Since leaving Atlantic Records, pop star Cody Simpson released his first independent album called “Free” earlier this year. It’s noticeably different from his previous pop singles like “Surfboard” and “iYiYi,” but it’s a new sound that matches Simpson’s evolving image.
Filled with fun and relaxed beachy vibes like “Livin’ Easy” and “Free,” the “Dancing With The Stars” alum is glad to finally create an album that shows off his guitar skills and love for unedited, soulful music.
Simpson kicked off his fall tour with AER in September and has since been performing all over the United States. On Saturday night, he’ll make a pitstop at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre, where he will perform old and new hits.
Ahead of his big night, Neon Tommy asked him a few questions about his new music, band plans and the Los Angeles show.
Neon Tommy: Do you have a special or favorite spot for writing your music?
Cody Simpson: Anywhere that I can clear my head with no distraction. My bedroom, the tour bus, the beach. I’m writing poetry on plane rides that I’m turning into melody. I can only write my best work when I feel as though I have no time constraint or pressure on me.
NT: You have a very raw and relaxed sound in your newest album “Free.” Is this the type of music you’ve always wanted to make, or are you experimenting with a new sound?
CS: I’ve always wanted to do this, I just never had the freedom. I was caught in a trap that most artists are caught in their entire lives. The “we need find a song that will work at radio every 6 months” trap. That’s not the way I wanted to live my life and is certainly no way to feel creatively liberated. I removed myself from the system and am just living my life the way I want to live it. I don’t have any expectations. I’m very pleased right now being 18 years old just trusting my spirit and vision. It’s not about short-term immediate financial success. It’s about the long term journey of the creative soul.
NT: You’ve previously mentioned John Mayer and Jack Johnson as some of your inspirations. Would you like to collaborate with one of them?
CS: I’d love to work with both. I grew up listening to both and I think each of their musical colors and flavors have found themselves creeping into this record. It was just an album I had to get out of me because I feel like it was a part of me that had been suppressed for so long. But now that it’s out of me it’s no longer mine, it’s everybody else’s.
NT: Where do you get inspiration for your music? Do you get inspired by events in your life? Or, how much of your music is written by someone else and you interpret it according to your own sound?
CS: I wrote this entire record with a mate of mine Cisco Adler. Cisco also produced the record. I’m inspired by whatever is relevant to me at the time. Honestly, these days growing up and all I’m developing a lot of my personal views on the world, society, politics, the environment etc. So I’m very much looking forward to writing about what’s actually important in music and poetry. Everything else is and has been a waste of time I think.
NT: You’ve made music videos for a few songs on your new album, do you plan on making any more? What’s your favorite part of making music videos?
CS: I don’t imagine I’ll make many more visuals for that record. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m improving so rapidly that once I’m done with something I’ve moved on and have grown. So now I’m just thinking forward. I do enjoy turning audible pieces into visual pieces and figuring how best to portray the music.
NT: Since you’re from Australia, is that your favorite place to perform? Or do you have another favorite place?
CS: I enjoy performing wherever people want to hear me. I treat every night as a band rehearsal pretty much. Instead of practicing guitar and performing in my bedroom I’m learning on stage in front of a crowd. It’s been interesting experimenting in front of people.
NT: Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories about something that happened at one of your shows?
CS: My pants split at the crotch once. I was crouching, playing a solo and they just ripped. It didn’t reveal too much but I had to finish the song with my legs closed then go throw on a new pair.
NT: What do you have in mind for the future? Is another album in the works?
CS: I’m starting a band with some of my mates. We’ll be based out of Venice. Honestly as of right now I need to take some time to myself to soul search and improve on my craft. Over exposure is a common mistake people make these days. Mystery is a man’s only true weapon. I want to make the next thing magical.
NT: What is your favorite song that you will be performing this Saturday at El Rey and why?
CS: We play a 12 bar blues medley that I put together. Some of my favorite blues turnaround tunes. Gets pretty gnarly!