“The work reveals itself as you go, it tells you what it wants to be” – Rick Rubin
Music is about communication. Music does the talking. This internal exploration is done almost selfishly with the hope that others may also experience that unspeakable something you felt when the message came to you. Every note is there for reason and you have to learn to listen to your core, as your self-critic is not always your friend.
This is what Australian native Simon Grey lives and breathes daily as he strives to perfect his own language.
Simon’s early music universe was formed by late night mix tapes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Stevie Wonder. This was the first contact with the outer-worldly synth tones of the ARP, Moog and Oberheim synthesizers. ‘This was the point of no return, I realised that I had to have ‘that’ sound so I would just have to save up and buy those boxes’. Following the purchase of his first Fender Rhodes electric piano it soon became clear he would devote his life to this quest. Mixing, harmony, production, playing… it would all go hand in hand.
Studying Jazz in Melbourne, Australia as a drummer turned keyboard player under Darryn Farrugia and JEDI master Scott Griffiths, Simon combined these two schools and began honing his production chops in the House / NuDisco scene. Relocating to Europe 2003, Simon got the chance to play keyboards with childhood heroes Incognito, Deodato and Reel People and began re-mixing artists such as Jamiroquai, Elton John and Bootsy Collins.
On releasing ‘The Galactica Suite’,’One’ and ‘Prophecy’ in 2008, Simon’s own compositional and production handwriting started attracting attention. Tours of Japan, Indonesia and Europe followed including the JAVA JAZZ Festival 2012 following his debut LP release ‘RF Presents Simon Grey’ in Japan. After years of MD and sideman work Simon has now taken time off to complete his next album. This will see an exploration into new musical territory, working on concepts carefully collected and developed for over 10 years.
Successfully crowdfunding the project in 2017 and commencing tracking the following year, Simon has called some of his favourite session players from around the world into studios in Atlanta, London and Hamburg and is now putting the project into its final production phase. The sessions feature Paula Champion, Calvin Rogers, Tony Momrelle, Lil John Roberts, Michael League, Jason ’JT’ Thomas, Nigel Hitchcock, Carlin Muccular and Munir Zakee and is set to be released by the end of 2020.
Known as a strict non-compromiser, Simon is not one for releasing half-baked ideas. “The concept has come out as I hear it exactly” Simon adds, “it can never be watered down. Funk is a higher calling, it needs to be respected and served and it won’t give you anything for free. But this is why we love it.”