Jason Simon is the lead guitarist and vocalist of the illustrious psyche band, Dead Meadow. He released a self titled solo album with Tee Pee Records last year, and does what he can to create an atmosphere that is more mellow than his Dead Meadow counter part.
You’ve been playing solo lately?
I have been playing solo lately. It’s a more mellow affair than Dead Meadow. The line up changes from being only me to guitar and harmonium to a full band. I just recently got a real cool group together to back it up. It’s gonna be more of a band but in the style of the solo stuff I have been doing. I’m gonna call it Tekeli-li…named for the last words heard by Arthur Gordon Pym as he falls from the great cataract found at the south pole in the Edgar Allen Poe story.
What was the inspiration for your first solo record?
I was still living in Washington DC for a few years after the rest of the band had moved to LA. A lot of the songs from the record came from that time. I really dig the challenge of trying to convey a complete vibe and song in a way more stripped down fashion.
Do you write love songs?
I got songs about being in love, loving, and love as the great cosmic force that it is.
What’s your personal song writing process?
I read books, listen to music, mess around on the guitar and mostly wait to get inspired with and by something. The creative process is an endlessly fascinating thing. It does sometimes feel like ideas drift down from above or below and all we can do is keep ourselves open to receive. All these disparate elements are taken into our conscious and unconscious mind; and somehow a new and complete creation does emerge….”the miracle of creation” that occurs all day everyday. Anyway, I rarely get words and music at the same time. It is a pairing of the two elements into a bigger whole.
How do you relate to other people personally and artistically?
I’m not really sure on this one?
You seem to be a quiet person, is this true?
Yeah I guess I’m pretty quiet and reserved until I get to know people, then I never shut up. I definitely need my space out time though…. and my quiet reading time.
What artists inspire your solo work?
Well, musically I’d say it was inspired by all my favorite acoustic players and folk artists…those being Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, Bert Jansch (may he rest in peace, it was sad to hear of his recent passing) Roy Harper, John Fahey etc. Also there’s a bunch of middle eastern and Indian influences like Ali Akbar khan and some Tinariwen and north African desert blues stuff.
If you couldn’t make music anymore, what occupation would you pursue?
I dream about doing more writing all the time. A writer of macabre and surreal tales of the singular and the supernatural seems about right.
How has the music industry evolved since you started playing music professionally?
It’s definitely become a lot more difficult to make any money. Of course that never has been nor ever will be the reason to make music but it certainly does facilitate things when there is money to live on. On the bright side there are way more rad bands. When we started back in the late 90’s we would invariably be playing shows with emo and post-punk type bands that had nothing in common with us. Now there are all sorts of more psychedelically minded bands around.
Do you consider yourself a professional musician?
Yes. It’s the one thing I do in which I give all of myself and am continually striving to make it better. It is also the one thing I do in which I can completely lose myself in.