The Simones: Our Magic Taxi EP and Interview

They say great things are worth waiting for and it’s certainly true where The Simones are involved. This young Huddersfield (Holmfirth) band has been overdue an EP release, so there has been heady anticipation for “Our Magic Taxi” which contains 2 recently released tracks, Crocodile Tears and Hello Atlantis, coupled with 2 new released songs, Innocence to Bloom and Summertime.

Those Simones fellers have been incredibly generous and given me plenty of chat time to discuss all things Magic Taxi. I had to run away before they checked the fare.

So what does it feel to be on the verge of an EP release. Does it feel different to releasing solo tracks?

It’s pretty cool to be honest. I think having the time to really reflect on the songs means that our more final opinions on the songs have been formed pre-release – as opposed to most of the singles which usually end up changing slightly. Other than that, obviously it’s a larger release so I can’t wait to see how people listen to it. I’d love if people put the whole thing on in one sitting, but I don’t know if that’s how people are going to do it.

Also I’d say we’ve all learned a lot about how we should release other things in the future – we had loads of feedback saying that our second single Hello Atlantis came out too soon, so we might change up how many singles we drop in future    

As the recent tracks Crocodile Tears and Hello Atlantis hint, for me there’s a theme in the EP songs where our protagonist starts partying, experiences those times where they have “too much fun” and tries to find someone special to love. Ha, to my mind The Simones have deftly described a fundamental life cycle for humanity which has been ongoing since the beginning of the species.

As is customary for The Simones, the music is high quality rock indie. This is a band who I suspect grew up listening to rock classics, have found inspiration in quality current music, and have melded and mashed these various sounds into their own individual fresh style. The result is crisp, bright, and playful but founded and built on granite.

The band are Josh Cooper on drums, Nathan Mabey, vocals, bass and synth, while Jack Marsden and Ned Johnson are in charge of guitars. As always, the excellent sound production comes from Jacob Cooper and mastered (mastered being an excellent description) by Tom Gulliver.     

New track, Innocence to Bloom, has a jaunty and bouncy feel and describes a hard night’s partying where the fun starts to feel a bit enforced. As the opening lyrics describe: “Why do I feel like we’ve been here before? All of my mates are passed out on the kitchen floor”. There’s both chaos with angry parents and an inevitable mix of fun and forced hilarity described in the lyrics.

Crocodile Tears expand upon the moment, where there’s a party going on, and our protagonist is getting mashed but not altogether feeling satisfied by it. There’s a party, and along the way there’s thoughts of love. There’s some absolute killer guitar riffs on this track, and I love the swirling circular flowing sound that the band has created. it is the track that catapulted The Simones onto another stratesphere entirely. It’s entirely rewarding for the listener that the entire EP keeps up the standard; this recording is bliss.

Summertime is special and the highlight of the EP for me. There is indeed a feel of those lazy, dusty, sweaty days of summer, and the duet between Nathan and Lauren Burrow is flawless.

Anyway, why have me describe the songs, when we can ask the guys direct.

Can you go through the theme of the EP? Is it more general, or is it snippets of things that have happened, brought together into a story?

Well I’d be Lying (nice) if I said that we’d written the whole thing to be a coherent set of songs, but there are definitely strong themes. Our days in college and late high school have informed many of the lyrics – Crocodile Tears talks about the blathered walking up streets carrying road signs, which is a reference to an old mate who always robbed traffic cones, and various other paraphernalia on the walks up to parties. Innocence to Bloom is also about seshes in general, and kind of looks from the outside at the experience as a whole.

Hello Atlantis kind of ties into this idea of the party too since we always always ALWAYS get Atlantis after we’ve all had a few. It’s a fictional story about someone accidentally taking a vegan into Atlantis and her going off with someone else, which hasn’t specifically happened, though plenty of two timing and other party hookups along similar lines have gone on at parties we’ve been to.

Finally, Summertime is about winter.

No, really Summertime is about festival season – Nathan wrote the lyrics last summer after attending both Leedsfest and Tramlines in 2019, and really tries to capture the feeling of trying to get with someone at a festival when its absolutely baking, all your drinks have gone warm, and you’re being harassed by hangover and insect alike. These being the best times ever, in other words.

I picked up a transition from first having freedom, finding fun in partying, and then finding someone to have a relationship with. It’s very nice there’s a happy ending with a sunny time with a special other.

That’s actually really interesting, since we’ve actually switched some of the songs around order wise since we sent them to you. Nathan often finds that his lyrics make a lot more sense way after he’s written them, and this is probably a similar deal. We learn what we or others mean subconsciously after listening to a work repeatedly over time, and this often makes the work seem more meaningful, or just plain better.

