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Simon Collins On New LP: ‘I Found the Whole Process Extremely Cathartic’

The son of ace British drummer and singer Phil Collins talks to us about the making of his new record, being on tour with Genesis as a kid and more

David Britto Mar 11, 2021

British-Canadian drummer and singer Simon Collins. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Recently, British-Canadian drummer and singer Simon Collins released his fourth studio album, the 12-track prog-rock explosion Becoming Human. The artist – whose father is legendary British musician Phil Collins – spent his early years on the road with his dad’s band Genesis. Collins says, “I would say that growing up around that band was the key inspiration to me choosing to make music for a living.”

In this exclusive interview with Rolling Stone India, Collins talks to us about his new spellbinding record, his earliest musical memory, being on the road with Genesis, his relationship with his father and more.

Congratulations on your fourth album Becoming Human being out. When did work begin on the record and what do you remember from the songwriting process?

Well thank you, I’m always happy when I achieve what I set out to do and make the album I want to make. It took three years on and off and was recorded in various locations throughout the U.K. The material was written throughout the production as we went along but I also had some songs left over from the second [prog-rock band] Sound of Contact album that never got finished. One song I included was written when I was 15 years old. The lyrical content was based loosely on an existential concept injected with serious personal subject matter also. I think when you make a solo album, it is a chance to inject your philosophies, life experiences and share that with your audience. I found the whole process extremely cathartic.

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You touched upon the lyrical content, what more can you tell me about it?

I balance out philosophy and spiritual themes with more intimate subject matter about some of my very most personal thoughts on addiction, Agenda 21 [a non-binding action plan of the United Nations], redemption, and the power of thoughts into manifestation. It’s very deep and eclectic content and I think that is something that you don’t find often these days. There is so much meaningless music out there in my opinion, so I do my best to make albums with lyrical substance.

I’m sure music has been around you from an early age, what’s your earliest musical memory?

Probably sitting at the sound desk at a Genesis concert. Not sure how old. Funny many of my early memories are on tour. I was very lucky to have grown up around such amazing musicians and kind people. It was like one big family. That was the start to my musical education. 

Growing up knowing your father is Phil Collins, what was that like and did that make it easier or harder for you to pick up music and find your own sound?

I spent equal time on tour as I did with him at home in the countryside during the summer holidays. I always just saw him as my old man, he is a great father, and our connection wasn’t so much based around music. He just let me get on with it and figure it on my own. There was no pressure. Getting into music was the most natural thing for me to do. I was always very confident about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to develop my sound. He and I have very different influences and philosophy to making music. I am always re-imagining my sound and pushing on to new sonic territory. I think it’s vital to evolve as an artist.

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You mentioned being on tour with Genesis, what do you remember from those shows and how big an impact did that play on your life?

I would say that growing up around that band was the key inspiration to me choosing to make music for a living. I would see them on stage and just think to myself, man I want to be in a great band when I grow up. I knew what I wanted to do with my life by the time I was 10

What do you have planned for the rest of 2021?

I am currently working on the debut double concept album for my new band I formed with my Sound of Contact bandmate, [guitarist-bassist] Kelly Avril Nordstrom. It’s extremely modern prog-rock and a serious departure from what I have been doing with my solo material. It will be out early next year.

Stream ‘Becoming Human’ on Spotify below:

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