2009-2007 were years of discovery, atrophy, misery & magic.
– In 2007, Taylor was sixteen – still attending PCVS (Peterborough Collegiate & Vocational School), being a teenager, struggling silently with depression, creating music & school assignments at night, playing gigs – voicing a lead character on the Discovery Kid’s CGI animated series ‘The Future Is Wild’ on Fridays.
– Taylor was featured on the final season of Canadian Idol, making the Top 40. The competition was an exciting, humiliating & sobering journey that left Taylor disillusioned with music for a while. More on that in the videos section.
– By 2008, Taylor had graduated with a high average, with a focus on music & film. After a very meditative & spiritual summer in an attempt to center himself…
– He was accepted into the York University film program. The intention was to make visuals to his music through being in the film program – but when Taylor wasn’t given the visual freedom and resources he wanted, he shifted completely into the music stream after his first year. That year of University quickly was postponed due to a campus-wide strike.
– He jumped obsessively into building & maintaining a Youtube page near the start of University, which paid off with tens of thousands of views, and some prize money from various online contests. The community fueled him to keep making music, but he also still fought depression & being generally tired of making music. However, he kept at it, out of fear, stubbornness, guilt, and the occasional glimpse of creative satisfaction.
– In 2009, now in the music stream, Taylor started excelling at classes, meeting other like-minded musical types, and making connections that would continue for years to come.
– In summer 2009, he participated in SongStudio, a week-long songwriting intensive lead by industry professionals. He began creating songs during this program that would become live staples for years to come: ‘Good Things Come’, and ‘Nothing’, in particular.
(Click on images in the slider for details and a larger view)
Click On A Title Below To Be Directed To That Section:
Full Albums: The Best Of Taylor… For Tape (09-07), Dr. Therapist
Everything Else: Demos Etc, Videos, Lyrics Poems Etc, Dictations
The Best Of Taylor… For Tape! (09-07)
Released quietly back in summer 2010, this collection of demos gives a taste of Taylor’s burgeoning obsession with songwriting, a sense of his early Youtube work, and some of the recordings that mark his last semester of High School.
The album can be heard below for free, or purchased on Bandcamp for the generous price of $7. More details on the album, and reflections on various tracks, are below the playlist.
Purchase includes a 27-page lyric booklet PDF (with more absolutely ‘attractive’ images like the one above), a PDF to access the pseudo-children’s story ‘My Friend Fetus’, and a folder of more sounds, ‘Mostly Randomized Other Inclusions’.
The first part of this collection was my first stab at what ultimately became ‘Here’s Some Songs’, with somewhat different track listings, totally different recordings. All recorded more or less at home, with a few exceptions that bleed into my dorm during second year University, and ‘Duckman’, which was started in 09, but actually finished after ‘Here’s Some Songs’. When I realized I could get better recording equipment & more quiet to record during the Christmas holiday around the York U campus, I decided to approach ‘Here’s Some Songs’ again then.
The second part is generally from the school year prior, when I stuck myself in a miserable York film making program. In my self-inflicted powerlessness, I would escape from the world through pursuing Youtube fame, and getting by grade-wise, but not really devoting myself. At the very end of that year, when I enjoyed making the soundtrack to a short film way more than making the film itself, I decided to hop over into music for my next year, which proved to be a very smart decision. I started making connections, friends & discoveries I’m immensely grateful for.
The third part is from the tail-end of High School. A depressed Taylor, exploring spirituality, overwhelmed by the vast absurdity & emptiness of life, basically going insane, feeling like he’d seen it all, and resistant to talk about what he was dealing with. This includes songs for school projects, jingles for the morning announcements, sound samples from video assignments & never before heard ideas and bits.
Track Reflections, March 2015:
‘The Concept Album Is Dead’ is mostly an improvisation with overdubs. All I knew going in was I wanted that title. The first few tracks on this were made with the intention of being on ‘Here’s Some Songs’, and recorded around August-September 2009. I certainly enjoy these sloppy recordings, and their various charms. Its funny how much more loud and present some of the nuances in these songs seemed when I was actually making them. You realize over time how many of the little things you add don’t come across as easily as you thought. It very much emphasizes the importance of giving time between versions of something so you can return to it objectively. When I say ‘it went with the attention span… it went with the Campbel’s Can…’ I’m referring to Andy Warhol’s famous post-modern artwork of soup cans. ‘We’re moving past… even that…’
‘Extreme Hit Or Miss (Early Version)’ was from a phase where I would record and write a song every night. It didn’t matter what it was, what it was about. It was just the sheer fun of creating. This song would get refined in numerous ways over the years, but always without any intention of it really becoming something. However, its a fun live Taylor & Bryn staple – it just keeps hanging on, because its later versions are pretty catchy.
‘Hey You’ is literally parts of the first demo for ‘Good Things Come’ put through a ton of filters, making it sound a lot like decaying streets and cars around York University – indistinguishable, muffled Hindi music blasting from car stereos, and a general sense that one is living in the end of the world. Crazy what some sound filters can do. Part of it sounded like me saying ‘Hey You’ when reversed, hence the title. I love effects.
‘Good Things Come (Early Version)’, since this was, for a while, my live staple – I guess I should say something about it. I’ll have various versions to comment on. There’s very cool production things in this that I try and emulate in the studio version – the vocal doubling the bass line especially. The slow opening, not one of them.
‘BillTvMacon’, was made to acknowledge my longtime Youtube friend Bill Elder, who has a very very funny channel. He’s someone who was doing everything right, but somehow was not getting the attention he deserved, despite being featured on some huge channels. He’s got the perfect radio voice, and a lot of lovely radio stories to tell. Youtube itself is such a fascinating world – before it starting having algorithms that were too sophisticated, it was easy to find very strange, endearing things that you had no idea you would like. I guarantee there are channels out there, including Bill’s, that I enjoyed far more than real television. It was the stone age of a new form of entertainment, and it was exciting to be part of its first wave.
‘Duckman’ is the one exception. This one was partly done in 09, but finished in 2010 for this collection. The beat was provided by my pal and master-er of ‘Here’s Some Songs’, Shiva Deokiesighn. The ‘de da da de da da’ melody is deliberately wrong so I wouldn’t get sued for impersonating the theme song, or have to pay any rights. I liked the idea of writing a song about a forgotten celebrity – and few seemed so sorely forgotten as Duckman – I recommend you watch a couple episodes to deeper appreciate this song, actually. The Klasy-Csupo animated series ran from 1993-97, starring Jason Alexander of Seinfeld as Duckman and Gregg Berger as the infinitely lovable Cornfed Pig (who would eventually play Master Chief). The theme song was one of the last things Frank Zappa ever did. I would argue episodes of this series rival, and surpass some of the early Simpsons in sheer ambition and brilliance. Certainly a more abrasive looking show (a style I love), but it truly paved the way for all adult cartoons that came after it, in terms of its fearlessness and wit. However, It had its own unique, wordplay-heavy way of telling wonderful, insightful stories, and made many unique social and political observations that stack up today. Anyways! This is a song written as if its Duckman singing, long after the show has finished, and is ‘reduced to disco singles’, and performing a simple song that references the show in rather obvious ways. The show actually deserves a better song, but I deliberately wrote the one I did because I wanted to emphasize the injustice Duckman, as a series, gets – and what better way than to give his protagonist a song that doesn’t capture his complexity. Duckman spends a lot of time running from the complexities in his life anyways – the pain of losing his wife, angry mobs, the IRS…
‘Baguette’ through to ‘Beautiful Woman’ are mostly improvised – no surprise there – improvs guided by a nugget of an idea, or a specific feeling I wanted to express. ‘Baguette’ began as a fragment from 2003, around when I first started playing guitar.
‘Christ In Chevrolet’. The demo, as with almost every demo, is lacking, but the spirit is there. There’s a fun video of me in 2010 doing this on a Casio. This was another song that just came from an amusing idea – Christ selling cars. Although I think the language is too vague for the actual intended meaning of the song to easily get through, this was a demo for something that was about Christ constantly being reincarnated throughout the years (‘And he’s holding up traffic to become ground beef. But eight arms drop before they have time to weep, and he’s talking upstairs before he’s back on the street’). There’s a sexual innuendo for a BJ that is way too shrouded to make any sense: ‘The cell was cold, but he was down on his knees. Sharing his love till the mortar was free.’ I was just trying to be edgy. And now, all Christ is doing is ‘cruising all over the crown of LA, trying to sell his screenplay’. It could make a good Forrest Gump anthology movie, each scene going into a a movie exec’s mind as she reads the script. That is, it could make a good movie if anyone was still all that interested into subverting religion anymore than it already has been in the mainstream.
‘Morriseys’, is just a dumb song where I’m saying things that make no sense and trying to sound like Morrisey. Its meant to just sound like pretentious bollocks, and was just me intuitively having fun with delay and things to make it sound more profound & universal in a wholly superficial way.
