It started as The Amber Taylor Band, then Amber Taylor and the Trashy Trio and eventually morphed into Amber Taylor and the Sexual Side Effects. Over the last couple of years it became simply “The Sexual Side Effects”.
|It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll.|
A lot of the new material I have been working on has had a focus on getting out of the “positive happy go-lucky love song” zone and exploring the spectrum of love songs, the despair, resentment, heart break, jealously, evil and the darker world that love also has. I have been through some turmoil in my love life over the last couple of years.
During this time I discovered Nick Cave’s lecture called “The Secret Life of the Love Song”. This really opened a lot of new doors in my writing and perspective. I also discovered that I am an “Erotographomaniac”, that is one who has an obsession with writing love letters and love poetry. Thank you Nick for helping me realize this! His lecture is extraordinary and worth a listen sometime. A lot of newer songs are a direct influence from this.
As a musician I technically approach this by utilizing more “Jazzy” chords. To be more specific, with Major 7 chords to make the “Happy” major chords have a subtle hint of melancholy. I also abuse Minor 9 chords quite frequently, as well as infuse a lot of open string ringing - on guitar - as I play different chords to give a different colors to a chord progression.
Other things I really like to toy with are the use of “Modes”, but to fit them in to a pop music form. I know this is a lot of technical musician hoopla, but that’s the basis of my technical approach to my style.
Also some Eastern music theory plays a part in my songwriting creative approach from time to time. I am a big fan of Harmonic Minor and other “Eastern” scales, the basis of scales that sound Middle Eastern/Hungarian/Turkish/Balkan etc. Styles I am influenced by range greatly. Post-Punk, Goth, Shoe-Gaze, Psychedelia, Folk, Post-Rock, Ambient, Brit Pop, Power Pop, Rock N Roll and New Wave all play a part in what shapes my sound.
I am a big fan of space rock and Psychedelia, so there is a heavy influence in the new sound, especially the live shows with that twist.
Monika: You toured the eastern and south-western US. Do you intend to have a tour in Europe too?
|I am an “Erotographomaniac”, that is one who|
has an obsession with writing love letters and love poetry.
If you do fit in, then taking the step to let everyone know you’re different is that much more compelling. It seems like there is a huge struggle in all of our live to just be accepted as our new gender role.
The best way to help accomplish this is to continue to win the hearts and minds of the mainstream and the people we meet everyday. When someone has a trans friend and they see us portrayed incorrectly somewhere they will know the truth and that is a powerful step help understand who we really are.
One notable trans person who has always meant a lot to me is Jayne County, who is also a personal friend. Jayne is a punk musician hailing from the mid-70’s NYC glam and punk scene (Maxes Kansas City, CBGB’s). She started as Wayne and became Jayne during her career and publicly changed in the ‘70s! By a weird twist of fate she is from my home state of Georgia, where I met her and she lives now. Its truly a small world.
|It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll.|
I remember having nightmares years after my transition of being caught in drag in public. Sort of like being caught naked in the school cafeteria in front of all the students. It took years for me to be at peace with my new self inside, and breakdown the gender conditioning society had placed on me.
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
My art is primarily about the exploration of the human condition through song. That combined with the fact of who I am as a trans person holds a different message and angle to making political and cultural impact with a positive outcome for our community.
For me to go out and win the hearts and minds of the normal, every day people with music. To share so many special moments together, when they have a hard break up and listen to a song I wrote, or have one song that means the world to them, that seems like a way I can make the greatest impact.
Of course, I will always stand up and fight back against the bully in the room and in a political sense, but just as M.L.K. had a vehicle of non-violence to reach his goals, using music, being honest and vulnerable to the world is the way I think my lifetime can make the biggest difference for all of us.
Of course, trans people can make a difference in politics as well. We are a democracy and should be represented, since we are a part of this society too.
|It’s all about the music. If you have that true in your|
heart, it will carry you through all the mud and the blood.
Being a songwriter it has also held prominence in my writing, of course that and my “Erotographomania”.
In her mind, since I was different, she didn’t see me the way she should of. We loved each other very much, but she had needs that I could not fulfill because she really wanted to be with a straight man. We are still great friends and I learned a lot. There were other times in my life where I questioned my trans-ness, feeling I have sacrificed my love life to be who I am. I have fallen in love with straight girls who didn’t feel the same way and thought, “If only I never changed”.
Of course, this is all bullshit my head made up! I am who I am, and that’s that. I am much happier today being Amber, and since then have found people who love me equally the way I am. It is an interesting situation though that I am sure a lot of other trans people can relate with.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls dreaming about such a career as yours?
There is nothing glamorous about it. A small handful of people reach a level of success after many, many years where they live a more comfortable life. It is more akin to camping. To have a tour bus it costs over $,1,200 a day, and to be able to reach the ability to have that as a budget is going to take 10 years of building your fan base.
Of course, there is an extraordinary amount of hard work involved that most people can’t hack. You have to work a day job, then you need to spend 8 more hours a day towards band goals, and writing music etc. One day you might be able to get a manager or team to help, but no one cares more than you do, no matter how much they are getting payed. Okay, I didn’t mean to scare anyone, lol! If you do it for the right reasons, with the music in your heart, nothing else will matter.