Monday, May 10, 2010

Interview: A mellow fellow... Morgan Taylor is Gustafer Yellowgold

Have you met Gustafer Yellowgold yet? If not, give yourself a smack to the head and pop on over to his website to checkout what all the fuss is about! Gustafer is a yellow fellow from the sun who has moved to greener and cooler pastures here on earth and is entertaining everyone with his mellow tunes about friends, his home on the sun and all of his adventures along the way.

Our special guest this week for Kids Music Month is Morgan Taylor who is the creator behind the musical sensation that is Gustafer Yellowgold. There isn't a music reviewer around who hasn't had stunning things to say about the Gustafer Yellowgold experience, so I thought we'd give Morgan a few questions to ponder.

Me - In a chicken and egg world, what came first? Gustafer Yellowgold the character or the music?
MT - The image of Gustafer came about physically in 1997. Really just two drawings I did when I worked at a record store in Ohio back then. One of them had the (yet unnamed) Gustafer frying up amphibians on the stove-top. That image was the genesis, and later after I moved to New York City I began to find comfort in this silly side to my songwriting. I started coming up with songs like "Your Eel" where I mention him cooking snakes. So that image really stuck in my subconscious and I built upon it much later. But when I was writing the songs I didn't realize I was making kids' music per se', I was just having fun making some tapes for my band mates really. SO the answer is BOTH.

Me - You have quite a musical pedigree, and I’ve read some impressive reviews comparing you to Dr Seuss and The Beatles, where do you draw inspiration from for Gustafer? Both musically and for the story and illustration?
MT - I certainly aspire to being great at what I do, and to be compared to those iconic masters of their fields, I really think is a bit lofty. But the description conjures the right mood of what I'm going for, I believe. Melodic, catchy pop songs paired with absurd humor and cartooning.

Me - A live performance for you combines a bit of comedy, obviously the music and the audio visual aspect in the back ground, and you've opened shows with Gustafer Yellowgold for bands like the Polyphonic Spree. A live performance for an adult audience compared to one for kids is obviously very different, but who do you find the better audience and why?

MT - The large majority of my audiences are half adult, half kids so I'm always playing to both. The rare occasion where I've played to adult-only crowds is funny because I barely change what I say to them. It shows that Gustafer Yellowgold is, simply, for PEOPLE.

Me - Gustafer Yellowgold is an original in the world of children’s entertainment. One of the biggest differences is that he is so mellow where everyone else seems to be trying to work kids into a frenzy. Do you find your audiences at live performances chilling out, or is there any fan hysteria happening?
MT - In the live shows I do tend to lean towards the more up-tempo numbers. But none of the stuff invites crazy or rowdy behavior. My goal is to make the audience think and laugh and sing. I realized a while back that the song "I Jump On Cake", has the craziest lyrics but is actually the slowest tempo, but it is the comedic centerpiece of the whole concert.

Me - The Golden Heart Symphony performance from 2009 looks like it was a feat to behold. What is the story behind your involvement in this project and is it something you’d like to do more of?
MT - Oh, that was a feat for sure. I would love to play with different orchestras all over the world if I could. It was really inspiring to see the music reach such a sonic platform. It felt like an out of body experience for me some of the time while performing. It was the first of hopefully many Gustafer symphony experiences.

Here's a little snippet of that performance... it involved a 52 piece public school orchestra!!

Me - Gustafer Yellowgold is a family affair, does being a parent and collaborating with your wife make the inspiration for Gustafer Yellowgold flow more easily, or do you find yourself a harsher self critic as a result?
MT - It makes us take it more seriously. We have to be organized with our time so that we don't go crazy. There's too much to do, really. At this point we're spending nearly every waking hour working to push it along. And there's still a lot that never gets done. We have way more ideas than hands at this point!

Me - You are up to your third CD/DVD for Gustafer Yellowgold and your touring schedule looks pretty full, what does the future hold?
MT - We're dividing our time so that I can finish drawing the new DVD. It will be called "Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock". It's on schedule for an early 2011 release.

Win a copy of Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever and a Gustafer Boneless Action Figure

Morgan has so kindly offered a copy of the latest CD/DVD release Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever and a Gustafer Boneless Action Figure. To win simply tell me the name of Gustafer's Pterodactyl friend. Email your answer to with the title Gustafer Giveaway by 12pm Monday 17th of May 2010 and I'll randomly pick a winner from all the correct entries :o)

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