Trading Voices is a majestic, musical, alternative pop/rock masterpiece. Taking part in the prolific project is the talented trio of Dylan Fant who does “lots of stuff,” including an alternate project called J Minus, and the two different, delightful vocalists – Taylour Chanel and Bee Simonds. From Woodinville, Washington, they spawn a whirlwind of emotions with their songs and sound. They not only have the ability to abstract, to put themselves in someone else’s place, as many of the sad yet strong stories they tell are not their own but still struck them so substantially that they scribed and sang them, but they have the healing power to help you through the toughest of times.
The voices of Taylor and Bee are better than any prescription you can procure for pain – they are soothing, stimulating and significant. Their music definitely has its ups and downs and inside outs and upside downs, but it’s than a rollercoaster of emotions – it’s a mirror of mortal musings. “I Will Erase You” is a moral about moving on: “My first mistake was loving you/and giving you my trust was number two…/Brace yourself, going down/Karma’s close, so don’t turn around/It will chew you up and spit you out…/
I should have seen it coming right from the start/And I blame myself for letting down my guard/But your lies are crafted so well/I wouldn’t doubt that you believe yourself.” Another song about inner strength and finding solutions is “Take Me With You”: “It gets lonely here sometimes/That’s when I start to question why/I would do this to myself/Just because of someone else/And the way they treated me/Like I was not a human being/Time has done it’s best to heal/The rest is up to me.”
If you are looking for love and life, or restless to rediscover it they have songs you may relate to. “Remember when you were searching for the sun/And I was waiting for the rain to come…/My bags are packed and the ticket’s in my hand/One way, no destination planned,” from the song “Take Cover” and “I’ll watch the trees swaying in the wind/Feel the weather change the color of my skin/Like slipping into a brand new costume/No alarms to wake me, no places I have to be/Where time is just a number/It’s meaningless to me” from the song “Back to Life” are just a couple of correlating cases of the kind of company you will keep with their music. They have lovely lyrics that can lift your lows and lighten your loads: “I’ll be your moonlight in the depths of your darkest night/If you’ll be my sunrise” is my favorite line, from the song “Beautiful Design.” “I live a life in the clouds/But I kept a close watch on the ground” is another adorable allotment, from the song “Never Coming Down,” as well as “you are everything I never knew I wanted,” from the song “The List,” about actually not being disappointed when someone doesn’t meet your decrees.
Perhaps their most potent piece of prose, though, comes from the song “Work With What’s Left.” A story of suffering and surviving your situation, I’m sure it speaks to everyone in some way. “Street lights set the mood tonight/It’s cold outside/But the winter is warmer then what I leave behind/Two feet will carry me/A backpack of broken dreams,” is how the biography begins. “When he takes it out on me/Violence the language he speaks/When he lays his hands on me/I can’t breathe/He tried to take everything/Gotta work with what’s left of me,” the chorus comprehends. “I can’t bring back the girl I used to be/Lead astray, she lost her way/Somewhere in between the love, the hate/The promises we break/I think about her everyday,” the evolution ends.
Dylan Fant, founder of the fantastic faction, found some time to not only talk music, but trade tunes as well!
Sara Fincham: Why did you need to start a completely different project from J Minus to get a different sound? It’s an extension of J Minus, so is it something that you weren’t able to do in the other band because you use female vocalists, or did you just want to have a male and a female version?
Dylan Fant: I tried it with J Minus…brought a female vocalist in to become part of the group in 06. It just didn’t work out, she went all diva and just wasn’t going to pull any weight within the group. I promised the guys that I wouldn’t try to add another girl, so I started this project so I could still use the ideas that I had previously recorded with the other female vocalist.
SF: Is it more fun and satisfying to have multiple genres at your expense to work with as opposed to just one because you have a variety of vocalists? Is it perhaps harder to pigeonhole yourself to one genre or harder to try to encompass many?
DF: It’s essential for me to be able to write without any guidelines of genre or style, it’s a part of what makes music and songwriting so enjoyable and exciting for me. Being able to choose a gender per song has been pretty handy too though. I think the difficulty level depends on the person and perception. I can’t speak for everyone. If I had to stay within a genre, I could…I just wouldn’t enjoy it as much and wouldn’t write as many songs that I’m truly proud of.
SF: What drew you in about the voices of Taylour Chanel and Bee Simonds? Did you find them or did they sing their way to you?
DF: I met Taylour previously through MySpace a year prior to asking her to join. I originally had another singer (the same one that didn’t work in J Minus) and she didn’t work in this project either. I produced a song for Taylour and always thought she had a great voice. I showed her the songs and she was instantly down to move forward.
I brought Bee in 7 months later. I met her at a J Minus show, she was one of the acts we played with and I always loved her voice, so I eventually asked her to join as well. She liked the songwriting, and we got to work as soon as we could. She actually lives 5 hours away from me, so we can only meet up once every couple months or so.
SF: By saying that your songs are different perspectives on the subjects that you sing about, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean male and female perspectives; do you mean the pros and cons of love, etc?
DF: Because I’m writing from a female perspective, it comes out in many different forms…I’m just a small part of it. I take stories and situations from female friends that I have and have had and turn them into songs from their point of view (with a little me mixed in of course). Basically, if they could turn their feelings into a song, this is what it would sound like.
SF: How many vocalists do you plan to use, or are you going to stick with the two lovely ladies that have already contributed?
DF: I’m always open to new vocalists. I’m picky though, their has to be a certain something within the voice that I really feel….a character. Strength and singing ability are not as important with me. I write stories with a lot of emotion behind them, I’m looking for the voices that can deliver that message, make you feel the lyrics.
SF: Although it is quite self explanatory, could you please explain the concept behind Trading Voices and what makes it so distinguished and different?
DF: The obvious is the fact that they are acting as my voice. The only thing I do different with this project is over the top production in some areas. I don’t plan to have to recreate this music live, so I can just do whatever I want within the songs. Lots of changes between electronic sounds and organic instruments.
SF: It seems that you are the vessel through which stories that may otherwise be untold get heard. When someone tells you their story what inspires you or encourages you to write about it? Is it specific people that have affected you so tremendously that you felt their stories needed to be told or something bigger?
DF: I have a good memory. I usually don’t just write a song as soon as I hear a new story. I’m constantly working on new music, and always have little ideas lying around. I let the music tell me what the song is going to be about. If I sit with a musical idea, a line will pop into my head. It could mean anything really…but as I add to the line, it starts to take shape, and then I can relate it to something I or someone that I know has experienced. Sometimes I make a story up completely though…that doesn’t happen as often.
SF: I absolutely adore this project and what you’ve done with it. It seems you have a lot on your plate, though. What are you currently working on?
DF: I’m about to flood the market with music haha…here is the plan: In a couple weeks I’ll announce the new J Minus record “Devil Music” and start posting a new song every couple weeks. As I post each new song I will write blogs that go into detail about where each new song came from, along with the lyrics. Next, the Trading Voices album featuring all Bee’s vocals (no title yet) should be ready. I’ll be doing the same style of blogging, then the new TV album with Taylour “The Long Way Home” will be released…same deal. Then the next J Minus album “Memories” will come out after that. I will then be out of material…we’ll see what I can do during the year that I’m releasing all this music though, I’m hoping that I can keep up the pace!