JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more

JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more
Photo Credit Charles Daughtry

JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more

Bluesdoodles was delighted to have a chat with JD Simo once again, In February shortly after we reviewed the stunning album Let Love Show The Way read what we talked about then HERE.  Today we talk about vinyl the up and coming Roadstars tour throughout the UK,

BD: Hi JD. Good to have the opportunity to chat with you as you are about to hit Europe, we chatted about the album, influences and dream band.

JD Simo:  Thank you, remember talking to you earlier in the year not sure where I was now having couple days back home before heading on over to Europe.

BD: Now your surname and band name are creating lots of discussions about how it should be pronounced  so let’s start off the pronunciation of the name SIMO

JD Simo:  Well, it has to be good being talked about. The correct on is sI MoH where the I is dominant we answer to anything,  eventually as we become better known and more people see us live everyone will know  but until that day  all is good (laughing).

BD: Your current album Let Love Show The Way, Please the latest single is getting plenty of airplay. Tell our readers about deciding the tracks, writing the songs and opening with an Elmore James classic Stranger’s Blues.

JD Simo: While we were sequencing the record that track we all liked how it slowly builds up, it is not an abrupt beginning. Lots of bands start with an initial brash aggressive number but this for us was a nice way to start the record. More to do with the sound rather than the fact it was a cover or that particular song we didn’t want something abrupt as it were. As a group we put some thought into the order and which tracks to include we do this process as a collective talking about what assembly of tracks works, at the end we believed this sequence worked. Reality, nothing too exciting just a process we went through we do all the creative side and Mascot as the record label have very little involvement in what we produce. They leave us to do on creative end yes there is some correspondence but what you hear is the product of the band, it is SIMO.

BD: Like many you have released your latest album on vinyl, is this a niche or rising in appeal and will be expected by people as they continue to buy vinyl or is it a trend that will fade away?

JD Simo: I know that here in America vinyl is not a niche thing it is a pretty big thing with people especially my age group. Not sure what is happening in Europe & U.K. , sure we will find out when we are back touring over there very soon. Vinyl has become a big part of my generation who are true music fans not those who follow mainstream. It is how they buy their music whether new or old recordings. I grew up with vinyl it then went away in the nineties and then came back again. Let Love Show The Way, vinyl sales have been huge I have lost count the number of re-pressing of the album since its release. I do know we have sold more vinyl than other acts on Mascot record label and there have been occasions when we have sold out and the label has had to have them rushed to us on the road, Vinyl is the number one merch in terms of volume at our shows.  The reality is it depends on your preference. I collect vinyl and have a portable record player set up where ever I go definitely in the dressing room. Every town I visit I find local record stores it is integral part of my life releases in that format very important to me. Luckily the tide has turned I think vinyl is here to stay a while.

BD: Are there plans to record a follow-up album and how do you find time with your busy touring schedule to even think about let alone write new songs?

JD Simo: We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process. When get back home before Christmas we will finish all the pre-production stuff. We have a space in the calendar January through February to finish the album. It is not difficult to find time to write as it happens, I write when the thought, idea hits me. That can be on a plane, in the van, dressing room or walking down the street.  This year SIMO have played well over 200 shows so finding the time for three of us to actually work out the material is problematic. As a group we need time to work out how each song is to be played, arranged, this takes time it can even take up a whole day. We have tried using the time in sound checks to try our new material and ideas, when we do this we are all open with each other. Contributing what we like don’t like, free to have heated discussions the trouble is at sound checks there are people around strangers, it just didn’t work  as the presence of people not involved in the process made us self-conscious, inhibiting the process. So finding the time for the three of us to set time aside has been difficult but we have found spaces sometimes a couple of days or longer break say ten days. Sometimes though you have a real break not have the pressure to work so we take couple days off then it is back the three of us working on the new material. We discuss together how to flesh out songs so that they are ready to be sent as a demo for our producers to review. At the end of the day I just love making music.

BD: SIMO have been around for five years? Let’s hear about the band how Adam Abrashoff and Elad Shapiro work around your attention grabbing guitar playing and vocals?

