After coming down from the high that eventuated from their debut album Gloamer, guitarist and backing vocalist Simon Nolan caught up with Speaker TV to go over a few of his influences, the tips he’s received on becoming a parent and his appreciation for outspoken rapper Kanye West.
What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?
I think my earliest memory of being on stage would have been at a school Christmas concert. It was an interpretation of a biblical verse. Not a lot to go on with there.
Red Hot Chili Peppers were a huge inspiration for me to learning guitar, my friends and I loved ‘Blood Sugar Sex Majik’ when we were early High School. In fact I remember buying the guitar book to that album. At one point I knew how to play every lick on that album. Wouldn’t have a clue now. Silverchair were another huge inspiration. Just seeing those guys being so young and succeeding was so inspiring.
What and where was the first gig you went to?
One of the very first gigs I ever went to was a festival in Yarrawonga called ‘Rockalonga’. I was quite young and went with my older brothers and their friends, it was awesome, I remember Midnight Oil played and I remember being hypnotized by Peter Garret’s movements. Still to this day remains a gig that always rates really highly when asked the question ‘what was is your favourite gig?’
What is your most cherished album in your collection?
Very hard question. There are so many. I would probably go with ‘Is This It’ – by The Strokes. Just love everything about that album, the songs, the playing, the production, the attitude, the look. It was perfectly executed. A statement.
In one word, describe your live performances.
Are there any particular musical icons you idolised in the current musical landscape?
Idolise is a really strong word, especially as you get older, I don’t think you get that whole ‘wow he is a rock star, he is so amazing’ kind of thing you got when you were young. But there are many artist in the current scene that truly inspire me.
I love Kanye, I’m big fan of what he stands for. He says and does what he thinks, and he has a clear vision. I appreciate that. I love Frank Ocean. To me is a modern classic songwriter. I love Kurt Vile, I love Paul Kelly, there are many I love.
Who has the worst studio/tour habit?
Sam – always shotguns and takes the best bed. Lead singer syndrome.
If you could choose one person, living or deceased, to collaborate with musically, who would it be and why?
George Harrison – love his style, love the guy. Imagine writing a song like ‘Something’.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about the Melbourne music community?
The plethora of good bands, some you know, some you don’t, some don’t even exist yet, but you can guarantee they will be good.
What gigs/bands/albums are you diggin’ lately?
Been really digging The War On Drugs ‘Lost In A Dream’. Really strong album. Love the new Sun Kil Moon album, great story telling.
There is an artist called Tobias Jesso Jr that I heard the other day that I have immediately connected with. Check out his song ‘True Love’, it is beautiful. Reminds me of Lennon.
What’s coming up for Loon Lake?
We are making new tunes, really excited. It’s been a while and we just want to make a new album. A no fuss album.
“So I had a baby last year, and when my girlfriend was pregnant a few people said ‘if you have a boy make sure you don’t name him anything starting with a ‘J’. I thought this was a little strange, like what was the reasoning? Anyway, most of these people telling me this were teachers (I’m a teacher) and they said ‘haven’t you noticed all the boys with a name beginning with a J are naughty?’ I honestly hadn’t noticed.
Anyway I thought when answering this what about a topic of five great songs written by boys with the name beginning with ‘J’. Here it goes.”
“Oh……We had a boy and called him ‘Lenny’.”
JJ Cale – Cocaine- “I have real strong memories of hearing this song being played by one of my older brother’s mate when I was real young. Always thought it was a cool song. Had no idea what cocaine was at that age.”
John Prine – Fish and Whistle – “Not a real well known song, but at our household it got smashed when we were young. Just recently we had a real big party. Anyway there was cranking dance floor so I decided I would put this song on, it totally cleared the floor, except for my three brothers and me belting this track out at the top of our lungs. A real good moment.”
John Lennon – Imagine – “Not really much to say here. Just an exceptionally written song. Stops me in my tracks.”
Julian Casablancas – I’ll try anything once – “Arguably the most influential song writer on Loon Lake. I could have picked a number of tracks before this demo version. But I really love the opening line ‘ten decisions shape your life, you’ll be aware of five about’. As I’ve got older this line resonates so strongly with me, there are many decisions made in life, but not many that are truly consequential.”
Jake Bugg – Trouble Town – Over the last year or two I pretty much find myself listening to a lot of classic singer songwriter types dudes. Jake Bugg has been a new artist that I have a massive ‘love on’ for. I think he has that ‘classic songwriter’ type vibe, yet finds a great way to tell modern stories. He reminds me a lot of Mike Skinner.