Kaya Project Interview
Better Propaganda talks to Seb Taylor of the Kaya Project
Better Propaganda: Please tell us about Kaya project. Who's involved, how long you've been going, what kind of sound, etc.
Seb Taylor: Kaya Project is the latest musical incarnation I've been putting my heart and soul into. A fusion of Electronica and World Music with the first releases appearing about a year ago on Six Degrees and Stoned Asia Music. Although it's one of many act psuedonyms I've been releasing under, It's been without doubt the most enjoyable and creatively rewarding of all the eleven Albums I've released so far. The tracks are written essentially by myself, but with invaluable musicianship and compositional skills from people I have huge love and respect for. Natasha Chamberlain, who has been there from the beginning and has just travelled with me for nine months recording DJing and gigging around the world, Irina Mikhailova, whose vocal skills are undeniably up there with the worlds best and many other talented musicians all contribute to make the sound what it is.
BP: What about recording live instrumentalists?
ST: Actually thats what we've been doing for a while now, collecting sounds and seeking out contributers for future Kaya Project Material. Having been producing predominantly electronic music for a long while now, recording live instrumentalists has been a fresh breath of motivation. In Mumbai we recently had a recording session with two top Bollywood musicians, Deepak Pandit and Sabiha Khan. I still get goosebumps when I think of the violin and vocal improvisations that we got down that day, and I'm very eager to get working with it in future compositions. I guess it's going to have to wait until we get back to London and the studio as we've got another couple of months on the road to go!
BP: What's the live show consist of ?
ST: It's pretty challenging attempting to recreate what is essentially a studio project in a live setting and It's still early days with Kaya Project. Having played in a full band (guitar and vocals) and then having moved to the opposite extreme (i.e., one man and his laptop on stage) I think we're aiming for a happy medium between the two. Another obstacle is that the majority of musicians involved live in far flung corners of the world and each have their own projects that keep them fully occupied. For the forseeable future, Natasha and myself will be performing hybrid DJ sets, with both decks and laptop providing the sounds and we'll be evolving the sets from that starting point as time goes on.
BP: To trance or not to trance
ST: Is that the question?!... hmmmmm... I've been writing and performing within the psy-trance scene for quite a while now so I guess thats what I'm most known for. Digitalis was the first act name I used, fusing breakbeats with Techno and trance and Shakta came next, which was predominantly trance-floor orientated. I owe a lot of how my musical life has turned out directly to the truly global nature of the psy-trance scene and many of the visionary people involved in it, a prime example is Youth (from Killing Joke and the owner of Dragonfly records). However, as a form of musical expression it certainly has its limitations and 8 years is a long time to be making the same kind of music! Thats why I've always had multiple aliases in different genres. There are so many different styles of music that excite and inspire me I could never stick to one closed formula.
BP: Tell us about angel tears
ST: Angel tears was the first foray into World Electronica for me. It's a collection of musicians based primarily in Israel and spearheaded by Momi Ochion. Natasha and Myself both work on the project and spend a lot of time in Tel Aviv recording with our extended musical family over there. Momi Brings musicians from Morocco, Tehran and India to record for the project and We're now on the 4th cd. You could live a thousand lifetimes and not meet anyone as unique as Momi! Larger than life in all he thinks and does. In my eyes the Angel Tears material is very direct and simple, which has a lot to do with the way we approach writing it. Often the first thing to be composed is kept, with very little time spent editing and reconsidering. Theres a lot to be said for that direct approach, especially in this world of software and technology overload, where the studio tools and processing possibilities at your disposal are truly infinite! Sometimes the simplistic cuts through.
BP: Been to japan?
ST: I love Japan! Must have been there around 15 times or more. At first it took a while to get used to being in what seemed like a set from Bladerunner, but by now it feels like home as soon as I get off the plane. Played at some amazing parties and made many good friends over there, a couple of whom I'm hoping to collaborate with on future Kaya Project material.
BP: Tell us about Interchill records
ST: It's an honor to be part of the Interchill roster. Actually the first release I heard was the Interior Horizons Compilation. That one stayed in the CD player for a good couple of weeks, leaving a lasting impression. From the very beginning Andrew has been incredibly helpful and reliable in all of our dealings and correspondence ...that's not really been the case for the majority of labels I've been dealing with over the last year or two unfortunately! One of the great benefits of doing what I do is being able to choose who I work with, and both Natasha and myself are very proud to be associated with Interchill records. The Kaya Project sound fits perfectly with the Interchill ethos of 'Organic Electronica for the expanding mind'.
BP: Any future projects?
ST: There are always future projects! This latest travelling session is the longest I've gone without finishing a tune and I'm chomping at the bit to get writing! There's so much material I've got prepared in my head for future Kaya Project tracks that I'm sure thats what I'll be working on as soon as I get back to the studio. Working on the Laptop hasn't been as productive as I'd imagined it would be. It's really not that easy pulling yourself away from a paradisiacal location to go and stare at a computer screen. Give me London grey days anytime and I'll hibernate in the studio! I'm actually looking forward to being a musical hermit again. Other than Kaya Project tracks and remixes, I'd like to get back into some Digitalis breakbeats and soundtrack pieces. Basically whatever I feel inspired to compose is what I'll be working on. Everyone is searching for a meaningful sense of purpose in their lives, and I still feel incredibly grateful that I'm doing exactly what I feel I should be doing. Like most true musicians, I hope music will always be the centre of my world and as long as there's abundant inspiration there will always be future projects!