‘Everyman (In Cranberry Sauce)’ is a particularly experimental electronic improvisation – with a nonsense title that I oddly believe, is very fitting to the experience you have aurally listening to it. Its like the listener is suffocated in a sea of ideas – or trapped in a gelatinous hybrid. The ‘Everyman’ part came from a Simpsons episode that was recent at the time, co-written by Seth Rogen, for no other reason except it was on my mind and seemed random and artsy sounding. I liked things that sounded stupid and artsy, for the pretentious humor of those sorts of titles. Each vocal take was done separately, in reaction to the take before it, all of it improvised. You will hear references to other songs throughout it on occasion, like ‘When I’m With You’ by Sparks. This was a technique I tried before with ‘White Guy With A Problem’ – both I was actually very happy with and liberated by making. Not saying this is everyone’s cup of tea, but I wish it was.
‘Your Heart’, is an old faithful of mine, played a bit differently here. It came very naturally – relentlessly writing is a great recipe for getting something truly rare and special from time to time. I feel like the melody in this song catches something that feels classic – that’s what every song I write needs in order for me to be willing to really flesh it out for a wider public presentation. I’ve tried to get a good studio version of this one done over the years. It will happen.
‘The Search For A Friend’ came initially years before. Its just an innocent Paul Simon-y pop song about wanting a friendship. I had very little at that time. At that time, I was basically just an insane kid who had his music to keep him company.
‘Zeus – The Crotti’ is one of two stretches of shorties made for various reasons (theme songs for youtube channels, random fun, etc), and the uncomfortable period of early University for me. Its meant to cleanse the palette from the ambitiousness of everything before.
‘Green Fields – Puppet Head’ is a stretch of covers and originals that capture mid-early 2009 pretty well. Unfortunately there isn’t a fuller version here of ‘Patience’, but the full song is one that a lot of people have been extremely positive to. A full version is in video form in the 2009 videos section, hooray! It was written for a never-finished musical about mental illness I was making for high school Psychology class called ‘One Flew Over The A Flat’. Looking back on the full thing, I can’t believe what I was thinking. There’s some really entertaining stuff there, but nothing that deftly or intelligently deals with mental health – but hey, I was having fun. Best it was left at that than record the others songs. We’ve got an early version of ‘Something Bout You’, a song that almost made it onto ‘Mr Freeze’ in full studio form. I won a big only music contest, the Yobi TV one with ‘Headless Chicken’ and some other songs, getting tens of thousands of hits apparently. The response was surprising and gratifying for sure. ‘Headless Chicken’ is definitely a very refreshing tune that I have no idea how I wrote. It was just the right ideas at the right time – as you can surely tell, in this period, there was a lot of content, without a ton of revision. I liked the fury and authenticity of the initial ideas – I also hadn’t developed the necessary patience to rewrite or return to old ideas as often. There’s various sounds and songs here made for University assignments as well – some sounds that went along with a powerpoint presentation for a children’s story I made for one class called ‘My Friend Fetus’, which is actually a harsh criticism of medicating children, posing as a kids book.
‘White Guy With A Problem’, more on how this track happened in the 09 video observations. I’m very happy with it, in that its genuinely creative and a weird blend of something by someone else, and something by me. It would also of course help inspire ‘Nothing’ since the first two lines here are the first two lines in that. The title came because I was thinking of ‘Boy With A Problem’, a generic Elvis Costello outtake… because, I thought that was a good title. I don’t really know how it helps the song that this is the title of it – but I think it helps make the song become about the assumption that a ‘white guy’ doesn’t have the right to have any problems, since Caucasians caused so many of them. Obviously, a messy logic. We’re all human and can have all the problems we want to make up and hold onto for dear life we want!
‘Think I Can!’ was written for a CBC contest to have your song played during CBC kids. I won, they loved it, and played this on CBC. Its a nice little tune. It sort of got mutated into ‘Good Things Come’ later on, the chords under the ‘train, train train’, part anyways. Some nice guitar parts – I remember it taking some good practice to do the walking I-V bass while doing that lick on the Cmaj7 shape. If you play guitar, I trust you know what I mean by that.
‘100 Subscribers – Jen Lil’ are from 2008, and cover the last year of high school and the first couple dark months of University. I was very depressed around this time and was exploring spirituality, which is why there simply isn’t as much content. I got satisfaction out of making twisted cartoons and meditating. ‘Forgiveness’ is an improvised tune I did live on a Peterborough radio show. ‘Everybody Wants To Give’ was written here for COIN, an organization that gave people with disabilities opportunities to find employment. I made a documentary for them as part of my tech class that they were very happy with, and it included this song. It would be nice to find a copy of it somewhere.
Also for tech class, I made a deliberately glitchy Flash video game called ‘Musici-CAN!’, meant to be a painfully un-fun educational game for kids that was nothing but long strings of positive re-enforcement, the occasional note-naming question, and too many characters. Along with a blue screen of death that coincided with Hitler speeches. It would be perfect on Adult Swim’s infomercial block. Naturally the ukulele improvs were done for that, and other tracks. You can find that and part of the ‘Jen’ short in the videos section. ’Mouthful Or Sores’ is an inaccurate cover of Bob Odenkirk’s hilarious Brian Wilson song parody on ‘Mr Show’.
‘Bus Stop’ was made with an app that promised to turn wav files into MIDI melodies. Exciting and promising technology in 2015 as I write this, and especially skeptical in 2008. Regardless, I purchased it and was quite disappointed. I stuck a track into it, and got a huge cacophony. I reprogrammed the notes to different instruments to create a different cacophony and then sang some stuff with it, which gave me this. This abstractly expresses some regret from letting a girl get away.
‘Bullies Suck’ is a little improv that represents well the negative atmosphere I placed myself in, and the general malaise of being a misunderstood, depressed, creative teenager.
‘Leslie Roberts – See Life Grow’ covers a bunch of tunes made for that aforementioned psychology class, but from an educational CD from ‘Doctor Therapist’, who would appear again in ‘One Flew Over The A Flat’. The ‘Why get a treatment anywhere else?’ ($80 an hour) narrowly escapes plagiarism from Sleep Country Canada’s jingle, and has a biting sense of humor, which I like a lot. I don’t have a lot of respect for the mental health industry, since I’ve seen a lot of people get sucked into it, when really, if you’re not so down you’re attempting suicide and on lots of medication, I find personal growth programs like The Landmark Forum are a cheaper, faster, and infinitely more effective form of getting more power in your life, and kicking ass. I avoided medication (except three strange days in 2008, lost days), and found counseling and therapy mostly pointless. An aside: I shared a story about the darker periods in my teen years for a book that promised to share inspirational stories of people triumphing over mental adversity. In order to protect identities, everyon’s stories were told through pseudonyms. However, their ‘re-telling’ of my story completely negated the programs that had actually made such a difference for me – and in the back of the book, they insisted people seek only psychological treatment. The world of mental health treatment, sometimes seems too scared to make space for other things that make a difference, and so entrenched in people’s consciousness and certified by so many professionals, that they presume it is the only ‘real’ way to deal with something. And I want to clarify I’m not endorsing you take a personal growth program if you know you’re mentally unstable – many of them are meant for working professionals. All I know is it worked way better for me, and saved me coin. However, that is something you need to decide for yourself – and your doctor if you trust them.
‘See Life Grow’ is a tune I’m actually very pleased with, and a tune where I started learning how to write a song for numerous singers. Its important, in the context of a musical to ensure the song with multiple singers has strong tension and lots of opposite energies. A similar sentiment, to better effect is used years later in The Beaver Den’s ‘Johnny Love’. This is the best my little cruddy home studio ever sounded – the best compressing and mixing I had ever done there, and I’m not quite sure what I did to fulfill that.
‘The Man Into Madness – Fifteen Plans’ are three tracks made for a school assignment where we were simply supposed to list out fifteen things we could do to better our planet. I went to dick-ish distopian extremes with it, since I enjoyed being a contrarian for the sake of it back then. It follows a guy who discovers the planet is taken over by people taking on all of these goals, but can only go x amount of steps forward in whatever goal before they move onto the next one – meaning really, they accomplish none of them. ‘Fifteen plans that slaughtered the mind’ indeed. Like all heavy handed, unfounded criticism, its all entertaining, but has nothing to really support its findings. I fused these tracks with video game sounds, such as atmospheric sounds from Age Of Empires 2, and the old marching sound I used for my Hitler Rock Opera the year before. I was so depressed and indifferent, and a teen, that naturally – these didn’t quite get the patience they deserved either to get really tight, but they still had some nice ideas.
‘Goodnight Everybody!’ is my Grandpa saying the words during the recording of Rajdin, my especially strange short in the video section, which got thousands of online views. Its another thing that would make a good Adult Swim one-off.
‘Do The Right Thing’ is a long improvisation that covers me building up the courage and tenacity to give up anger I had against people in my life, I think. However, It took the aforementioned Landmark Forum a few years later to really make a huge difference with that stuff. Its so long it becomes a bit like a trance if you keep letting it go. It seemed appropriate to end off the collection with an epic. That is, if it wasn’t for…
‘Love Ain’t The Same Thing Twice’, which for a time, was my ‘Good Things Come’, and it was definitely the precursor. It started as a Paul Simon ‘Gumboots’ impersonation. I initially had clapping on the offbeats to impersonate the rhythm of that song more, but it was too much in the mix. This song was included on a Toronto Independent Music Awards compilation CD, and sounded sorely out of place – my cruddy home demo against studio recordings. However, it was definitely the most interesting song in the CD purely from a songwriting perspective. I don’t really agree with the messages in this song anymore 🙂 but I really like the title and find it a great observation.
