At a time where staying connected is more important than ever, House of Solo has launched ‘Party of One’, a series providing intimate insight into how your favourite artists are dealing with isolation and what we can expect from them during the lockdown.
Listening to Aaron Taylor’s most recent track ‘Shooting Star’, featuring cult Dutch artist Benny Sings, is a transportive experience. Undulating beats set against his trade-mark neo-soul vocals acts as the perfect teaser for his debut album ICARUS which will be released on September 25th. With Party of One coming to a close, we caught up with Aaron over email to discuss the renaissance he hopes for within the music industry as a result of social distancing and the Black Lives Matter movement and how he recently celebrated his first ever Father’s Day.
First of all, how are you? What’s lockdown been like for you?
I’m an introvert so lockdown has been alright overall. I like staying busy so have mainly been trying to keep up the momentum work wise but mostly I’ve been staying sane with video calls to friends and family and Netflix.
Describe your surroundings to me, who are you in lockdown with?
I live in a south-east London flat with my wife and my newborn son. It’s a very residential area and fairly quiet.
How have you found working from home? I’m aware that you have a mini-home studio, have you been recording much there?
It’s usual for me to work from home – it’s also where I create but ironically since lockdown started I haven’t been as creative as I would have liked. I get my inspiration from human interaction and the absence of that has meant less ideas.
Do you personally feel like we’re coming to the end of lockdown? How do you reflect on the time?
It definitely feels like people are done with being confined. Whether we should be heading out is another debate, but the streets, parks etc are busier. I think there will be a weird transition period where it feels strange to do some ‘normal’ things again.
I like your sentiment that: “one of the things that excites me most about our present revolution is our future renaissance. I’m looking forward to seeing how these times will be reflected and channelled into our music, art, literature, films and more.” What are your predictions concerning this? How do you hope this time will be recorded?
Not only have we had to socially distance for months, but there’s also been a major shift in regard to BLM which is what that sentiment was referring to. I like to think this will inevitably combine into an overflow of music, art and film that is representative of the emotions that so many of us have felt and also be a point where we’re mindful of others in a way we may not have been previously.
You sold out Jazz Cafe last year, I love that venue! Where’s been your favourite place to perform in London and how has it been for you not being able to perform live?
Selling out Jazz Café was really special, I really love that venue and that’s probably been my favourite place to perform in London so far. I’ve definitely missed the buzz a live show gives. Going live on social media isn’t the same at all.
You’ve grown up and stayed in South East London. If lockdown wasn’t happening and you had to take someone on a tour, including the highlights in your area, where would you take them?
I really love Greenwich, that’s where I grew up. I’d take them to the amazing park there – it has the Royal Observatory, Maritime Museum and more. It’s beautiful.
Your debut album ICARUS is going to be released on September 25th. What songs are you most excited about people hearing?
They’re all my favourite, but post lockdown there’s a song called Wanna Be Close which I think will resonate well considering how we’ve had to socially distance ourselves. Also the title track is pretty lush.
So your influences range from Tyler the Creator, Lauren Hill to D’Angelo. What song/songs best embody how you’ve spent lockdown?
I have a Spotify playlist with some of my favourite songs for lockdown which is definitely worth checking out. I’ve played Cleo Sol’s album a fair bit also.
What new music have you discovered during lockdown?
I recently came across SAULT who are really good.
You’ve been quoted saying: “Black lives don’t just matter, they also have meaning.” This is clearly an extremely important sentiment. How do you hope the music industry will change as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement?
I’d love to see more representation of people in A&R, PR, radio, etc. Having a meeting with a Black person in the music industry hasn’t happened very often for me personally. I think the removal of terms like urban is also a step in the right direction of removing unnecessary stereotypes. Not all Black artists fit into a grime/urban box.
How has this period changed your concept of community?
It’s made me realise that it’s easy to take your community and network for granted but I’ve also seen personally how people intrinsically rally together in these times, whether it’s helping your neighbour with a food shop or going out to protest despite a pandemic.
I saw on your Instagram that you recently became a father, congratulations! How was your first Father’s Day?
It was lovely, we had matching t-shirts made. It felt like an extra birthday so I am officially a Father’s Day fan now.
With the announcement that businesses will be able to re-open on July 4th, what are you most looking forward to doing at the end of lockdown?
I miss restaurants a lot. I can’t wait to dine out again and eat without dreading tidying up the kitchen.