The process of seeking clarity can often be fraught with paradoxes. By way of distortion, the picture can momentarily crystalize, collapses can yield space for new construction, and the pursuit of belonging can catalyze a longing to escape. It is, however, the full circle nature of the process of seeking that both mystifies and offers the richest moments of reawakening.
In the aftermath of the dissolution of adored emo / indie rock bands Mineral and The Gloria Record, songwriter Chris Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. This period became a critical time of exploration which fueled a longing for simplification, both personally and creatively. It was during this period that a more refined approach to his creative process was born. "I found myself exploring a lot of music from the 60s and 70s,” says Simpson. "The Van Morrison record, Astral Weeks was a catalyst I think. But it was Van and Leonard Cohen and Harry Nilsson and Bob Dylan and The Band and Neil Young and David Bowie and Brian Eno and The Velvet Underground and John Cale. I wanted to write simple songs that I could play alone on an acoustic guitar.”
Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Simpson’s previous solo project Zookeeper as the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach became more autonomous, the drive and ultimate desire to create remained rooted within many of the same wells of inspiration that fueled previous incarnations of Simpson’s songwriting. "To me, writing simple songs is much more challenging,” says Simpson. As I evolve as a listener and a writer I’m more and more interested in stripping more and more things away, as opposed to adding things. Like what can a song really not get by without? How long does the melody work without changing the chord beneath it? These are the sort of questions I think about during the process. All that said, ultimately the inspiration and passion feels the same. The reason I’m writing is the same. It’s a longing for self-expression, and a realization and externalization of the things I hear in my own head.”
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