Simon first began recording music on a 4-track in the early 90s, heavily inspired by a combination of 60’s US psychedelia and UK space/psych/noise rock. Heavy, layered guitars, hypnotic and repetitive drums, echoes, loops – a combination of traditional song-structured tracks and noise/sounds for the pure pleasure of how they sounded. He didn’t take these recordings any further than just being a personal hobby and as his working career picked up pace, sadly music making fell by the wayside.
However, in January 2019 Simon began work on a series of shows for the Mixcloud platform, initiating what was soon to become the highly acclaimed mix-cast ‘Anticipating Nowhere’. As the show took shape, fusing a stunningly wide range of inspirational music, he began to build a network of fellow creators, artists, zine-makers, independent label owners and was increasingly drawn into the world of creating his own music again.
Simon’s renaissance as a music maker soon began to reap rewards, self-releasing a series of experimental works on Bandcamp as he continued to forge his evolving processes and methodology:
“When I listen to music I want it to take me on a journey, to create visions and stories in my mind – listening can be highly visual, and just as much as an auditory experience for me. When I record I want my sounds to do the same –be they subtle, loud, immersive, gentle, harsh –I want them to create an image in the listener’s mind.”
When creating, Simon uses either synth apps on an iPad – making patches, experimenting with filters and effects to build immersive noise and sounds – or using a computer driven DAW. He also has a Zoom Handy recorder to capture the everyday sounds around him; sounds that to some may seem mundane but to Simon “are the soundtrack to our daily lives and are free, diverse, fascinating and almost endless. I have become more enthralled by sound as an experience than by the need for it to have a particular structure, shape or form, although I do still create tracks that follow a more traditional structure.”
When developing each track, he begins by finding or setting up patch which is tweaked and manipulated until it generates the particular sound he’s looking for. He then builds on that sound, whether through repetition – allowing elements to come to life by themselves, warping, mutating and breathing, or using it as a basis to build layers that evolve into something new altogether. On other occasions he hears a beat and goes with it, and doesn’t feel constrained to be a creator of one particular type of music.
“The biggest freedom I allowed myself was to go with the flow of the sounds themselves; in restraining or clipping them you can take away the essence of what they truly are. You know you have it when something clicks and you feel the little shot of adrenalin and the buzz of excitement.”