Doorstep is a masterpiece from one of Liverpool’s finest. It demands to be heard and with a tour happening right now you could be there standing in front of Silent K. We had words.
Silent K have released their third single, Doorstep, and announced tour dates. It seemed like the ideal time to sit down with founding member Chris Taylor to see what’s what.
We arranged to meet in Root Coffee on Seel Street. We know what Chris looks like, having seen Silent K play a few times over the past few years. In any event, his corkscrew curls are full on rock star – with hair like that, there’s really no option in your choice of profession.
We were already sat down with our second choice of drink (no iced latte in March) when Chris walked in. He took a look around and decided there was only one person here who looked like this was his intended target. We’re not sure what that says about us. Or him. But, hey, here we are on a Tuesday morning to talk all things Silent K, the band’s forthcoming dates, including what looks like a blinder at Carnival Brewery in Liverpool on 15 April to celebrate the release of new single Doorstep.
This seems like a step up (sorry) from earlier releases and a subject we decided to tackle – with a degree of nervousness, perhaps, as we had no idea what the reaction would be. You can find out below.
First, however, Chris took one look at our second choice espresso type thing and asked what we were drinking. Is that alcoholic? We wish, but it’s a bit early, even for us. He ordered something completely different – wise choice – and we got into the, not so serious, business.
P3dro: We’re woefully under-prepared for this [that’s how professional we are], so let’s just gas, if that’s alright with you?
Chris: Yeah, that’s better. I feel like we’ve met before. I’ve seen you around before.
P3dro: Well, we’ve seen you at various gigs, in particular at North Shore Troubadour with tea Street Band.
Chris: Yeah, that was a boss gig that. Think it was the first time we ever played Doorstep.
P3dro: So that song’s been kicking around a while?
Chris: Yeah, it was written around that time – probably in about 2018.
P3dro: But you’ve only just released it. And we were really surprised to see you only have three singles out.
Chris: Yeah. We’ve had a few set backs and the line up has changed so many times. It was me and Dave [McCabe] who started the band and then drummers left, drummers joined. Dave was in and out. I think I’m, like, about 17 players deep in Silent K and that was before we’d even put the first single out [Work Work].
But we’re in a good place now. The line up we’ve got is quite tight.
We recorded Doorstep, along with some other tunes, a few times, but it was never quite right. But we’ve finally got it out there.
It’s hard to gauge, but there’s a plan to put an album out next.
P3dro: How’s that going?
Chris: It’s going well. We just need to add a few more bits. We’ve recorded it all in our own studio, although the drums were recorded in 3rd Planet Studio with Jose Ibanez. Then we need to get it [mixed and produced] and we’d like to get it out in the autumn.
It would be good to do some vinyl, but that’s such a pain in the arse to get [sorted]. Maybe we just need to bite the bullet and put it out anyway. Come out with some other idea for a medium to put it on. Lino, carpet or something!
Or we could just release it [as sheet music] so, if you can play it, then you can hear the album.
P3dro: We always think it’s an interesting conversation with bands, whether you just release singles and get them out there, especially in the last couple of years, or whether you feel you have an album’s worth body of work.
Chris: I guess it’s changed a lot now. With streaming platforms, it maybe better to put out one song and get hyped off that, keep slowly feeding. But, I guess I’m a bit old school and I want to put an album out. But we’re working it out as we go – we haven’t got any management or labels looking over us telling us what to do, or when to do it. So, I’m getting to call the shots.
On the other hand, Doorstep’s had such a good reaction on its own, but I do like the format of the album – it’s a complete work, all together and all connected.
P3dro: We grew up in the 70s and 80s when albums were The Thing.
Chris: Yeah, it fluctuates. In the 60s it was all about singles and then with The Beatles, it went to albums. But, then in the 80s with Happy Mondays and Primal Scream, they’d keep dropping singles. It constantly evolves, just like fashion. If there was a magic wand, then it would just be like single, single, album. Then move onto the next one and do the same again.
P3dro: To go back to the beginning, where did the band come from?
Chris: I’d been playing with Dave McCabe and his band The Ramifications, but then had a sort of a hiatus. When that ended I left it for a bit – maybe a year. Then I bumped into an old mate from London, Lias from Fat White Family as he’d come up to Liverpool for a gig and we connected. He stayed at ours for a week. And then he was going to New York the week after, so he asked me to come over and stay with them.
P3dro: So you, just like went to New York for a laugh?
Chris: Yeah. Let’s go to New York! So, I went. And just absorbed the city, although at the time I thought I didn’t like it – it was too full on. That was 2017, and when I came back from New York I had all these ideas and tunes in my head. I hadn’t played since The Ramifications, but it all just clicked again. So, I went straight to Dave and said “Do you wanna try and have a go? Are you interested?” And he was.
But I’d also been asked by Lias to join Fat White Family, so I did that for a year as well as Silent K.
P3dro: You need to tell us a bit more about what happened in New York!
Chris: I remember waking up on the first day and it was so good. It was mind-blowing. I was in New York for the first time, staying in John Lennon’s house. I wanted to see New York, but I wanted to be in the house at the same time. There was a rehearsal space upstairs, with loads of Beatles guitars on the wall. Yoko was downstairs with all her paintings. And then there were loads of mad fucking models and characters turning up all the time.
On the first day I went out to get something to eat and there were loads of mad people, wearing shades and with dogs just walking down the street. It was a week of drinking and gigs, playing music.
P3dro: Did you actually record any music out there?
Chris: Well, yeah, but just on my phone, messing around and jamming, coming out with words and ideas.
P3dro: But that’s what triggered your head into getting back into things?
Chris: In that room we were all just singing, buzzing off ideas. I’d been singing my head off and it didn’t really matter. But then [I thought] actually, I’ve got something here. It took a while to get my voice strong. I constantly had days when I thought “I can’t sing”, but it was just doing it for 6 hours in a room and getting high with strangers.
P3dro: That’s potentially quite dangerous.
Chris: Well, yeah. As soon as we came out of the rehearsal room I had an almost empty bottle of beer on me and we got stopped by the Bizzies for an open container of alcohol. I’ve still got the outstanding fine. I never paid it.
P3dro: We don’t want to diss you, but when we’ve seen Silent K, we’ve thought you’re not the most serious band in the world. It seems like you’ve turned a bit of a corner – you have the new single and PR [lined up]. There’s an album coming out. Is this a “real” project?
Chris: I think we were just having a bloody good time. But, this is definitely a serious project. I’ve put my heart and soul into doing it. People have made that point before, but its just how we come across on stage. I think it’s a bit strange. The first line up, with me and Dave was mates. It was us really enjoying it, I guess, buzzing off each other. I was just trying to find my way with a look and what the band would be. We have loads of mates in Liverpool, so there were all eyes on us. But then our 4th gig was playing with Noel Gallagher in Cardiff. It’s a funny one, though. If you look like you’re having too good a time on stage, then … There’s definitely humour in the lyrics, but there’s a serious point as well. We’re a serious outfit. I think the music says that and speaks for itself.
And with that statement of intent, we turned off the recorder, gassed for a bit longer and went on our respective ways, pausing for a couple of photos. Chris is an engaging character and it was a pleasure to spend half an hour talking.
You could do worse than spend a similar amount of time catching Silent K on any of their upcoming gigs. They’re worth it.