Premiere: Taxman Talks "Pressure", Heartbreak, & Silver Linings
Taxman knows a thing or two about the age old adage, “when one door closes, another opens,” and her latest single, simply titled “Pressure”, is proof of that experiential expertise. The track—not to mention the entire EP from which it comes—was written during a long, painful, and heartfelt breakup, during which the artist learned, grew, and evolved. Sound like a damn good recipe for some damn good music? That’s because it is.
This morning, we’re stoked to serve up “Pressure”, the first taste of what’s sure to be an EP unlike anything we’ve ever heard before. With sultry R&B tones and a penchant for being as vulnerable as possible, 100 percent of the time, Taxman is set to make some serious waves to close out 2017.
Check the new “Pressure” track below, exclusively on MILK.XYZ, then keep scrolling for our full heart-to-heart with this rising star.
I know “Pressure” is about to drop—how are you feeling?
I’m really, really excited. This has been a long time coming, a lot of lives have been lived [Laughs], yeah. This song, this body of work, just came at such a pivotal and transformational time in my life, and “Pressure” is kind of, you know, unveiling what that time of my life was showing. I was going through the ending of a relationship, and “Pressure” is kind of this message—in our final desperate moments, our last attempt to save what we felt that we had, but kind of knowing that we were approaching the end—and it was truly written right before we did breakup. So, you know, it was definitely one of those realization kind of songs, but also not fully trying to accept what was there.
So when you play it or hear it are you just transported back to that time?
Yeah, luckily I feel like, although it’s definitely a song that has a lot of darkness in it, there are some other tracks from the EP that are even darker because those were post-[breakup], going through the ending and grieving points, whereas this song was written right before the end. It was more almost frustration, and I felt like there was still some sass, but it gets real dark later on [Laughs]. But it was all coming from a really, really highlighted time of my life, and I’m excited to finally be able to share it.
Was it cathartic to get it off your chest with the EP?
When I was writing it?
Yeah, do you feel like a sense of relief now that you’ve put it out there?
Definitely. Well, I think the special part, or the bizarre realization, is that with art, it captures a moment in time, and so it was very real when I made it, and I’ve lived a lot of lives since then, and so I’ve moved on to different times and moments and my understanding and peace with the breakup has come to a different place. Yeah, I think it’s really, really special when you can capture these really raw moments and put them into a song and they still live. What’s really cool is that listeners—and myself even—can interpret it in different ways, and of course this has a very personal meaning to me, but I think because I’ve moved on, I’m able to see it in different colors and apply it to different situations. Even though I had a very specific situation that it was created in! So it is cathartic, to let it finally live. It mirrors a lot of work I did on myself, and how I grew as a person, and now that I get to let it go free, it feels good.
That leads into my next question—how do you feel like you’ve grown or evolved as a person since that point of writing all these songs?
Well, I found a way, although I was going through a lot of closure and ending, a way to start a lot of new beginnings. As stereotypical as that sounds, it’s that thing of “when one door closes another door opens.” It’s really true. When you allow space for other things to come in, they do come in and I found space for my own relationship with myself, and with that, I had a lot of discovery with my voice and in my music I was able to channel a lot of parts of me that I didn’t fully realize in past projects I’ve been in. Things happen in really funny and mysterious ways. I met my collaborator, Zach Lipkins, my producer for this stuff, and he and I really lucked out in finding not only great collaboration artistically together but also a really close friendship. We wrote a lot of songs together and were kind of going through more or less similar life changes. It was pretty cool to get to create in a new headspace.
I know you worked on a few different projects prior to this, but do you feel like you’ve kind of found your groove now? Or are you still testing the waters?
You know, I think that will forever be a part of my artistic self. I identify first and foremost as a vocalist, and so I’m finding that I’m discovering different places that I can tap into. R&B-soul is for sure my soul and my love, that’s where I feel like I belong as a singer, but content-wise, that’s just all up to my life and what inspires me and what I want to be writing. Where inspiration will always been changing just as I live, but as far as sound goes, I want to keep finding a more and more vulnerable place, and kind of unveil my voice, rather than hiding behind a lot of reverb or sonic layers, you know? And just kind of sitting in a place that’s a lot more organic and up-front. And I think it’s interesting how that came about with this work, because not only was it coming from a really vulnerable, raw place emotionally, but with that Zach and I found a place where I was no longer hiding behind the layers of production.
So how close is the EP to being done? Are you about ready to drop it?
Yeah! Yeah, this part of it is ready, I’m definitely ready to put it out, and it will be over the course of the end of the year that we’ll drop stuff. There’s a lot to come, a lot of newer material that I’ve been working on, even post- that, of just this evolution of who I am now. So yeah, there’s definitely a lot to come.
So how long ago was it that you wrote all of these songs about the breakup? Like, how far removed are you from the actual experience?
It’s been about a year and a half. We started recording and writing over that, but a lot of the emotional turmoil and stress was also obviously happening before the breakup happened, so it kind of informed going into the studio, and it informed while in the studio, and then post-studio as well. So it’s been kind of over the course of my process of letting go and healing and all that.
I feel like people always respond to vulnerable work because they know that it’s sincere, so I think the EP will do really well just because of that, because that’s what people want from artists is honesty.
Right, right. Well you know, it was one of those things where I would be in tears for the first part of our session—our therapy session[Laughs]—and then [Zach] would be like, “Alright, let’s get to work.” [Laughs]. So you know I think that’s very true. Ultimately, we’re all human, and you can feel when it’s a super human experience. To be able to channel that stuff into what you make is definitely a gift and in its own way, a very lucky thing that I got to have happen at that time.
Well, if anything it’s the silver lining.
Images courtesy of Jaime Martínez
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