Who loves snow, smashes desserts as a hobby, and has a dancing eel as a pet? It could only be the one-of-a-kind Gustafer Yellowgold! Find out more about this unusual and loveable yellow being as Vicky and Jen interview Morgan about his original music and the creation of the Wide Wild World.
Special Guest: Morgan Taylor, Illustrator, Singer and Songwriter
In This Episode
- 00:38 – Welcome: Song I am From the Sun
- 01:32 – About Gustafer & Friends
- 06:04 – Morgan’s Artwork
- 08:35 – Moving Book Concept
- 12:01 – Cross-Over Appeal
- 13:10 – His Music Style
- 16:34 – Caller: Jen on the Future
- 17:02 – What’s Next for Gustafer or Morgan?
- 20:14 – Fan Club: G-Force!
- 22:48 – Morgan’s Websites
- 24:18 – Hope Listeners Feel Emotion
- 25:23 – Box of Monster
- 26:35 – A Creative Awakening
- 28:05 – How to Buy his DVD
- 29:58 – Closing Comments
- 30:53 – Keep it Yellow! Song Your Eel
About Morgan Taylor
As the founding member of Apple-Eye Productions, Morgan Taylor is the creative force behind the label’s current focus, Gustafer Yellowgold. Mr. Taylor composes the music, records it (supplying not only the vocals but playing the instruments and contributing the instrumental arrangements as well). In addition, Morgan is the artist creating the drawings, which serve as the basis for the project’s animation.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Morgan lives in New York City, honing his songwriting skills while concurrently becoming a successful sound engineer. He has released several CD’s, including the 70-song box set, “Box of Monster”.
Morgan’s other musical projects have included playing bass with The Autumn Defense (John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco), as well as two US tours in 2004 as a singing sound engineer with Joseph Arthur.
Continuing to apply his multi-faceted talents to upcoming Apple-Eye product, Morgan’s stamp will be significant on upcoming Apple-Eye products in addition to Gustafer Yellowgold.
Who is Gustafer Yellowgold?
Gustafer is a friendly creature who came to Earth from the Sun and has an interesting magnetism for making friends with some of Earth’s odder creatures. His best friend is Forrest Applecrumbie the flightless Pterodactyl.
Gustafer and Forrest built a small cottage-style home on the edge of an uncharted wooded area in Minnesota. He has a pet Eel named Slim (short for Slimothy) and a pet dragon named Asparagus who lives in his fireplace. Gustafer’s older brother Ben, an inventor, also came to Earth and lives a few miles away on Nugget Island.
Morgan Taylor: Hi this is Morgan Taylor creator of Gustafer Yellowgold. You’re listening to Vicky & Jen, What Really Matters.
Jen: This is Vicky and Jen, making life simple, so you can enjoy what really matters.
Vicky: Kids and parents everywhere are loving the live shows of Gustafer yellow gold Gustafer is a character created by illustrator’s singer and songwriter Morgan Taylor. On the debut DVD, Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wide Wild World Morgan brings Gustafer to life. We have more on the line with us now from Manhattan. So let’s find out a bit about his wild world.
Jen: Welcome to the show, Morgan. Thanks for coming in. So will you please tell us who is Gustafer Yellowgold.
Morgan Taylor: Wow. This can be a long interview. Well, Gustafer is the golden alien who comes from the sun no longer lives on the sun. He now lives in Minnesota. Here on Earth.
Vicky: And why Minnesota?
Morgan Taylor: It’s just where his sun pod landed. That project is all planned out for his journey to earth and I think he probably was searching for a spot that was cooler temperature wise. So you know there’s no point landing in Florida really because he was you know he wanted to come to earth and experience our greenery. And our cooler temperatures and mostly experience joy of being in the snow. It never did.
Vicky: When was he created? How long has he been around?
Morgan Taylor: Let’s see. Well, I started drawing Gustafer actually quite a long time before he was put into. His current realm of music DVDs and live concerts. I sort of turned doodling him back in the 90s when I was living in Ohio. I worked at a record store. Jim City Records. One of my jobs was to decorate the weekly new release board. It was a magic marker board for just decorating it with the kitchen cooking up strong spinning records on its head or something and it was the kind color came out all at once.
Morgan Taylor: And so I had him in my portfolio that I used when I came to New York trying to get some illustration work but nothing ever came of it. So he was just kind of off in the distance. This kids book project that I had been loosely talking about and then what I did was I started illustrating the songs. Of my stranger material that it was kind of an accidental pairing. Of. That character and my stranger. So basically the groundwork of life came out through the lyrics to the songs that are already written
Jen: So is that when the other characters kind of came in too?
Morgan Taylor: Yeah. Believe it or not, I had the song was already written and the eel song all existed on their own with no particular home. And once I kind of started forming the world basically yeah the rules were created by choosing the material.
