INTERVIEW: Stephen Sims

Hi Stephen, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi there, great thanks. I’ve been recording, writing and producing. For other artists, on features & collaborations. It’s been busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way! J

From all the songs out there, what made you want to cover Yazoo’s “Don’t Go”?

I first got into the industry at 18 & spent many years finding myself as an artist. When I was younger and managed in different directions, I don’t think I truly knew where I wanted to go. Or who I was. Now I understand my direction musically as an artist.  I wanted to take it back to my roots and release something that was close to my child hood. I grew up listening to this song through my parents. My dad was a huge Yazoo fan, this track especially. So I thought it was a fitting choice to launch my new material with.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

So as this song is a cover, unfortunately I didn’t write it. However, it’s one I wish I had! I love the intensity in the lyrics and that’s what I tried to emulate in the arrangement. Hopefully taking it in a slightly different direction to the original.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Not at the moment – but for future releases yes. However I would love to do a video face to camera for this, especially with the simplicity of the arrangement…it’s definitely something I’ve thought about J

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was great and actually was pretty spread out.  I recorded the piano part and lay the vocal down in my home studio in the UK. I then sent the track over to my good friend and collaborator Nathaniel Wolkstein, in California. He is an incredible string player. We then worked on the arrangement for strings, he added so much to the overall color of the recording.  With beautiful violin and viola parts. I really could not have done this without him. Then it was sent over to be mixed and mastered by Ryan D Williamson in Nashville.

What was it like to work with Ryan D Williamson and how did that relationship develop?

It was fantastic working with Ryan. He really knows his stuff and has a lot of experience working with some top acts. He is a brilliant engineer both creatively and technically. We worked remotely to get the sound so that it had the exact elements that I was after. I wanted the vocal to be warm and intimate and share the intensity of the lyric. He ran the vocal and stems through his analog set up – it pushed the whole performance and instrumentation to a new level.

How much did he get to influence the song?

He really influenced the song. I think the mixing and mastering stage is just as important as the production and arrangement. They go hand in hand. The way the song sits now, so you can hear the strings and vocal – as if they are having a conversation. That is all down to Ryan’s skill. We will be working together shortly on my other material.

Having recorded the song on three different cities – how did all this different cultures and environments get to influence the music?

I wish I had some romantic story of the beauty of each city. But we worked remotely. However …my goal is to travel to all these places soon especially Nashville and in Europe – Sweden. Two really great hubs for new music and talent.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are covering or collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?

Yes and no. I think I definitely become more inspired working with someone else. I push my musicianship further but I like to keep my mind on how I want the track to feel. However, If I’m writing for someone else – that person is solely in mind.

What role does the UK play in your music?

It definitely plays a role in my music. There’s a lot of creativity here and so many great bands/solo artists. Some of the biggest artists in the world right now are from the UK. But actually the time I’m most inspired by musically, is the 80’s. Bizarrely I am born in the 90’s but I hark back to that decade as I love the writing and vocalists. The UK produced some great acts then – I kind of wish I could have a time machine and go back. To actually experience it!!

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

It definitely does J. My plan was to release an album this year. But I’ve decided to put out a set of singles, culminating in an album. I think people are more receptive to singles, rather than a full body of work-straight away. They are lined up and ready to go!!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I’m looking at releasing the next song in May. It’s a track called ‘Do You Really Believe?’. I co-wrote the song with Ivan Petrov, last year. We’ve written 5 songs together. He is a brilliant lyricist. I can’t wait to put it out. Its currently being mixed.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, hopefully towards the end of this year. Definitely in 2020. I would also love to tour abroad!

What else is happening next in Stephen Sims’ world?

As well as writing contemporary music, I score for film, tv and game. I will be starting a new film soundtrack in the next few months. It’s always a big undertaking. Writing cohesive music to picture is completely different from a 3.30 track. But I can’t wait to start the new scoring. It’s going to be a busy year releasing my music and working on others productions…. but I love being able to do this fulltime.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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