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Q&A With Drummer and Recording Studio Owner Taylor Riley

By David Goe

1) So you play drums in the death metal band Exussum yet Billy was telling me you consider you best instrument to be violin. Stylistically, those two instruments couldn’t be further apart. Is there one instrument or style that gives you more satisfaction?

Lately, my big thing has been drumming. I really enjoy performing in front of crowds, and doing so behind a drum kit gives me the most adrenaline, by far. For me, playing the drums provides the most improvisational possibilities of any other instrument I’ve learned.

2) As a musician how would you describe yourself?

Developed and diverse. I’ve always strived to be as “well-rounded” as possible. No sense in only concentrating on one particular instrument or sound.

3) What other instruments do you play?

I actually learned violin as a first instrument and kept with it for over 7 years in school. From there, I learned electric guitar and bass. After playing both in numerous bands, I eventually decided to teach myself how to play drums. I haven’t put down my sticks since.

4) Fusion Audio Solutions has recently recorded albums for the Tankerays, Zolopht, Tight Thump. It also looks like you’ve done work for Dinosaur The Musical, Obtuse and for your band Exussum. What are the challenges of recording so many different styles of music?

The most difficult thing has been maintaining a standard and continuing to exceed it. Everyone has their own “sound” that they want in their recordings. My goal is to embrace that aspect of the material, while adding my own, patented, “sparkle”.

5) Locally who else have you worked with?

Coffin Hammer, Angelic Deficiency, Saleska, RWRLD, Scar Struck, Horizon No.6, Sole Aggression, Gnar, Man-Down, Nick Pants, Murder Café, Josh Roseberry, Showcage, Augmented… to name a few.

6) You’ve worked closely with a number of local bands. On the local level what are you seeing from these bands?

A huge range of talent for sure. Before a few years ago, I never would have thought there was such a vibrant presence to our obviously prospering music scene. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, another person or group succeeds in completely surprising me.

7) Who’s impressing you in the studio or out live?

First thing that comes to mind: Zolopht. They have all been amazing in and out of the studio. I’d say Tight Thump and Ancient Wind (from Glenwood) both have the best guitar solos, hands down. There are a few individuals as well that stand out. Another opportunity for me to hear Will Whallen would be awesome, since I was quite impressed when I first heard him at a random Jam at Baron’s. I’m highly anticipating the next time I have the opportunity to record guitarist Drew Fields. His high level of expertise and professionalism still set him apart from so many other musicians.

8) What do you make of the local music scene here?

It’s great here. We have more going on in this town than I can keep track of. There are so many great musicians in our area, more of which seem to be of the professional, touring type, nowadays. I have observed countless bands rise and fall around here. Luckily, as one band is reduced to mere memories, several others are later born in its place.

9) Where do you see it going in the future?

I predict it will be on the same path it currently is, which is that of its own. The musical flavors of the Western Slope always mix perfectly into something unique, something bold, and something tasteful. No salt required.

10) What’s the biggest misnomer and pet peeve you hear about the GJ music scene?

It can get under my skin when I hear someone say “there aren’t any good bands around anymore”. For them, I recommend getting out and watching some good live shows in town. There is a constant flow of live performances in the downtown area helping to showcase up-and-coming talent.

11) I've personally been impressed with your work. The Zolopht album sounds really great. How did you get into recording?

My Mother and Father were both home recording enthusiasts for a time while I was growing up here. After my Father had made a few initial recordings of my 7th grade garage band, I had a huge interest to do it myself. From then, I started making my own recordings of anything I could with old tape players. My High School band teacher first introduced me to Digital Recording and I basically soared from there.

12) How long has Fusion Audio been around?

I have been doing this particular business solidly for about 2 ½ to 3 years now. Before then, it was basically more hobby than profession. Ultimately, I can say I have 15+ years of recording experience. And in my case, that accounts for exactly half my life at this point.

13) Do you have a philosophy or process you try and stick to when recording?

Everything is best built around consistency. Working in an organized, systematic fashion is the key to superior results. After all, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

14) What’s your goal with Fusion Audio Solutions?

To take what I do and what I am capable of as far as possible. I want to be remembered for my contributions to our local musicians. My dream has always been to make ones vision a reality through sound.

15) You’re a musician, a sound engineer (is that what you would call it?), and you host a radio show, The Impaler’s ‘Rise of Brutality’, on KMSA. That’s a lot of different projects to take on at once. How do manage to give each aspect the time and energy they deserve?

I recently took the steps to become self-employed through my entrepreneurships. One obviously being that of the audio recording world, and the other being more of the computer repair persuasion.

16) Are you working on any new projects that you are particularly excited about?

Always. Right now, I am extremely excited to be in the final stages of completing full length albums for Exussum and Ancient Wind. Very soon I will begin new projects with Jack & Jill, as well as a few others that I have waiting in line. I also will be doing some mixing and mastering for Sworn Us Under and Shotgun Hodown. There perhaps may also be talks of an epic LIVE CD/DVD project next month for a rather big local group… 

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