The creative process is iterative, similar to science and technology, although we tend to think of it more as a “aha moment” than a process. In reality, innovation is hard work.
Often, the best bands take time to evolve to commercial success, so you could say that new talent in music often sneaks up on us. Radiohead started playing in their teens, but didn’t really hit until their late 20’s with “Ok Computer”. Jimmy Page was a session musician before he formed Led Zeppelin. Heck, even the Stones started at 20, but didn’t really hit until age 26 with Let It Bleed. It takes time to practice, perfect and find the voice and style that will define us.
This is why I am literally jazzed to interview Collin Simas, a 22-year-old with many ideas, a talent for music and a passion for producing. He recently released his first extended play production, called Yuray Space. Collin has been thinking about how to produce music since he entered his teens. Now, he’s making it real and you can hear the promise in what he is creating.
I’ve known Collin for many years, since I work with his Dad, Paulo, and together, our families have enjoyed music at Austin City Limits year after year. So, this move is no surprise to me.
With Collin’s first production complete, I asked him a few questions about the innovation process and his love for music.
Bob: Collin, first of all, congratulations! The journey begins. Now, first question….how do you land on an idea?
Collin: Thanks Bob, enjoyed creating this EP. Well, for me, music comes from a place of inspiration within me from people or from feelings vs a technical place. I don’t know music theory or notation.
Bob: I wouldn’t be too concerned. Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and a few other musicians you know could not read music and I hear they did ok. Collin, when you are creating, how do you match up music and lyrics?
Collin: I use the subtle sounds I put in the music to reflect the words. If there is a harsh screeching guitar, then I want words to have aggression in them. Soft hums equate to loving words.
Bob: Right, that makes sense. It’s a sixth sense that you build up over time where you somehow “just know” how to create the rhythm and tempo you want. In creating this EP, what did it mean to be “done” with a song? Why was it ready?
Collin: I try to keep it simple. I use my judgement, I ask my friends and figure it out from there.
Bob: How does an idea lead to words and chords? What is that path like, as chaotic as it may be?
Collin: I reflect on past times playing and remember what I played. I then use chords that I play at moments of the story that I have in my head for each song. In my mind, it is a story, whether words are being vocalized or not, so I am following that journey that I am visualizing.
Bob: Let’s talk about this crazy new industry you are entering. What is the change needed in the music industry? And how can music help the disruption?
Collin: Producers and labels need to stop looking at charts to see what is popular. We are missing the soul that 50’s big bands, 60’s jazz, and 70’s R&B had which was a love for family and friends and the world. Let the music drive the decision, not the dollar.
Bob: Why does a song connect?
Collin: Rather than creating an entire vision for the project, the first song you make can set the mood for what is to come. The connection comes from songs referencing interactions with people.
Bob: That sounds a lot like writing the first chapter of a book. I find it to be the hardest and most important chapter to write. Once that is complete, the rest is easy.
Collin: That sounds about right.
Collin, I am confident that you are going to add a lot to the music scene. I wish you success with Yuray Space, which is playing at our house now via Spotify. Keep me posted on what’s next.