The Junction's Mike Taylor gets real about life as a musician

“Everybody who hears that song get a different vision in their mind of that and the second you see the video you get raped of that vision. Everything that you ever thought about that song and every personal attachment you had to that song gets taken away from you and then you’re forced upon by some other douche bag’s vision. I don’t like that about music videos.”

- Sheila Busteed
Photo by David Waldman

posted March 26, 2007

The Junction\'s Mike Taylor gets real about life as a musician
     In many respects, when it comes to the music industry, The Junction has it all. The Toronto-based band is a threesome of guys who have been best friends since childhood. They get to play music for a living, have toured with the likes of Moneen, The Planet Smashers and Bedouin Soundclash, and they just released their first full-length record with a major label.

     Yes, The Junction has it all. But in the eyes of drummer Mike Taylor, having it all is far from living the fantasy life.

     Though he is mere minutes away from doing a sound check in preparation for a show at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa, Taylor has no problem taking time out to discuss some of the realizations that have come to him over the years about the music industry.

     Taylor, who is better known as “Tip,” says he doesn’t think he and his bandmates – vocalist/guitarist Brent Jackson and bassist Matt Jameson – have been changed by the industry, but their experiences have taught them a lot about it and themselves.

     “It has definitely opened our eyes up more to how, or opened my eyes to how selfish some people can be and how oblivious people are to certain things that we believe in like inspiring and challenging people,” Taylor says.

     “I already knew people were all about cash,” he says bluntly, “but, in the way of changing the band, it’s helped us mature because we’re now able to deal with a lot of these stupid things we get thrown at.

     “We’re never going to be focused on how much money we’re making and that’s what record labels are focused on, pretty much,” he adds.

     He acknowledges his brutal honesty and admits that talk of the industry tends to get him fired up, adding that he typically leaves that talk to his bandmates.

     “They’re usually nicer about it. I get can myself in a lot of trouble with the things I say,” he notes. “I’m a bit of a dick and pretty blunt. I just say whatever I feel at the time. It usually shoots off pretty crazy. That’s why I usually let them answer the questions about record labels because I would just swear and stuff like that.”

     Taylor even says that Universal Music Canada – the band’s own label – isn’t safe from his judgement.

     “Whenever you have people working, focusing on making money, off of your everything – your life’s work – it’s pretty frustrating and it gets pretty scary at times,” he says.

     Taylor says being a musician has always been more about having fun and being with his friends, rather than cultivating an image that sells. A perfect example of those two worlds colliding was when the band shot its first music video for the song ‘Components of Four.’ He says it was important to the band that they got their own vision across.

     “When we look at making a video we don’t look at it as making a commercial for the album, which a lot of people do,” says Taylor. “For us it’s an expression of the song and it’s kind of a visual way to see that song and relay that message.”

     But he suggests that this can sometimes be a hard task to accomplish. Taylor says that, while radio appeals to him because it’s mostly just about the music, videos can muddy the waters because the music is then being associated with images.

     “A video is a little more complicated because you have an image involved and music is not about images except for the images in your mind. It’s more or less about feelings,” he says.

     “With our video, we strived for basically getting our message and our personalities across. We didn’t think or try to force anyone’s one visual on it,” he continues. “It’s not like, ‘this person thinks this song is about a girl, so let’s make a video about a girl.’ It was more or less like, ‘let’s just have a good time.’”

     And that included inviting the band members’ closest family and friends to join them on the set to shoot the video. “We just wanted our friends and our family to be there and we wanted to make it as fun as possible. I think we did a good job of capturing that genuine realness that we have at shows,” Taylor says.

     Just before Taylor runs upstairs to join Jackson and Jameson on stage for the band’s sound check, he recalls an interesting statement he once heard made by David Usher, the former frontman of the band Moist.

     “He said he really doesn’t like music videos because it takes away from when you hear a song,” Taylor recalls. “Everybody who hears that song get a different vision in their mind of that and the second you see the video you get raped of that vision. Everything that you ever thought about that song and every personal attachment you had to that song gets taken away from you and then you’re forced upon by some other douche bag’s vision. I don’t like that about music videos.”