I sit down with Taylor Cole, a six-foot-two, Bowie-thin blonde wearing green cord bells and long blonde locks falling over the shoulders a Penny Lane inspired fur coat. He wears a smile and holds a pink pop tart between two ring adorned fingers and dips it into his cup of black coffee. “Growing up, everyone in my hometown thought I was gay. This song is about feeling completely ostracized. It’s about being who you want to be, in the fullest, and not giving a shit.”
Cole is referring to his new single, ironically titled “Pop Tart (Queer Boy, Small Town)”.
If you’ve seen Cole perform with one of the various bands he’s been involved with during a Nashville music run that spans almost 10 years, you know he reads a bit like a Bukowski book. Eccentricity is sort of his thing, and he’s embraced and learned to own it since leaving his hometown of Tullahoma, TN, and finding his place in the Nashville music scene.
Following his last band Chalaxy’s split late last year, former front man Cole recently remerged onto the psyche rock scene with a new band called Tayls. The band takes an honest approach to the writing process, creating songs that showcase a more emotionally expressive style of songwriting.
Cole wrote the band’s debut single, Pop Tart (Queer Boy, Small Town) shortly after returning from what he patiently describes as a frustrating stint on the road touring with Chalaxy. Cole said it was one of the most organic writing sessions he’s had to date, producing an emotionally driven song from completely on-the-spot writing. The track was written within an hour and recorded to completion in less than a day.
“The first word isn’t even a word, it was just a sound, a shout; an energetic moment where I just needed to break out, and get rid of this shell I had been in,” a nod not only to the past years with Chalaxy and the breakdown on the road but the frustrations of growing up in the small town of Tullahoma.
During his teenage years, Cole struggled between the pressure of wanting to experiment with his identity and behaving to please his father, a prominent doctor in town. “If I got in trouble, it wasn’t just my reputation, it would fall on him; I just wanted to separate myself from my dad and the stigma so I could do what I wanted.”
In 2008 Cole moved to Nashville and began an uninhibited path of self discovery through the art of making music, playing with several different bands before forming Chalaxy in 2012, which allowed him the platform to develop and share his feelings and ideas on stage in front of a rapidly growing fan base.
When you’ve experienced one of Chalaxy’s trademark, sensory-overload live shows that leave you pulling confetti out of your hair days after the final chord rang out and venue doors were locked, you understand that Cole is a truly devout worshiper of the magic entity of the live music experience.
“My shows are a special moment. I want to build that up. You don’t have a birthday party a couple times a year, you have it once. Shows should be the same. I want everything I do to be bigger and better than the last,” Cole said.
Cole follows the philosophy of the late Freddy Mercury, that concerts aren’t just live renditions of the album, but are theatrical events.
“The magic is watching people hit the pedals at the right time and strum and sweat,” he says, an experience that no one gets anymore because of what Cole refers to as the “stupid half circle” that forms right in front of the stage at concerts. “Why wouldn’t you want to be in the action? Nashville is the only city where there is more room in the front of the stage than there is in the back,” —I can’t help but imagine a Sunday morning in Mississippi at Good Hope Baptist church.
Cole says his goal for creating songs like Pop Tart is to challenge himself to make people get into concerts again by writing better music and working on more effectively translating what his heart is trying to say to the audience. “I want people to come up to me after the show and ask me what a song meant because it gave them an experience. With Tayls I feel like I can accomplish that.”
Here’s the premiere of Tayls’ debut single “Pop Tart (Queer Boy, Small Town)”.