Basic Folk 147 – MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger
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It’s hard to put into words why I love MC Taylor so much, but I know when it started. His band, Durham’s Hiss Golden Messenger, stopped by to play live at WYEP in Jan of 2017. They were the first band I interviewed after Tr*mp was inaugurated. Like a lot of people (and like the white liberal woman that I am), the state of things had shocked me awake. I decided to use my platform differently and this was the first interview where I attempted that and Mike picked up what I was laying down. I got him to talk candidly about Trump, he declared his band was against Trump and stood with marginalized people, but still invited anyone who supported Trump to his show. After that interview I felt some pressure and anxiety inside of me release and then I never forgot his grace and bravery. This guy is so full of wisdom and we get to experience that through his music and his person. I’m so thrilled to talk to him about his music and latest album Quietly Blowing It. Although he’s also just released a Hiss Golden Messenger holiday album, O Come All Ye Faithful, and a companion holiday release from his new project, Revelators which he refers to as “spiritual jazz and dub-influenced.” The guy is prolific.
Mike was always playing music, thanks to his music loving parents. His dad played guitar; outside of his school teaching career he would play occasional gigs around their home in Orange County, California. He spent some time in San Francisco in a hardcore punk and alt country band. He became burnt out on playing music and headed East to The University of North Carolina to study folklore. He decided to start writing and recording some music under the name Hiss Golden Messenger (an homage to his complicated feelings about religion and love the the lo-fi). He’s since released a dozen or so albums and EPs under that name with a rotating cast of players backing him up. In our conversation we cover topics including uncertainty, boundaries and the state of music journalism. He also told me what the C stands for in MC Taylor. He said no one ever asks that and no one knows, so I’ll just keep that one to myself.
Hiss Golden Messenger’s latest non-holiday album, Quietly Blowing It