Saturday, June 14, 2014

Interview with Simeon of Silver Apples

For one reason or another, Simeon's music had escaped me until very recently. When I saw that they were playing the Bohemian National Cemetery with Wrekmeister Harmonies, however, I was curious. Bill and Dave from Permanent Records turned me onto them and I picked up a copy of their self-titled LP, which has now been played many many times.

Since I am new to Silver Apples' music, let me do a little backstory. Silver Apples were the product of the psychedelic 60s and had two band members Simeon and Danny Taylor. They released their first album (self-titled) in 1968, which included the single Oscillations, but included an early form of electronic music. Simeon had made his own synthesizer system - he used a variety of pedals and telegraph keys to play his instrument, rather than as a typical piano-like rig. In 1969, the band released their second album Contact, but afterwards split due to a bunch of different reasons that Simeon has talked about and there was a period of silence until the 90s when the band regrouped and began writing and recording material again.

Unfortunately, on March 10, 2005, Danny Taylor passed away, but Simeon continues to play live and make music. I got to see Simeon last night as Silver Apples and I have to say that it was as fresh as ever. The songs have absolutely stand up with anything that is currently being released and Simeon has even updated some to give them a little more whimsy and danceability. And it was in the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, which blew my mind.

This was one of those shot in the dark interviews where I just went for it not expecting anything, but am super proud to be able to put this out. Check out the band's Website to keep up with Simeon. Their music is also available on spotify, and in my opinion, it's definitely worth tracking down a copy of their first record.

Jordan: You have been playing music for a long time. Do you think that the type of person that you see at a Silver Apples gig has changed? Do you have any belief as to why?

Simeon: I guess people have changed altogether. Our audience used to be hippies and earth mothers all twirling around dreamy eyed. Now everybody seems to be more into the music. 

J: Is it weird to see that young people are still listening to the music you made in the 60s? Do you ever think about what your legacy is and how it has affected music? Does it give you satisfaction?

S: I have to say it gives me great satisfaction to see that my statements still have meaning.

J: Do you still use the same oscillators as you did when you originally made music?

S: Some of them are the same. But like everything else, they break. 

J: I know that a lawsuit in regard to the band's artwork assisted in breaking the band up originally. There's a big patch between the records you released as Silver Apples in the 60s and Beacon in 1997. Did you guys write songs and record during that hiatus at all?

S: No I didn't even know where Danny was during that time. We lost touch. 

J: When you play live now, it's done solo. Do you feel as comfortable doing that as when you originally played with Dan Taylor? Are there differences for you?

S: I feel just as comfortable because Danny was such a reliable professional. 

J: What do you find yourself listening to nowadays? Does music still hold the same interest and importance as it did when you started?

S: Sure. I'm interested in mostly anything experimental. People send tracks for me to hear of their work and I enjoy it no matter how rough it is. 

J: How did you decide to play the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago? I'm very excited for that show!

S: I was invited to play about 6 months ago and I'm happy to be here too. 

J: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

S: See you there!

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