“I’d taken guitar lessons when I was younger, but nothing really clicked,” laments the Salem, Virginia-based songwriter, composer and producer, Shawn Simms, of his musical beginnings. But then, as these things happen, a couple of iconic musical influences drifted into his life—namely, Rush and Deep Blue Something—and just like that, the bass guitar was suddenly an appealing tool of sonic pleasures.
“Do you not know that your life is a vapor.”
Though his background is in djent, progressive metal, and deathcore, Shawn has, in his own words, “…chilled over the years”, and now prefers shoegaze, alternative, and other melodic styles, in particular those which include female vocals.
“Life is lacking and fleeting. Time is a big concept…”
His debut, solo album, the multi-genre-blended, Vapors In Time, is the result of a steadfast, determined effort which would see Simms taking upwards of five months per song to record and produce the full 10-tracks. Guest musicians and vocalists, multiple recording locations, and five models of bass guitar are all present on the project, which the man himself describes as having, “…a hint of melancholy.”
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Opening with, Sprava (meaning: atonement and reconciliation), seriously Police-like bass & guitar melodies share a jazzy dance, fluttering about, interlaced with Liann’s sultry vocals (check out the video for this song below)…
“Sprava, Sprava, take my hand
Lead me past the shadowed lands
I am waiting, set me free
Lead me onward, carry me
Sprava, I am listening”
Digging the bass-work just after the break around the 2:20 mark in Cemetery Riot—a totally dope cadence!
The one-minute cinematic opening to Twilight feels like an animated Disney film. Minimalist with little more than cello and keys, the track offers an instrumental glimpse into the melancholy Simms mentioned above.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Shawn’s background in the black sonic metal arts is fully alive in, Signal To Noise, particularly its absolutely grimy and jilted forty-second bass intro. Let’s call it jazz-metal, and it’s possible you’ve never heard anything quite like it. Our favorite track—hands down.
The gorgeous jazzy-rock of, Bellicose (meaning: extreme anger), is immediately reminiscent of, Arjun, one of our favorites in the genre. An epic composition of rock guitars and ambient vocals tell a tale of loss and rage…
“You turned me away
When I need you the most
You turned me away
And it turned me oh so…
Using his self-invented, full-chord bass-strumming technique in, Downpour, when juxtaposed with the sweet and benign clarinet tones, feels like Tool cut a track with Kenny G. It’s a wild ride, and our 2nd favorite track on the album.
With a seriously 70’s-rock vibe, the aptly titled, Yugen (meaning: dim or mysterious), offers yet another etheric and ambient rock-composition, worthy of the genre’s large audience. Guest vocalist, Lena, feels right at home as well. And hang around for the delicious solo from 2:38 to the song’s end. This song, in our humble opinion, is Shawn’s wheelhouse. If he can write, compose and produce this kind of music, he simply deserves a larger audience. Just listen to it. How could anyone disagree?
A bass-player’s needle in a haystack. Sonically rich & deluxe. Abstract mayhem & calculated order—all at once. Shawn Simms’ debut solo album, Vapors In Time, is a jazzy, funky, alt-rock, musical expression with a twist of new-age, grunge, and progressive rock. Busy guitar and bass riffs stick & move, changing tempos, melodies and moods in an instant—though are never too busy to be intermingled with the occasional synth-line, keys, or the soft and sultry timbres of Shawn’s female vocalist core. When it’s all said and done, conceptually, with all of its moods and colors, the project could easily be commandeered for the soundtrack to the next Tim Burton film.
Arjun meets The Police meets Jar Of Flies-era Alice In Chains meets Primus meets…?
BELOW: Check out our full interview with Shawn Simms, listen to his album, Vapors In Time, connect with his social media platforms, watch his music video, and find his booking & contact information. Please support Shawn Simms by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Check out our interview with SHAWN SIMMS:
Follow, stream, download & connect with SHAWN SIMMS online:
Listen to VAPORS IN TIME by SHAWN SIMMS:
Watch SHAWN SIMMS’ music video for the song SPRAVA:
Booking & contact information for SHAWN SIMMS:
Contact: Shawn Simms
Email: vapors2000 (at) gmail.com