The formation of Morning Mayhem is the tale of seasoned musicians trying something fresh. Veteran Victoria-based singer songwriter Nick Taylor had a catalogue of music both new and old, and figured it was time to put together his ideal band to perform it. Taylor was previously a member of Step Back Dave, a reggae-rock band that toured Western Canada and was crowned the Zone 91.3’s “Band of the Month”, a sought-after achievement for Victoria acts.
With SBD broken up for three years, Taylor wrangled up some familiar friends: Shane Soderberg (drums), Zack Nips (bass), and Nev Gibson (sax) “We have all known each other for a number of years, being in the Victoria music scene together in other bands,” says Taylor of his band-mates. “We always came out to support one another whenever we all had a gig and in turn became good friends.” Nips plays with Victoria ska group, SweetLeaf, and the other two are current members of reggae-punk band Hillside Hooligans, and previous to that One Drop. “When [we] played for the first time together it was clear we had something truly great.”
The formation of the group also marked a change in Taylor’s lifestyle. After a two-month stay in rehab, Taylor is now completely sober for the first time in over a decade. Taylor describes his early lyrical content as “fairly shallow”, peppered with references to drug, alcohol and simple island activities like camping. ”I have written over a dozen new songs [since going sober] and am finding an unprecedented level of depth and emotion to my writing,” says Taylor. “Wow, did that ever sound pretentious,” he adds with a laugh.
Taylor describes Morning Mayhem’s sound as a “mash-up,” name-checking Ben Harper, The Clash, Tom Petty, and Sublime as some of his musical idols. He also lays out the group’s genre influences as funk, jazz, soul. R&B, hip-hop, and punk. “And what kind of Victoria band would be without a handful of ska tunes,” adds Taylor, referencing Victoria’s legendary scene.
These aforementioned influences all coalesce seamlessly on stage. Taylor’s raspy crooning and staccato spitting hints at the hip-hop and soul vibes, while the rhythm section of Nips and Soderberg lock into routinely slinky grooves. Gibson caps it all off with emotive and sultry sax that evokes jazz and Caribbean flavours. Put in simpler terms: it sounds like Morning Mayhem.
With this newfound musical rebirth, Taylor has high aspirations for MM. “I would love to see MM do what I tried to make happen for STB years ago,” explains Taylor, citing radio airplay, festival appearances, and building army of passionate fans as some of his ambitions.
“I am so stoked to be working with these guys; they are all extremely motivated talented musicians and I think with the right people behind us, we can achieve these goals.”