Morgan Taylor: So it was kind of it kind of came together really organically in that way if I’m forced to demystify it.
Vicky: Well I’m looking at pictures of the whole gang right now and they are very interesting I think an interview that was written about you it described him as odd and I’m looking at Gustafer right now and he is kind of a cute little fella he’s kind of simple. And you know the Tera Dactyl that you talked about. He’s cuter for a dinosaur to tell you the truth. The one that kind of is a little bizarre creepy to me is Asparagus The dragon. It might be the eyes. I don’t know but we got the reptilian eyes.
Morgan Taylor: He does. I think that’s what it is. They’re kind of BT. Look he’s friendly but he likes to play practical jokes on Gustafer and vice versa. Like one time he went to gossipers bathroom and spun his mirror so that his reflection was a flat screen.
Vicky: Well I like the little stories behind each of these characters. I mean tell us a little bit about your I don’t know it fits for those who maybe haven’t seen them or what kind of technique did you use to draw them are they.
Vicky: This is coming from a non-artist to say you got I mean like physically different material yeah the medium I guess when I started to start with a pencil. I take my time and get it nice and the proportions correct.
Morgan Taylor: And then I go in getting with surfie. Oh yeah, I have the picture piece and then I have this little technique they give me your technical pencil that used to spin corners and things like that and then and then I erase the pencil the way the color crayon.
I thought I was going to say it does look like colored pencil kind of soft looking and something nice to go.
I’m gradually graduating towards all colored pencils just because the trends are less predictable. Sure.
You know some of the harder to control us kind of a pain to sharpen your friends.
You know something that I really love about it. I have a graphic design gry degree but it was back before people really were regularly using computers and you talking about getting everything kind of just perfect. It’s so exciting to me and it’s great that it’s not like a computer generated thing. Right. I really love that because I used to sit at my drawing table with my T-Square and triangle and make like perfect squares and now my talent is you know totally not needed anymore so I don’t use it because that’s one of the things that we try to do is we want everything to have a hand-drawn warm.
Yeah, it isn’t even like that the logos and the words. Yeah. Do we have a font that is what I do is I printed out that tree over by hand yeah? So it’s like everything was created.
I absolutely love that. I think that that’s awesome. And something else. Can you kind of explain to the listeners about the concept of you call it a musical moving book?
Morgan, You don’t have a typical concert. I mean from everything that I’ve read and I haven’t had the honor of seeing one of your shows but I hear that it’s unique that is not a typical concert. So yeah. Please tell us more.
Right. Well basically in the musical moving book part was think we decided that term because originally it was a book. When I as I was saying before when I first started drawing it I was illustrating the lyrics of the songs with the thought in mind that I was going to have a book the illustrations with a CD and a pocket in the back where a kids or anybody could put the CD on and they would they would follow along the lyrics look at him looking at the illustration. The one thing led to another and we ended up meeting up with this animator and he helped us create the DVDs so then we were trying to tackle the problem of how can we present this in a live concert.
We calling it we call it the musical moving book because it’s not fully animated cartoon right. What you’re seeing is that it’s like we wanted to replicate looking at a book looking at still pictures. There for us there we have slightly a slightly animated in that like the characters blank or their arms move over it’s very slight. And most of the action is occurring within the still drawing and I actually have gotten a lot of good feedback from people saying they really enjoy the fact that it’s not manicured.
And so yeah in addition to that it’s not like frantic and in a lot going on on the screen with you know a lot of it’s not too much you say it’s just you know a lot of kids shows and even you know our adult shows are just too much to handle and it’s so fast and it’s there and this your musical moving books are kind of like just calm and relaxing. I think that’s probably one of the reasons that people are really liking them so much. It’s not frantic.
Now is this unique or a unique concept or are there other things out there like that. Because I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this before.
We didn’t base it on any particular model of anything. We just we won in a way that would make sense I’ve been playing in bands all my life naturally playing the music live. It was a very natural part of it. But we’re trying to we’re trying to figure out a way to combine it. So what we’ve done is we have the images projected on a giant screen really answering the question you asked.
No this is all good stuff right now. You are answering it now. When I read a review about you it said that you have an unusual crossover appeal yes the crossover appeal. What does that mean crossover in yours? I don’t know if it meant crossing over between a book in music or a crossover with children and adults.
What do you think that the crossover specifically is describing an audience because we have enjoyed some great reactions from teenagers and adults who just like it on their own we don’t certainly have kids showing it to some kids.
Back in April when we opened the show opening for the Polyphonic Spree last year we had a great reaction from the teenage audience.
Well, and you even have a Gustafer yellow gold fan club called g-force.
But before you first keep it yellow and you know for people that you know don’t know about your music and stuff.
Yet. The music is you know a standalone it’s great just standing alone.
