You may well have seen Simon Beims play somewhere, even if you don’t realise it. Whether he’s been touring with the Jeffrey Lewis Band, Herman Dune, I Was a King, or The Wave Pictures, supporting the likes of the Cribs or the Thermals, or playing with The WoWz, he’s got around a bit. Now he’s back with a new project, the Fishermen Three, who instantly grabbed the attention of our ears with some of their fine songwriting. So we asked Simon to tell us all about it. Read on, but press play on the soundcloud link below before you do.
Tell us a bit about your latest release?
The latest physical release (that sounds kinda dirty) was a vinyl 45 of two songs – “Time to Think about the Morning Once Again” backed with “My Baby Don’t Cry.” Both were recorded in Brooklyn with my friend Gary Olson of the great band The Ladybug Transistor. With these recordings I was really going for a simplicity of expression – basically not letting the recordings get in the way of the songs.
What was your best ever gig?
That’s a tough question, as there have been so many! A particular two gigs stand out, though, 16 hours and 600 miles apart. I played a really great little festival one night in 2009 in Egersund, Norway (I’ve played there a few times now) – a small but stellar group of bands always show up, like Herman Dune, the Wave Pictures, Robyn Hitchcock, Howe Gelb, Stanley Brinks, Freschard – and it’s in one of the most beautiful, idyllic places you’ve ever seen. The next afternoon I had a show in Berlin at the Down by the River Festival, and the only way to get there in time was to fly from Stavanger, Norway to Prague, then get picked up and driven 3 hours to Berlin. It was one of those no sleep, boot camp kind of trips, but both shows were amazing and totally worth the insane travelling.
What’s the worst thing about being a musician?
Well, you could say there are a lot of tough things about it. Financial instability, it’s rough on the body (late nights, not a lot of sleep, too much hanging out), no health insurance in this country (at the moment), it makes your home life pretty disjointed when you’re travelling all the time, having to hear so much bad music. But I wouldn’t really complain about any of those. It comes with the territory. It’s a choice you make.
What inspires you?
My friends and their music. There has been a rock solid gang of folks from all around the world, some of whom I get to see more often than people I know in my own city, because we’re all travelling all the time. And getting to hear them and their music recharges my batteries, reminds me who I am, and pushes me to be a better songwriter and performer.
If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?
Put a gigantic tour bill together with The Fishermen Three and all of my friends’ bands and travel around playing shows. Forever. Everyone could bring their families, kids, we’d hire teachers, it’d basically be a small travelling village of musicians.
Which of your songs is your favourite and why?
That’s a tough question! Lately I’ve really been loving Tom T. Hall’s “That’s How I Got to Memphis” and all of the great cover versions of it – Bobby Bare, Kelly Willis, Karl Blau, Joe Pernice, Solomon Burke. There’s something about the simplicity of it, the combination of optimism and despair, the confessional nature, that really speaks to me. It’s simple but raw. Tom T. Hall has so many great songs but I think that one is my favorite.
What are you plans for the future?
Keep playing shows and making records! Also, over the past 5 or so years I’ve been doing more and more movie scoring, which is a great way to be busy and creative when I’m not travelling or making my own records. It’s work that I love – making music to a picture and collaborating with filmmakers. I imagine that I’ll keep doing more and more scoring.
Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?
I heard this Mexican-American singer called Carla Morrison on the radio the other day. She’s young but she’s been a handful of bands already, and her latest solo record is really beautiful. She has such a nice voice. And keep on the lookout for Dave Tattersall’s instrumental guitar record Little Martha! He’s the front man of The British band the Wave Pictures, and this record is just so great.