Simon Doom is Simon O'Connor's (Kuroma guitarist, European festival crowd riler during Kids, and all around super nice guy) project that he's been pouring his heart and talent into over the past couple of years. I got to see him play in Brooklyn last year in a tiny venue and they splattered my brain all over the ceiling! They reminded me so much of an 80's band called Let's Active which was producer extraordinaire Mitch Easter's project. Anyway, the EP drops tomorrow and you can read hear about all of the MGMT connections and take a listen here. http://www.imposemagazine.com/bytes/chatter/week-in-pop-young-fathers-yalls-writer-neighbors-purses-plazas-simon-doom-my-favoriteSIMON DOOM
Introduce yourself to NYC new’s pop icon in the making—Simon Doom; an alt-rock Adonis image ripped from the silver screen, and high-throttling through your stereo-speaker. Known as the lead guitarist in Kuroma, who also works in the touring groups for MGMT & Craig Finn; Simon gifted us the following premiere listen to the forthcoming EP Negotiate With The Monkey available April 29 from Axis Mundi Records, engineered by Ayad Al Adhamy (Passion Pit, Team Spirit), and produced by MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser. The result is the sound of what sounds like a mythic group imagined from the celluloid style of cinema filmstar heroes that rocks & rolls with festival ready savoir faire with the sensible ability to emulate historical pop eras by way of osmosis. The result is like little you will be prepared for.
Negotiate With the Monkey begins with the title track that kicks off like the opening credit roll of the best counter culture film not-yet made. All levels of frequencies are tapped into like experiencing a big glamorous arena-style live set by a big fest headliner that commands the stage and crowd like a shepherd lording at the center of the heard’s gaze & attention. Such matters of idolatry & narcissims are further entertained on the quick-wheeling fuzz guitar gauntlet “To Be Admired” that deals head on with that beautiful face reflecting back in the mirror. Then the surf-storming “Roseate” saturates the scene in rose tinted hues of good fortune, guided by the thundering frenetic & frantic shouts & shakes that send everything speeding & sprialling to a head twisting conclusion. Join us after the following listen to Simon Doom’s new Negotiate EP, for an interview with the group’s fearless leader.
Bring us to the very beginning from when you first began your own solo creative ventures.
Well, as the only member of Kuroma who does not double as a touring member of MGMT, I found myself at home, with nothing to do, quite often in 2013-14 when all my dudes were out promoting MGMT’s last record. So I started writing and recording songs.
Originally, they were all songs I was writing for Kuroma, but after I recorded a couple demos, I kind of didn’t want anyone else to sing them. They were pretty personal. I was used to writing songs for other people to sing because I never considered myself a singer… which, I imagine, has something to do with me not being allowed to sing in my first band (Thulsa Doom) because I hadn’t gone through puberty yet.
As the lead guitarist in Kuroma, with members who also play with the touring bands for folks like Craig Finn, MGMT, etc; how in the hell do you all find the balance to focus on Simon Doom?
The key is to be chill and respectful of other people’s schedules. Chill vibes. No overplaying. Beers. Queso. Make sure there are new songs to learn so we don’t get bored… if it’s FUN people will make time for it, ya know?
Take us through what it was like for you in developing all the songs found on the analog tape fizz & fuzz of your heavy EP Negotiate With The Monkey?
Unlike the previous EP, all the tracks on the Negotiate record were recorded and played by me, without the band. I just got a new recording/demoing setup and wanted to try it out, so I quickly busted out very simple versions of the first three Simon Doom songs I wrote (which had yet to be recorded). I sent the tracks to Ayad just to see what he could do with ’em, and what he sent back sounded super full and impressive. He ran every individual track through a tape machine to tone down the digi quality of my initial recordings and really gave each tune character.
Get wild with Simon Doom; photo courtesy of the band.
Get wild with Simon Doom; photo courtesy of the band.
Can you elaborate too on how you and all were able to be able to really hone in on that sound working with Ayad Al Adhamy, Tommy Stinson, and as previously mentioned from MGMT, Ben Goldwasser? How did you all even begin to go about finding those sorts of deep frequencies?
Ben was one of the first people who suggested that Simon Doom become a real project after hearing the initial demos. He and I had worked together on the last Kuroma record, so I was really excited to have his help recording the first EP.
Tommy Stinson heard about us through a mutual friend and invited us up to do a semi-live EP recorded in his house in Hudson, NY. We put one of the tunes (“Punk Problems”) on the self-titled EP and the rest will be released later this year. Total dream come true because we are all HUGE Replacements fans.
But, like I said earlier, only Ayad was involved with Negotiate With the Monkey.
What else is good right now in NYC that the world isn’t paying attention to?
I dunno man. It’s hard to discover things before the internet does. I would say my favorite new local band is, Glyph City. They are the real thing. Definitely wanna give props to Collapsing Scenery. That’s an experience. Everyone should go to Frankel’s Delicatessen whenever they can. I do think most of the cool shit is actually going on in Australia.
What’s exciting everyone in the Simon Doom camp right now?
I would say that the number one most exciting thing is the SIMON DOOM ALBUM we are working on. We just finished tracking at Axis Mundi’s studio in Bushwick and everything is feeling great. We got both Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Vanwyngarden helping out with production duties, Ayad is in the mix, so many people coming out to help with this record. It’s really communal and groovy. It’s like the final episode of Seinfeld except, instead of all the characters from past episodes suing us, they are helping us make a great record. Also, it will hopefully be received better by critics and fans alike.
Simon Doom’s Negotiate With The Monkey EP will be available April 29 from Axis Mundi Records.