Chris Taylor has been busy. Best known as the bass player of Grizzly Bear, he has also crafted diverse sounds as a producer for bands like Twin Shadow, Dirty Projectors, Blood Orange, Class Actress and Jamie Lidell. Then last year he launched Terrible Records, an independent label that prints limited-edition seven-inch records, then last week he released his solo project under the moniker CANT, stepping out for the first time as a front man. Coming from such a well-known figure in the independent Brooklyn music scene, the debut elicited high expectations.
The album is humbly titled Dreams Come True and combines Chris’ many talents—bass playing, production and singing—to exquisite results. Despite being released the same day as new albums from Girls, Neon Indian, Das Racist, and St. Vincent, Dreams Come True is being consumed at a remarkable rate and garnering critical accolades. For the launch of the latest issue of Dossier, we were lucky enough to have CANT give us the extra track Be Around. Separate from the album, the song is exclusively available through a download code at the bottom of this post.
Andrew Blazer: So tell me something about what this album means to you—why did you go off on your own?
Chris Taylor: That’s the first question of every interview.
Chris: Yeah—why’d I do it? (Laughs) There are two singers in Grizzly Bear and that seems to be more than enough. I kind of wanted to do my own thing. I like the element of being able to sing and contribute on that level of songwriting. It’s also just very different than Grizzly Bear and it’s stuff that wouldn’t necessarily work with Grizzly Bear. It’s just a little bit closer to my heart.
Andrew: So, who else is in the band with you?
Chris: They are all just friends: Dev Hines from Blood Orange, Guillermo Brown, John Kirby—he’s in Sebastien Tellier’s band.
Andrew: So tell me about Be Around, the track you are releasing exclusively for Dossier?
Chris: It was something I was working with for the album that didn’t fit, so I completely deconstructed it and put a whole new thing around it. Its fun—it was actually randomly the first thing George and I started working on when I started the album.
Andrew: George (Lewis) from Twin Shadow?
Chris: Yeah. When we set everything up, sat down and started writing, that song was what we started out with. But now it actually has nothing to do with that original song. The only thing that’s the same is the drum beat, which is like a house beat, but I really like the tempo of it—the feeling of relentlessness about it. It’s a pretty tough track; it’s definitely a more straightforward sound then anything else on the record.
Andrew: What genre would you categorize Dreams Come True?
Chris: I don’t know what genre it is. I think it’s more specifically the kind of music I am into. Grizzly Bear is a mix of four people’s opinions so inevitably it is not quite as personal to me as this.
Andrew: Do you find the music changing from what you originally wrote, now that you’re playing it live with a band?
Chris: Yeah, that’s what’s really exciting. I really didn’t like being alone for a lot of the record. I was by myself a lot and I actually don’t like working by myself a lot. It’s really, really hard. It’s great having other people because the music kind of takes on its own life. It starts to develop with four people and it’s exciting to watch that unfold and the music change, which sometimes sounds better to me than the album.
Andrew: So you guys are working?
Chris: Yeah, I think so. Definitely.
Andrew: What’s it like returning to small venues after playing alongside Radiohead and stuff like that?
Chris: Playing with Radiohead was sort of an anomaly for us. We don’t play for 40,000 a night, no matter where we play. That was sort of a unique thing. I like playing the smaller clubs though there are a lot more variables. As the venues get bigger and the tours get bigger, there are fewer variables—it just kind of makes things a little less eventful, and I kind of like the friction that goes from shit going awry on the road. I like dealing with random people and having to sort something out and make it good, even if things are challenging. I like that challenge. I’ve been missing that.
Andrew: Are you nervous at all?
Chris: Yeah, I’m nervous. It’s definitely kind of weird—being a front man is definitely a new thing for me and it feels a lot different being on stage. But it’s fun. It keeps things interesting.
Andrew: Are you looking forward to playing anywhere specific?
Chris: The West Coast is always really awesome. Every city is fun to be in. That is one of the better parts of being on tour, just in general. I like how weird it gets. I like how random it is. I’m really excited to go back on tour. It’s been a while.
Andrew: So, you’re playing the bass in CANT?
Chris: Bass and guitar. Synthesizer. Singing. But there’s also a guitar player and another synth player.
Andrew: It seems like you’ve been able to take a little less responsibility for all of the instruments versus in Grizzly Bear. Now you can really focus on vocals.
Chris: Yeah, it’s kind of enough for now to focus on the vocals. It’s just a new thing to have to sing lead vocals. A lot of the stuff I didn’t write thinking I’d ever have to sing it while playing the bass. Some stuff I’m just like—there’s just no way… Now I’m writing stuff and thinking about how I would play it and sing it at the same time. Is this even possible? Which is funny. I guess it’s pretty logical. Who knows? I don’t want to just stand there, you know?
Catch CANT on tour in these cities:
10-01 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
10-02 Vancouver, British Columbia – Media Club
10-03 Seattle, WA – Triple Door
10-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
10-07 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
10-08 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
10-11 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
10-12 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
10-14 Lawrence, KS – The Bottleneck
10-15 Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
10-16 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
10-18 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
10-19 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
10-21 Toronto, Ontario – Garrison
10-22 Montreal, Quebec – Cabaret Mile End
10-24 Boston, MA – Middle East Downstairs
10-25 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
10-27 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
10-28 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
10-29 Asheville, NC – Moog Festival
Top image by Andrew Blazer. Bottom image by NKSW.