JamBase Questionnaire: Simon Posford

Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from The Band of Heathens.

New Younger Brother Album
Simon Posford knows what makes one’s ears prick up. A sorcerer of sound, Posford, in his many guises, always summons up noises and melodic waves we haven’t heard before. But it’s not all sound & fury with Posford, who infuses things with a musicality and yen for raw beauty that sets him apart from the many pretenders behind a bank of turntables, keys and sequencers chasing his tail.

What further separates Posford from the pack is his ability to work with other musicians in real time and his knack with multiple instruments. A fully formed and fascinating solo performer as Shpongle and Hallucinogen, Posford shows off his group skills on the thoroughly enjoyable new Younger Brother album, Vaccine (released April 26 on Twisted/SCI Fidelity). While a good measure away from the more hardcore, psychedelic mindfucks Posford is known for, the third release from this partnership with Benji Vaughan moves into the realm of Portishead, Underworld and further back to proto-electronica-prog pioneers like Pink Floyd, Steve Hillage and Mike Oldfield.

Joined by drummer Joe Russo (Furthur, Benevento-Russo Duo), bassist Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), guitarist-singer Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past) and guitarist Matt White (The Egg) – all of whom play with a cool, controlled flair on Vaccine - this incarnation of Younger Brother glides like mercury on glass, smooth and capable of crawling into any opening it finds. The pace is measured not dance floor frenetic, and the music is all the better for it, providing a series of varied, undulating soundscapes for lead singer Ruu Campbell - a serious Thom Yorke-ian find – to surf. The studio touches are tasteful and well placed, a spot of reverb or delay arriving just when needed, but mainly it’s the songs and not just the atmosphere that stand out. In many ways, Vaccine slots in nicely next to Radiohead’s most recent albums, sharing a kindred sense of modernity, technological savvy and songwriting finesse, though Younger Brother is less elusive. In fact, Vaccine may be the most forthright, eager to connect release in Posford’s career, which hopefully means some much deserved wider recognition. (Dennis Cook)

Posford is currently on the road with the wild ass Shpongle presents The Shpongletron Experience. Check out tour dates here.

Here's what Simon had to say to our inquiries.

Shpongle by Ruu Campbell
Band Affiliations: Shpongle, Younger Brother, Hallucinogen

Instrument(s) of choice: Guitar, particularly my black Fender Telecaster '73. My favorite synth is the sh101: simple but effective and bursting with character, or the OSCar - totally unreliable and deranged but fabulous when it works. I also play drums and bass.

Nicknames: Weirdly, nobody has ever come up with a nickname for me. In the early days of trance some people called me "the guv'nor", but I guess I've been demoted now…

1. Great music rarely happens without…
The electric synergy of talent & inspiration, although there are some great punk records where the musicians don't appear to be amazingly talented. I'm tempted to say drugs, too, as a lot of great bands from, say, The Beatles to Bob Marley...from Pink Floyd to Snoop Dogg have clearly tried drugs and made some of the most timeless music. I'm sure a lot of the bands that really suck probably haven't either. I wonder what the correlation is...

2. The first album I bought was…
Welcome to the Pleasure Dome by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Maybe that should have given me an inkling of why people seem reluctant to pay for music these days.

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Watching Rodrigo y Gabriela play “Tamacun” made my jaw drop in awe of their skills and made me promise to practice the guitar more.

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
A vet - as in a veterinary surgeon, not a soldier from Vietnam. I was inspired by the James Herriot books as a child. However, when our dog got old and sick and a man came over to 'put it down' (a euphemism for death by lethal injection), I realized it wasn't the job for me. Imagine having to do that on a regular basis...Surely worse than the part of the job that entails sticking your hand in a horse's butt.

5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Outdoors. Great sound with a happy appreciative crowd. Maybe one where I am not on stage.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
That this was the hardest question of all to answer. I'm a quiet, reclusive person, so I don't have much to share apart from my music.

7. I love the sound of…
It's a horrible cliche, but the sound of the ocean on a fairly calm day. Not through speakers though, but the sense of huge 3D space you get when standing close to it. My favorite sound is the key turning in my lock when I return home after touring, and hear the stillness in the gentle creaking of my house. Also the "fot" sound when you open a jar of instant coffee and poke your finger through the paper covering.

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
The music I hear in my head that I am always chasing and trying to pin down. It just seems to slip through my fingers like mercury. I'll keep trying though.

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
Asanabo in Los Angeles. The halibut sashimi with fresh truffle sounds weird but I love it. It certainly beats devouring the Pringles and nuts from the hotel mini-bar.

10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Japan, Colorado and New York

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Smoking too much

12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
"Everything In Its Right Place" by Radiohead has been one of my most played songs on my iPod for years. I love everything about it. But, John Bonham from Led Zep is one of my favorite drummers.

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
My own liver. I saw it on video after I had my gallbladder removed. How many people can say they've seen the inside of their own body, without the use of psychedelic drugs? Of course with drugs I have seen things that can't be described with the inadequacies of mere language. But that is why I make music. It's a much better translation.

Shpongle Tour Dates :: Shpongle News

Younger Brother Tour Dates :: Younger Brother News

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[Published on: 4/29/11]

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