Industry Feature Friday: Taylor Allum (Candy Apple Productions/Music Producer/Session Drummer)
Updated: Oct 28, 2022
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
We are in the online presence of greatness this week!
Vancouver, British Columbia's award winning, Taylor Allum is in the spotlight! I'm SO excited for you to learn more about him and his work as a producer, drummer and of course founder of Candy Apple Productions (Vancouver)!
Taylor is an absolute music FANATIC!
It really shows and its really paid off:
● 8 BC Country Music Award-winning projects
● 1 Canadian Country Music Award-nominated project
● 4 Top 20 singles
"I’m also proud to say that my work has over 10 million total streams across platforms!
For me, nothing is more important than treating every project with the dedication it deserves. No
two songs, albums, or artists are alike, so it’s vital to approach them with an open mind, a
commitment to the artist’s vision, and most importantly, the willingness to try anything." - candyappleproductions.com
Thank you so much for joining me this week, Taylor!
Over the years, Taylor has played and continues playing and producing countless genres, including Country, Blues, R&B, Funk, Pop and Metal. And he ain't stopping there!
"Of course, I’m always expanding my knowledge and learning more about music, as well as
making sure I stay up-to-date on what’s hot and what’s not in today’s music industry. That’s why
I embrace new challenges, constantly listen to new music, and continually take lessons from
some of the best musicians around." - candyappleproductions.com
Whether you want a country-pop sparkler with an irresistibly catchy chorus, or a melodic and deep-cut heartbreaker that will have even the toughest person cry, or you want a rip snortin', hog wild heavy rock anthem that demands you sing along - it sounds like Taylor will push the envelope to make that happen every time his fingers dance across the studio consoles. I have heard his work and I wish I made music just to work with him! He's amazing!
*note to self: (pencil scribble noises) start writing songs.
Whether you work with Taylor for production or drumming (in studio or on stage!) he will bring his flare and talent to the table to make sure your bodies of work speak for themselves.
As a drummer, Taylor strives to give his authentic self on every project. With around a decade's worth of studio experience, he has performed sessions in pretty much every style. This has given him the proper tools to know how to deliver a clean take while still retaining the punch, that beat and that feel that will bring a song to life.
Taylor is someone you need to know in this industry! If you know, you know though!
Get to know more about Taylor Allum Here:
Sarah Scott (SS): Taylor, thank you so much for being a part of a Studio B Podcast Productions platform! It's your first time and I'm very excited to have you here today! You're a Drummer, Producer (Candy Apple Productions, Vancouver, BC), Educator and soon to be Author #Incontext (Coming Soon)! Four top 20 singles, a Canadian Country Music nomination, eight BC Country Music Awards and 10 million streams. You're a big deal! We gotta know more about you! Tell us how you found your passion for music and how you got to where you are today!
Taylor Allum (TA): Thanks so much for having me! I got into music when I was 9, I found out my dad used to play drums when he was a younger and I asked if I could get set. With in a week or two I got home from school and there was a set of drums in my living room! I instantly fell in love with it. I started learning all sorts of songs from Aerosmith to Kiss and The Beach Boys.
When I was 10 or 11 my parents put me into drum lessons at Groove Studios in Victoria BC (an hour and a half drive from my house) where I took lessons every 2nd Saturday up until I was 17. The studio I was taking lessons at would bring in guest teachers a few times a year which allowed me to study with drummers such as Dom Famularo (world class educator and clinician), Zoro (Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Earth Wind and Fire, and many more) and finally Ron Thaler. (Alicia Keys, Usher, Lana Del Rey and many others) Ron quickly became one of my two biggest mentors and dear friend's. Ron and I would get together for lessons 2-3 times a year and keep in touch online while he was back home in New York. Fast forward a few years, I had made some demos with my first band at a friends studio that I sent to Ron which lead to him Producing my first record and introducing me to the world of recording. We spent 3 months in the studio cutting the 13 song record and I fell in love with the process. (This is where the production seed was planted)
After the record was released the band quickly fell apart, but I continued to play music around Vancouver Island where at the time my 2nd mentor and dear friend Pat Steward (Bryan Adams/Studio Session Drummer) was living.
I was and still am a HUGE Metal fan, but Pat always told me “You need to be versatile and able to play any genre to be able to make a living in this business” So I started to play with more and more bands from Jazz to Country I started to realize that there was WAY more work in the country music scene around Canada and quickly fell in love with the genre. I started working more than ever and I was loving it, eventually I started getting the call to sub in for Pat with different Country artists. These gigs eventually took me over to Vancouver where I met Chris Buck from the Chris Buck Band. Chris and I toured together up until Covid and still continue to work together to this day. We had plenty of great success from 4 top 40’s, 1 top 20, Countless BC Country Music Awards and 1 Canadian Country Music Award Nomination.