… And then we end with more Musici-CAN weirdness, all intended as hidden tracks, my voice pitched down.
The Dr. Therapist ‘Employee Orientation Seminar For Tape’
Last year or so of high school, 2007 or early 2008. This was a quick little school assignment for my psychology class, starring an unconvincing Freud parody called ‘Doctor Therapist’. He would find his way into ‘See Life Grow’, a highlight from the 09-07 collections, and things throughout the never finished ‘One Flew Over The A Flat’ musical.
I had somehow gotten access to some very exclusive documents of mental health categorizations and found a clever ‘Employee Orientation’ way of reciting core details. This assignment definitely gave me a bunch of brownie points in that class. But oh boy, did I ever have a lot more to learn about voice acting.
So, below is the whole thing, plus ‘See Life Grow’ so all that stuff so you can easily get all the context. Besides the bonus of ‘See Life Grow’, its not very musical, but its definitely fun and mildly funny. Doctor Therapist is having a very hard time with the album producer, whose trying to make this dry material on mental health ‘hip’ with tacky gimmicks. It gets more and more ridiculous as he goes along.
Demos & Rarities
Demos are ways of recording a song without solidifying the final performance, arrangement, and whatever various studio magic can be done to a song so it sounds ‘stereo friendly’. The fundamental purpose of a demo is just to get a song down, so you can hear it objectively and figure out what is working and not working about it. Usually, I have the tendency of making a demo and then neglect the song for a new idea. However, sometimes, old ideas filter back into the new ones.
These demos mark samples from the rest of 2007 (when I clearly sound younger), and some stragglers worth sharing from all three years. There’s also some reflections on an interesting period in my life where I was going to a different school in the mornings than my typical High School – which to me, felt like going into a third world country.
You can attempt to find lyrics for the songs in this playlist by digging through the lyrics for these years, available further down this page, or by clicking here.
Track Reflections, March 2015:
‘Glad’ in an early studio muck around from summer 2009. This would be re-recorded later in the year for ‘Here’s Some Songs’, and reworked a bit lyrically.
‘Son And Sanford’ takes us back to early 2007. I was taking a film-making class at a different High School than my normal one, based on a Newspaper ad. It sounded exciting – you got to make your own TV series, basically, where the short films you made were shown on a local cable channel. Unfortunately, the mentality of the school, despite having a thriving film program for artsy types, was anything but kind to people who were ‘different’. This was small-town High School to a tragic degree I had never seen before. I remember one morning coming and kids were gossiping about the party the night before, and how someone got killed by driving a four-wheeler into a tree while drinking. The ambivalence at the loss of human life these kids had was… truly disturbing. I made the dumb choice of expressing some of my concerns in a myspace blog post (yes, it was still a thing then!). In the early days of facebook – soon, they made a joke facebook fan page for me where they would write hateful things about me, and make vague death threats against me. We talked to the principal, and nothing ever happened to me, thankfully – but the righteous dislike of me remained. Definitely not a healthy place for me to be – every day was a slog. I just wanted to make my films, get my credits, draw some comics at lunch, and go home. It was a very dark time for me, and I didn’t know where to turn. My one bit of solace was when I was weird and funny – at least then I got some attention, but I simultaneously continued to reduce my chances of fitting in. I would interview people in the hallways as a weird, shrill character. I remember, as a sign-out to the camera, quoting the person I had just interviewed in the hallways. ‘And there you have it, fuck the police!’ However, I did it very loudly, disrupting nearby classes that erupted in laughter. Anyways, so this dark little sitcom jingle was made for one of many various short films I would have made for that course. Not sure where some of those films are. I really like the sound of the electric guitar. This is a cross between ‘Sanford & Son’ and ‘Happy Days’, I suppose.
‘Jen’ is from a short flash animation I made, as in ‘Checkered Muskrats’ on the 09-07 collection. This is my Fetus character, all it does is say ‘Whoa’. That short film is in the video section for, I believe, 2008.
‘I’m Not Afraid Anymore’ has aged well. This is a studio recording I did and didn’t show anyone, except maybe my Dad. Dumb choice to hide it! I think I found it too drowsy, but really its just a different interpretation of this original, which isn’t afraid to be laid back. Certainly works very well, and my relaxed vocals are very appealing here. One of the few things I make that you can really relax to! The ‘do da do do’ melody is different from than in the video version of this song. I’m playing a classical guitar here for a change of sound – with strings that hadn’t been changed since the 70’s. Captures a lot of that early 70’s folk feel – down to the little things, like the close proximity of the guitar to the pencil microphone. Love that sound. Its part brittle, but also deep and warm.
‘Love Ain’t’ was my staple song for a while. It’s included at the end of my 09-07 collection, so more observations on it with the 09-07 collection. I wanted to put it here too, because this is where it really belongs. Its from a different era in 07 – my outlook, and the quality of my music, is distinctly different from the first to latter half of that year.
‘Where Do The Loving Fit In?’ is a truly lovely, dark demo that attempts to encapsulate some of my darker feelings of alienation in a catchy little tune, especially while being at that different, outright abusive school during the first half of every school day. Nice guitar tone, although of course – my sense of timing is still off. Sort of Paul Simon’s ‘Cool Cool River’, but more conventional. Vague imagery that evokes mystical worlds, hidden away in terrifying, nomadic rainforests. There’s so much pain in the guitar. I really like the ending guitar solo. The ending just as it fades is especially awesome and ferocious, if you listen closely. This was my silver-placed medal to ‘Love Ain’t’. I played at a big talent show, and played this and ‘Love Ain’t’. ‘Its simple, too simple, said too many ways, but when you’d rather form a conga line on infinite hate – bring in the boom, put in the tune. That’s the only way to feel less insane.’
‘I’m So Tired’ is a John Lennon cover. I sound shockingly like The Beatles here, especially the harmony at the end. This works really well, same electric sound as in ‘Son And Sanford’. Messy, but no too messy, and just good. Really captures that white album feeling.
‘So Life’ was me attempting to turn over a new leaf at the start of 07. Its a pretty generic pop song shape, where I’m just being like ‘bring it on!’ to my depression. I hate my voice in this! Especially in the first minute. With a better performance, you’d see its a better song. Really, with all these demos you’d see that. This was one of the few times I recorded with a click track back then. I also remember using ‘Melodyne’ in this too – pitch correction software. This would be the first and only time I ever used that sort of software as of writing this reflection in 2015. It seems to compromise vocal character at the same time it corrects every little ‘flaw’ in ones pitch. In most cases, these are things the human ear can only unconsciously notice. However, I can tell if pitch correction software is used anywhere, however subtle, and I think it draws attention to itself. It just sounds too wrinkle-free. Too big and smooth. Its both soothing, satisfying, and weird, because I know its not real! It takes me out of the experience of listening. I hear it even on new Paul McCartney and Yusuf Islam albums, and I’m baffled at its existence. Even they’ve bowed down to the imaginary threat of singing with normal, human non-sine wave caliber pitch.
‘Patience’ was recorded in 2009. This is the full audio from the Youtube video, basically. I would record with a separate mic and then have to hook it up. I was having trouble playing it, because I had a dumb tendency to record Youtube videos as I was figuring out a song, rather than rehearsing first. This would have been part of that ‘One Flew Over The A Flat’ album from 2007 that never came to pass. Only a minute and a bit of this is included in ‘the 09-07’ album.
‘Whoa Metal’ is yet again, my Fetus character, just saying ‘Whoa’ in different ways with a drum machine beat. John Whitten plays guitar – he was a latter day High-School friend. We had a record day at my studio one time in the summer. We also did a really really immature rework of ‘Come Sail Away’ by Styx during our record day that sounds great, but is just outright insensitive with its new lyrics we made, so I’m very reticent to upload it. I think he also recorded some of his other hilarious dumb songs during this session. I love his own home recordings. ‘Kick You In The Balls’ is my favorite 🙂
‘Martins Theme’ is a pseudo improvisation I had to make for the opening credits of a film called ‘Martin War’, based on a play called ‘Martin Guerre’ (Its French! Oooh). This film was part of that film class I mentioned above. I also reluctantly auditioned for a role in the movie (since it was mandatory). I did the worst job I could muster, and I still got the other lead part in the movie. That movie is, like, ‘The Room’ in how bad it is. However, it certainly was made with sincerity by the teacher and some of the students, which is important in a ‘so bad its good’ movie, so maybe its in that category. If someone put it online, I would never be able to live it down. When a movie is fundamentally bad, and you’re ravaged with depression to the degree I was – you can’t really act that well – but I still think I was ‘ok’. Eventually, the rest of the semester became about making this feature length film. The teacher wrote the tedious script, which was acted out, filmed, and edited by the students. Its about a new kid coming to school who ends up being evil, basically. I end up having to save the day. So, I got some false glory out of it. It sounds cruddy because I had to record it with the schools camera equipment and stick it down to 32000 khz, which is below the CD standard of 44.1, or 48. That was the requirement for the film. The movie was eventually split up into six episodes that aired on Cogeco Cable.
