Field Notes Interview #43: Taylor Clark, Marmoset Artist
To listen to a song by Music You Can Swim To is to become fully enveloped. Songwriter, Taylor Clark writes beautiful folk-pop music meant for cinema. Each song is carefully arranged and sits well with imagery in how it has so much space with lush and interesting textures.
We were blown away by his piano-driven track "Hot and Cold" in the recently featured wedding film "Patri y Dani." It paired well with the moving imagery and drifted along with introspection adding weight to the film.
We chatted with Taylor about his creative process, his thoughts on how his music collaborates with picture and the bright future for independent composers.
M: When did you start writing music?
TC: My parents had been songwriters and musicians since long before I was born. When I was a kid, they would tour together along with their band throughout most of the Southern states below the Midwest. It was a very natural interest of mine when I tried picking up snare drum at around age 6. I eventually picked up guitar at around 13, which is when I began songwriting.
M: What does a day in the life of a working musician look like for you?
TC: I get up, rub the sleep from my eyes and slowly zombie-walk to my desk. Most of my life is spent here. In fact, I’m here now. At the desk, I mean. I’m actually still rubbing sleep from my eyes. As the day goes on I will most likely work on some web and graphic design work I’m doing for an Italian cooking show - every cent helps in a musician’s life. After that, I’ll eat. Then I will work on mixing songs I’ve already recorded or fiddle around on my instruments until a song pops out. This is around when I stare into space and think. Nothing is better than giving yourself the time to gather your thoughts and ponder on what you’re working with. When I’m done working on music at around 5:30, sometimes 6…or 8, I eat, relax and fall onto my bed.
M: What role do you feel music has in film?
TC: In my opinion, music plays a vital role in how someone emotionally responds to film. Sometimes it’s hard to describe emotions through something visual, but music is a collection of frequencies - something that literally vibrates within us as human beings. We create emotional associations with those frequencies, like melodies or chords. When working side by side with the powerful storytelling of film, a beautiful experience is born.
M: how do you feel your music complimented "Patri y Dani"?
TC: Felipe Garrido Archanco was instrumental and innovative with how he integrated an already-existing piece of music into this film. It’s something I personally consider an important strength of a filmmaker. The ability to make it seem like the music was created specifically for the film is a craft that takes time to develop, and I couldn’t feel more honored. He was able to divide the piece of music into segments using her visual storytelling. A minimal, tranquil beginning with a blank screen sets the mood. As the music builds, as does the video. The bride falls into the bed as the music takes the viewer somewhere more magical, a reflection of how the bride and groom must have felt at right about that time. The music changes gears, and my personal favorite part comes up as the film cleverly uses the chaotic elements of the music to beautifully accent the chaos happening within the subject matters' minds. Among more examples, this is why I think this film made excellent use of my song.
M: What are you excited about for the future?
TC: The first thing that pops out at me is how excited I am for the future of independent filmmaking. Filmmakers' abilities keep growing as newer technologies and more opportunities come their way. The more examples there are of good independent filmmaking, the better their own becomes. I’m also excited for more chances that my music can be used in such beautiful, constructive ways such as in this film. I’ve grown and learned a lot just from watching. Finally, let me add how excited I am for the newlyweds, Patri and Dani. Love is simple when it means the most :).