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INTERVIEW: Simon XO

Hi Simon XO, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been good, thanks for asking!

Can you talk to us more about your new double single “Waiting For Me To Break” / “How Do I Fight It” (Stream here)?

“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.

Did any event inspire you to write these songs?

Mostly I was in the midst of a relationship and band breakup. Those two things sort of ignited a self-reflective couple of months for me, and it was in those months that I wrote these songs and the other on Covering.

Any plans to release a video for the singles?

Not yet but I’m hoping there will be soon!

The songs are off your new album Covering – what’s the story behind the title?

I was exploring a lot of painful areas of my life while making this record. Breakups, family, depression, and others. I had been covering up a lot of my feelings for a long time, and this EP was a big part of my confrontation of them head on. The idea of covering really resonated with me. I think everyone covers up the things they are scared of, when in reality the initial pain of confrontation is a small price to pay for the ultimate happiness of working through your demons.

How was the recording and writing process?

Very fun! I had been producing other artists for a couple years but never produced a whole project for myself. There was a whole echo-chamber issue where I didn’t know what sounded awesome or horrible after a certain point, but overall it was very fulfilling to see my vision from start to end without much input. I must give a shout out to my good friend and talented writer/producer Jonny Shorr for helping take a couple of the songs on the EP (including “How Do I Fight It”) to the finish line.

What role does San Diego play in your writing?

Interesting! I’m not entirely sure. What I tell most people is that San Diego would be one of my favorite cities if I hadn’t grown up there. If anything a lot of my drive and writing stems from a lot of rebellion against its laid-back and semi-superficial culture. Music was always a place for me to channel my extreme emotions in an environment that wouldn’t allow for them to naturally express themselves, and I think San Diego played some sort of role in that environment.

What fears did you get to explore on this record?

Might sound weird, but mostly unresolved pain over the course of years. There were many things I hadn’t dealt with from childhood and teenage-hood that weren’t even real anymore; they were only real in the way that I had held onto them. It was affecting all areas of my life – ruining relationships, friendships, creativity, etc., It was (and is) quite a process to understand how so much un-dealt-with crap had shaped me, and it was scary to dive in and explore the things I had been running away from for so long.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’ll be playing some one-stop shows very soon, but I’m looking to aim for some sort of tour in mid to late 2018.

What else is happening next in Simon XO´s world?

I have more singles on the way in the coming months and am playing my first show in February! Very excited to start performing.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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