Shimeon Interview with Country Music Journalist Christian Lamitschka
Interview with Shimeon
Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone whose never seen or heard you before.
Answer: I am a songwriter and a musician with a deep dedication to song writing and the creation of music with depth and vitality, animation and truth! Much of my music has a country flavour to it, yet at the same time, rhythmic and acoustic, and not limited by a certain era or genre. The word eclectic comes to mind.
Ch.L.: What’s your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Answer: My latest album is called ‘Behind The Soomer Sun ‘Revived‘ and is released by Rockdown Records, who also released another record I produced this year, a certain Sean Martin EP named, Constantly. So there are two new releases out at the moment, and both are doing just fine with me. People like what I am doing.
Ch.L.: How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?
Answer: Well, I came up with the title ‘Behind The Soomer Sun‘ a long time ago, way back in 1997. I had a vivid and slightly more wild imagination in those days and I wanted a title that went beyond the apparent, much like the music. The title ‘Soomer Sun‘ wouldn‘t leave me alone and eventually found its way to becoming Behind The Soomer Sun. Its a kind of play on words which extracts the meaning of an expedition from one place to another, from what we see to what we don‘t see. The title within this context is what the songs are all about, they are filled with mixed emotions and expressions. That‘s what the album is about and the title too. Its about something that we all see from time to time, but is often out of reach.
Ch.L.: Please tell us about the songs on your album.
Answer: Well firstly, I write all the songs myself. Many of them are simple love songs about the fight for inner freedom and finding freedom and the reflections of lost love and the memory that is reluctant to go. Most if not all of my songs on this album are filled with this theme and much simplicity, and freeness. I like simplicity and freedom, and since I have no song writing guidelines or rules to follow, my songs are free. Once the doorway to a great melody begins to open there is no telling where both I and it could end up.
Ch.L.: What’s the difference between your last CD and the current one?
Answer: There is a huge difference, not only in song-writing but in the recordings themselves. Masquerade was political, polemical, outspoken and around 50% gospel amongst other things. This album however is mostly about the inner fight for love and freedom, sadness, love loss, and reflections of love lost yet found. There‘s little hint of gospel or politics on there. The sound is different too, the recordings are much more unconventional and antique sounding‚ yet still modern. The album still has a touch of Masquerade in there but many of the recordings are like the recordings we heard a long time ago back in the mid 60‘s in an age when something special happened that was separated from the mixing desk and held more importance than technology and electronics. When I first recorded these tracks back in 1997, I had captured a certain raw sound and when I revived the album for re-release in 2010, I wanted remove the heavy reverbs from certain tracks yet keep that original touch rather than re-record the tracks completely with more modern equipment and no trace of that authentic sound remaining. All the mixers, stringed instruments, drums, Hammonds, microphones and amps I used for the original album were all vintage and that accounts for the raw sound. There was no sound studio or time limit or mixing room, it was just mass of cables and amps and equipment everywhere and a lot of fun. It was a pleasurable experience and a memorable time recording that album and its entire production was totally unconventional. I think that with the original tracks remaining but updated with edits and re-takes, the album works well and will stand the test of time.
Ch.L.: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Answer: I have absolute control over my music. I play all the instruments myself and the arrangements too. I‘m a kind of one man band, and producer. I‘ve been given the ability to do that and I like to work alone, however, I can‘t be a one man band in concert. So rather than play dull acoustic shows, I have a band who work with me and they replicate live what I do in the studio, and take it to the stage. Then the creative control leaps into performance and freedom takes the music to another level. I love hearing the band play my music live before an audience.
Ch.L.: What’s unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?
Answer: Well, all people are unique and different from each other in one way or another, but I guess what Shimeon is all about is honest, simple song writing. I often understate my recordings so that the songs themselves stand out above standard commercial production. Its all about a song with me and maybe not much else? So I guess, if there is anything unique about me that differentiates me from other artists, it could be my honesty in song writing and my lack of desire to be liked or accepted. I do what I do and if people like it, that’s fine with me, but not, that’s ok too!
Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Answer: Well, one thing about me is that life is not all about music. I have a private life. If people listen to my lyrics they will know exactly how I like to relax. I have said many things in my songs and when I have finished my work I have much more to do. I set aside much time in life to think and listen, its not all about career and the need to be listened too. I do many things in life, I love to read and study, write and debate. I like to listen to people and they have much to say. Life has so many options open to us all but few find them.
Ch.L.: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
Answer: Oh, a good show. Its loud sounding and ready, the music and the visual take first place at my shows, and I simply do what I do, I don‘t tell jokes or anything like that… The lights dim, I step out onto the dimly lit stage and do what I do and the band plays and then I just become a member of the band and when we‘ve finished we collect the gear, and I go on home or onto the next town and the next show.
Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Answer: Yes, you can find out more about Shimeon at www.shimeon.co.uk and you can watch my video‘s or join my fan clubs or follow me on other networks too. My albums are available for download and there are plenty of links to guide you, all of which can be found at www.shimeon.co.uk
Ch.L.. What message would you like to send your European fans?
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to listen to me and the music and I hope your all doing well and I hope to see you all very soon.
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )