It’s gearing up to be another busy summer for the members of Doomtree. P.O.S. is getting ready to play Soundset, Dessa is touring the East Coast in anticipation of her new album, Parts of Speech, and Sims has just announced a co-headlining show at First Avenue with his friend and longtime collaborator, Astronautalis.
In anticipating of their big show together, Sims dropped by the Current this week to debut a new track, “This is the Place,” which features Astronautalis on vocals and Cecil Otter on production; while he was here, I asked him a few questions about what’s new in Andyland. Sample the new song and read our chat below.
Local Current: What’s new? It’s been a little while since I’ve caught up with you.
Sims: Yeah! Let’s see, a lot’s been new I guess. Right now, just working on new material, having fun, enjoying myself. We toured a lot last year for support of the No Kings album, and now sort of been having a bit of downtime, and working on new songs in the process.
This new songs and the show are both collaborations with Astronautalis. Take me back to the beginning—how did you first meet him, and what do you have in common that makes it so easy to work together?
We met in 2006. Let’s see—P.O.S. released Ipecac Neat, and went on tour with Atmosphere to sell merch for the Warped Tour, and somehow, because he’s amazing at this, got himself a position on the rap tent where Astronautalis was rapping. And I remember he came back from the tour like, ‘Man, there’s this dude from Texas—but really he’s from Florida—named Astronautalis, who’s awesome. And if there was anyone else who was gonna be in Doomtree, it would be Astronautalis.’ And I remember hearing that, and sort of ran into him here or there on the road. We met in Texas probably seven years ago or something like that, and just kind of hit it off. I find him pretty interesting and hilarious and awesome and nice and all that stuff, so we became friends instantly, and we decided to go on tour together in 2011. We became great friends on that tour.
So is he somewhat of an honorary member of Doomtree? Part of the circle?
Yeah. I mean, we have a lot of people who are really good friends of ours. There’s only seven members of Doomtree, but we have a lot of really close friends—Flukey Stokes, Lizzo, Deathsquads, actually all the Totally Gross bands. Crescent Moon. I mean, there’s just tons of people that we’re close with.
That’s right. And [Astrontautalis's] as well. And so, both being a little cautious of that, we were like, ‘Let’s do it together! It’ll be fun.’ So what we’re doing is collaborating on a show, we sort of each collaborated on the idea of how we would put it together. So we’re going to do one long set, and we’re going to get a new band for the night—members of his band and members of some other bands in town—that we’re kind of putting together for a one-night-only experience, and it should be fun. We picked Mixed Blood Majority and Greg Grease to also play the show, and we’re both big fans of both those groups.
And you have a new song out this week, “This is the Place.” You mentioned there was an unusual songwriting process for this one. Can you explain that further?
The song actually came from—I was watching an Apple ad on TV, and I was like, ‘This is amazing, the way that it’s working here.’ Basically in a five-second clip, they’re advertising a new laptop, and it’s really fast-moving photography of you taking photos of heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market and retouching them on your laptop and then going to the pictures of your kid, and all of a sudden, subconsciously, I think you’re mind starts flipping through all these things. Like, I should go to the farmer’s market. I should start eating better! Man, I really wish I knew how to PhotoShop, or man, I should take more walks with my kid and take some more photos. And wait—this machine gives me the ability to do so! The idea is that it’s a vehicle to sell you an idea of a future that hasn’t happened yet, and there’s all this saccharine music behind it, it makes you feel sentimental while you’re watching this ad for a laptop.
And so I started thinking about this idea of being sentimental for a future that hasn’t happened yet, and sort of designing something for yourself, like that’s going to be better. I think that, for myself for sure, I get lost in the idea of what’s next, what’s next, what’s next. And I’m a lot of times comparing my success to the success of others, and it’s common in a lot of people to look up instead of looking around and looking down. There’s a lot of people who would trade anything to be in your spot, yet you can’t really see that because you’ve got these blinders on with the idea of forward momentum always. And I think it’s maybe some hippie mysticism Buddhist part of me that’s like, yes, but everything is ok right here. This is the place. This is exactly where you’re supposed to be, right now.
Sims and Astronautalis co-headline First Avenue on Friday, June 14, with support from Greg Grease and Mixed Blood Majority. Get ticket info here, and find their new track “This is the Place” on iTunes here.