Hi Cory, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m great! Really busy getting ready for my record release, but good-busy.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Memphis Kids”?
“Memphis Kids” comes out online on April 29. It’s the lead single for my new EP titled “Extended Play” that releases on May 13 digitally, and then physical vinyl 7” records will come out later, but you can pre-order now at www.corytaylorcox.com
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
I wrote “Memphis Kids” with my friend, musician/Memphian Joseph Barrios (he’s a killer guitar player and songwriter). I was living in Memphis at the time working at the Rock & Soul Museum and also playing shows in local dive bars. The song is about the different layers of a music scene in the legendary city of Memphis. Joseph and I started playing shows together years before when he was only 16, we played at coffee shops to high school kids, now he’s touring with popular bands! I love the city of my birth and think there is great history and culture in Memphis, so I wanted to write a song to serve as an ambassador for the city, educating the rest of the world on how great a place it is to live and visit, and also to give shout outs to all my friends in bands from the area.
Any plans to release a video to go along with the song?
There’s actually a live performance video of “Memphis Kids” already on youtube: https://youtu.be/yYiBjTYC7_c That video was shot by J. Lockhart Media at a show of ours at Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN. But I am starting the planning stages of a conceptual video for the song, with lots of sweeping landscapes of Memphis icons and not-so-iconic spots, but things that represent something to me, like those afore mentioned dive bars.
The single comes off your new album Extended Play – what’s the story behind the title?
The title “Extended Play” is kind of a play on words, just my own awkward sense of humor with a touch of sarcasm. When you buy a full-length record, it’s called an LP = Long Play, a short record, like this one with only 4 songs, is called an EP = “Extended Play”. So the name is nothing more than stating what kind of record it is. A funny redundancy I guess, kind of like a self-titled album… but not. Also the double entendre of the title kind of speaks to the longevity of my music career (extended). I’m releasing this EP exactly 5 years from the date of my last EP “We Made these Sounds Together.” And I hope to release a new record at least every 5 years for the indefinite future.
How was the recording and writing process?
“Lion & Giraffe” is actually a more rock & roll revamp of an old, old previously released song of mine. “2009” is also one that been around for a while (you do the math) but this is the first release. I always thought of “2009” as kind of an Avett Brothers, punchy-acoustic song, but playing with my current band members, we really turned it into an electric song. My guitar player, Alex Ingram, played that delay hook and I was sold. We were actually working on it previously with a different drummer, Peyton Rodeffer, who fills in for me whenever I need somebody (he’s great), and he gave it a post-hardcore feel that I really loved, and when our regular drummer, David Sutton, got behind the kit, he took the evolutions further into a groovy Wallflowers direction and what you hear is how we settled on it. “For a Gentleman” was written with my songwriting role-model Charlie Hardin Murphey, this guy will blow your mind! I had sent him iPhone demos for probably 2 years and we finally sat down and made this song happen. It’s for a mutual friend of ours, he cried when he heard it, so it’s got to be good, right?
Recording was a really comfortable experience. We tracked the project at Redact Studios in Nashville, TN with Edsel Holden; who mixed the record too. Edsel was super encouraging and a joy to work with. He let me experiment if I had an idea, singing harmonies with nothing in my headphones but the lead vocal. He was constructive all the way through the process. I hope to work with him again very soon.
Does Nashville play a role in your music?
I’ve lived in Nashville for 5 years now and I’d say your environment plays a big part in what music you create. That can be the friends you hang out with, the bands you go see, the city you live in. Nashville is a wealth of unreal musicians and creative people, not just in country music or Christian music, as it’s been known for in the past. Nashville is a central hub for music in the south, I love being surrounded by talented friends and also challenged everyday to keep creating and keep growing. People say Nashville is a 10 year town, I feel like I’ve done pretty good so far and I’m only half way there, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 5 years bring.
Do you think you have finally found your voice on this record?
I feel like this record is just touching the tip of the iceberg for me to find the voice that I want to use for my music. When I first started playing music, I was an acoustic singer songwriter that talked too much between songs, then I went to college and played in a bar rock band learning to put a little more authority in my voice, and now I think I’m just about ready to really show the world what I can do, mostly from a vocalist/front-man perspective. At my live shows the energy is off the charts, my band-mates really help with that momentum, especially Bennett Piispanen (keys) and Keith Herndon (bass) rocking out over there. So when they’re dancing and having a good time, I get the spirit and yell more than I sing, I feel like I’m spitting fire from my chest to the microphone. I love it.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics on the album?
All the songs and lyrics are pretty specific, either to a city, Memphis in “Memphis Kids”, or Florence, AL in “Lion & Giraffe” (a song about zombies), to being influenced by relationships. Everybody writes songs about girls. Sometimes single songs are written about multiple girls, “2009”. “For a Gentleman” was written for my best friend. And wherever these songs drew their influence, I’m proud of every note in every one of them.
Any plans to hit the road?
I love touring. The road has been a defining characteristic of my musical career so far. (I’ve played close to 500 shows over the last 10 years.) Out of town shows allow you to make new friends and then see them again the next time you play in that city. I’m 30 now, and my band-mates aren’t far behind me, so with full time day jobs, wives, houses, and dogs we’ll be doing more of the weekend warrior tours instead of the 3 month runs like I used to do. But still, we’ll be out there; mostly in the southeast and Midwest US. I’ve joked about printing merchandise that says, “Party like you’re 27,” so that’s what we’ll be doing in whatever city we end up in on a Saturday night.
What else is happening next in Cory Taylor Cox’s world?
Vinyl record copies of “Extended Play” will be coming out hopefully in late 2016, so I’ll be riding that train for a little while. As for the future, now that I’m really starting to find my voice, I’ve also found my band. The guys that I play with right now are all-stars and we’ve got great chemistry, on and off the court. I really want to write with each of them and keep playing live and keep recording. Maybe rebrand with a new band name and new songs in the near future, sadly probably not one of the 100 joke band names that I’ve always wanted to start. RIP Tarantulas on a Train.
Photo credit: Jonathan Pfahl / Design: Jamie R. Cox