Track By Track: Simo Soo runs us through his energetic, very good new album, Very Pretty
A track by track that is a refreshingly personal account of the record.
Simo Soo is a Melbourne-based artist who you could never accuse of following trends. Forever committed to making music that challenges, his latest release Very Pretty is his second album for 2018, and mercilessly traverses a host of wild genres, from hip hop and trap to death metal, punk and nu-rave. It's kitchen-sink music that manages to pull it all together for a beautifully coherent hot mess, and was born out of a big period of personal growth for the artist.
And we're fortunate today to share an in-depth track by track for the release, in which Simo Soo offers plenty of background into the seven diverse tracks on offer. Check it all out below, and you can grab Very Pretty via Yes Rave HERE.
Very Pretty feat. flower boy 卓颖贤
There’s so much anger in this album but I don’t think it’s necessarily the negative kind. I think sometimes there can be real truth in anger, for better or worse. The things said between the lines when you’re expressing something without filter say a lot. I don’t believe in taking anger out on others but in the past I have definitely taken it out on myself.
I got really into spirituality whilst making this record, something I haven’t been in touch with for a while. A lot of these songs now feel like spiritually guided releases and realisations. By the end of this one I feel like you can literally hear my frustrations have left me. I sent it to flower boy 卓颖贤 in such a rough form but she picked up on the concept and vibe so well and just floats so good on the beat.
The production was really influenced by sci-fi film composers, Vangelis and the likes. When I started the project I wanted the whole record to sound like if someone threw a big pile of garbage on top of the Drive soundtrack.
Full Of Angels feat. Bistro & Lalić
This one is pretty angry too but maybe it’s heading more towards cheekily spilling some tea. I feel like the music industry is really packed full of gatekeepers and sometimes you realise you know them. Some people don’t want you to level up because they’re afraid it will take away from their shine. I’ve never really understood this kind of thinking. Firstly, don’t be a dick and secondly when the people around you are winning it’s all the better for you anyways. I feel like you can look back on people’s music careers and spot if they have this mindset, you can’t build careers in DIY scenes standing on top of other people because those people are just gonna leave and you’ll be back at the bottom on your own.
Bistro and Lalić kill it on this, what a dream team for a track.
Real Privilege Fake Outrage
I’ve never really cared about money more than being able to get some sweet sneakers and clothes and eat some fancy food but I feel like this way of thinking has also kept me poor and led me to terrible financial decisions. That being said, I do actually want to have money, I wanna be able to help my friends out if they need it, I wanna go out and not worry about scabbing an Uber from someone, I wanna be the one who gets it for my friends who can’t. One of the main reasons I run a record label is because I wanna help people I believe in win and that also takes money.
Even though I come from DIY punk community beginnings I have so many things I wanna do that would be so much better with money. Also, if you become a billionaire I feel like you really need to have a long think about whether you’ve helped enough people along the way to getting there. Like does anyone actually need a billion dollars? It’s too much money for an entire lifetime, give a whole bunch away and stop being so mean, you don’t need that much.
The glitched-out breakdown in the middle of the song features vocals by my friend Daphne of No Zu that I chopped to pieces and made barely recognisable, see if you can work out which sounds they are.
All of these bigoted adults that exist in the world right now, there’s probably a big chance that when they were a kid in primary school, kindergarten etc. they were probably friends with other kids of different races, genders and sexualities. So why was that not a thing then but is a thing now? Politics, social media, bars, workplaces, public transport and for many people, just leaving the house at all, can be a minefield of hate but why? Why the fuck do people care about where people are from or who they wanna hook up with? Like other than it being a fact you can learn about another person’s life and a way of understanding them and their life journey more? I don’t get it. We’re all humans, we’re all different and that’s great, be nice to each other.
Also, I wrote this song about five years ago for this punk band I had at the time with my friend Pup called New Boyfriend which we never used and it’d been floating around my head since.
Emo Fuck Soundtrack 2020 feat. Mamacita Death
When I started making this record I felt like no one was really watching what I was doing. I felt like the first record of this year I dropped was pretty overlooked and I was really ready to spiral into some sadness for a while because of it and suddenly I had to move house. When I got to my new place, I decided I could just set up all my things and get super depressed and hide out for a few months or I could just make a whole other record. I chose the new record and sat in my half unpacked room for five weeks and this project popped out.
I realised in that time, if I felt like no one was watching what I was doing, then there were no pressure or expectations at all. Maybe it’s a corny phrase but I feel a bit like this record is me dancing like no one is watching or maybe even learning to not care if they even were.
A hip hop track with a surprise black metal ending? Sure. A reggaeton artist doing a spoken word piece in Spanish about consent being the sexiest thing? Sweet. Me doing very explicit bedroom raps? Coooool.
For the first time this year, I made a goals-for-the-year list. Lists work really well for me because I have pretty intense ADHD and breaking down huge tasks or amounts of time to smaller things helps me not to see it as this massive attention needing task, it’s just a bunch of small things you gotta do to make a big thing. This song is basically me saying to myself ‘hey, it’s fine just keep going, you’re alright’.
Clouds/808s & Heatstroke
I went through some pretty sad things last year and even though I think I got through it pretty well there was one thing that happened that really made me snap out of it and start getting my shit together. In hindsight, I know that I didn’t think I was suicidal but there were certain times I’ve realised I was not really caring at all about something being good or bad for me.
One night, whilst quite drunk I got into a boiling hot tub and about a minute in noticed my whole body had gone red, even parts that weren’t in the water, I kinda shrugged it off and stayed in about five minutes later and started feeling my body in one of the strangest ways I ever have. Like it didn’t really exist, I had to drag my body out of the bath with my arms. I wrapped a towel around myself went to my room and laid on the floor, my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to explode, I thought I was just having a panic attack but then found out I had given myself pretty nasty heatstroke. If I’d stay in the bath just a little bit longer I could have died from it. I knew I didn’t want to die before this but I hadn’t realised that I actually wanted to be alive.
I don’t wanna die in the bath, I wanna make raps and be nice to my friends and eat delicious vegan meals. So I just decided that I’m just gonna live my life so that those things are the things that I’m doing. Everybody be nice to yourself and friends, okee?
Follow Simo Soo: FACEBOOK