The trip over to Vancouver also opened up many other doors both Live and in Studio with artists such as Shawn Austin, Jojo Mason, David Gogo, Swollen Members, Ridley Bent, Rod Black, Hailey Benedict, Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whitley and many many others.
I started working with more and more artists in the studio between being out on the road and on occasion Artists would ask my opinion about certain parts or certain things to do with the overall track, I would always happily give my opinion and help guide the track from behind the scenes. Eventually a few artists started asking me to Produce their songs instead of just asking my advice. I switched seats from behind the drums to behind the console and produced my first full length record at the age of 17.
I’ve been very fortunate to have worked on both sides of the console with fantastic producers, amazing musicians, flawless artists, toured in busses, flown in private jets and also slept on the floor of mini vans and -5 star hotels. Its a wild life and I look forward to what’s next!
SS: Now, as both a musician for several artists and as a dedicated producer with charting singles - you have an ear for what makes a good song. In your opinion, what is the one thing every song must have for it to be solid?
TA: Fantastic question! For me every song is so different... They all take on their own personality and eventually live a life of their own. Some songs have been around for decades on decades after the original artist has passed on but the music still lives on and I think what every single one of those songs has that others don’t is soul… Yip Harburg said it best… "Words make you think a thought, music makes you feel a feeling but a great song makes you feel a thought”. In my opinion one of the best records of all time is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. That record moves me on such a different level without a doubt every single time I’ve listened to it (which is a lot, I wore out my first vinyl copy and had to buy a new one haha) And I believe the reason is, there's 5 people, 4 of them are in relationships with one and other (which isn't going well) and they have to stand on the other side of a microphone and sing these songs they wrote about said person right to their face! There is no better way to capture pure raw emotion than to be capturing these conversations in real time!
Not every song has to be so intense and as hardcore as that but I find if the artist to has lived through something similar to what song is about or have some way to relate to it (good or bad), the results almost 100% of the time speak for themselves…
SS: As a producer, what is the first thing you listen for when listening to a new recording/demo?
TA: First thing I listen for when I'm approached to cut a track is the soul and how does the demo make me feel.
SS: For anyone reading this who may want to be a drummer themselves one day, most musicians, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as a musician and the transition towards your own voice now and how can drummers and musicians do that themselves?
TA: For me, I emulated everyone. I still do! That is where you’ll find you sound… I might love how Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers plays a certain groove, so i'll steal that and add it to my bag, then I might love a fill played by Jazz Great Gene Krupa and add that to the bag and eventually you have this large catalog of cool things to choose from! There's a Dave Grohl interview with Pharrell Williams where he's talking about how everyone thought it was so crazy what he did at the beginning of Smells like Teen Spirit but he was pulling inspiration from Tony Thompson (Sister Sledge, Diana Ross) that 70’s/80’s Disco era vibe. All Dave did was, he took it made it his own and threw it in a Grunge setting and it was AMAZING!
The best part about music is there is inspiration EVERYWHERE and its yours to take! Make it your own and create new amazingness with it!
SS: I'd want to know about the track creation process. What comes first? Always the baseline? A sample? Depends… ?
It really varies from song to song. The songs will usually tell you what it needs during pre-production and with discussions with the Artist
If it's very vocal driven and that is the main focus of emotion, then I would start vocal first and build around that, where as if it was very rhythm based and groovy I'd start bottom up and lay down Bass and Drums first and go from there!
SS: Bonus Question! I found this question and I really liked it! Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where do ideas come from, what do you start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas?
TA: Ok! This one is one of my favourites for a few reasons! “Hostage” by Nicole Sumerlyn. We sat on this tune FOREVER. I think the version that is out today is like the 5th or 6th version that we made. We sat on it for so long and made so many versions before we landed at the final result. It was written by Nicole and Chard Morrison and the demo I received was just an Acoustic and a Vocal. We knew the song was great even on acoustic so we ended up cutting an acoustic version after the full version was released.
We struggled with the full production of the song. Every direction we took didn’t quite feel right but we knew something was there so we tried on and off for about a year and a half. Finally I was listening to the pop tune
“I feel like I'm Drowning by Two Feet” and there was some cool kick patterns going on and some other elements I liked. There was a couple other tunes that both of us liked and we got together with the guitarist, we sat in my little room for cutting demos and pulled inspiration from all corners of the music world and we knew we had hit the spot.
Sometimes it can take a long time to get things where they need to be but, patience is a huge asset in this industry! Some songs I’ve worked on we don’t even go through the pre production process the song is just self explanatory. Everyone is on the same page and its great, but other times you feel like you’re going mental because you know in your bones the song is there but how so you bring it to light can take a lot of time!
To work with or connect with Taylor go here:
Instagram: @candyappleproductions or @taylorallum