And speaking of reviews there’s the New York Times said Your show is a cross between the Yellow Submarine and Dr. Seuss filtered through the lens of the Lower East Side.
And it was also referred to as a very Beatle-esque right.
I think that those people writing those reviews had really I think they really nailed it.
Yeah yeah yeah.
I decide Sykes said half-jokingly but I really feel really lucky that people feel like they really make the sets and things that can really capture the essence of what I’m going for.
That’s that’s good when that happens that they that they get what you’re trying to do.
You’re basically saying Dr. Seuss in the same sentence. Yeah, really I don’t really need to pursue any press ever again you know.
Yeah. That’s awesome.
Well my son is four and a half and Aiden and when we were listening to it the entire DVD he sat curled up on a chair watching it but then there were times when we’d get on the floor and dance and there were times where he’d hop back in the chair and he would just you know kind of chill and enjoy. So it’s a little bit of both right? Some of it makes you tap your foot.
You can’t help but damage to it and then some is more than a bit laid back you maybe are just sitting back and forth a little bit enjoying I think a lot of that kind of comes from the music I listened to when I grew up which was all the pop stuff in the 70s really. And I just for some reason I was really into like the mellow stuff. I think part of that my sister’s fault for having a lot of bread records and I end up like this really a soft spot for her.
Like 70s acoustic balladry was had it all. No no no. I was never even close. But I was more into like I can say each decade has its own set of it is that I was never into the jam Jambin but
I was more into you know I had a heavy metal face I had really I was into it you know into the 80s metal scene that I mean I didn’t wasn’t you know I never my hair was never that big. You know I’d play in a cover band when a lot of guns and roses songs.
Part of the puzzle that yeah that kind of surprises me just saying this I wouldn’t have thought I wouldn’t have Yeah hi this is Jadon mother of one with another on the way.
And you’re listening to Vicky and Jen. What really matters. My question to Morgan is what is next for you and Gustafer yellow gold.
There’s a lot of stuff coming down the chute. Well, that’s what’s happened in this past few months. We all. Rachel my wife and I have been releasing the DVDs myself ourselves under our label called Apple Apollon and we just are. We just recently signed a contract with the record company who’s releasing our DVDs national adulations Yeah yeah.
Goodness, it sounds like it’s been so successful anyway and now it’s happening.
So I think what would have happened has we just worked our butts off for two years and a half trying to get this out there in any degree and any you know anybody who would who would watch it. And anybody who’s seen the show pictures every weekend for the past few years now.
So, Morgan does that mean that that’s pretty much what you’re concentrating on are you doing anything else like in regards to Morgan and your music.
The funniest thing you asked that because I kind of I don’t really see a difference. This is my music and I feel so lucky that I get to play my songs and draw the same time.
You’ve got the best of both worlds there.
Yeah and I think a lot of people assume that since I’m doing it for kids like primarily it’s you know geared towards children that I need to have my adult music outlet as well. But to be honest I played most of the songs in my rock band already. And they kind of you know it just kind of came and went but then it’s as I added content to it changed everything.
Right now I’m nowhere I am you guys and you’re traveling all over the place going all over the place and you know it was really fun.
How about Rachel you said that you two are a team. Is she an artist also.
Yes, she’s she’s a singer and songwriter.
And she has her separate thing he does. I mean it’s separate but we also play that we play her music together as well.
You haven’t like I play I’m her guitarist. Oh OK.
And singing and see and see. And they just profess you sing harmony. And she runs the.
But a team and a team.
So you didn’t mention any kid you don’t have children of your own yet this of or were proud children.
So keep you up to be tested.
Sure sure. Hey you know I keep I keep going back to the G-force because I just think that the fan club thing is awesome. Do you have one special fan that you know about one special fan? Yeah. Do you have anybody that any good story acknowledged that much of your stuff?
And that’s. There are. There have been amazing examples of people’s dedication. Since we have part of it has helped to make us for MySpace page. A lot of people you know we’re in contact with a lot more people. And we had a woman in Canada who sent us pictures of this hand that in Gustafer Dhal Yeah.
And we had we saw pictures and I was going to say I saw that space and feel like post it like lounging in the sun and that’s all.
And then we have that LFN Dallas who made her own maid made a birthday party for her son. Oh really what she did it was she sent us pictures of that and it was crazy she said. I guess they took the DVD and somehow extracted the images off and made giant cutouts of all the characters and they really put a dragon in the actual fireplace.
Yes. Yeah. And she made a cake too didn’t she. You made a cake because I saw that on your Web site.
You made a bunch of real dolls for the bag just like that’s the kind of stuff that really hits your heart.
You know people who think obviously it means a lot to the right and enough to spend their own creative energy so rewarding. You know it makes it worth it. I’m sure I could.