‘Curve Ball’ was another song I wrote for ‘Martin War’ that didn’t make the cut. The teacher wanted to have a song in the middle for a montage as I followed my love interest around, he wanted something like Chris Issac. I didn’t give him that really. I just wrote whatever uninspired trite I could muster. I was so depressed, that I was pretty much just phoning everything in. There’s lots of lazy things I do here, and I just didn’t care. I was just making stuff for the sheer act of doing things, and keeping myself from crying my nights away, basically. No hyperbole here. Taking that class is like my ‘William Shatner in the early 70’s after Star Trek finished up’ phase. I just felt like a has-been all the time, in the shadow of who I was as a kid. And then, the alienation and loneliness I experienced at school was the straw that broke the camel’s back, which just got amplified at this other high school I was at in the mornings where I took this aforementioned film class. I would turn to silliness for my real stab at solitude during this time with things like ‘Rajdin’.
‘Why Do We Cry’ was dictated in part with the crappy school equipment, partly with my studio. This was my attempt at a shorter song for the teacher for that montage. Again, totally phoned in. I remember thinking how uninspired the ending was, and finding that apt for my particular state. In a way, it makes you feel like a rockstar – totally phoning things in and still knowing it will be ‘average’ – but its a bad habit to stay in.
‘Forgiveness’ is from the middle of 08, from a Peterborough community radio show. An improvised song for the interviewer. This is also included in the 09-07 collection, included again for context. More on it in the reflections for that album. I was definitely more reflective, vulnerable and peaceful around this time, and it shows through in my endearing vocal delivery. Gotta love that last ‘cry’.
‘Don’t Have The Mood’ is an original, also done on the radio show. Sweet tune, earlier form of it. I would play this on Youtube as well. I’ve done an updated version that works much better with Bryn at various Taylor & Bryn gigs.
‘Everybody Wants To Give’ is included as the studio version on the 09-07 album, a song I made for a short film I made about an organization in Peterborough that helps people with disabilities find work. They would use it as a promotional video. Lovely little spirit in this tune. As my spirit got crushed in different ways, I looked for ways to give love in the face of it – that’s generally where the best music one ever makes comes from. I think this is a lovely, universal song. In late 2014, I tried re-working it for another contest looking for a song to unify schools across Canada in song. It didn’t win. Its time to shine is here, for now.
‘On The Road To Findout’ is a Cat Stevens song. I would listen to Cat Stevens vinyls late into the night back then. It made my loneliness feel beautiful to me. I was definitely in a pseudo-spiritual phase that summer before heading off to University in September.
‘Disease Of Conceit’ is an obscure Bob Dylan song from ‘Oh Mercy’, his 1989 ‘comeback’ album of sorts. Very odd of me to do this. I loved the brutality of the line ‘Gives you the idea that you’re too good to die/and they’ll bury you from your head to your feet, from the disease of conceit’. I was trying to clear our a selfish soul through song. However, I find trying never works – do, or do not, as Yoda would say!
‘Progress’ is a Rheostatics cover. This is just a fragment I must have exported from one of my many meandering late night jams that I would record in my studio. So, now its here. This is from their last album, ‘2067’, which I fell in love with a couple years before. I was really obsessed with it. It was some of the most ingeniously creative Canadian music I had ever heard, and an album that is sorely underrated as I type this.
‘Bill Mahr’ was a strange find from a random CD I burned years ago and took a look at just now. I really don’t know why I made it – perhaps for a project I had to do on ‘Love’ for a University course. This is three takes of it, and then me singing some of a wonderfully morbid Elton John song.
‘Windowless’ – skip the crappy guitar off the start. Obviously that wasn’t meant to be heard, its done so badly. I was just trying to lay an idea down I guess. This tune is something literally nobody’s heard before besides me, until now. Usually these tunes all had one or two people who would hear them – occasionally hundreds. But about 85% of what you’ll find in the Abravault has never had more ears besides maybe, three sets, aurally gaze upon them. This was inspired my McCartney’s lovely song ‘Junk’. Still a work in progress here. Was made the night after meeting the Rheostatics before their farewell show at Massey Hall, or maybe the same night. Somehow it gave me the temporary motivation to make music that night. I was testing compressing things like crazy, which is why the vocals can be so soft, yet so fat.
‘Tim And Eric Stuff’ is another fragment of a late night jam I happened to export years ago onto my computer – hence, I’m writing about it now. This would have been 2008. I loved the Tim & Eric absurdity, still do. When I was speaking with Scott Thompson from Kids In The Hall on the set of ‘The Stanley Dynamic’ in 2015, he told me he thought they were the best thing going today – that they were the first truly new thing in comedy to come along since the 90’s. I agree.
‘Primal’ must have been done around the time I auditioned on Canadian Idol initially in 2008. I remember writing it in my brother’s temporary basement apartment in Toronto. It was a nice idea that nothing ever really happened with. It has the pulse of McCartney’s ‘Dance Tonight’, and basically the same chords. It also reminded me of The Flaming Lips, which is why I start trying to do a bit of that song of theirs. All this was relatively new music at this point. My sense of lyrics are just too out there. I was trying to say too much.
‘Future Is Wild’ was the show I voiced on for now-defunct Discovery Kids while I was in Highschool. Really great show (Numerous Daytime Emmy nominations), though how I wish I could redo all my lines after years of experience as a voice actor. I felt like it took me till the last episode to actually do something resembling sufficient acting in it. You need give double or triple the energy through your voice when you do cartoons for it to even register as a normal delivery – its a weird quirk of the art form. Episodes are very hard to find now, after they were pulled from online. It had a small, but rabid fan base. I even remember finding fan fiction online one time! It simply got cancelled because the network got absorbed by a bigger company that wanted to go in a different, less educational direction. Otherwise I may still be doing it! I tried to make a theme song for the show, but it was never taken seriously – and rightfully so! I needed to finesse things more first. But by the time Fangbone came around, I knocked the theme song for that puppy out of the park, and got the job. You can see the people who helped record the dialogue for ‘TFIW’ briefly in my film ‘Rajdin’, in the studio scenes, as well as co-star Marc Donato from ‘Degrassi’. I remember a really awkward moment where I told them all the cast that they were my best friends. I was enough of a loner that nice people I worked with once a week on a fun TV show were my best friends(!). I also did have a bit of a crush on the girl who was voicing CG, which would make the fans happy, as they always wanted my character to end up with hers.
‘Various Things’ would have been recorded from a distance, sometime I think in 07 at a small show. You can tell its from my minidisk because of the beep at the start. Most of the minidisk content isn’t, as I type this, included in the Abravault, as it would be brutal to sift through. Many dictations from 04-08 were done on them – countless hours of content.
‘Under Pressure’, my cover of the Queen/Bowie tune, was done for the ending credits of something done in that film class I believe.
‘BB Boy’ is another long meandering guitar/sing session in my studio fragment I happened to export years and years ago, so it happens to be here now. The start is my own music, the rest is Lennon’s, ‘Beautiful Boy’
There’s a lot of weird little fragments here from various short films. The ‘FeldSign’ and ‘Fresh Air’ stuff was from a short film where sitcoms had enslaved the masses. I just liked making stuff, it took making it to discover if it was a good or bad idea. There was an initial cut of it, but as of the time I type this, I can’t find it. I like the ‘Feld Sign’ theme song because it is clearly ‘Under Pressure’ slightly adjusted ;). Plagiarismo de Plagiarismo! A bunch of these files include my friend Sam making some voices. He’s someone I really respect and think is really special.
This playlist ends with some raw audio of me back in the day recording voices for another short film I was trying to make. The voice acting is hard to listen to for me, considering how much further I’ve come. This short would have been a wildly ambitious claymation work. I had a script I worked hard on for it and everything. I think I had to choose between it or Rajdin, scheduling-wise, for that school year. I remember it was going to have a reworked version of ‘Feeling Groovy’ in it, and we were declined by Paul Simon’s music lawyers to use the tune.
Lyrics, Poems, Etc
Click here – literally, right here – and you will find a monster-sized folder rife with some of the lyric/poem/etc fragments or final results that were typed out in the years 09-07, for an insight into the creative process. While there’s a lot of bad ideas here – at minimum, there’s usually a couplet or two that seem pretty good, great, or profound every couple files. The idea isn’t to entirely present things I’m proud of, just like with the rest of The Abravault.
There’s a wide variety of stuff – everyday writing, songs that never got recorded for ‘One Flew Over The A Flat’, early attempts at songs that would make their way on various collections, etc.
There is also a small folder of academic writing with a little bit of typing from around this period, available by clicking here.
Click each title to jump to the section:
2009, Rajdin (Full!), 2008, 2007.
