They call him the “one-man synthpop orchestra”. Onstage, he is accompanied by a keyboard, colourful costumes and glitter. Stephen Paul Taylor became famous a year ago, thanks to the song “Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked”, which made him the hero of the internet. Before the concert in Poznan, we were able to ask a few questions tto this unconventional artist. How is it that a guy from Vancouver, Canada moves to Berlin and makes what you do into a career?
Stephen Paul Taylor: A few years ago, while on a European tour with my previous band, Trike, we totally fell in love with this city. David Bowie and Iggy Pop had such crucial, creative experiences in this city. That inspired me.
Is there something that particularly attracts you in this city?
SPT: Freedom, first and foremost. Berlin, also has many small and strange places where a lot of interesting things happen. I also like the highly surreal atmosphere walking through the streets of Berlin’s various neighbourhoods. This city sometimes reminds me of “Alice in Wonderland”. It’s the exact opposite of my hometown. Prince George is relatively small and quiet, and everything shuts down soon after midnight. It’s a great place to grow up, but probably not to spend one’s entire life. It wasn’t for me.
The world may know you through the song “Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked”, which a year ago conquered the Internet. These days, do you feel a little like the song’s hostage?
SPT: Surprisingly not. I still love this number and I love when people demand it at my concerts. It’s my critical stance towards US hegemony. As someone who was born in a country bordering with the United States, over the years I had the feeling that we, as Canadians, are living in a country without an identity. We were just the “country above the States,” Since I moved to Berlin, I see this more clearly. The behavior of the US in the international arena and their cultural dominance is almost Nazism. Although the whole paradox lies in the fact that it is also a great country in many ways, a good place to play concerts and features extremely rich artistic achievements.
“Regarding playing on the street, I learned that you always have to be extremely creative, even if sometimes you overreach yourself.”
How has playing on the streets shaped you as an artist?
SPT: Hugely. On the streets, the name of the game is mostly just to earn some money and gain new fans. I’ve been doing this for some time now and I’ve learned that you always have to be extremely creative, even if sometimes you overreach yourself.
I know that you were on the third round of the talent show “Das Supertalent (Voice of Germany). Dieter Bohlen of Modern Talking was one of the judges.
SPT: That’s right. You know, all of the cameras swirling around me were a bit intimidating, as well as the fact that I was being judged by a jury. I feel much more comfortable at my regular, planned SPT concerts. They are held mostly in small to medium spaces, and plenty of people I know show up as well as die-hard fans. However, I don’t know anyone who watches Das Supertalent and had no idea what sort of people would watch it!