Meet: Chris Taylor From Silent-K

Liverpool’s SILENT–K are a ferocious, somewhat unhinged four piece with unique and infectious melodies and electrifying hip-hop infused rock n roll. Originally co-founded by Taylor with Dave McCabe from critically acclaimed Liverpool band The Zutons. Although no longer a permanent live member, McCabe still makes the occasional guest appearance and features strongly on the debut album.

Give us a potted history of the band

The band was originally formed in 2017 after I (Chris Taylor) got inspired from a trip to New York. I was playing guitar for Fat White Family at the time. We didn’t release our first single until summer 2020, but even before that we’d experienced major support slots with Noel Gallagher, Reef, Fat White Family and Working Men’s Club. Apart from myself the band is a totally different line-up from the original, with originator Dave McCabe leaving the live line-up to re-join the Zutons. We’ve just released our third single, Doorstep, and the band is already seventeen members deep. It’s a squad game these days.

Who inspired you to start making music

I was inspired to start playing at home by my dad and Granddad who both played guitar in bands and down the local pub. There was always a guitar in the house and music being played. It took me ages to get to grips with the guitar but something about the way it looked and smelt always kept me coming back. In school I opted for music lessons to get out of class. I remember one day there was an option to join recorder lessons, which I thought was some kind of spy masterclass using tape recorders and hidden mics. To my disappointment I was stuck in a class trying to get a tune out of a glorified whistle; it took me ages to get out of that class too! I’ve never warmed to the recorder.

Playing was one thing but writing is another. Inspired by my schoolmate Lee’s older brother Dave Davies and his mate Richie Conlan, they showed me the light when it came to originality and creating something from nothing. You just gotta be confident in your opinion of what you believe sounds good and run with it. I’ve come a long way since then. Just last year I got to play on a session with Richie Conlon at Abbey Road Studio 2 for David Silcock & the Castaways. It was a massive honour to be playing next to someone I’d always looked up to and admired starting out.

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

Gris Gris (1968) by Dr John is a complete album for me. The myth of a voodoo Witchdoctor who can cure all your ills. it takes you on a journey through this alien swamp land; it’s dark and rough and you can taste the funk in it. It’s tribal psychedelia but the songs are strong, and the melodies, percussion and guitar sounds are like nothing else. Mac Rebennack’s voice is just the best too.

Osmium (1970) by Parliament is a special album. It’s the bridge between George Clinton’s doo-whop band The Parliaments and his Psychedelic-rock-funk act Funkadelic. It’s got a bit of everything in there: gospel, blues, doo-whop, rock, funk, philosophy, humour. I thought Jimmy Hendrix was the ultimate until I discovered this album.

If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say

We were just described on BBC 6 Music by Tom Robinson as a “sharp irresistible slice of retro futurist funk-pop, sounding like the unholy love child of Roxy Music and the pioneering early noughties outfit CLOR”. Personally, I think we’re more like Talking Heads and DEVO on Turkish toast.

Tell us about your new track

Our new track Doorstep came from a riff I’d been messing about with for years. It just came together late one evening in the studio with Dave (McCabe), who started playing that driving bass line through it. It happens quite a bit at the end of a rehearsal when you’re messing around, on the verge of getting off, then a tune pops out. It’s like you get gifted for sticking around and putting the extra time in. We recorded the drums, bass, and guitar solo with Jose at 3rd Planet in Liverpool, then everything else we recorded in our studio, The Hit Pit, by Andy Wilson. 

Ross Orton over in Sheffield mixed it and added his party magic; he really gets what we’re after. I’m made up how it turned out; it’s a strong song and everyone who played on it really turned up. Neil Bradley added a funk layer to it too with that Juno 6 synth that sounds like the notes are ripping apart. Adam Goldberg on drums is just a beat control freak who probably used to be a cow bell in a previous life, and the lyrics are a contrast to the upbeat sound and give it a clandestine twist.

Where can we get hold of it

The video we filmed and edited ourselves is on YouTube, and you can download it from our Bandcamp or stream it on all the usual platforms.

Tell us how you write

Anything and everything goes; it can be a riff you stumble across, a funny or philosophical sentence, a melody in your head, a song on the radio you mishear. Whatever the spark is you’ve got to embrace it and charm it out further. Best to deal with it there and then if you can. Once I’ve got the song idea, I take it the rehearsal room and the band get a grip on it and we wrestle the final structure together. 

We wrote a new tune recently, Disco Afters, from a late-night jam I had with our bass player Nick (East). He went Afrobeat on it, I went Turkish Psyche and then Goldberg forged it all together with these disco voodoo drums. It’s a big beastly monster of a tune.

Tell us about your live show and how much have you been missing it recently

Yeah, it’s been good. We did a tour with CAST at the start of the year and played some decent size shows. It really brought the current line-up together. Touring creates a strong bond with the band, personally and musically; you’re all together battling through. We’re super tight because of this and the live show feels solid now. It set us up perfectly going into this spring tour. We’re hot and you can tell by the response that we’re getting through to people. It’s important to get out to experience live shows and surprise yourself with new music. It’s hard not to enjoy even a half decent band playing live; music is a powerful thing, and it moves you physically and affects you mentally. It’s still a mystery the benefits it has on your well-being. 

What can we expect from you in the near future

More music incoming. We’ve got an album to release when the time is right but we’re toying with the idea of releasing constant singles. I like the individual song artwork and making videos for each tune, telling the full story and each song deserves the full focus. The tables have turned now, and music is so throwaway these days. Albums don’t get the attention they deserve anymore, and people’s attention span has been dilapidated by the overwhelming options streaming sites offer. You used to buy an album and listen to it until it clicked; now if it doesn’t hit straight away you move on to the next, no baggage. The result is you get less of that deep personal connection that albums used to create.  

Tell us your favourite records that’s rocking your headphones / tour bus / stereo

I just spent February in the jungle listening to African funk and disco. The jungle comes alive at night, it gets warmer and is like one big percussion set. Music replicating the environment it’s made in, makes total sense to me now. So, I’m still listening to lots of Afrobeat and love William Onyeabor. My mate just got me on this album Earth by Vangelis which is epic and a new band called Dancing to Architecture have released three albums in the last year which are all brilliant and on repeat. 

Find out more via the band’s Facebook

Check out the band’s track ‘Nice House’, below:

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