There is an extensive amount of Youtube videos from this period. Some were accidentally deleted, but most are intact, and below, broken up by year. All videos are completely edited by me, except if on another channel. Ordered generally from newest to oldest, with some of that years highlights placed near the start. Many of these are only visible here, and have since been made unavailable on the main Youtube page. This is simply because some of these are so old, they no longer reflect me, are honestly (embarrassing!), and it would be confusing for newcomers to my page to see such drastically different Taylors from far bygone years hop around their ears.
If a video bores you, don’t be afraid to skip ahead. I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
There are also some reflections on various videos written below each playlist. However, lots of details on the videos in question can be found simply by clicking the video’s title itself, bringing you to its video description, comments, etc.
Video Reflections, March 2015:
“All The Covers Covered” was one in a series that would get lots of views cos they were medleys, and I found a pretty clever way to to stick them together. I would definitely be down to do more compilation videos just like this. Most of these are songs that people actually asked of me, others were put in to help glue the video together more.
“100th Video Spectacularish” took soooo long to edit. Doing that video, I became tempted to really reduce the ambitious editing in my videos, or I might burn out and destroy myself. Really. I would go crazy if I had to do that video every day 🙂 It also included other lovely people in it. Chickenoodlebarbie, by chance, also went to my University.
“Morning Has Broken”, the Cat Stevens cover of a cover, video generously provided by Aegan Montgomery. It was initially on his channel with an introduction by him in early 2009. It was on a community Youtube channel he contributed to. People really liked it.
“Headless Chicken” has a silly opening I made. It was hard because it was my first time using Imovie to make something that sophisticated. This is from earlier in the actual year, naturally. All the dumb MTV ‘I’m so cool’ stuff becomes worthwhile once I say Doritos :). The song itself, ‘Headless Chicken’ is pretty nutso and interesting. It was used in some contest I entered and it got tons of views supposedly. What a weird song to win a music contest with, when normally they fight to get things that are very commercial together. If you’re wondering whatever happened to the guitar from this period, my lovely Alvarez – it was stolen off my front porch when I messed up and left it there one day. I took it as a sign to get something in a higher docket – my custom Martin certain fits the bill. I played guitars all around Toronto in 2012/2013, recording myself playing them, and chose that one as the one with the best sound to me. And it was a much lower price than others I could have gone for…
“LOU that IOU” is an update where I’m talking more about ‘Here’s Some Songs’. I began recording it in December 2009. I’m in my University dorm. This video is also tooooo self-indulgently long. Its crazy hearing certain things come out of my mouth in this – ways of viewing life, complaining about things, that I would never complain about now. I’m critical of my work, but I’m never a complainer now. Such a waste of energy to complain 🙂
“The Perfect Response”, is a Duckman clip. That’s Cornfed Pig. There’s a lot of depraved stuff on Youtube, so this video saves your butt should you upload depraved stuff yourself.
“Soungs” is self explanatory fun with some Uni friends. Fear not, this is not all that improv work in University is like. It can be very academic too. Stick around to the end for some chatting with the wonderfully talented Rita Di Ghent. I interviewed her and made a big article for her to help promote her ‘Sprawl Indigo’ album the year before. I think I also made a dumb endorsement video for that same album. Everything about it is awesome.
“Cruel World” is a little song I quickly wrote about a singer/songwriter Taylor Mitchell who passed away suddenly after being attacked by a wild animal. It struck me when it happened for a variety of obvious reasons. I made this song, but I haven’t shared it much since, despite it piling up views when it was uploaded. I wanted to create a more tactful, optimistic song instead. I wasn’t sure what good a song like this could really serve, something that’s nothing but depressing. I also don’t believe its a ‘cruel, cruel world’. There’s cruel things that happen, but our species, and life itself isn’t inherently one way or the other.
“Free Album Sample”… I really was making things way too complicated for the listener. I didn’t know how to explain it in a very marketable way – not to mention, a variety of demos is not a very sell-able thing anyway. I’m aware its only for a sliver of people. Notice I imagined it being something very different then, imagined it having music from 1999-07. Now, ye shall get most of that tucked away in the Abravault, where it belongs!
“IC ACB” is my response to a very nice acknowledgement episode of ACB (The Ali Chris Bill Show) that was made about me, since I’d been very supportive of their pages, and offered them their theme song. They sang parts of ‘Something Bout You’ in it and made it ‘Somethin’ Bout Taylor’ and everything. It was awesome!
“The Star Trek Epic Part 1” was actually written back in 06, and I just decided to sing it here. It captures a very lonely spirit of the nerd in a very serious, unusual way. I love messing with delay. “But the suns a prone as human kindness” is such an Elvis Costello kinda line. In my mind, he often writes nice, descriptive stuff that you have to try hard to understand immediately. Even though its musical and concrete – its simultaneously vague because he paints almost too much of a picture. There’s another recording of this that’s even better.
“Patience” is a sweet song. You get the full of it here in the video, rather than just the smidgen on the 09-07 album. I did it that way because… I, don’t know. I just did. It was inspired by ‘Spirit Voices’ from ‘Rhythm Of The Saints’.
“Taylor Abrahamse – The True Story” was a lot of work for little gain. It kind of makes no sense, but fit in with my love for Battlestar Galactica. My Dad, once again, generously appears. Very dumb. I like it a lot. Maybe that’s just me though. You have to be pretty twisted 🙂 “And scientists have discovered that narcissism is healthier for you than diet and exercise”.
“Modest Mouse Float On”, just an example of some of the strange stuff you can find online. This includes random clips of me playing, set to Modest Mouse music, along with other Youtubers. Youtube is an interesting creature, indeed.
“Blame It On Yourself” is definitely a song I very much like, and have tried to do more with over the years. It was inspired somehow, by listening to The Pet Shop Boys of all people. I wanted to try writing a song with a very straight-ahead strumming pattern, nothing fancy like I normally did. I reworked this song a bunch and it became much better,
“A Response To Simpsons…”, the moment I read the title, I don’t want to watch the video. Wow. What is it about the internet had me think people want to hear about something like this? I tried to write a song about The Simpsons too, which turned out pretty well. Would rather do that than a talk video. This is an example of why, well, its stuck in the Abravault for all eternity, and not on the main Youtube page.
“Fuck Marketing” is a homage to Smigly; a wonderful, underrated cell-shaded animated series I found online. I was Youtube pen pals with the animator. I love my Smigly mug!
“A Hard Confession” is even more ridiculous. Such melodrama… so only of that time in my life… and so vague. I’m talking, but I’m not really saying anything. What is going on!?
“I Write The Songs” is a short film I made in first year University, when I was taking the film program as a final assignment. I had way more fun making the soundtrack than the video itself, so I switched into the music program next year. I had horrible management skills at that time, so the whole production of this thing was a disaster. Actors not knowing where to go, showing up late everywhere, pulled an alarm by mistake in one spot we were filming so had to film while it was blaring deafeningly. We had to film it on black and white 16 mm (or was it 8 mm?) film, because… it was 2009, naturally? My Dad appears heavily in this. He’s such a great sport.
“I’m Making An Album” is a fun announcement video, and the technical debut of my high quality camera. I love all the weird stuff I did on this page. I enjoy this one still.
“Goodbye Webcam”. Bye!
“All Star” was a spontaneous Smash Mouth cover done at the house of Larry Graves, a good youtube friend who invited me to guest on his channel. This one actually was on my channel, but just done at a Green Screen at his spot. Very spontaneous, which is why its not that great a version of anything. Tragically, it amassed a ton of views.
“BillTVMacon” is my awesome little tribute to another big Youtube friend, Bill Elder from Macon, Georgia. Self-explanatory. Really like ‘When the aliens google our charred remains…’ part. Its the magic of youtube – far after we’ve all destroyed each other, we can still get the acknowledgement we always wanted. I wonder if that will be the case with Bill. His page deserves so much more attention! 🙂
“In Memory…?” was done as it was, not just because of the Youtube layout, but because I was also responding to Michael Jackson’s death around the time, and how overblown it, like any celebrity death, really is. And this is coming from someone who fell in love with music because of Michael. I owe him a ton – the first album I ever listened to religiously was ‘The Best Of The Jackson 5’. I rewrote ‘Rockin Robin’ to ‘Ronnie Hawkins’ and then got to sing it for the Hawk as a kid. However, what I’m trying to get at is this: there’s always a ton of other things happening, and profound injustices that never get talked about substantially because of the meal a big celebrity death becomes. Anyways. I remember hearing the news after he was rushed in critical condition. There was an hour there where I was just crying and praying for him… and then, he passed. I had a feeling he would go at a pretty young age. I actually had a nightmare a few years prior where I was walking into a train station, and found a secret basement. I found myself in a little room where MJ was dead. Anyways, fluffy kittens and honey! And I played some nice Sarah McLachlan.
“Greenfields” is a Yusuf Islam cover. Wonderful song. Felt so peaceful and perfect covering it outside. I was recording with a better mic, but the file got corrupted. Oh well, still sounds nice.
“Youtube Babysitter” is a funny idea that would totally catch on if a big tuber started doing it.
