Interview mit „Simeon Soul Charger“

Vom amerikanischen Tellerwäscher zum deutschen Millionär – mit ähnlichen Zielen kam die aus Ohio stammende Band „Simeon Soul Charger“ nach Deutschland und erobert nun mit ihrem Debutalbum „Meet Me In The Afterlife“ den europäischen Rockstar-Himmel.


Die ersten deutschen Shows ausverkauft und hoch-umjubelt, ein erfahrenes Indie-Label der Psychedelic Szene hinter sich, und das alles in Deutschland? Der „American Dream“ – Spieß dreht sich …!

Aaron Brooks, Rick Phillips, Spider Monkey und Joe Kid heißen die vier Vollblutmusiker, die alle Bande in ihre amerikanische Heimat gekappt haben, um ihre Musik an möglichst viele Menschen zu bringen. Ein beschauliches Bauernhaus im tiefsten Bayern, viele deutsche Begeisterte, die für die musikalische Infrastruktur sorgen, und eine gewaltige Prise Wahnsinn machen den Simeon Soul Charger Traum wahr.

Und der Plan geht auf: bereits 30 Live-Termine sind ab März 2011 in ganz Europa bestätigt, und sogar einige Festivals haben die Amerikaner als Headliner gebucht.

Academicworld sprach mit den Jungs über Ihr Leben als Musiker und Ihre aktuelle Platte.


What does your band name „Simeon Soul Charger“ mean and why did you choose this name?

Aaron Brooks: In short it means audible soul ignition. Music has the potential to empower, relate, and magnify a person’s emotional spectrum and I had hoped that our music would serve that function. In retrospect it seems a little self-important but if our music makes a person feel something, it’s forgivable. It’s really up to the listener’s interpretation anyway.


Das Album „Meet me in the Afterlife“ erscheint am 4.3.2011.

Do you believe in „Afterlife“? What is your imagination of „Afterlife“?

Spider Monkey: I like to picture the Afterlife as an endless garden of sugar cookies leading to a cobblestone bridge that overlooks a path made of powdered silver. The silver path twists and winds through a forest of gum drops to a wonderful city of trolls and friendly orcs who always have free chocolate for me … Just kidding. I really don’t know. I’ll tell you when I get there.

Aaron: There are a lot of ideas about The Afterlife that intrigue me but my humbling ignorance won’t allow me to cling to any of them wholeheartedly. I do find comfort in the regenerative forces of nature and knowing that at the very least when I die, my physical body will return to the earth and become a part of it. That might not be a satisfying fate for some but to me it’s very romantic. If we do continue to exist after death, I like to think that the possibilities are limitless. 


Why did you leave America and come to Germany?

Aaron: It’s been my dream to tour the world since I was a kid. We did a small tour in Bavaria in April and the whole band fell in love with the country and the people. We were very excited and grateful to be asked to come back for a larger tour.

Spider Monkey: Well for me it was always important to make it to Germany at some point in my life. Me and Rick’s mother was born in Tegernsee, so a piece of my heart is in Germany as well even though I was born in America. In addition, I’m very excited to do what I love in a new country. Getting to go anywhere new and play music is always amazing, it will be even better that I get to visit my mother’s homeplace at the same time. All in all I hope to meet a lot of new faces and make some friends along the way.

Rick Phillips: Bernd Buchberger, our German manager, is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met and he’s the only man I’ve ever met whom I would call my „manager“. He and the rest of our Bavarian friends are amazing people and I feel compelled to spend time with all of them and see where this thing goes! I feel the whole team believes that Simeon Soul Charger has the potential for success in Germany.


You will spend your time living in a bavarian farmhouse. This doesn’t seem to fit together with cool rock musicians. Aren’t you afraid that this will be boring for you?

Rick: Absolutely not! I personally love „country livin“. I would much rather live outside of the city. I love visiting the city and playing loud rock & roll for people and then retreating to a quiet and simpler way of life. It is less stressful this way. I grew up in the city and hated it. I’ve always had a dream of living in a huge farmhouse in the middle of nowhere! This is definitely a dream come true for me.

Aaron: First off, I’m not very cool – whatever that means. Personally I’m excited to live in the farmhouse. I love the country and being around nature and Germany has a beautiful landscape. It’s an old house that has paranormal potential which also excites me. We plan to do a lot of writing on our off time and the farm house should serve as a relaxing environment. Plus, given our busy tour schedule I don’t think there will be much allowance for boredom. 


What are the differences between the american audience and the german audience?

Aaron: They can both be great. We have a great fan base back at home and the local shows are outstanding. The difference is that in America there is so much oversaturation of rock bands that it’s hard to convince someone to listen to yours. Commercial music is king, and if you lack the familiar formula commonly heard on American radio, it’s a bit harder to build an audience. In our first experience in Germany, audiences were immediately receptive and appreciative. It was exciting to just walk right into that.

