Seven Questions In Heaven With Simon Spire

Simon Spire is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand who will be releasing Four-Letter Words later this year. Today, he's spending Seven Questions In Heaven with us.

Describe your music for our readers who may not be familiar with you.
I call it self-inquiring indie pop. As a songwriter, I like to use music as a vehicle for investigating the unconscious and our human potential. As a musician and artist, I love contemporary musical settings and I love developing sounds and arrangements in the studio. My music is a combination of these elements.

Who are your musical influences and idols?
I've always been inspired by the introspection and the search to discover life's potential communicated by great singer/songwriters such as Alanis Morissette, John Mayer, and Leonard Cohen, to name a few. I'm always impressed by any artist who succeeds in embodying an authentic vision of humanity and is able to do so in the mainstream. And Radiohead, Steve Vai, Metallica, and Nirvana have always been an influence in their willingness to experiment and to push the boundaries of music and production.

What was the first album, cassette, or CD you bought with your own money?
I think the first CD I ever purchased was Cypress Hill's Black Sunday. I remember doing my best to learn the lyrics with my friends, though half the time we had no idea what we were singing about. Which was probably a good thing, given our age.

You're originally from New Zealand. What made you decide to come here? Is there a difference between an American music crowd and a New Zealand music crowd at a concert?
I had always been drawn to the U.S. because of the sense of discovery, exploration, and of forging a new world that it embodied in its best attributes. I want to be where the new New World is being birthed, and the U.S. seems like an important part of it to me. So when I was lucky enough to come into contact with Lenedra Carroll (who had managed her daughter Jewel's career and been in the music industry for some time) and then had the opportunity to work with her in a mentor/mentee capacity, I wasted no time in making the transition. To be able to work with Lenedra and immerse myself in the American music scene was like a dream to me.

I think the biggest difference between the crowds in New Zealand and the States is due largely to the difference in population size. In New Zealand, there's a smaller population and a smaller number of shows each night than, say, in New York, where there are countless venues, each with potentially a six-act lineup every night. For this reason, I think New Zealand shows can feel more like an "event," whereas New York shows can seem like part of the everyday program for audiences here. Of course, touring in the U.S. is a whole different, exciting story!

Tell us about your special diet. How hard is it to maintain when you're touring?
I guess you could call me an uber-natural whole-foodie. The less processed, the more natural, and the more whole my food is, the happier I am! My diet is often comprised of vegan and macrobiotic foods, though I don't adhere to any particular movement, my aim being simply to select ingredients that are whole, unadulterated, and nutritious.

It hasn't been a problem when touring because my personal chef takes care of all the food. Ha, just kidding. Nice fantasy though. Yes, it can be a little difficult and inconvenient while touring, but I usually find a health food store or health-nut cafe in most towns. Though there have certainly been times when the best I could do was an anemic salad and a side of white rice. I console myself with the thought that it's sure to add an extra dimension of yearning and raw emotion to my show.

Your video for "Liberate Your Love" has you finding and cleaning light bulbs. What's the meaning behind all the light bulbs?
The light bulbs were a motif that the video director and I came up with to represent human potential. I often think of the song as being a call to free ourselves from our conditioning and to step into the full potential of who we are, and so in this sense the light bulbs stand for the hidden inspiration and spark (or "love," as in the song's title) at our core. I thought this metaphor pointed to the possibility of taking the risk of freeing ourselves of the burden of our conditioning, and discovering what's still alive beneath it all.

Your upcoming album is called Four-Letter Words. What are some of your favorite four-letter words?
When I first came up with the album title, the words I had in mind were life, love, and live, contrasted with the more typical four-letter words. To me this represented the juxtaposition of the profound and the profane in human existence, and pointed toward not just the possibility for transformation, but also the struggle and challenges inherent in our attempts to realize our potential in the world. Since then, I've also become quite fond of vast and epic. And who can deny the magnificence, versatility, and visceral resonance of fuck.

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