“Glad” so weird to see me eating meat there, after so many years a vegetarian now. This is a nice song that would get a little more fleshed out on ‘Here’s Some Songs’. The little melody of the start of the video is another song that never got finished, but would be nice to. The other thing I notice is – I’m soooo awkward as I sing sincerely in this phase! Oh man.
“Vienna” is one of my most popular covers from that phase, if not my most. Why I would do those weird openings all the time, I don’t know. I didn’t know when to stop. I’m just a vegetarian ham, what can I say?
“Taylor Luther King” is from my short lived other channel, which was a bad idea, where I would pose certain questions. I’m usually in various abandoned lecture halls as I record these.
“Little Bird, Little Bird” was one of my favorite songs. I’ve never been able to replicate this feeling of it. That album by them was absolute magic to me as a kid. One of my top five favorite albums at the time. Nobody does Canadian like them. It evokes so much of the magic of the wide infinite outdoors, and the brutality of winter – all of their stuff. Its like they’re all lumberjacks, turned Group Of Seven painters, turned musicians. I know the various Rheostatic members have seen this and Martin really likes my voice, which is awesome. Dave Bidini invited me to sing some music at a book launch of his a couple years later – I also took a songwriting course he ran.
“All The Young Girls” was made as part of a ridiculous class assignment that I couldn’t explain to you if I tried. This is an Elton John cover from Yellow Brick Road, the album that had me clear that I would be making music for a loooong time.
“Merry Easter” is fun. I like destroying songs 🙂
“Live Let Live” is a sweet song from a very very underrated Brian Wilson album. I would say its his third or fourth best album ever, including Beach Boys music… and it came out in 2008. You gotta take a listen! Got some lyrics wrong, but they’re Van Dyke Parks, notorious for making wonderfully incomprehensible lyrics.
“Questions By Taylor” videos are… mostly stupid. “Is a single success every success?” WHAT? What does that mean? I was thinking wayyyy too hard, and so not in reality. The dangers of being uninitiated in a University environment.
“Mrs. Vanderbilt” and various other videos with that background were filmed in the first floor social room of Winters College at York University. I wonder if it looks different – and I wonder if the pianos ever got tuned. The lightings very neat when its black and white. Very cinematic.
“White Guy With A Problem” was a neat experiment. Horu25et asked youtubers to make music over a piano track he offered up. So many different versions. Mine took advantage of various vocal takes ontop of one another, reacting to the other takes. Its a bit like Freddie Mercury singing the line ‘If there’s an answer to the questions we feel bound to ask’ in ‘Innuendo’, a strange insanity gets created with the extra vocals. I like that quality, and it definitely expressed how the insides of my head felt like at the time to do songs like this from time to time. ‘Everyman (In Cranberry Sauce)’ on the best of 09-07 has a similar effect. More on this song, and Everyman, in the reflections for the audio for it in the 09-07 collection.
“In My Defence” was done with really nice natural lighting. Its a song that works well with a more vulnerable approach. It doesn’t need to be slick and powerful like mid-80’s Freddie mercury always was. Works very well on guitar.
“Improv Songs For Olivia” is one of a few different moments of fun with some random people I met in the halls of Winters College at York U. This is us in some wreck room, just mucking about. I was making lots of serious music around that time, so it was a nice change of pace to just make something funny. It was also one of the first times I realized I could really just make funny songs if I wanted to. I also enjoyed this state of mind around that time that I was always tired, and graciously doing things for people I was better than. Like, I was Paul McCartney or something, signing someone’s autograph. Clearly not a very health or real state of mind, and one that I keep having to snap myself out of.
“My Funny Valentine”… I’m not even singing the melody right. I’ve done magical kick-butt versions of this song with full bands that have never been recorded. Its a song very natural for me to do, especially if I sort of impersonate Chet Baker at the same time.
“Sound Of Silence” was an interesting case. She had a pretty popular channel, and we did a collab. I made the first layer, she made the second. I edited it. Its not that great, but it was a nice experience. What was freaky was that she had some powerful youtube friends who she got to share at the right time, and within 24 hours it was a featured video on the front page of Youtube Canada. There used to be a period where you would get medals and be in charts depending on how many views you had, before Youtube’s design started to suck as a community builder. I would always have lots of weird medals – #42 for most viewed in Music, Canada, and stuff like that, depending on the day. That video got six thousand views in one day, which was quite unprecedented for me. But it was on another person’s channel, so I got no medals…
“Something Bout You!”, people thought it was a romantic song for Kaitlyn. Definitely NOT! It was written in various ways before, and I just decided to surprise her with it for kicks.
“Think I Can!” sounds nasally. To reiterate from before, this was aired nationally after it won a contest to appear on CBC Kids.
“Live On Youtube Now” was a dumb meta joke, because you couldn’t be ‘Live’ on Youtube. I wanted to see if anyone would fall for it, and I thought my people would enjoy it. At least I would.
“Crap-imation Theatre” is a good idea, but creepily done. But I think its still funny. These are my lovely characters from childhood – I wanted to give them a second life… I shall, a much better one than this! 🙂
“All My Loving” was done for some friends from University I missed who liked the Beatles, as most people tend to. I like that I went extra produced with this, but couldn’t be bothered to do that every time with a video. I wanted to create create create, not spend too much time getting too refined. Probably the wrong attitude 🙂 But there’s still lots of entertaining stuff here, as I hope you’ve seen.
Rajdin: The True Story (Full Version!)
I had to edit it down to ten minutes for Youtube back when it was initially uploaded, since that was the max length back then. However, times have changed, and now the full version of ‘Rajdin’ can be enjoyed! With a distorted audio track as a result of a glitch from the 2008 DVD burn I got this from… and with audio that goes out of synch sometimes from the aforementioned bad DVD burn… yay? Yay!!
This is a short film I made near the end of High School for grades in my deeply depressing film class. I took that class for morning school credits at a different school than my normal one.
This is a playlist that has ‘Rajdin’ in chapters, because that is simply the only way I could burn it on DVD all those years ago. Computers have never been kind to me when I need a DVD burned. I ripped it from that DVD I recently uncovered, and here it is uploaded to Youtube in a playlist!
Video Reflections, March 2015:
Hope you can imagine past the distorted sound and the video delay glitches. If not, there’s a condensed version in the same playlist at the end of it – the version that was initially uploaded to Youtube.
Basically, this was presented as a biography of this useless little star named ‘Rajdin’. The real joke is that it never cops to the real joke… that he literally only blinks, moves his head and says ‘bleh’. He’s drawn like an alternate version of my Fetus cartoon I made up when I was growing up. I realize now that this is the evolution of some of the short films I was trying to make the years prior; there were two that mentioned sitcoms, and their brain-control powers. Ironic I would star in one a few years later myself.
The cast is all my family and friends: My hairdresser of the time, grandparents, my father, my brother (‘Rajdin mows my lawn!’), various friends or acquaintances from the new school. This has a special place for me, because my family were gracious enough to appear. My mother is notoriously camera shy, but has taken many award-winning photos (and many brilliant shots of my childhood). In her shot, I promised I would animate ‘Rajdin’ over her pulling the wagon, but I never did, and then surprised her. She got a good laugh from that – I finally got her on film! However, she does actually appear a couple times: During the Canadian Idol footage of me, you can see her at numerous times. Also, when I was on the series ‘Doc’, she plays my mother for a scene! They didn’t cast a mother, and deliberately made a situation where my Mom was surprised on set and had to say yes. She sits patiently by my hospital bed, with a fake TV husband. Basically, background work.
Anyways, back to this. I share it here because it oddly works, and has some good laughs in it, at least to me. I’m proud of it for what it is – crappy flash animation done on crappy computers. I liked making stuff that was supposed to deliberately look crappy – I just find it more interesting. And, it also helps that I have no idea how to animate well. I also deliberately used really outdated editing software that I hadn’t touched in years – Pinnacle Studio 7. That’s where all the generic background music comes from as well. Unfortunately, its such bad software that it couldn’t really handle the footage without a lot of workarounds, and still messed things up. For example, there’s a moment with a bunch of flashing images that is supposed to show WAYYYY more images so its overwhelming to the viewer, but it literally screwed up. I think I fix this in the Youtube version. There’s lots of visual glitches that are literally from that awful program and from the poor processing power of the computer in question. I suppose it adds charm.
The narration is all my grandfather, Derry Wilford. I made sure he never got to read his lines beforehand, so he would sound like he had no idea what he was reading. I wanted that unrehearsed Tim & Eric quality. I couldn’t have asked for a better narrator! He really ties the absurdity of the whole thing together – there’s certain lines he reads incredulously… and with utter confusion… and its perfect! ‘Most attractive man, and… most attractive… woman of… 1999’ being my favorite, I think.
Also, later in the video, there are appearances of the studio in Toronto where ‘The Future Is Wild’, a cartoon series I voiced for around that time, was recorded. I pretend that they’re recording Rajdin’s follow-up album. I also use Degrassi’s Marc Donato to audition to be the next Rajdin.
