Latest posts by GroundSounds (see all)
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- Zaritza Self-Titled Album Built on Dreams and Visions - January 22, 2018
- PREMIERE: ‘Waiting For Me To Break’ by Simon XO Puts New Twist on Breakup - January 11, 2018
By SHARON JENNINGS
Simon XO premieres “Waiting For Me To Break” an electro-synth song with a killer beat and great vocals. It’s not your typical breakup song. Have a listen:
Simon XO: From Trombone to Pop
Simon XO creates music that combines explorative synths, tape loops, electric guitars, sampled drums and an aggressive vocal to create his own version of electro-pop. He’s releasing two singles, a “double-single,” and GROUNDSOUNDS.com debuts the first of the two songs.
The 22-year-old originally from San Diego, started playing trombone as a kid but the time he was 13, he was blasting it to Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Wilco albums. Realizing trombone wasn’t solely going to help him attain his goal of becoming a mainstream artist, Simon XO enrolled in USC’s Thornton School of Music to hone his craft. He sat down for a Q and A with Groundsounds.com
Simon XO: The Groundsounds.com Q and A
Tell us about your debut release and how you came to create it? It’s a double single correct? Does it have special meaning to you?
Correct! Both songs mean quite a bit to me. I started working on this coming EP in the midst of both a relationship and band breakup, so this debut is cathartic for me on a couple of levels.
What is the story behind the two songs?
“Waiting for Me to Break” fits the angry breakup song category pretty squarely. I was living two doors down in the same apartment complex as my recent ex-girlfriend, which is bound to bring up a swath of emotions. It was also the first song in the burst of songs I wrote for this EP where I started to examine the way I was living my life and what I wanted to change about it, so it has some personal significance in that way too. “How Do I Fight It” encompasses a lot of the feelings I had during this time in my life. I was painfully confronting the roots my emotionally destructive lifestyle, and this song was (an attempt at) a playful take on my polar opposite inner monologues. I’m a big fan of Elliott Smith, Radiohead, Wilco, etc, but I don’t think I’m as sad as liking those artists might imply. And I’m not sure that’s an uncommon combination. I think it’s easy to stereotype a depressed person and an overly optimistic person as counterparts, but I don’t think most people are only one or the other.
What is your favorite kind of music? What is so attractive about that genre?
Geez, that’s a tough one. I grew up with a father that happened to be the world’s biggest Neil Young fan, so I have a lot of inspirations in the singer-songwriter (and rock) genre, but some of my biggest influences are Kanye West, D’Angelo, and Kimbra. I think the common thread in my music taste is that the artists go out on a limb and stand for something in some way.
Before pursuing a career as an electro-pop singer, you were an avid trombone player so why the switch? And will the trombone make an appearance in your upcoming EP, Covering?
I started the trombone at a very young age and through my teens it was my way of channeling my love of music as a performer. Even in middle school, I was playing trombone along to Wilco and Pink Floyd songs as an outlet. I switched to songwriting, guitar and production because I slowly realized it was the musical outlet I was actually looking for. Covering is actually my first effort without the trombone! I think it served as a crutch in previous bands and projects because I felt most comfortable in that role (even if it didn’t fit their musical goals or aspirations).
Who are the musicians you most admire and why?
Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar are currently my biggest admirations. I find their drive to make a change with their music refreshing and inspiring. I really love Jack Garratt, he’s found a beautiful blend of impactful songwriter-inspired songs and programmed music that retains its intimacy. Finally, naturally, I admire Neil Young immensely for his vision and unrelenting ambition to prioritize his creativity over everything else.
Where can we follow you and where can our readers catch you live next?
Facebook and Instagram! My music is available on Spotify and Soundcloud. I’ve also got my first shows coming up in San Diego and Los Angeles in February, which I’m very excited for!