Taproot’s Stephen Richards and Phil Lipscomb talk the band’s history, new music

By Dom Smith
By September 23, 2023 Features, Interviews, News

Stephen Richards and Phil Limpscomb of world-renowned alt-metallers Taproot discuss the potential of a UK tour, and more!

S] Hi Phil, how are you?

Phil] I am wonderful.

S] How do you define success now as a musician?

Phil] I can only define what success feels like for me. I’ve never had the kind of success where I haven’t had to worry about money. It sounds fantastic but fortunately, it’s not needed for me to feel successful.

At this point in my life, what brings me the most joy with music is playing live and feeling that energy from my band and from the crowd, as we are all connected in the experience of live music. It. It feels so good to be doing it again. I don’t remember who said it to me, but after moving very much away from the music industry for a while, a friend said something along the lines of: “You spent way too much time doing music to never play shows again.” So success for me is being able to put on a show with the people I love (our band and crew) and play for people who love what we do.

S] What about the legacy of Taproot?

Phil] I think our legacy is being rewritten as we speak. We aren’t just a band that came up in the nu-metal era. Now we are a band that jumped back into the scene with a new album that feels relevant today. We just released a new album SC\SSRS after over 10 years and our fans seem to really like it. I really love it.

I think there are many things for all of our fans to appreciate. Steve wrote and recorded this on his own, something he’s always been able to do since he’s a drummer first and guitarist second, vocalist third, and bassist last.

S] How would you say that you have changed and developed personally, and musically since the beginning of your musical career, up until this point?

Phil] One of the best things for me has been taking a long break from being in a band. Having a steady job, raising a family, being almost completely out of that lifestyle has been quite the adjustment but also extremely rewarding. I have broken out of what my good friend Ari from Destrophy called “prolonged adolescence.”

As for musically, it’s hard to say because I haven’t been writing much. The last thing I was inspired to work on was in 2015 which was a song written by our manager Thom Hazaert called “No Quota” (before he became our manager), and it had a different feel to anything I’d done with Taproot.

Because of that, I ended up writing bass parts that were not typical of what I do with Taproot but I absolutely loved. I’m hoping one day to take the time to record it properly as well as some others and release an EP with Thom and whoever else ends up working with us.

S] Talk us through the inspirations behind ‘Favourite Song’, and what it means to you, personally? 

Stephen] The initial idea was sparked years ago (when I wrote this) when I’d notice fans in the crowd mouthing an incorrect word, then making me question if I was wrong haha..

Our biggest single ‘Poem’ a lot of people sing “And Move on into your HOME” when it’s actually “move on into your OWN” .. then the realization that I literally wouldn’t be able to accurately sing words to basically any song, including my favorites and KNOW for a fact that anyone and everyone can relate on some level, so has to be a catchy song.

Aside from the trademarked Taproot heavy riffs I throw in, actually wanted the chorus’ to actually seem like a summertime sing-along thing, also LOOSELY based on the feeling “Steal My Sunshine” (if that’s what it’s called, haha exactly) brought years ago, and still does when I hear it. It means literally what it says to me, and now even more that people get to hear it and I finally get to share it 10 years later.

S] What about SC/SSRS on a wider level? 

Stephen] SC\SSRS is my hard work and dedication to be the next Taproot album 10 years ago before we had to take some time apart, and live real lives for a while.

I spent the last 7 or so years working on this for just like four hours a week at 6am and just planned on putting it out on my own to a couple thousand friends and followers just to share, but that’s when Phil pointed out (as he’d heard the original demos when I’d written before our hiatus) that this shouldn’t be a solo “SC\SSRS” (new stage name lol) release as it was written to be Taproot’s next album, it should be Taproot’s next album and he was right, it is.

Everyone seems to be enjoying it which makes me happy, and being around Phil and Jarrod again is amazing, full circle and our new guitarist Taylor’s amazing and plays my shit better than I do haha.

S] What is motivating you outside of music, think specific people and places?

Phil] My kids are my biggest motivation. Trying to be a good father and role model for them, while navigating all the chaos of life, is no easy task. I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and knowing I plan to keep training and learning for the rest of my life helps keep me on track in life in general, to take care of myself and those that are close to me.

S] What is your message for UK fans?

Phil] We hope to be back someday soon! We have been there with Deftones/Linkin Park, our friends in Pulse Ultra, as well as a small tour with Biffy Clyro back before they became huge. I’d love to do some shows again with them, or Skindred or any of the great bands from the UK.

S] Any particular memories you would like to share?

Phil] My favorite show we played in the UK was the last show of the Deftones/Linkin Park Back to School tour at Docklands Arena. It was a sold-out show and even being the openers, we played to more people than we ever played to outside of a festival. The view from the stage and the energy from that show, especially with it being the end of the tour, made it a very special night.

S] Is there anything else I’ve missed that you’d like to plug today?

Phil] We have our new song Favourite Song out now. Expect to see a music video for it soon. Our album SC\SSRS comes out on Sept 29. Watch for concerts near you and check us out on social media.

S] Thanks so much for your time today!!

Phil] Thank you for taking the time as well.