An Interview With New York City Indie Rockers Taylor & The Apes

Editor’s Note: Originally published May 2018

It takes a lot of guts to pursue a career as a rock and roll band in The Big Apple. But when you feel it in your bones and you know it’s your calling, it’s just what you do. And that’s exactly where Taylor and The Apes find themselves.

They’ve got their debut album, “American Livin” slated for release this Saturday May 19th, and we were lucky enough to catch up with the guys for a brief interview and get down to brass tacks. Exactly who is Taylor, and who are The Apes? Who are their influences? Do they plan to tour? Who would dominate in bar games? Let’s find out!

Take it away boys!

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Music Mecca: First things first: Who are the faces behind Taylor and The Apes?

Taylor & The Apes: We have yours truly, Taylor Elliott, on vocals and rhythm guitar, Izzy Friedman on lead guitar, Rob Morrison on keys, David Prince on bass, and Josh Salant on drums!

MM: How long have The Apes been slingin’ sound?

T & A: The line-up we have now has only been playing for about a year, but Rob and I have been playing together for about 4 years, with various bassists and drummers.  Josh joined in a couple years ago, and Izzy and David came aboard this past summer. It took a lot of patience and missteps, but we finally have the solid line-up we’ve been looking for.

MM: The countdown is on for your debut album “American Livin’ ” to be released: Is there a common theme or inspiration behind it?

T & A: There wasn’t at first.  We started recording this about 16 months ago, when we pretty much had a completely different band.  Which led to us re-recording the album a couple times… We had some weird album titles: Flying Dogs and Disco Halls, To the Wolves, some weird stuff.  One day, I was listening back to the rough mixes and suddenly said, “Oh!  American Livin’!”  We were certain that name was taken, but turns out it wasn’t!  All of the songs deal with growing up in America, in some fashion.  I grew up in Indiana (Mellencamp Country, haha), so a few of the songs deal with young love in the Midwest, the opioid crisis, learning to accept an uncertain future, distorted memories, all that stuff.

MM:  Do you guys have a tour lined up in support of the album? If so, what’s the route looking like?

T & A: We’ll be hitting the road for the first time this summer, and we can’t wait!  We’re sticking mostly to the East Coast, for now: Philly, DC, Baltimore, Richmond, and hopefully Asheville.  We’re also in talks with a few clubs in Upstate New York and Montreal. That should keep us busy from the end of June through early August. Check our WEBSITE and our FACEBOOK to see if we’re coming to your town!

MM: If you had to choose three bands/artists that were the primary influence on your sound, they would be:

T & A: The Replacements, Tom Petty, and the Stones. Man, I still haven’t gotten over Tom dying.  That wrecked me for a long time. Still does.

MM: Who’s got the weirdest/most eclectic music taste in the band?

T & A: Izzy by a long shot. That dude’s music collection ranges from old school funk to death metal and everything in between. He’s played in afrobeat, funk, soul, prog rock bands etc… The rest of us are pretty much rockers, and that’s part of the reason he wanted to join the Apes. To get reacquainted with his rock n’ roll side!

MM: Do you find the music scene in the city to be overwhelming? Motivating? Do you guys consider relocating?

T & A: It’s motivating for the most part. I wish there was more competition between bands these days.  Like that healthy rivalry between two bands that brings out the best in each of them (Beatles VS. Stones, Replacements VS. Husker Du, Strokes VS. Interpol, etc…). There’s nothing like competition to get you off your ass. I don’t think we’d ever relocate though. Josh, Izzy, and David were all born in Brooklyn and Rob is from Connecticut.  I’m the only outlier, from Indiana, and I’d always planned on living in NYC, since I first picked up a guitar 15 years ago. There’s no other town like it!

MM: If a hefty sum was on the line, who in the band would you guys entrust to win in bar games? (Pool, darts, foosball, trivia, etc.)

T & A: That’d be Rob, 100%. Mostly because of his crazy level of confidence he gets when we are out at the bar. He could convince a doctor that he’s a surgeon, with the right amount of whiskey. Also Izzy was a mean foosballer in his college years.

MM: If you could offer advice to some young bucks fixin’ to start to a rock n’roll band in the Big Apple, what would you tell them?

T & A: You gotta like each other. When David and Izzy came on board, I insisted that we all hang out for a night, before we even began to talk about music or rehearsal. If the vibe is there and you can have fun with the guy, that will carry you farther as a band than musical skill, in my opinion. That’s not to say skill isn’t important. But you could have 5 virtuosos who hate each other and 1.) You’re not gonna last long, and 2.) The audience will know, and it won’t be fun for anyone. Josh always says “if we ain’t havin’ fun, then what are we doing?” Then again, Fleetwood Mac haven’t stopped feuding since they started out, so what do we know!? The other advice I’d give is to network with other local bands you like. Go to each other’s shows, and support each other! Then once you have your little scene, make a caravan and hit the road!

Check out their website HERE for the latest!

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