My Dad is so nervous and awkward in front of the camera… and its hilarious to me. What a great man, always there for me, willing to humiliate himself. ‘For the lack of a better term, he didn’t have the same ‘jazz hands’, he had before. His comedy seemed more, for the lack of a better term, ‘salad’. But nobody could figure out why’. I would take advantage of him in future productions for sure. Also, there’s some little family videos I made around Christmas time 2012 that the public will never see that feature him heavily in ways I find hilarious.
Also, the profound punch of the short really lands: ‘He has the ability to say what’s on everyone’s mind’. Suddenly, all the stupidity in the short makes sense. And the unsettling thing is – despite Rajdin’s journey being incredibly stupid, all of it isn’t far off from the lives of many real celebrities. I use a lot of the biography tropes in this – and ‘Soup On The Rocks’, really isn’t that much worse than, say ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
I could do a way better ‘derpy’ Rob Scheider voice now. Its embarrassing to listen to the credits of this now. But I love the dialogue in it. ‘Its a Hiroshima full of laughs!’ … ‘Its a washboard of salamander pudding!’. What!!?
Video Reflections, March 2015:
‘Gone At Last’ is a Paul Simon cover. This is all early in my serious Youtube page development. I’m filming from inside my studio room, where I recorded most of the more ‘polished’ music you hear up until about 2010 in the Abravault. I’m playing my very first guitar for some reason – the strings are so rusty and dirty, and have never been changed! I think I just wanted to mix things up a little, play a different guitar.
‘Search For A Friend’, here’s your chance to get the full song if you like the segment in the 09-07 collection.
‘COIN’. As extra-curricular, our film class was offered to make a short film about an organization that helps people with downs syndrome and various disabilities find employment. It was really a two person job, so I think the teacher asked me, and I accepted. I made it for a bit with a girl from the same class, but she quickly dropped out, as she was a rather unstable individual, and it was up to me to finish it up on my own. I did all the editing, most of the filming, the title song, etc. It was a nice way to give back a bit, using cruddy film class equipment. Its charming in that sense – a truly grassroots initiative. These people were awesome to work with, and it was a pleasure making this, and a nice memory. I really felt like a director making this – I would carefully set up different shots, ensure lighting was good, etc. I really wanted to make something they would be happy to use to represent their initiative.
‘Musici-CAN!’ Yay! In all its creepy glory. Plus, my screen capture software sorta sucked, so its even cruddier looking than the final game. This is THE FUNNIEST SHIT to me!! Some of the music slowed down for some reason, which just made it even creepier! Would have been made in early 2008, and uploaded promptly after. I remember how satisfying it was to present this to my class – they were mortified! As explained in some of the reflection stuff for the 09-07 album – this is a crappy Flash video game I programmed in my technology class. My obsession was to make things that were brilliantly awful, so that’s what I was going for here. I’d played some cheesy ‘educational’ video games growing up that seemed like all the main characters were completely lobotomized. The games were always tedious, and rife with gratuitous false praise – so this was my response to those games. Every other line is some version of gratuitous optimisim. I have dozens of useless characters, who are all mostly food and animal puns based off of famous musicians. ‘Leonard Co-Hen’ will co-write songs with you, ‘A Chalk Of Seagulls’, ‘Van Melon’, ‘Ashley Simp-scone’… it just never ends. ‘THEY sure can rock’… they can’t even emphasize the right words when they speak. The flash game is also programmed to bring up ‘blue screens of death’ and other delights. I freaking love this. This is basically just footage of how the game would be played. Maybe I’ll figure out how to upload it!
‘It’ is a short film that has never been uploaded in full until now! The sound synch is off in this too… dammit! Its a weird short film that won a small Ontario film award at some festival… I forget the name. I love the CNN parody stuff, and I remember working hard to make sure the ‘Straw Choice’ TV satellite signal emulated how ‘Star Choice’ worked when you would flip between its channels around this time. The awkwardness of it is deliberately emulating that. This of course stars all my Fetuses again. I’m… honestly not sure what this is about anymore! The perpetual up and down of life, and therefore its inherent meaninglessness? I know that insight really depressed me back then! It was fun to make though, and its pretty fun to watch. I think I was reticent about uploading the full thing before because the subject matter is so existentially depressing. I didn’t want to drive anyone insane as me. Now I realize its a crazy narcissist outlook to think I possibly have that degree of control over someone. Everyone is an independent thinker, and if they don’t want to believe that they are, that’s their loss. I discovered eventually how not to make it meaningful that life is meaningless, that I don’t need to make that into a cause for sadness or significance, and that’s been very liberating.
Then we have the Canadian Idol stuff that I could be bothered to find. I was in a few episodes, featured quite a bit. I was in the last season of the series. Watching this at home, it was so clear to me that I was being framed through editing to be the kook, to be someone who would be hard to vote for and there for the laughs. I did about five different Queen songs during that audition, and they only aired the last one, when my voice was the most gone. Its pretty painful to realize three million people had to hear me do that. But hey, I made it through, and made it to the Top 40. I also have an equally hard to watch local news clip of me getting interviewed at home, right when suddenly everyone in Peterborough knew my name and was rooting like crazy for me. I remember different big advertising signs at the local malls rooting me on: ‘CONGRATULATIONS TAYLOR ABRAHAMSE! OUR CANADIAN IDOL!’ sorts of things. I remember a friend summarizing it well for me: ‘You’ll never escape Taylor!’. That’s very much what it felt like. I was such a loaner, but simultaneously desperate for fame. I quickly realized the futility of blindly pursuing fame after this. I want to gain visibility for reasons that inspire me, where I’m working with people I trust on something I believe in. I dreamed of being in the Top 24 so I could say profound stuff about the hypocrisy of fame live to all of Canada, and be a classic shit disturber. Something they don’t tell you: They deliberately ensure you have as little sleep as possible. They will delay you knowing what your song options are for the next round until a few hours before you perform. So you get to work on the song for half an hour, sleep for two hours, and then perform it. I simply didn’t have the mental and emotional stamina back then. Remember, I also struggled with depression, and it was hard to get myself to be motivated to do anything. I remember having a pen pal in Zimbabwe, something our school offered students as a world outreach – and reading a letter from him a couple minutes before I was about to air on TV singing music. The contrast really struck a chord with me. That was my first taste of learning not to take what I have for granted. One of many to come. I could always use more of that still.
In the second round I was in, we had to be partnered with people. It was like picking teams for football – all that was left at the end was me & this very cool talented guy who sounded like a 70’s funk singer, but who was definitely out there. I was promised by some other musicians that we would be in a group together, but instead they snuck away with some other guys that were more ‘conventionally’ talented. Pure Darwinism. A show like this is a tricky way to represent me, since I have fundamentally been a songwriter first. I mean, I am a performer, but I’m not Michael Jackson obviously, nor do I want to impersonate some diva. I remember leaving the whole process being disillusioned with the entertainment world, and being exhausted to the point of no return of the creatively suffocating notion of fame that, on and off, can obsess me in my weaker times. I listened to David Bowie’s ‘Low’ on the ride back. I even filmed myself listening to my favorite track, ‘A New Career In A New Town’ for some reason. I wanted to make something that liberated, sad and messy. It really struck me. Ricky Gervais’s line in ‘Extras’ always has also stuck with me when I think of this time of my life. It was something like: ‘American Idol and X Factor, excuses to be sniggered at by multimillionaires…’. I suspect we’ll look back on all these singing contests in general disgust one day, even though there’s a lot of fabricated magic within them that I can totally eat up too. I’ll leave you with this: During lunch time, I was getting a hot dog, and bumped into host Ben Mulroney. In a delightfully awkward way he said: ‘Hot dogs! Breakfast of champions my friend!’ He was very nice to me. When I was finally booted off (While doing a really cool re-imagining of ‘Simple Man’ that never aired), he had nothing but great things to say about my version. I predict the only reason I wasn’t Top 24 was just because my version was so different, and I may have had my eyes closed the whole time cos I was so tired. If I was my age now and this show was still on, I would kill it.
‘Imagination Song’ is my little guinea pig character, Piggy. I made this spontaneously to get a little better at animating in Flash, and to promote South Park’s ‘Imaginationland’ DVD. Piggy climbs out of the white, like Butters does in the third episode of the Imaginationland trilogy. South Park meant so much to me then – I would obsessively stay up late on Wednesday nights so I could torrent the newest episode online the moment it aired. Or, I would find it online and watch it on a school computer. It was one of the few things that kept me sane enough in Highschool. Trey Parker is the sort of auteur I strongly aspire to have the career of – to every step of the way, have such substantial creative control over one’s work, and to be so active in so many facets of it – and also, to make it and leave it so quickly – all of that appeals to me tremendously. Its utter brilliance, through and through.
‘Demo 2008’ includes clips from throughout my brief career up to then, whatever small things I could find. This includes even some Future Is Wild clips, the series I voiced throughout highschool. Man, how I didn’t really know how to voice act then! But how great to be given the chance anyways. Definitely my low self esteem at the time helped me play the awkwardness in the character.