Point being that we’d encourage everyone to try and take a message – whatever that might be (since we have absolutely no idea) from our songs and how we arrange them!

I know you guys are incredibly fortunately to have access to some excellent support (particularly with Jacob and Louis). Just what difference has that made to the production of the EP? 

A bunch really yeah. So Jacob has been genuinely fantastic – having his home studio available to record everything was really nice. He aided a fair amount in the final arrangements of the songs too – encouraging us to add or change bits here and there, which was certainly different to how we’ve done things before. Jacob also helped us in that he knew Tom who was able to master the tracks well after Jacob had recorded and mixed them which was really handy.

Louis has also been indispensable. He’s such a talent and what he does and we all feel that The Simones really wouldn’t be the same without his aid – at the very least, it wouldn’t look the same! He’s got a few things lined up for the actual release too – and those canvas’ on Spotify are all his creations too.

Waham records are handling merchandise, some gigs and promotional events here and there. There’s no control over what, when, and where we produce music or play it from the guys at Waham – which we really enjoy really. They’re all really nice guys too so we’re definitely happy to be onboard.

I know Lauren has provided some fabulous vocals to two of the tracks. What was it like collaborating with someone else?

It was great really – Lauren is so talented it’s unreal. It took her genuinely one practice to figure out what she was going to sing! And what’s more is that she actually improvised the parts to Hello Atlantis on the day of recording too, which amazed us really. Her work really brought the songs to life too – she really is fantastic.

Apart from Lauren, who would be your dream collaboration and why?

That’s such a good question! So I think all of us would kill to meet Alex Turner, let alone get on a track with him, so I’d say that’s a definite one, especially after seeing what he managed with Alexandra Saviour with her album The Archer as producer. Apart from that, I think a John Frusciante colab wouldn’t go amiss – the songs on Shadows Only Collide with people have been a big influence on Nathan for instance; not to mention his work with the Chilli Peppers.

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala is someone we listen to loads too; his recent album being absolutely phenomenal of course. His collaboration Daffodils with Mark Ronson is a banger too so I think he’s definitely someone on our list. Oscar Lang is another one that I think would really vibe with our sound, though he’s not all that well known, he’s really good.

What’s for the future for The Simones? Gigs and stuff?

Plenty more! We’ve a few gigs in the summer which will be announced sometime after Our Magic Taxi drops, and we’ve plenty of new material in the works to be recorded soonish which we’ve a loose plan for at this stage. Again though, all this will be announced in good time.

How do you manage to juggle time to rehearse etc. Are things going to change?

Well we won’t lie – this past year has been difficult. With covid, and the huge distance between some of the members due to university, we haven’t been able to practice as much as we’ve liked. Having said that, whenever we get together, we always surprise ourselves with how little we’ve forgotten.

In terms of change, I think people are only going to get more Simones over this next year – Covid appears to be on the wain thanks to the vaccines being distributed rapidly by our wonderful NHS (seriously, those guys are absolute heroes who deserve the world), and this means we should be back to gigging on a semi-regular basis sooner rather than later.

Share some unusual talents or skills that the band members have?

Ned is professionally short, which is pretty cool to be honest. He can also do a pretty good posh accent every now and again. Josh is always quite angry and plays the drums way too loud sometimes. If you squint a bit, Nathan looks kind of like Jesus. Jack has a nose piercing and is very well dressed all the time. Oh, and Nathan can do a Rubik’s Cube in about a minute. 

Other than that, we’re all pretty boring to be honest.

All too soon, it’s time for my killer questions to close our chat, y’know after I’ve lulled the guys into a false sense of security, then I go for the jugular with the one that really throws the band and grabs me the scoop goss of the decade. Here goes….

You have been asked to appear on Sunday Brunch to share a few songs and to cook us your signature dish…. who’s cooking and what are we eating?   

Well put it this way – Nathan’s idea of an evening meal is two big bags of crisps from the co-op while binging Community, so it’s DEFINITELY not going to be him.

Everyone else is much more well adjusted to adult life and can probably whip something up. Josh used to bake brownies for Piccolinos in Holmfirth so he might be a good fit.

What would your ideal celebration together be like? Where would it be?

Well usually we all go up to Ned’s and get pissed in one of his fields, but that seems a little underwhelming for a huge celebration. We know it would 100% involve a lot of drinking and then an Atlantis at least – we might even hire out a venue in Holmfirth for all our friends and family. Again, it’d likely be a lot more spontaneous than this, but we’d definitely make it a special night for all involved!

Chris R    * Images are taken from the bands social media

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