It’s the kind of a circle I guess you could say at first I can think where I was when I was inspired by creative stuff when I was younger and it would make me want to create a you know some kind of like marrying other people to do that and then sort of like I’m giving back feel like well and it makes you want to work even harder at harder.
Yeah. And for people that maybe still haven’t seen what we’re talking about we really would like you to check it out because it is it is probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and you need to make sure that you go to Gustafer Yellow Gold Dot Com and then the MySpace site that Morgan is talking about.
You know I think it’s just isn’t that how all the MySpace is or their MySpace dot com slash Gustafer yellow gold. And that that just kind of gives you a good idea of the reactions from other people in your Gustafer yellow dot com is the site just you know about Gustafer and the regular website you get to go in and get to search around the inside of customers.
And there are little-hidden things in there. I spent a long time on your Web site. And you know going into the kitchen and the living room and stuff like that and I do have to say my favorite part is in the living room we’ll have to actually our listeners will have to find it themselves. But the prime danger land.
Oh, you like me. I immediately called Vicky and I’m like did you find from danger.
But you know when you go to that site you can just kind of click around and little things kind of pop up and it’s it’s really fun.
So if there was one thing Morgan that you would hope that people would get out of your are work in your music in your whole your whole show what would that be.
One thing that you hope that people get out of that out of your music.
The joy I guess. It’s plain entertainment for me.
It’s kind of it’s just it’s kind of a feel-good stuff. Yeah.
Just stop them because hey I want you to know I just want people to be entertained.
Right. I want people to laugh and feel some emotions it sounds like you’re having fun with it too. Yeah, I am.
I feel really lucky and happy that I get it that things are going well and that that the world is you know continuing to expand.
I’ve read on I guess on your on your website that there is a 70 song box set.
Yeah, it’s called the box of monster.
What is that bucks a month actually is. When I moved to New York in 99 took me about six months to kind of start warming up. But I had this really crazy creative prolific flurry my first year so here and I just recorded it. Oh, my music. All these new songs on the mind of the Marczak machine here and the box of Monster is like the best of the first couple of years. New York and kind of capsulized insane creative time I had and it’s in a box set to forty four CDs 70 songs and actually a lot of the songs. Most of the songs ended up on the first Gustafer DVD were created in that time. Oh really. Yes, it was. It was really kind of a great creative awakening for me because I was you know I had a rock band that I was letting myself write stranger material that just you know I was just following whatever my inspiration was.
And that’s how I ended up writing songs about dragons paradox those ills and things like having I was having so much fun since I was uninhibited. And that’s I came up with the material.
Are you still having a creative spurt like that now.
It’s not the same now. It’s this is definitely kind of a one time experience. Yeah, but it was one time that yielded you know close to 200 songs. Right then I’m still drawing from literally looking to still looking through the material like use this one too because you know I wrote them and they recorded them on my fourth track and they pretty much you know besides the 50 to 100 friends who used to come to the concerts have heard them but that’s about it you know. Yeah.
To me it’s still so fresh and and Reba reasonable people are interested in that and I’m even interested in finding the Gustafer Yogo gold DVD is the best place to go to the website for right now.
Yes, you can buy the DVD and just for your gold dot com. OK. And then within the next couple of months once we change things over with the record label it’s going to be available nationally and the release date is March 27. OK. It should be. We have it yeah.
Bowden March 27. Did you sign with what label.
It’s the label called V2 Records and they had just started a children’s imprint of little monster that V2 is the home of the White Stripes and back to work.
And Moby and cool band there’s some cool bands on that I feel so honored to be in the same list as some of us.
Cool well, it sure sounds like you have a lot of fans out there including Jen and I are here waiting for March 27.
But yes the wild wild world will be rereleased on 27 March. But it’s going to be there. Are making it into a gift package with an audio only CD as well as a DVD inside the box.
Morgan That is huge.
That’s going to be two additional songs. I wrote the intro piece. It’s a song called cool the world. You can hear that on the MySpace page. And there including a song called Rock. It
Originally was going to go on a second DVD. So that it had been that I had it to live for quite a while ago. So we’re just going to put that on. One more song and double dip
Granulation. We’re looking forward to this and to our listeners if you want to know more about Morgan Taylor and more about Gustafer Yellowcard. Be sure to visit Gustafer Yellow Gold Dot Com and if you forget that. Go to Vicki InGen dot com. We’ll provide a link to his Web site and his myspace dot com. All of that will be on our site. So be sure to check that out.
Morgan, thank you so much for talking with us this morning talking about your little yellow baby Gustafer. Appreciate it. And it has been a pleasure. Thank you.
Thank you guys so much for having me.
Yes, it’s been it’s been very enjoyable. And thanks to everyone out there listening to our show. What really matters. We hope you’ll join us again as we are laughing together. And make every day matter.