Earlier this month, Simon Okely, once again, got us lost in time. A follow-up to the 2014 heart melting debut, Surrender, his latest In A Mood has a more expansive, more ambitious sound that explores the moods that surround love and relationships.
We sat down with Okely and chatted about these “moods” and what he has learned about this emotion we call love.
Vinyl Mag: It’s been stated that In A Mood is “less about the stories we tell ourselves when in love and more about the moods that can come creeping over a relationship.” What moods in particular are explored on this upcoming album?
Simon Okely: Being in a mood is this really weird thing. It doesn’t just show up on the door and ring the bell like a nice surprise from a friend. You often don’t know your in one until someone points it out to you. Sometimes the person pointing it out cops the blame for the mood. Sometimes, it’s a good mood and they take the shine off of it for pointing it out. As for particular moods on this record, well, I was exploring the un named moods – my own moods -admittedly often quite sombre -but i tried to be as honest as I could. I’ll let the audience name them what the will.
VM: What have you learned of love and relationships through the creation of In A Mood?
SO: I feel both wiser and more naive than ever. It’s just like that classic Einstein quote I guess. He was a smart guy. Makes me wonder why anyone tries doing anything? I’m not sure if even if I had learned some golden lesson, that I’d necessarily take it on board anyway to be honest.
VM: Have you learned anything about yourself when it comes to this topic (love & relationships) you may not have realized before you started the creative process?
SO: I sublimate well, perhaps too well.
VM: I really enjoy the last track, “I’ve Been Thinking.” What was the inspiration behind this song?
SO: Thanks, I really like it too. I was inspired by how “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce just seems to hit you in the chest; It seems so personal, and vulnerable. I was inspired by how “All I Want is You” by U2 drips with the sorrow and the impermanence of existence. How “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison has this etherial nostalgic yet timeless atmosphere. I wanted to try that feeling out, and see if I could get it.
VM: This album is very reminiscent of another time, space, and place. Where did you draw influence from to create the sound and vibes? Any artists in particular?
SO: I listen to a great deal of music. But when it comes down to my production style, I am definitely a graduate of the 1970’s school of thought e.g.: I love Latin American 70’s Soul and Tropicalia music. Check out Jorge Ben, Tim Maia, and Lo Borges.
VM: What artists did you grow up listening to?
SO: Van Morrison, Elvis Presley, Chris Rea, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, Carol King, Carly Simon, Paul Simon.
VM: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
SO: Know thy self. Knowing your weaknesses is the biggest strength anyone can have as far as I’m concerned.
LISTEN TO IN A MOOD NOW!
It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.