Law Music’s Featured artist of the week, 21st Aug, 2019

Originally posted at: https://lawmusic-online.co.uk/blogs/blog/posts/featured-artist-of-the-week-simon-waldram

  • Please introduce yourself
    Hello, I’m Simon Waldram. That isn’t a made up rock and roll pseudonym, believe it or not

  • How did you get into music?
    Some friends of mine at school had a band who I saw live. That was the first time I realised that anyone could sing or play if they wanted to. I got an electric guitar at 15. I didn’t know what to do with it, but I knew I wanted to do SOMETHING with it. I spent years making noise and then started writing actual songs about 7 years later.

  • What instruments do you play?
    Guitar, keyboards mainly, but I’ll have a bash at any instrument put in front of me. Whatever it is if you can get something out of it that sounds good to you, then that’s all you need

  • Who are your influences?
    R. Stevie Moore, Sebadoh, Galaxie 500, The Fat Tulips, Throwing Muses, Joy Division, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Stina Nordenstam, Yoko Ono, Propagandhi, Black Sabbath, Steven X Davies, Emzae, Anda Volley, Kate Bush, Neu!, The Velvet Underground etc etc

  • Tell us about your latest release
    My new album Into the Blue came out on July 27th.  It’s a joint release by Mad To Live Records and my label Phase Velocity. It’s out on CD and cassette as well as digitally and the physical releases have extra tracks. I’m doing a little tour at the moment to support it. Also in June I released a limited edition mini-CD of Emzae and me performing together at Fearon Hall in Loughborough last year. I play guitar live for Emzae sometimes. I also have a transatlantic band called Cake Sloth (first record out next year hopefully), a noise project called Manko Force and I’m starting an acoustic based duo with my friend Fern later this year.
  • Whats your songwriting process?  It varies. With my album Insolation (2016) I wrote down all the titles of songs I wanted to write and waited for them to come to me. Amazingly it worked! Most of my album Industrial Skyline (2011) was improvised. I recorded loads of spontaenous guitar and then cut and edited them into long pieces of music, like I read about Can and Miles Davis doing in the 70s. A lot of the more songwritery stuff just comes from wanting to express a certain thing or talk about a certain subject. I really try not to analyse songs and songwriting too much. It usually just happens and I think of myself as very lucky to have that in my life.

  • Which musician/ artist would you most like to collaborate with & why?
    Propagandhi because they inspired me to start writing more socially conscious songs and about things that are important to me like animal rights.
    R. Stevie Moore because he’s the godfather of home recording, which means he’s my godfather really. I spent time talking with him before a gig once. He was a really nice guy
    Elton John or Kate Bush or Yoko Ono just because I bloody love them!

  • If you were on a desert island what 3 musical gear would you take? 
    Drums – you could get out frustration of being stuck on there and they’d help you stay fit and the noise
    Saxophone – I’ve always wanted to learn and the noise might attract passing ships and/or repel possible preadators
    A grand piano. How cool would it be to be on a desert island with a grand piano?? It’d make a helluva music video

  • 9. Where can fans find your music (links etc)?
    Bandcamp: https://simonwaldram.bandcamp.com
    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1kO54yy7tud3X0XI6SbJ9z
    FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SimonWaldramMusic
    Website: https://simonwaldram.com

I would like to say a huge thank you to SIMON WALDRAM for taking part in this weeks #featuredartistoftheweek
Until next time
Law

How to talk about animal rights in your creative outputs

Orginally published by Vegan Interview on Aug 11th, 2019: https://www.veganinterview.com/post/simon-waldram

Imagine being vegetarian and working in a butcher’s shop. Simon Waldram has overcome more hurdles than most on his path to veganism. He works as an Audiologist and also creates socially-conscious music with vegan themes.

“When I first became vegan I didn’t talk about the whole journey. I suppose I thought people were going to judge me.” Simon confesses to us. “Now I try to be honest about it.”

Recognise who you want to be (you don’t have to follow the people around you)

“When I was a child, my grandparents had a butcher shop. And it got passed down to my mum and dad while I was a teenager.”

“I grew up in that environment,” Simon explains. “And then, when I was about 14 onwards, they kind of made me work as a butcher’s boy. So I worked in a butcher’s shop on Saturdays.”

“But at the same time, I’d become a vegetarian.” Simon laughs to break the clear upset that this situation caused him.

“Nobody got it. I was in this very meaty environment. But at the same time, I had decided I couldn’t eat meat.”

“And I remember my grandad took me to the slaughterhouse once or twice, as well. When I was little. 11 or 12, something like that.”

“I suppose all those things strengthened my resolve.”

Begin to question more and more and do your own research

“When I was in my 20s for a while, I don’t know why, I went back to a period of eating meat.”

“But then I questioned it more and more. And at the same time, I was questioning dairy and eggs and stuff. It all started to seem quite bizarre to me. Like: ‘Why do we do this?’

“It was like a realisation of what was on my plate. Where it came from. and what it looked like. I remember thinking: ‘This is disgusting, why am I eating this?’”

