difficult not playing in front of people. Live-streaming has been a great experience but the energy is not the same. That being said though, the pandemic has made me stronger and taught me a lot about what I’m able to achieve musically.
9.) Let’s talk a little bit about new music. If you can, can you tell us if you are working on anything new?
I’m actually always recording new material. I love what I do and I love getting struck by the lightning bolt of creativity at times. I always have my phone or iPad nearby to capture an idea when lighting strikes. Thankfully with technology in my pocket, no matter where I am, I can record a new idea very quickly.
10.) If you could play any venue, anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
I think every artist would love to play a big venue in their hometown, so for me, I would love to sell out a night at the Hollywood Bowl. I think as far as large scale venues go, that’s really the pinnacle of performance spaces.
11.) If you could book your dream tour, with yourself included, who would you also have on that tour?
I would love to tour North America with the Foo Fighters. But why stop there? A global tour with the Foo Fighters would be even more amazing. Dave, if you’re listening, hit me up.
12.) Do you think that the experiences of the past year had any impact on your writing?
Yes, I’ve definitely learned to become more resilient with my efforts to keep everything rolling in spite of the challenges.
13.) Do you think that your unique sound sets you apart from other bands who may have a similar sound? Who are some artists/bands that influenced this sound?

I think my sound is very distinctively me, others may sound similar but there’s really only one Taylor McCluskey sound.
As far as my influences, I always tell people I’m like what you would get if Queens of The Stone Age, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, U2, Coldplay and Black Sabbath had a baby.
14.) What track of yours means a lot to you? Why?
I love “Freedom Fighter”. It’s coming out on August 4th. There will also be a live video performance of Freedom Fighter that I believe will really show off the raw intensity of the song.
15.) What can we expect from you in the future once life returns to normal?
I am releasing a new single every 4th of the month going forward for the next two years. Along with each new single, there will be more videos and live performances and live streams. I’m working on a tour in the states as well.

15.) What can we expect from you in the future once life returns to normal?
I am releasing a new single every 4th of the month going forward for the next two years. Along with each new single, there will be more videos and live performances and live streams. I’m working on a tour in the states as well.
16.) What do you think is the best thing about being an artist? The freedom and lifestyle: the ability to live your life like an art.
17.) Any funny tour stories?
I’ll keep you posted when we do our first US tour.

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