JD Simo:  Laughing, It may be one to ask Adam & Elad.  For me it works because it is very much that I have one vote of three, it makes perfect sense to use. The outcome of how it works if your readers come and see us play live it makes more sense then… (Bluesdoodles – you are in luck they are touring UK & Europe October – December – check out dates here) Plus  we all have role on and off stage, my responsibility may be a little bit more prominent interviews like this one,  singing but the three of us are all very equal in all the decision making like what playing that night… Very democratic, that can be difficult I can get frustrated as much as they can perhaps it is easier if the leader dictates and  rest band follows but that is not my way. We all have strong personalities, we fight and argue, we are like brothers we make up quickly and do not take it personally. We are like a dysfunctional family – all three guns a blazing all the time and most of the time there is a healthy balance. In end better way to be invested in common goal inevitably better that both the guys have a democratic input.

Silhouette Federal Charms Single Gets Airplay

 BD: As you mentioned when we talked earlier in the year, Simo is back touring Europe including extensive UK Tour with extended Planet Rock Tour – Roadstars tour with Federal Charm and Aaron Keylock. By the end of the tour and festival set at the sold-out Planet Rockstock SIMO will no longer be a stranger to blues lovers across the UK. With the promises of three exciting acts what plans have you got to get attention with your style of the blues.

JD Simo: Not met guys in Federal Charm yet, though we did meet Aaron very briefly at Ramblin’ Man Fair. Looking forward to our tour of U.K. So far we have only done random one-off gigs in UK; a couple shows in the North and press show and support in London then in the Summer some festivals. Now we have the opportunity to play at 16 venues and a spot at Planet Rockstock. We will actually get time to see your country and visit all corners of the U.K. The plan is to share the ninety-minute slot so some nights that will be Federal Charm and other night Aaron Keylock, on these occasions we will play a shorter set.  Every night we always play different songs so for people who come to multiple nights will see different shows from us. This is going to be a real opportunity to get to know the U.K. and meet a lot of fans, many will be seeing us for the first time.


BD: Normally I ask for your band but did that last time so this time I am interested in albums that have influenced/ delighted you as a musician. And the favourite at the moment?

Time was running short JD Simo is in demand we all want to talk about a band that brings excitement to the blues so his answer was an unequivocal –  Alabama Shakes Sound and Colour their latest album is my favourite hands down I just can’t get enough of the album.

So lets give them a huge British welcome and go see the band on tour with Federal Charm & Aaron Keylock.

Tickets will then go on sale to the general public on Friday 17th June via www.thegigcartel.com or from the 24 hour box office: 0844 478 0898.

ROADSTARS Touring November Breaking Rules

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Conversation with Jared James Nichols expect Cowbells

Conversation with Jared James Nichols expect Cowbells

Conversation with Jared James Nichols expect Cowbells

Jared James Nichols is a guitarist who plays his rocked immersed in the belly of the blues. recently completed a European tour with Zakk Wyld (Black Label Society) is currently touring UK as Headline act and plans to be back real soon.


BD: Morning Jared thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule.

JJN: No Problem, I’m little busy I guess but could always be worse or always be better laughing

BD: Tell us bit about touring with Zakk, back in UK headlining and back in the autumn supporting Walter Trout.
JJN:Hanging out with Zakk Wilde it was amazing! Every day was a dream come true. Honestly, back when I was a kid he was one of my guitar heroes and he still is. To be able to go on tour with him all round Europe and soak up all that inspiration was a dream come true. Did 3 weeks in Europe the tour not over yet and in a few weeks we are back touring with him in America and Canada. Now doing a few solo club shows of our own, as headliners. It has been amazing, I will be back before you know it. Back in the Autumn supporting Walter Trout is also going to be one of my bucket list check-offs if you know what I mean. So happy about it. Enjoyed Europe? I love Europe this is my fourth time here in less than two years the first time was definitely for a kid from Wisconsin a culture shock. Getting around a bit now I understand a little more of the lay of the land. Audiences are great people who still love the art of blues and love rock and roll for someone like me beyond inspiring doing festivals and theatres with Zakk and now the smaller venues.
Best part for us is that we have lots of plans to come back again for people who don’t get to see me play live this time around.

