this is an introduction into me, into simmerdown, and the creative journey i’ve experienced in both so far. i hope you enjoy reading and get a bit of me in the process xx
i can’t put a finger on exactly when i felt music in my bones - maybe it was listening to 5 hours of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells during the long drives with my dad to see his family in Essex. maybe it was that one time i played the star during the school’s nativity. maybe it was seeing an amazing loop-based bass player, Kat Marsh (who i’m now in a punk band with), that blew my musical mind wide open.
i started out as a lot of musicians do, with piano lessons, then bass lessons (4 strings - easy right?) and eventually, guitar lessons. singing had always come naturally to me, practicing up in my room on my own yet never in the company of others. eventually, i started performing at open mics in my local city, exeter; meeting, connecting and sharing with a really special community of other singer songwriters. yet, unfortunately, the limitations that came with acoustic performance began to dampen the passion for it all.
a spring in my step came in the form of university, studying a popular music course. my own attempts to create a band had proved unfruitful, resulting in an independent and accidental expedition into the world of DAWs, music tech & electronic music production. through watching close friends produce music, endless practice and probably a good pinch of stubbornness, i released my first EP under the alias of ‘perks’ in 2015; a trip-hop-inspired alias slathered in reverb with a good dash of garageband loops (guilty!).
fast forward to my final year of university, and i’d worked at 2 recording studios, wrote a first class dissertation about craft within electronic music production, built my own single-oscillator synthesizer and wrote/written/recorded & mastered a 7 track trip-hop album. the burn-out that came at the end of all of this was expected but still unwelcome.
i had over 2 years off of making music after this. constantly battling with myself that i fundamentally was a musician, a producer and a creative, yet i couldn’t write music, i couldn’t produce anything good, i couldn’t create. anything i wrote, played or sung made me want to sink my head back into my body cavity like a snail - i hated it and couldn’t listen to anything beyond all the mistakes i made or how bad the melody sounded.
everything changed the day i finished reading ‘making beats’; a bible (for me) that introduced me to the world of sampling culture. electronic artists like gold panda, bonobo and emancipator had all religiously kept my ears company on the bus to college, however i’d never recognised the roles that samples played in their music. whilst i was working at my good friend’s recording studio, i spent my downtime recording as much rhodes piano, mustang bass licks and upright piano twiddles as i could - simply documenting what i was performing rather than critiquing the sounds i heard listening back.
2 months, 2 splice samples, and 3 self-recorded samples later, unfurl was written. turns out, if you chop, pitch or edit a sample of yourself enough, your brain will totally forget or ignore the fact it’s you playing it. soon after came carnal, and so naturally too; the mustang bass and rhodes samples that i’d recorded at the studio taking pride of place.
i can’t remember how long it was after writing those songs that simmerdown came into fruition. i stole the word from the lyric “simmer down please” that i found after having Trooko’s remix of Rainbow Kitten Surprise on repeat for a good month (band name and a half). simmerdown didn’t have rules per sé, however it was paramount that it a) didn’t constraint itself to a genre, b) celebrated sampling culture and c) mostly importantly, i enjoyed every second of it. i sometimes forget the importance of that last one.
and now here i am, just over 4 years since the start of simmerdown; bathing in the fact that my musical output through this alias is the best it’s ever been… surrounded in the memories of sharing stages with the most amazing musicians... remembering all the incredible people i have met thanks to my music. through simmerdown, i broke out of my mental barrier to creation and found my purpose.
i can only hope that this journey is just the beginning, and i can develop more visceral connections, shared smiles and lasting friendships through my music.
may this manifestation continue to flourish ✨
thank you for reading this until the end, i hope you’ve found it interesting xx
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