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Interview with Simo Soo

A year after the release of We’ve All Been Tricked Into Thinking This Reality Is Normal & Acceptable, It’s Not. Your Anxiety Is Real & Bugging Out Is The Correct Response I wanted to check in with Simo Soo about the record and how it’s resonating with him in a current context. We also chat about new music and how making the move from Sydney to Melbourne impacted his experience as an artist. 

So! It’s been about a year since you dropped WABTITTRIN&AINYAIR&BOISTCR. It’s such a great and brutally honest record, what’s it like to listen to it now after it’s been out in the world and in so many other ears?

I think when I was making it I felt in a real self assured and stable place but I don’t think I realised lyrically how lonely it sounded. Like the record is full of guests and producers but I sound kinda alone in a crowd. 

Even though it was only a year ago I feel like the theme of the record is still pretty relevant. Not much has really changed globally. The people in power are still the same, there’s still the same disconnects between online and reality. A lot of people have told me they could hear so much nihilism and depression in it, which was a huge part of the record. A lot of people thought sad songs were positive and vice versa. 

Someone I know told me it saved their life shortly after I moved to Melbourne and I wasn’t in such a good place at that time and it meant so much. I burst out crying all of a sudden knowing that I had created something out of my dark situation that had pulled someone out of theirs.

I’m really proud of that record. 

You’ve been putting out self-produced tracks consistently since the record release, were these tracks that could have been on the album, or are you just writing endlessly?

There was one song I left off the record, I will probably release soon as a loosie on Soundcloud and a beat I made for it that didn’t fit is the first track on my new record but that’s all was left over from it. I made it in such a short burst, it was just finish everything in front of you and put it out.

I took maybe 2 months off making music last year which I probably haven’t ever done since I started making music when I was 8 haha. Just to recalibrate myself and rest and consume other art and work out what I wanted to do, what I wanted to sound like etc. I watched so many films I’d never seen, mostly westerns and anime, to find some new kinda inspiration. Sergio Leone films in particular became this huge influence all of a sudden and I think there’s some weird desert vibes to my new record because of it.

Since then I’ve probably made about 120 beats and written lyrics for about the same amount of songs or like… something ridiculous like that. 

I have this weird thing going on that I’ve never had before where I’m making a ton of music and not releasing it or even really showing anyone. I’ve usually been so about making something then releasing it straight away but I’ve only really shown a few tight friends a couple tracks. 

I’ve released a whole bunch of remixes but I’ve only let out a few actual Simo Soo songs like ‘Independent’ and ‘Ey Das Me’ which were almost this selfish move on my part cos I wanted to have those tracks out to reflect myself back at me.  When I was housesitting a friend’s place when I first moved to Melbourne, I became really obsessed with this spiritualist called Teal Swan’s YouTube channel. She has this one video about staring deeply into a mirror at yourself for as long as it takes to break down every wall in yourself that is holding back from your real inner self. I stared at myself an hour and a half, I was completely sober but I felt like I was on the wildest acid trip of my life. I saw all the hurt in my body and soul and let it relax and leave me. 

Since then I’ve realised I’ve released so much music, there’s over a hundred songs on my Bandcamp, that I don’t have to rush. I work so fast I’ll have a record out soon but I feel calm and aware of exactly how I want it sound, when it sounds like that I’ll probably just drop it the next day haha.

You worked with a lot of different producers on We’ve all been tricked… is there anyone you’re keeping your eye on for the next release?

Pretty much all the production for the next record is done and apart from a little outro sample on a track by Clifford Carpenter, I’ve done all the production myself. It was really important for me to just sit and build the whole thing before I recorded vocals to it. I played the majority of it live with MIDI with no quantization, just playing it over and over til I got it right, which I’ve never done before. 

There’s a few guest vocalists so far on it as well, my friend Blackheart is on it but I can’t really mention the rest yet though hehe.

You used to be based in Sydney but relocated to Melbourne last year, can you tell me a bit about the difference in experience of being in both of those local scenes? 

It’s all very different with different people, circumstances and upbringings, I don’t think I’ve really lived here long enough to really be able to comment on that properly. But, in my experience I’ve felt really welcomed here by the queer and DIY scenes. There’s a really great club here called Honcho Disko that welcomed me in right away when I got here, likewise Evelyn Morris (Pikelet) at Tom Tom and lots of musician friends or just people I knew in passing, reaching out, queer or otherwise. 

For a long time I felt a lot of anger towards Sydney like I was ignored for being different and some of that might be true but really I had such wonderful people around me helping me along, it can be hard to see that sometimes when you’re caught up in things and 100% there is people who don’t want you doing well that exist but I always at least try to see the good in shitty situations. 

Like, Sydney definitely has terrible things like heaps of corruption in councils and in the police and so much power is giving to developers there like they seem to have more power than any human. Plus the high rent and really difficult music scene to navigate and succeed in makes it so hard to live there. People can be real cut throat in Sydney, though I’ve never felt that in my time here from anyone. But on the flip side to that, I have deep real friends for life in Sydney who want the best for the people around them and I feel the same towards them. 

In my experience, Melbourne is so much easier to live in, I haven’t seen many DIY venues like I would in Sydney like there’s not really a version of a place like Red Rattler here, that I’ve seen at least. I’ve not been to any queer punk house shows but maybe that’s just cos it’s easier to play at a bar here because there’s so many. Though I guess, really none of this means either is better or worse, it should be different, it’s a different place. 

Your record label Yes Rave has been doing some really cool stuff with releases and live shows, are you planning on doing more parties and expanding the roster?

The only releases I can mention at the moment are a new EP this week and record later this year from Bilby but there is definitely gonna be some new releases from new and old people to the label this year. Details very sooooon. 

There’s a regular Yes Rave club night at the Lady Hampshire in Sydney now which is really exciting and there’s definitely gonna be more in Melbourne and looking to make it happening regularly in Brisbane and other places real soon. 

What local artists are you loving lately? Link us!

Lately I’ve been into Aphir’s record from 2017 which is super lush.

https://aphir.bandcamp.com/album/twin-earth

Also Soft Approach’s new EP is incredible 

https://softapproach.bandcamp.com/releases

Heard this track from Netti the other day which is total fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swYfguJLywo

Also Blackheart’s new single is such a summer anthem in waiting

https://soundcloud.com/blckhearted/1up

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Photo By:Ingrid Dieckman

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