BD: Tell us a bit about the band
JJN:The band is just a three-piece. My guys that I met are actually Swedish. They are originally from Sweden and moved to Los Angeles from Sweden about five years ago, the same time I moved there. Erik Sandin Bass, amazing Bass player from Gothenburg, who I actually met on my third day in Los Angeles. I heard him playing and this guy is really good. So I go up to him and say Hey, if I have any shows would you like to play. He said yes sure. I got his number. Called him few days later and said I have this show to play all we need now is a drummer. He said I have a friend also from Gothenburg who has just moved to LA. That is who we have on drums Dennis Holm. They actually knew each other from childhood. Not saying they were great friends but both musicians from the area and when they moved to LA it was pretty amazing we all just got hooked up really early on and started playing, that was almost five years ago. It’s been quite a road to get just here. It’s kinda funny, always make fun of the guys we haven’t toured America much. Our tour with Zakk is the first proper one in America. I laugh at them saying you guys came to America to play music and I have had you in Europe for the past three years. It has been fun, they are obviously accomplished musicians play a ton of different stuff making a dynamic three piece.
Always a work in progress making it more dynamic, more energetic. I always say the music is as alive as we are and got to breathe with us and keep getting better.

BD: The official music video, bikers, guitars, and girl how did you come up with the idea?
JJN:Yes just released little new music video, new single Don’t You Try. Yes, it’s fun Sturgis and motorcycle rallies. Playing with Zakk who has big motorcycle enthusiasts following. I have a love for the whole culture, it’s really cool always been a fan of late ‘60’s early 70’s motorcycle culture. Movies like Cocaine Cowboys and Easy Rider and stuff like that. When it came to making a video I didn’t want to do anything serious, didn’t want to portray myself coming off too serious or way too overdone. Instead let’s have some fun with it. Made a little video of me and my girl. Next thing you know we are chased by some bikers, and got thrown off a cliff. You know the best part often video is the fact that my Les Paul survives along with…. Who knows what happens to the girl?.. as long as I got by guitar it is alright.

BD: Are you a biker yourself? Or just like the culture?
JJN:You know what, well I grew up around bikes basically my whole life where I actually grew up was near Milwaukee where the Harley Davidson factory is so most of my family ride. As kids we always had dirt bikes. For me personally never truly rode a motorbike as my main transportation that being said, when I make some money I am going to get myself a nice bike. Always been around bikes. Back when I was a kid always played these charity fund raising events that were basically put around motorcycle enthusiast crowds. It’s always been in my life I would never tell anyone I was a biker whatsoever, but I do love motorcycles, love cars I just love all that.

BD: Your excellent EP Highwayman is being released on Orange 10” vinyl which is great for the collectors do you have plans for getting back into the Studio?
JJN:Yes! A little something special for this run with Zakk. We wanted to do something a little bit different we had a really, really good run with coloured Old Glory. So decided to do Highwayman this time. It is really popular in Europe, and it is good to see so many people loving vinyl. I love vinyl myself it’s my main listening source when I am at home so it is great to see people getting as excited about vinyl as I do. Funny when people come up to me at shows and say is that the Highwayman in Orange vinyl, I say yea and they are delighted.

BD: So with Old Glory and Wild Revival  and Highwayman out on coloured vinyl do you have plans for getting back into the Studio?
JJN:Yes, I have to, and basically have a whole new record written and demoed out. It is finding the time to get into the studio, which I am hoping to do in between the Zakk Tour and Walter Trout Tour. It’s just with everything that has been going on it has been going pretty fast and things keep cropping up like festivals. For me, it is not finding the time to write the music it is finding the time to sit down and process it and getting into a studio. I’m sure if I can’t find the time I just need to make it happen.

BD: Takes a long time to do an album pre-production putting it down.
JJN:Yes, I try to get it down organically, get the sound right and not overthink things. But still you are right it just takes time. Takes time to get the sound together and to get pre-production and getting into the right headspace to do a record is completely different from going out and doing live shows for 150 days straight.

BD: With a show easier to just move on you play whereas a record is going to be around for a long time Organic but right.