Then, I’ve also included some strange little short clips here made for some unknown purposes, and part of ‘It’ in higher quality, without sound. That was footage directly exported from Flash, before sticking it in video editing software to time up the audio tracks.
‘Moondance’ was one of my most viewed covers at the time. I look back on all these videos and wished I wasn’t so addicted to being a ham, and having to use that stuff off the start of each video. But its fun, up to a point.
‘Your Heart’ in earlier form still. Puts in perspective how old some of these songs are. Shitty periods in my life become all worth it for little nuggets like that tune.
‘Thank God Its Christmas’ got an unusual amount of hate, and flame war-style comments. Just a Queen song. Strange. I was really depressed around this time in my life – I’d lost someone important to me the month before, my University was on strike. It was like an extended summer, and I was too afraid to do much. But I did try and laugh it all off with some Youtube videos.
‘Teacher I Need You’ is an Elton John cover, trying to get my University to get off it and bring the students back. Such a zitty boy.
‘Dark Urban Poetry’ was for this interesting Youtuber, who was looking for poetry submissions. This was my contribution.
‘The Video Randomizer’ is a nice idea, a response to the Youtube-iverse of trapping you inside your preferences. The idea of it is to mix that up. It would crash for people and not really work that well, unfortunately, but not before racking up a lot of views quickly. I suppose other people wanted the same thing.
‘Re:Re: Parody Of…’ is in the classic example of being a jerk trying to rack up youtube views, making video responses to things I had no business making responses for. Its just a desperate way to get views, and at no benefit to other people. Gees Taylor.
‘Toy Mountain 2009’ was actually uploaded in 08, and I readjusted the title to apply to the next year. Confusing, I know. It was something my acting agent of the time gave heavily to. He’s an awesome guy, Rocky Stone. Had to move on to another agent when I got too old – he really only represents kids.
‘100 Subscribers’, the early days of a Youtube page. Thanking people. As you might guess, I don’t voluntarily watch these, so I’m not saying too much about each of these. They may be more interesting to you.
‘Re: Rockin Live’. Lets go back a couple steps. ‘Hot For Words’ was one of the biggest youtubers at the time, a sexy Russian woman who explained the origin of certain words. I asked for the origin of the word ‘Music’ is a little video question I uploaded. So – a video where she answers that question was featured on the front page of Youtube’s first ever live music streamed event, Youtube Live, which included my question embedded into it. So basically, for a brief period in 2008, me asking that question was flung onto the front page of Youtube everywhere, and then her answer. About three million people saw me in a matter of days. I was sick when I was making that question, and the lighting was not very flattering. It was just something I sped out, thinking nothing of. So, millions of people saw me ask a question with my awful webcam, looking awful, and even coughing a little. Like any desperate 17 year old shill, I tried to capitalize on that with this video response, thanking her for answering my question – looking a little bit better and showing my singing off. Needless to say, it didn’t get that many views. What a random, strange thing Youtube is. You don’t know when the attention wave will come sometimes. Too bad there’s thousands of comments saying how ‘faggy’ I looked and things like that, rather than me taking the time to make something better. But also, meh.
‘Who do you think would…’, totally a piece of its time. What the heck was I thinking? I remember being really excited because it got 400 views in one night, which was hitherto unheard of for me.
‘Chris Leavins Story…’. Chris Leavins is a very underrated funny man, and his channel ‘Cute With Chris’ was basically my introduction to Youtube, and the sorts of brilliance that is possible beyond TV. Its maybe hard to imagine now – but consider the first moment you realized ‘Wow, great things can happen… on the internet!’. That was that moment for me, seeing some of his videos. He’s a true actors actor however, and left the humiliating and glorious glow of internet fame for occasional TV work and theater. If you listen to his Podcast of this performance I saw, I’m the guy who yells out ‘You can do it!’ at a certain point when he stumbles on some words, inciting furious applause from the audience and for him to keep kicking butt. On ‘The Stanley Dynamic’, years later, I worked with Bill Turnbull, who starred with him in an amazing cult Canadian show called ‘Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil’. I got Bill to get Chris to sign the front page of a Todd screenplay for me. Bill rocks.
‘Phil Collins Awareness Month’ is sort of a joke. I don’t actually like him that much. He’s very bitter, and it shows through in the lack of feeling his songs produce – but he’s a bastard that gets stuck in people’s heads because he’s made some great melodies. He’s everything I’m afraid of being as a popstar, but also risk being the most. Its easier for me to make catchy than meaningful, and it is very tempting to put those feet forward. What I really work at doing is having it all.
‘Re: South Park JUMPED…’ This really dates it. I’m referencing the brief internet stardom of the transvestite who said ‘Leave Britney Alone!’ in a very melodramatic video response that went viral.
‘Education’ is a song I learned growing up. I just made a weird video with me singing it, with a joke graduation photo I had taken, where I was trying to look as derp as possible.
‘Me Me Me’ wasn’t taken properly. Songs sung as if the main character in the song is a dick, generally don’t appeal – especially when there’s little depth to them. This is a song from the rejected pilot ‘Time Warped!’ by the South Park creators, Matt Stone & Trey Parker.
‘Duckman Official DVD’ really starts to exemplify what a nerdy loner I was, and I didn’t care who knew! Love Duckman. So underrated.
‘Immortality’ was a nice cover. Bee Gees song that I’d always identified with. Performed at a little celebration party my vocal coach of the time, Bill Crane, had put together at his place in Peterborough. He was a major inflluence on me in numerous ways – his attitude and enthusiasm for music making, and his careful ear started to gradually allow me to listen carefully too. He made a big difference in my singing.
Video Reflections, March 2015:
‘I’m Not Afraid Anymore’ was a nice original that caught on for a while. I did it for an organization called ‘HeartSpeak’, a video series committed to empowering kids to follow their ambitions. This song I wrote for their campaign – I heard about them somehow through the high school I was at in the mornings during Grade 11, I think. Very early Paul Simon-y, which is complimented well by my voice. This is what a voice starts to sound like when it takes an emotional beating – like an aged cheese. It starts to tell a story without trying to.
“Love Ain’t The Same Thing Twice”, done at some big talent show I was somehow in. WeIrDddd editing during the start. My staple. This was edited and uploaded to Youtube in late 08, more than a year after the fact. I’m so awkward…
Then, we have a better live version of the same song from a festival in some strange part of Ontario. I remember staying up late the night before, saying a tearful goodbye to my brother as he headed off to University. So, I was on little sleep, felt like crud – and was listening to amazing remasters of early Paul Simon records in the car on my way over. Crazy fun fact: Moments later, female Canadian trio The Good Lovelies would make their performing debut in front of that same white tent. This was a trial round. If we did well enough here, we would get to play on a giant festival stage and do a singer/songwriter round. Them and I made it. Lovelies indeed they are, in and out!
“Piss Till Your Shoes Laugh” was one of very few videos I made around this time that I could find. Not sure where the others are at. Stick around to the end (where the credits are supposed to be but aren’t for some reason), for my really interesting cover of ‘I’m So Tired’ by Lennon. This video was done at the aforementioned school of terrors I would go to for my mornings on semester, then PCVS during the afternoons. This may have been 2008, I don’t know. This really isn’t anything special, but I still like that I did it and fell on my butt. I was certainly trying to do something different. I remember uploading this to Youtube, and a bunch of the kids finding it online and writing really abusive comments, in addition to their facebook page built just to rag on me.
‘This Rep Opinion’ is one little fragment of something else I made at that school that I could find. It was a report on popular music. This would have aired late at night on some local cable station.
‘Where Do The Loving’, at the same music festival as that version of ‘Love Ain’t’. Just found this and put it up.
‘Songs In The Key Of Taylor’ is a very grandiose title I gave the file. Really, its just me playing a bit of ‘Somebody To Love’ by Queen at an event at PCVS, my high school.
‘Don’t Have The Mood’ is also done as an early version here. Would be revamped numerous times after. Performed in 07, uploaded in 08. As with me covering ‘Feelin Groovy’. There was a wacky claymation short film I was going to make that was going to feature a re-tooled version of ‘Feelin Groovy’. However, we wanted to go about it through the right channels, so we messaged Paul Simon’s song rights manager, who declined our request to use the song, with a simple message: ‘Paul does not approve of his songs being changed.’ Something like that.
‘Demo 08’ is included because it has some 07 smidgens.
Dictations are generally that initial spark of an idea or a song, done in a variety of circumstances – with laryngitis, very softly as to not bug the people around me, full-out, etc. In the playlist below is a sampling of dictations. I would be crazy to truly go through all of them.
If I truly looked through all of my recordings on my phone, laptop, mini-disks and other devices – the amount of content to sift through becomes 500-1000 files per year – ranging anywhere from a second to a couple hours each. Simply put, I would probably spend the next year of my life reflecting on my life and sifting through files rather than living it. This screen-cap put some of the tedium in perspective of how much there would truly be to look through.
For this set of years in particular, plenty of the dictations were on hilariously outdated technologies such as MiniDisk, and even tape. So, these are, naturally, far less accessible and will have to wait until someone gives enough darns to truly dig through that. There’s countless hours on those mediums……