Have an honest conversation with a vegan

“In my 30s I went back to college to do a university access course. I met this girl and she was a dedicated vegan. And she was the first vegan I ever met.”

“And we spent hours and hours talking about veganism.”

“I was in a space where I was eating meat. But at the same time feeling uncomfortable about it. And she helped me put the pieces together.”

“The more I looked into animal welfare and how they’re treated, you know, it all made sense.”

“I thought: ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?‘”

“And that was it then.”

Delight in your choice to live a compassionate life

Becoming vegan was “the best decision I ever made,” says Simon.

We ask Simon what he would say to his pre-vegan self. He thinks and replies: “Why are you doing something you’re not comfortable doing? You know? If you don’t feel happy, there’s a whole way of life out there.”

Expect to explain your choice to people

“I did pick up a fair bit of resistance. It was only five or six years ago, but attitudes were less understanding of veganism.”

“I remember being told that I was extreme. I remember, family members of me and a vegan friend compared us to the Taliban. Because the Taliban are extremists, you know, who try and force their way of life on others. We got compared to them which is bizarre!”

Refute the idea that vegans force their way of life

“I mean, all you have to do is go outside and there are billboards for McDonalds or meat adverts on the television. Or you go to a restaurant and we still have to find our little section. Our little vegan section among all the steaks and all the rest of it.”

“For anyone to say we force our views on them is ignorant.”

Channel your emotions about animal rights into your creative outputs

Simon has produced music for 15 years and is incorporating vegan messages into his work. “I want to do what I can to spread the word and further the cause, you know?”

“I spent time working out how to put socially-conscious stuff into my songs,” Simon tells us.

“Without it being crass and beating people over the head. I wanted a bit more intelligence.”

Support and get inspired by fellow vegan artists

“I went back to uni five years ago to train to be an audiologist. And the university library had a music section.”

“Within that, they had punk rock section. A whole fucking section on punk books; which is my biggest love. And I thought: ‘are there any vegan punk bands, is that a thing?’ I had no idea.”

“So I picked up one book and there was a whole thing about it.”

“I started reading about this Canadian punk band called Propaghandi. They’re still going now and they’ve been going since the 90s. They’re a vegan punk band.”

“And I heard one of their songs and I thought: ‘This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for.’

Simon recommends listening to Potemkin City Limits based on the story of Francis.

“They sing about socially conscious and political stuff in a way I’ve never really heard any other band do.”

“The more I listened the more I thought: there’s a way to write songs about important topics in a different tone.”

Explore the themes that matter to you

Simon has a single coming out towards the end of the year called Agnes of Rome. It explores some pretty heavy vegan themes.

“Agnes was the Catholic patron saint of innocence and virtue,” Simon tells us. “She was a child, 12 or 13 years old. And she had all these men who wanted to marry her or do whatever to her. And she was like no, I’m a kid I’m not having anything to do with you. And so she got raped and murdered.”

“And to make it not seem like some horrendous thing, they made her a saint of innocence and virtue. And Agnes means lamb. And so when she’s born she’s always holding a lamb.”

“And I thought: ‘oh shit’, you know? That’s kinda what we do to animals too. Like lambs, we always talk of their innocence: ‘Beautiful little baby lamb, it’s spring.’ All that stuff. And then they get killed and eaten.

“So I put those things together.”

There’s an early version of Anges of Rome at around 13:48 of this video

Use creativity as a way to tell your vegan story

“I put my own story in Agnes of Rome,” says Simon. “What I was saying about growing up in a butcher’s family. My grandad taking me to the slaughterhouse and all that stuff.”

“I played the song to a friend and she said: ‘That was the first time I’ve ever really heard you tell your own truth.’ That meant a lot.”

“When I went vegan, even though there was some initial confusion, everyone is cool with it now. Everyone knows that’s who I am. And that’s what I am. I will never change.”

“People who at first didn’t understand now say really nice things. Or tell me they’ve been to a restaurant or somewhere that had vegan stuff. And: ‘Have you checked this place out, Simon?’”

“I’ve had people saying it’s inspiring. People appreciate that I’m just trying to live my truth. Even if it’s not always the easiest thing.”

“And I’ve seen some people go vegan. And I know that’s been at least partly inspired by me.”

Our chat with Simon reminds us of something. It’s this. That just by being yourself you inspire people every day.

Simon’s 100 favourite albums of all-time

Compiled Oct 2020, but this list changes quite reguarly just like anyone elses!

