Open Your Mind with Keaton Simons

>> Los Angeles native singer-songwriter Keaton Simons has played with many artists and bands over the years, however, he decided it was time to focus all of his talent and creative energies on his own music. His latest EP 123 Go was recorded in Nashville with the help of Marshall Altman. To Simons, this EP is "a real culmination". We recently received the wonderful opportunity to ask Keaton Simons some questions, check it out!

Working and writing with so many different artists across your career, what do you do to put your head in the right space to write for a specific genre?

Usually, I just open up and let it flow, but if I’m feeling stuck I’ll listen to something in or similar to that genre. Film can also be extremely inspiring to the songwriting process.

What made you settle on the Americana-Rock n Roll sound for the new release? Is this how Nashville speaks to you?

It really wasn’t a conscious decision, but the Nashville vibe was a huge influence. A lot can be attributed to brilliant producer Marshall Altman as well as the incredible musicians who played on the EP! :)

Where do you look besides music for inspiration? Visual art? Favorite things to draw from over others?

I have a song called “Inspiration” and the chorus says, “You’re looking for inspiration and you don’t know where to find it. If you want to find inspiration, let it find you.” I find inspiration everywhere and in everything, but only when I’m receptive.

What were the most important tools (instruments, electronics) you used for this new music? Anything we wouldn’t expect?

There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on this record. We cut almost everything live all together in the studio. It was so much fun!! We do have some interesting additions, percussion that Marshall and I played, including me slapping my thighs on “Crane City”.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened while working in the music industry? Maybe a tour story? Maybe an artist interaction? Most WHAT THE FUCK moment?

There have been many!! Haha. One time I was playing a big industry showcase and watching another artist perform. Well, I guess they weren’t feeling it because about halfway through verse 1 of song 2 in the set the singer stopped dead and said, “This feels phony as fuck. Fuck you all!” then flipped off the audience and stormed off stage. My jaw was on the floor!

Is there a physical transition that happens when switching between working with the likes of Snoop Dogg & Medusa, to Chris Cornell, to your solo projects? Maybe you smoke less weed? Maybe you start relaxing or moving more? Maybe you hang out in different settings?

I’m definitely not smoking less weed! Hahaha! To me, music is the universe and I just float from galaxy to galaxy.

The most mind-opening experience you’ve ever had? Meeting someone? Drugs? A show?

I have had some mind-blowing experiences with psychedelics. Those experiences helped me to understand the power of perspective.

If someone is visiting Nashville for a day, what do they HAVE to hit? Coffee? Bars? A walk? Musical Places?

There are so many places! If you can make it to a Whisky Jam I highly recommend it!

What do you do as a daily practice to work on your art?

I think about music constantly. I visualize playing a variety of instruments in my mind.

What is the tattoo on your arm? Where’d you get it done? Why’s it important to you? Any more planned?

I’ve actually been tattooed by 7 different artists everywhere from LA to NYC to Amsterdam. My main tattoo artist is Mike DeVries. He is a master of his craft!

If you had to get an album cover tattooed on your whole back, what would it be? Why?

The White Album ;)

You get stuck in a room with Jar Jar Binks - what do you do?

I would tell him it isn’t his fault. Haha. <<