Interview with Simon Crabb
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My father bought me a cheap electric guitar to get me from hanging out on the streets where I grew up in Plymouth. (Smart guy) He sold his golf clubs for it!
If I hadn’t got into music Id have stayed in Plymouth for sure, Instead my music drove me to move to Brighton and London, I met my wife, In North London, and we moved back to Brighton to have our two Girls, everything I treasure in my life hinged on that Xmas present. (thanks Dad)
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I really like driving, I’m a real petrol head, I’m lucky enough to own a 6.8 litre AC Cobra. I am currently rebuilding the engine. Im an avid guitar collector and am hooked on collecting watches.
My guitars certainly influence my creativity, every guitar has a different song in it, and I purposely use a lot of different tunings. The watches and Cars less so.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been playing 33 years (since I was 14)
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We live in the Ashdown forest in Sussex. Its very rural and makes a brilliant relaxing environment for writing.
My and my girls can wander for miles with out meeting anyone in the forest. On a sunny day I love to take an acoustic into the woods and chill under a tree and write a song. I love nature. We are really lucky to live where we do.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable show was when I supported Morrisey on the South bank at the meltdown festival in the Royal Festival hall. Few thousand guests, me and my acoustic guitar. I loved it.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I haven’t played live since before the pandemic, but I really like small intimate gigs, some of my favorite gigs have been up close and personal at venues such as the Grey lady in Tunbridge wells or the Bedford in Balham.
I am really looking forward to playing a number of acoustic shows in 2023 – So watch this space.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Wow, I guess we would have to resurrect Tom Petty’s Heart breakers! They would be my favorite backing band of all time, I would also love to jam with the Travelling Wilburys. (my favorite super group)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would encourage them to forget about modern music for a while and listen to albums from the 50s, 60s and 70s and 80s, I would also encourage them to not take themselves too seriously. When I was a young musician we spent more time on our hair than chord progressions, I regret that. Good songwriters can be made to look good. (not the other way around) .
And lastly – write from the heart. Your audience can hear if you’re pretending to be someone you are not.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s a hard question to answer because every song on English American means a lot to me.
I would say the most personal song I have ever written is called “What goes up / Must come down” it will be on album 2 next year. It’s about the feelings of unconditional Love but also rejection that most men feel in the early days of having a young family. Us men don’t speak much about our emotions much, so it felt like a weight being taken off my life when I finished that song. It can make me cry still to this day, its going to be hard to play live.
I also like Satellite song, which I wrote 20 years ago, but didn’t realize what it was about until my mother passed away 5 years ago. (it made sense then) it was as if my younger self was preparing myself for her loss. That one means a lot and may be on the next album.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Satellite Song if a firm favorite in live sets, its very emotive. I think Evil man goes down well as well as does Penny’s Song (From the next album) but II need a pedal steel player live for that one – and Mason who played on that track lives in Nashville.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write about my personal experiences, the positive humdrum of life less ordinary. The ups and the downs. The good the bad. Its my own way of counselling myself when times get hard or being thankful for the good things in my life.
In terms of the creative process: I am working on lots of ideas all the time. I’m currently working on four to five songs at the same time. I capture everything on songwriter app and an acoustic guitar and then develop the song further in my home studio before sending the basic stems (acoustic and vocals) to Steve Brown (RIP) and Tim Hammill who I work with in the studio. Steve would always challenge the song as exec producer and I would rewrite until it was flowing. Tim will help me to orchestrate the song properly pulling in the band where necessary. I also send material to Steve Lillywhite occasionally now Steve has sadly passed. Lillywhite is a tough man to please. But look at his credits. He told me that my songs score a 7/8 and to get to 10 I have to write something as good as Tom Pettys “free falling” (so no pressure Steve)
I also spend four weeks a year in a residential studio in Llengenach (Swansea) recording 12 songs.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I am really interested in raising Men’s mental health awareness I sing about addiction, judgement and anxiety all of which have impacted me over the last 30 years.
I also talk about love, and how key it is to living a successful happy life.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Releasing my first Album - English American is a big deal for me, it’s the combination of 15 years work and 2 years recording. The soundtrack to my life (so far) and a salute to the wonderful Steve Brown (exec Producer) my friend and mentor for more than 25 years. Bless him RIP.
We will be promoting the record all year whilst mixing the second Album. I also want to get gigging, but mainly smaller acoustic solo gigs.
We are also shooting a number of Videos to accompany the tracks, the first single Mykonos can be viewed here:
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Best way is to follow me on Instagram, I always update all releases and gigs, etc. And post vids, ideas and socials.
You can find me on Instagram – Crabbmusic1975