Rick: German audiences tend to give bands a fair chance. They seem pretty open to whatever you’re presenting. It definitely seems that „art“ in general is more appreciated throughout Europe. I think America is too brainwashed by what the media tells them to like. Nobody wants to give your band a chance if they don’t already know you.


Are there any german musicians you like to listen to?

Spider Monkey: There are probably quite a lot that I don’t even know are German artists to be honest. But Rammstein definately comes to mind. I listened to them a lot a few years ago when I started playing bass. However, a German friend of mine told me Rammstein is more popular in America then Germany … haha.

Rick: I really dig „Der König und sein Offizier“ and Ludwig Von Beethoven.


How did you guys come together?

Rick: I met Aaron at a hippie festival at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. A mutual friend introduced us to each other and told us we should play music together. I really dug his songs and thought he seemed like a cool guy. I was in another band at the time he was forming Simeon Soul Charger so our schedules never matched up to jam. About a year later, I left that band and went to jam with the Simeon Soul Charger guys. The chemistry was awesome and I really enjoyed the heavier style of music. They seemed to like what I was doing and they asked me to join. We?ve been together ever since.

Aaron: Let’s just say the stars aligned.


Do you have any idols?

Aaron: I certainly have people that I enjoy creatively but I wouldn’t describe them as idols. I don’t really agree with idolization. I think the projection of celebrity can sometimes breed unhealthy obsessions. Personifying someone with superhuman status doesn’t paint a truthful portrait of the vulnerabilities and imperfections of real people.


Do you write all your songs on your own? What inspires you?

Rick: The band writes all the songs. Aaron writes the lyrics and the bulk of the song structures. The rest of the band spices up the tunes with our own influences and strengths on our instruments. We are getting much tighter and evolving as a band. We all contribute in some way or another on every song. We actually inspire each other. Someone will come up with a cool part which will spark someone else’s creativity to write something complementary to it and so on …We all feel motivated to incorporate our musical tastes and influences into the sound of the band. I think that’s where our unique sound comes from.

Aaron: Yes, we as a band, write all of the songs on our own. Everything inspires me. Art is living everywhere, in all people, and places, and things. You just have to pay attention. 

Can you tell me more about the different characters of you guys? What is it like to work with each other?

Spider Monkey: Even though we are all very different people we seem to work together really well. There are some small bumps in the road but we always work past them. Aaron writes cool tunes, Rick is an inspiringly amazing guitarist and Joe is an AWESOME drummer to lock up with as the bassist. If we were all the exact same people we couldn’t have such a diverse sound, which last I checked, was what rock n‘ roll was all about. 

Aaron: It’s great actually. Everyone in the band is very creative, insightful, humble, and nice to each other.  We all listen to each other and communicate well.  If I bring a song that I just wrote to a practice the other guys seem to magically know how to enhance it or add to it on first listen. I’m kind of a schizoid so it’s hard to say what I’m like to work with on the receiving end. 


How was school for you? Did you like going to school?

Aaron: I liked it when I was really young but  I lost interest in my teenage years.  I was a pretty good student up to a point but by my last few years of high school I spent most of my time writing songs in my notebook.  I have a much stronger desire to learn now that I’m older but I don’t necessarily think that has to be done through any conventional conduit.  Experience has been the greatest teacher thus far.

Spider Monkey: I loved going to school! I don’t think they liked me much though, haha. Got kicked out a couple times, but I always came back for more.


What kind of profession would you have chosen if you wouldn’t have become musicians?

Spider Monkey: Full-Time Spider Monkey.

Rick: Porn star. Yep, definitely a porn star.

Aaron: Either an independent filmmaker or a vagabond.


How important is for you to be successful? What, in your opinion, does „success“ mean?

Spider Monkey: I succeed everytime I play a show. Success to me is making a new person smile because of the music I play. Performing live is the highest form of success to me, it can only get better as the shows get bigger and more smiles are made 

Rick: Success can mean different things. I feel very successful in some ways. I love being able to play shows and touch people?s lives through music. I’m sure that it’s what I am meant to do in life.

Money-wise, the music business is a very tough. It seems that musicians are over-worked and under-paid. I would feel extremely successful if I could make enough money to pay the bills, have a decent house and a car that runs. Just enough to live on and make it to the next show. This has been a difficult process so far in my career as a musician.


What is your message for the german audience?

Aaron: Eat organic food, hydrate, do what you love, and be good to each other.


What are your plans for the next year?

Spider Monkey: To work, work, work until I cannot work anymore! I want to see as much as I can and meet as many people as I can in the next year. I hope to meet YOU too!

Rick: Do whatever our fearless manager (Bernd Buchberger) tells me to do! No really, I am ready and willing to work my ass off in Germany with all of our new German friends to try to get Simeon Soul Charger off the ground. I think this 6 month summer tour is going to be an incredible experience and I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Aaron: I’m not much of a planner. I’m just taking it a day at a time.