Posted on September 23 2015 by Kira Koneko
Taylor Davis, the talented violinist with a passion for The Legend of Zelda has recently given us the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her music, interests, and her upcoming tour! Just a few months ago Taylor announced that she would be embarking on a fantastic adventure of her own with a twenty city tour. Her tour sets off on September 29th, with her first appearance at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. This fascinating musician has dedicated her time to sharing her love of music and video games with the world, and I’m sure that many of you have enjoyed more than one of her YouTube videos! Ever want to learn a little more about her? When did she fall in love with the Zelda series, and how has she kept her passion for gaming and music alive for all of these years? What other Zelda inspired goodies does she have up her sleeve? Head on past the break to find out her answers to those questions, and many more!
ZD: Your studies in music began at a very early age; where did that come from?
Taylor: I started taking violin lessons when I was about 8 years old. I became inspired to learn the violin after watching a girl perform Silent Night at an elementary school Christmas assembly.
ZD: How did you continue to keep your passion for the violin alive from age eight until now?
Taylor: It was really difficult for me to stay interested in playing the violin sometimes. The instrument is really difficult to play and for a long time I just didn’t sound very good playing it so it was pretty discouraging at times. I also had interest in a lot of other things growing up besides music, especially playing sports and video games and I much preferred doing those things to practicing my violin. I also just didn’t feel really connected to the type of music I grew up playing, which was mostly classical music. I have an appreciation for classical music, but I’m not passionate about it. I kind of lost a lot of interest in the violin when I went to college and just casually kept up with it for scholarship purposes. Once I graduated college and started playing and sharing the type of music that I really love on my YouTube channel, it completely re-ignited my passion and changed how I felt about the instrument. Now I can’t imagine my life without it!
ZD: What was your first experience with video games?
Taylor: I started playing video games very early in life. Our family had an intellivision console and that was my first real experience with video games. After that, my brother and I would ask my parents for a new video game system as a combined Christmas gift each year a new system came out since we were so hooked and both loved playing!
ZD: We all know that you hold a very special place in your heart for The Legend of Zelda, can you pick a favorite game in the series?
Taylor: Yes, definitely Ocarina of Time. I loved that game so much and the music was just incredible.
ZD: When were you inspired to combine your love of the violin and video games together?
Taylor: I’ve always been very fortunate to be able to play music by ear without sheet music, so I’ve always kind of messed around with different game/movie themes on my violin ever since I started playing, but it was always just for myself at home. The first time I ever performed video game music was in high school with my string quartet. I had found a fan-created website for Nobuo Uematsu music and printed out some arrangements of a few different video game pieces like Waltz for the Moon and Melodies of Life, and whenever we performed those at weddings/events people would always come up to us and specifically ask what those pieces were because they loved them so much!
ZD: How do you decide what song to tackle next?
Taylor: It always depends on the circumstance. Sometimes I like to release songs around the same time a new game/movie is coming out that I’m excited about. I also like to see what my audience is requesting and if there are a lot of requests for a particular song (like recently with the Sword Art Online theme) then I’ll usually try and do a cover for that song. I also keep a list of songs that I haven’t covered yet that I still want to some day, just whenever I have some extra time. Other times I’ll just kind of be randomly inspired to cover a song.
ZD: I absolutely love the fact that you incorporate costumes into your videos, what made you decide to do that?
Taylor: My friend Lara de Wit is an awesome pianist on YouTube who has been posting around the same amount of time I have, and she did a lot of cosplay in her early videos and I always really admired that. I wasn’t comfortable trying that out when I first started posting videos, but I gradually became more comfortable with the idea over time especially with her encouragement. I decided to give it a try for my Journey video a few years ago and borrowed a costume from some really talented cosplayers, and I really loved the experience! The video turned out looking so much more unique than if I had just worn normal clothes, and it kind of creates a whole different viewing experience to make you feel like you’re actually watching a game, so I think that’s really fun.
ZD: Do you yourself create the full vision for all your videos, from costumes, to locations you shoot at, or does someone help you with that?
Taylor: It totally depends on the project. Early on I couldn’t afford to work with anyone so I had to do everything myself from the music arrangement and production, recording, filming, editing etc. Now that I can afford to, I have a few different teams of people who I love working with (FifGen Films and Landon Donoho) and we’ll all share in part of the work for the videos. Sometimes I’ll have a very specific concept in mind and will do most of the planning myself but other times I’ll brainstorm with my video team and we’ll come up with something together. In terms of costumes, I’m not talented in that department at all so I will either borrow a costume from a cosplayer or I’ll find something online in a store and just purchase it. The only time I think I ever made a prop for a video was the clicker mask from The Last of Us haha!
ZD: Out of all the videos that you have created inspired by video games, which one has been your favorite, which one the most challenging?
Taylor: I think that The Last of Us is probably my favorite game video that I’ve released. I loved that game so much and I had a really specific concept in mind for that video before we shot it and I was really happy with how it turned out. Most challenging is a hard one to choose because a lot of my videos end up being challenging because of weather issues. The Journey video was really tough because it was so cold and windy when we filmed and it was actually the first real professional video I worked so I just wasn’t as experienced back then.
ZD: How long does it usually take you to arrange the songs you have selected?
Taylor: Generally it will take anywhere between 1 and 4 days. When I work on new songs or arrangements I never take a full day just for arranging because I always have other work that needs to get done, emails to get through etc., so it just depends on how many other projects I have going on at the time.
ZD: You recently announced that you would begin a 20 city tour this fall, what made you decide to go on tour?
Taylor: It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now mostly because what I do on a regular basis is work that exists online, so it’s a completely different experience to be performing for a live audience instead of a virtual audience. I really love live performance and I’m very excited to have this opportunity to go on tour!
ZD: What are you most excited about experiencing while on tour?
Taylor: Performing for a live audience is very exciting, and having the chance to interact with my fans in person instead of just online is also very rewarding. I performed 4 of my own live shows last year and I loved the personal aspect of interacting with everyone after the shows.
ZD: Will you be focusing solely on your original works, or will you be incorporating some of your much beloved Zelda tunes as well?
Taylor: There will definitely be some Zelda in there! I’m balancing original songs with covers since I honestly still very much enjoy performing the covers. My originals definitely aren’t as well-known as the covers I perform and I want my audiences to really enjoy the experience and be able to recognize a lot of their favorite songs so there will be a good mixture of covers and originals.
ZD: Once the tour is complete what do you think you will do next?
Taylor: I’m going to start working on a new album of original music and a new album of cover music. Depending on how well this first tour goes I might also start planning a new tour!
ZD: Do you have any new Zelda inspired videos up your sleeve?
Taylor: Yes! I recently shot 2 new Zelda videos in August so I’ll be releasing at least one of those later this year 🙂
ZD: What message do you have for all the fans around the world?
Taylor: I just want them to know how grateful I am for all of their support because I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I really love what I’m doing and feel so thankful to have been able to turn my passion into my career. I hope to meet everyone on one of my tours someday!!
Taylor’s tour starts soon, so to check out the cities and dates where you can see her live, check those out here. You can also pick up some of her music and merchandise on her official online store. Or to watch some of her latest videos, check out her YouTube channel, you can even find her music on Loudr or iTunes.
We want to thank Taylor for taking the time to chat with us, and for helping bring the love of games and music to more and more people around the world. Its artists like her that will inspire the next generation of creators, and quite a few from today as well! We look forward to enjoying more music from this very talented artist in the future.
Will you be seeing Taylor in concert? What song would you like her to perform next from The Legend of Zelda series? Share your thoughts in the comments below.