INTERVIEW: POPULAR ARTIST NICOLE SIMONE AKA LATE JULY

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

Hello! I’ve been well and staying busy during this wild year.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Echoes”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Echoes​” is a song I wrote right off the plane from Los Angeles when I came back to Torontoduring lock down. I was scared and heartbroken. I felt like within a week everything I had really cared about and was working towards just imploded. The chain reaction of the pandemic had begun. It was just an anthem to let go of what was not meant to be and just carry on. Nothing more 2020 than that.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

I did not do a music video for this song.

The single comes off your new album Oceania – what’s the story behind the title?

I was travelling a lot between Toronto and Los Angeles, and feeling this big strange pull towards England. I felt very scattered when I was writing this record, like I was never quite in the right place. I think the record reflects that momentum of this need to keep going and find where you really want to be in life.

How was the recording and writing process?

I just recorded the demos at home with a keyboard and a mellotron synth. Then I sent the demos over to my band mates and my producer Guillermo Subauste and everyone kind of just did their own thing with some general direction of what I was going to record.

What role does Toronto play in your music?

Toronto and I have always had a complicated relationship. I find it a hard city to be in. I visited the city a lot as a kid from California and it was such a jarring experience when I finally moved here. I think Toronto gives me a need to escape.

What aspect of time and water did you get to explore on this record?

The aspect of time and water is that everything is in constant motion. Nothing is promised because everything changes. Every so often things line up perfectly, and then it can come crashing down.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

A lot of the song and lyrics were based on imagery I was repeatedly seeing in my life. One week I’d be standing in front of a frozen lake in Toronto, the next in front of the Pacific ocean in Santa Monica. It was heavily based around a relationship I had with an actor who, looking back, was just

a really unhappy person and I so badly wanted to make him feel good about himself. I think when we care for someone a lot, we’ll do anything to make them happy, even if that hurts us or puts us at risk. I think the songs on the record recognize that you need to try to salvage someone in order for them to need or want you. By the end of writing this record I realized that I can’t do that anymore. The emotional return on investment matters and pulling yourself apart to keep someone else together is masochism.

You are also coming with a new seriesOn A List​​– how did you come up with the series?

I was reading books by The Gottman’s, a couples research center I think in New York. I think the science and mechanics behind love and relationships is fascinating. That’s where I came up with the idea of just doing really difficult things with someone you just met to see how fast you could scare them away or if things are really built to last.

So did you approach this project a side work or is the series in any way connected to your new material?

I think all my material is connected in a way. My music is throughout the show, which I don’t think people really realize and I don’t make a huge point of it. I think the music and visuals compliment each other well because everything I do tends to have a very intimate or sensual feel to it. It’s almost voyeuristic in a way listening to a song about someone’s inner most thoughts about a relationship and then watching it play out on camera.

What was It like to work with James Darch?

Darch was wonderful to work with and a very unexpected blessing to the project. I was very specific on casting this character especially being a true Brit, and Darch seemed to embody so much of Harry on screen. Being new to Canada from England and West End theatre, it was eerily similar to Harry’s character. Darch was kind of like a good luck charm on set; he’d show up and everything would get better. He made rehearsals easy and was extremely supportive of me doing this project which was unexpected from a total stranger. I would get flustered producing/writing/acting and he could pull me into a scene, into character and keep me present. He really has a love for acting and performing as well as being extremely witty and charming. The comment I get most on the show is the chemistry between our characters; when the cameras would roll there would just be a natural playfulness that came thorough. He was a real on screen partner and I can only hope to have as good of a working relationship with other co-stars in the future. He set a high bar.

What would say was the most challenging aspect of the series?

The most challenging aspect was taking on too many roles at once. It was brutally hot on a lot of the shoot days and as a ginger I do not do well in the heat. Being new to acting that feeling before the beginning of a scene and just having the confidence in myself to go through with the acting as

well as with the entire script I wrote. I’m still shocked I completed the project.

What else is happening next in Late July’s world?

I’m working on a new feature called Mindless Magic, I just want to keep creating things. I think it’s a privilege to go out and make something out of nothing. More music, more films​… ​life is very short and I feel like I have this window where I have no attachments and that allows me to get a lot done.

You can watch the series here.

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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