1. Let It Be – The Replacements (1984)
2. Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division (1979)
3. Spiderland – Slint (1991)
4. Third/Sister Lovers – Big Star (1978)
5. Pink Moon – Nick Drake (1972)
6. Closer – Joy Division (1980)
7. 16 Lovers Lane – The Go-Betweens (1988)
8. [Untitled] – Throwing Muses (1986)
9. Supporting Caste – Propagandhi (2009)
10. Zen Arcade – Husker Du (1984)
11. Endtroducing… – DJ Shadow (1996)
12. Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis (1959)
13. Grace – Jeff Buckley (1994)
14. Forever Changes – Love (1967)
15. Astral Weeks – Van Morrison (1968)
16. Better Luck – The Plugz (1981)
17. Born Sandy Devotional – The Triffids (1986)
18. Script of the Bridge – The Chameleons (1983)
19. On Fire – Galaxie 500 (1989)
20. Ainsi soit je… – Mylene Farmer (1988)
21. Blue Bell Knoll – Cocteau Twins (1988)
22. From the Lion’s Mouth – The Sound (1981)
23. Animal Now! – Ruts DC (1981)
24. Hounds of Love – Kate Bush (1985)
25. Bryter Layter – Nick Drake (1971)
26. Starfish – Fat Tulips (1994)
27. House Tornado – Throwing Muses (1987)
28. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine (1991)
29. Nevermind – Nirvana (1991)
30. Funhouse – The Stooges (1970)
31. Ritual de lo Habitual – Jane’s Addiction (1990)
32. The White Album – The Beatles (1968)
33. A Love Supreme – John Coltrane (1965)
34. You’re Living All Over Me – Dinosaur Jr (1987)
35. The Real Ramona – Throwing Muses (1991)
36. Flip Your Wig – Husker Du (1985)
37. Attitude: The ROIR Sessions – Bad Brains (1982)
38. GI – Germs (1979)
39. Painless Nights – The Sleepers (1981)
40. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s… – The Sex Pistols (1977)
41. Strawberries – The Damned (1982)
42. Tim – The Replacements (1985)
43. The Crack – The Ruts (1979)
44. The Black Album – The Damned (1980)
45. Raw Power – Iggy and the Stooges (1973)
46. Neu ‘75 – Neu! (1975)
47. Sabotage – Black Sabbath (1976)
48. Copper Blue – Sugar (1992)
49. Hourly Daily – You Am I (1996)
50. XO – Elliott Smith (1998)
51. Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake (1969)
52. Hips and Makers – Kristin Hersh (1994)
53. It’ll End In Tears – This Mortal Coil (1984)
54. Bakesale – Sebadoh (1994)
55. Dum Dum – The Vaselines (1989)
56. Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth (1988)
57. University – Throwing Muses (1995)
58. III – Sebadoh (1991)
59. The Madcap Laughs – Syd Barrett (1970)
60. s/t – The Velvet Underground (1969)
61. Oar – Skip Spence (1969)
62. Approximately Infinite Universe – Yoko Ono (1973)
63. Starsailor – Tim Buckley (1970)
64. s/t – Buena Vista Social Club (1997)
65. Another Green World – Brian Eno (1975)
66. Tago Mago – Can (1971)
67. The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground (1967)
68. Blonde On Blonde – Bob Dylan (1966)
69. Axis: Bold as Love – Jimi Hendrix (1967)
70. The Heat of Molten Diamonds – Kevin Hewick (2013)
71. Glad Music – R. Stevie Moore (1986)
72. Gentle Heart of a Freak – Flöat (2017)
73. Fur – Jane Wiedlin (1988)
74. Tango In the Night – Fleetwood Mac (1987)
75. Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express – The Go-Betweens (1986)
76. Phantasmagoria – The Damned (1985)
77. Bywd Time – Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (1995)
78. Double Life – Emzae (2016)
79. Three Pillars of Limbic Fission – Ⓚ (2009)
80. Unabridged Discord – Halaka (2008)
81. Some People Deserve to Suffer – Stick Men With Ray Guns (2003)
82. Operation: Doomsday – MF DOOM (1999)
83. Enter the 36 Chambers – Wu Tang Clan (1993)
84. Ask the Ages – Sonny Sharrock (1991)
85. Gemini – Marcus Belgrave (1975)
86. Disco Jazz – Rupa (1982)
87. Scum Fuck Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator (2017)
88. She’s So Unusual – Cyndi Lauper (1983)
89. Cendres De Lune – Mylene Farmer (1986)
90. Sea Is a Lady – Toshiki Kadomatsu (1987)
91. Blue Lines – Massive Attack (1991)
92. Blues For a UFO – Windy & Carl (2017)
93. Purgatory / Paradise – Throwing Muses (2013)
94. Penguin Eggs – Nic Jones (1980)
95. Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Pink Floyd (1967)
96. Power, Corruption and Lies – New Order (1983)
97. s/t – The Fall Colors (2011)
98. Dear You – Jawbreaker (1995)
99. Less Talk, More Rock – Propagandhi (1996)
100. Soup – Blind Melon (1995)

  1. Life's Forgotten Dream [feat. Emzae] Simon Waldram 3:42
  2. Resenah [feat. Emzae] Simon Waldram 3:03
  3. Inside Out Simon Waldram 3:44
  4. Revolution Summer Simon Waldram 3:06
  5. Aim For Me Simon Waldram 2:38
  6. Colliding Circles Simon Waldram 3:14
  7. Thermal Girl Simon Waldram 3:12
  8. Corte Sus Neumanticos Simon Waldram 2:55