You may not know the name Simon Doom yet, but after listening to his forthcoming album Babyman (aptly titled in Doom’s post-baby new life as a father) you’ll be fawning all over the alt pop singer-songwriter, whose new record is co-produced by titans of the industry: MGMT.
After a career of group projects like Kuroma and Amazing Baby and writing songs for scores of other musicians, Doom is taking matters into his own hands and striking out as a true solo artist – and he’s premiering his latest single, “Dream of the Machines,” right here on BlackBook.
Take a listen, and read our exclusive Q&A below.
You’ve collaborated with some of the coolest bands in the industry – Kuroma, MGMT. How does it feel to be backing a project as an independent musician?
Liberating! I have spent the majority of my life writing songs for other people to sing, questioning my musical choices, altering lyrics to match the vibe of the vocalist, and generally writing in broader, less specific emotional landscapes. I found writing for myself a lot easier and a lot quicker than I expected it to be because I didn’t have to run anything by anyone. No compromise! I wrote the entire album in just over a month!
What inspired this song? What was the writing process like?
“Dream of the Machines” started as a Voice Memo that I don’t remember recording. Just repeating the phrase, “I don’t want to dream… dream of the machines.” It ended up becoming a futuristic love song. A promise to still feel human emotions in an era of machines. Sonically, it could work as a Christmas song, but there are no references to Christmas in the lyrics so that might be a problem.
Can we expect the single to be part of a larger forthcoming project?
I wrote the entire album in a flurry of panic directly after the birth of my child. The doomsday clock had been punched, and if I didn’t do it now, I never would. I played some demos for Andrew and Ben (of MGMT), and they both, independently, expressed interest in helping me record it. I suggested that they join forces and co-produce it – which (I believe) is the first time they worked together on someone else’s record. We recorded the whole thing in Brooklyn’s Axis Mundi Studios in about 2.5 weeks. Everything came together so quickly and felt great. Mixed it with my buddy Ayad Al Adhamy at his spot, Diamond City Studios, in Chinatown.