JJN: Exactly, you are right the thing about a live show just a moment you go for to a record, yes you are right a record you have to think about it and say alright, this is what we are laying down is it right is this what we are doing . Need right team around you engineers – of course always about having right team Do you have a favoured studio or just find one with space? At a Studio in La Swing House Studio in Los Angeles since I moved there. It is my favourite studio in the whole world. It is homely and has such a good vibe around it I can just go in there relax and myself. Done some recording at like Abbey Road and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles they are amazing studios, but when I go into a studio I want to be comfortable. Not OH! My God! I’m here. When you are in there and excited it can be a double-edged sword we wanted to record a tune to be a slower tempo the next thing we know we are speeding it up because we are so excited to be there you know it is a real dynamic so many factors go into it, it is quite fun. BD:Well we are all excited to hear the possibility of a new JJN album sometime soon.

BD: Do you have a track on the album Either Highwayman or Old Glory and Wild Revival that is personal to you?
JJN:You know, that is hard, awful hard. All of them are different, kinda different shade of me. I know that sounds kind of cheesy but there is bits and pieces of me on the records, on all the tunes every single thing that I have recorded on those two records. It was like a house being built with nails. You have to hammer one in individually, every single one. So it was a lot of blood, sweat I don’t know about tears but tears too I guess. Every track seems pretty personal to me they are different moods just what feeling at a time so can’t pick one particular track out. It is all makes up the body of who I am.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration always personal?
JJN:Honestly, it’s pretty personal when I write something like alot of people that are lyricists and they write certain situations, things you think about a lot, memories and for me most of the lyrics do come from that place. Something I am always thinking about, or something on my mind a lot, family experiences and obviously relationships. But, it kind of boils down to me if they are strong or not if it leaves an impression on not only the listener but me; Not only is fun but also little emotional I leave a little bit of myself on all of the songs. I don’t try to write lyrics to be too crassy or be witty just what I am feeling, just comes out. For me the honesty of that means the world that is what it is all about.

BD: Going to take you back now, what were your musical influences growing up in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee?
JJN:Oh my goodness! The Blues it is all about the Blues! I got into the blues around when I started playing. My Mom took me to an open blues jam and got me on stage. With a lot guys from Chicago. I just submerged myself in that. My biggest influences obviously were guitarists playing Stevie Ray Vaughan got me into it and he lead me back to players like Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Literally I would get anything about the blues I would read about it , listen to it figure out the licks and try to figure out where Jimmy Reed figured out how to play a shuffle, where all those chess recordings came from. I would all my teen years and into my twenties just learning and absorbing the blues. Then when figuring out do my own thing, my own influences that is when the rock spilled in playing with other guys. Everything for me and early influences was the blues. Where I am coming from it is blues, yes rock but the blues. My music comes out as rock but the base is totally the blues.

BD: There is always this big debate no what is and what is not the blues?
JJN:Funny had conversation with Zakk I ways say I am a blues guitarist like, Albert King. He says you are playing rock man but you have the blues underline in all of it. Music is moving, I’m moving. There are a lot of purists obviously they take one listen, this guy ain’t nowhere near the blues. Off course I am not near Chicago blues, not playing West Coast style or whatever, but that is just the way I hear it and want to make it. Obviously, it is a big debate. The thing is in this day and age 2016 I think more than ever it is more important that people love the blues and rock n’ roll and everything in between. Instead of putting up walls and putting up barriers to the music we should all be united. I love Muddy Waters as much as you, that is what is important these days we shouldn’t be fighting what is real blues and what is not; it is more about are we all going to love and cherish the music and its rich culture I get to do that through playing my music.

BD: If you were putting together the band of your dreams/perfect with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
JJN:Oh my goodness you really ask some hard questions now you are really get to it. I am just like going out on a whim and first references.
Drums – Buddy Miles (Going to be a funky-arsed band)
Bass – Jack Bruce
Keys and some vocals – Greg Allman
Singers – Donny Hathaway & Paul Rogers
Guitars – Jimi Hendrix (I can air play laughing)

Think this would be an okay band. I would be on Cow Bell, Jared James Nichols We could talk about this for an hour or more but that is my band for the moment.

Jared James Nichols On Tour 2016 – HERE

READ what Bluesdoodles has said about Jared James Nichols

Review @ Robin2, opening for Glen Hughes 2015 – HERE
Review CD Old Glory and Wild Revival – HERE
Review Highwayman – HERE